Begin Your Business Journey Knowing What The End Destination Is And How To Get There
To be a smart solopreneur, don’t start your Knowledge Commerce business by creating products first. Instead, start blogging profusely with the aim of building your audiences.
Survey your audiences to see what products would resonate with them. Once your products start selling, beef up your brand reach, visibility, authority and influence. This will multiply earnings.
At Solohacks Academy we have tried and perfected a step-by-step procedure that works like the blazes for us. We’ve simplified into a sequence of points you too can follow.
We’ve created three big strategy points for you to set goals to cover, and each strategy point has three steps to go through. That makes a nine-step agenda that you just get into, and then roll on with. Money will soon start rolling in.
1. Set Up Shop, Get Traffic, Convert Traffic To Subscribers
To begin on the right note, you have to get your basics in place. Planning your area of unique expertise, deciding your audiences, deciding your marketing approach, setting up your site and blog, building your traffic and converting site visitors into subscribers, and getting your subscribers to tell you what products they would like … these are the basics.
Once you get all this into place, you can chug along. So let’s see what this phase involves exactly …
a. Decide on Your Expertise Niche And Set Up Your Website And Blog
You’re first steps involve planning your business “niche” and making decisions on your approach. Then “set up shop” with a website and blog …
- Decide your line of business, your area of unique expertise (i.e. your niche).
- Decide on your ideal target audiences and their segments and research what they would like to see in an expert.
- Decide how best to promote your expertise to them as something of high value, authority and brand uniqueness.
- Get a domain that reflects either your niche, or your target audiences or your value proposition.
- Set up a website to reflect your brand, put in the mandatory pages (About, Contact, Privacy, Disclaimer, Disclosure etc.)
- Most important, start a blog where you can reinforce your expertise with relevant, reader-centric articles, written in spate and consistently.
b. Decide On Your Sources Of Traffic Using SEO And Social Media
You need to plan to get trafic from both organic search engine rankings as well as social media. Most often it’s a good idea to create your blog posts for Google search engine listings, and then repurpose these for creating your social media updates. Here’s the process …
- Focus on organic SEO traffic first. Select 50-100 topics related to your niche.
- Type your topics into Google, one by one, and analyze the Google Search Results Page for articles listed.
- Also analyze the drop-down “Google Suggestions” for your typed in topic – and the “People Also Ask” sections.
- Write high-quality blog posts for your blog topics that can beat the listed competition on the Google Results Pages.
- For each blog post you write, create social updates (blog post excerpts) to post to several important social media sites.
- Plan on using these five social sites at a minimum: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.
- Don’t forget to include your blog post images, and links to your blog posts, in your social media excerpts.
c. Get Loyal Blog Readers To Subscribe To Your Mailing List
It’s never enough to get good traffic to your blog with visitors who arrive just once. The objective should be to get people to return again and again to your blog and get into a loyal follower-relationship with you. So follow these steps below:
- Once visitors start streaming into your site make sure you have a “lead magnet” in place to woo them (a free irresistible ebook?).
- Place an optin form on every page of your side – and in the sidebars and site header or footer – where people can give you their email addresses in return for your downloadable lead magnet.
- Make sure you gather all these captured email addresses in an autoresponder mailing list like Mailchimp or aWeber.
- Automate a welcome email so every new subscriber knows what to expect – they should know you will be keeping them in touch with news from your blog and all your new blog posts and updates.
- Once people are on your list, they are gold. Give them regular emails on your blog updates as newsletters. Once a week newsletters are ideal.
- Put into these newsletters, the excerpts of your blog posts – so they return to your site to read the full posts. Get them back to your site often.
- Monitor their activity, and see how many people on your mailing list are repeat visitors to your blog. The blog is where your commerce will happen.
- Get people to read emails, click on links to new blog posts, and visit your site often. Make them loyal blog readers.
2. Get Your Product Arrays Right, And Get People To Buy From Small To Big Products
A major mistake of knowledge product creation? People push themselves to try to make that one perfect product. They try to write the most thorough ebook, or develop the most comprehensive course, with a certificate et al.
Not every knowledge product needs to ooze with endless knowledge. You need instead to have a hierarchy of products in your area of unique expertise. Here’s how to get your product ideas from your subscribers, so your products are not duds without demand.
a. Survey Subscribers To Build-And-Price Relevant Products
Make sure you have at least 100 subscribers – with at least 75% of them as loyal blog readers – before you do any survey. There are two ways to survey those on your list to get ideas for relevant knowledge commerce products. One is to see covertly which kinds of articles people click on most to return to your blog to read. The other way is to ask them outright overtly by email.
- If you are surveying them outright, first ask them about their preferred topics to read about. Give them a selection to tick, so they know the contours of the areas you are a specialist in.
- As a second step of the questionnaire ask them to name the formats they like best – ebooks, video tutorials, podcasts, cheatsheets or checklists, templates, etc. Let them check as many choices as they prefer.
- Don’t make any survey longer than this. Elaborate surveys never get answers. In fact, research shows that the longer your survey is, the fewer results you always get.
- Finally, when you get answers, send them a thank you email. Make sure you tell them the results of your survey because many people complain that they are asked to opine but never told the results. People are curious to know what others like them think.
b. Get List-Subscribers To Become Buyers Of Your Tripwire Products
This is the part where your smarts come into play. You can’t straightaway get people to buy high-priced knowledge products from you. You need to get “tripwire sales”.
- What is a “tripwire”? It’s the analogy that comes from the electrical world. A tripwire is “… a wire stretched close to the ground, working a trap, explosion, or alarm when disturbed and serving to detect or prevent people or animals entering an area.” The military also uses the word tripwire to describe ” … a weak military force employed as the first line of defense, engagement with which will trigger the intervention of stronger forces.”
- In other words, you, as a solo brand marketer can aim to sell small opening products (low-priced ebooks?) that reset customers’ mental image of you and themselves and your relationship. Like tripwires, small sales help put people into a state of mind ready for the “bigger thing”.
- Internet marketing expert, Neil Patel, has described the power of small tripwire sales:
Think of a tripwire like dating. If you ask a girl or a guy, a random stranger to marry you, what do you think the person is going to say? Chances are he or she is going to end up saying no. The reason the person is going to say no is because the person doesn’t even know you.
But if you ask a random stranger, “Hey would you like to go out for coffee?” there’s a much higher chance that you’ll get a yes.
And if the coffee date goes well, then you may ask the person for dinner, and if the dinner date goes well, you may go on a few more dates, do a few things with the chosen one. Then fast forward a few months, you may end up moving in together. And then if you ask the person to marry you, the chances of saying yes are much higher.
It’s “micro-commitments”. By getting people to take small little actions, you’re much more likely to get them to say yes to your big core offer.”
- Another important thing. Tripwire sales change the nature of your relationship with your customers. Your “prospective customers” become “actual customers”. It doesn’t matter if they’ve spent just $5 on your site. Their changed status as “customers” makes them feel like part of your privileged set.
- As time grows, you can have more and more trust built up. With enough trust accumulated, even very big sales feel satisfying and wonderful to customers.
c. Get Buyers Of Tripwire Products To Buy Up Your Price Ladder
Keeping the idea of tripwire sales in mind as a way to grow people up your product-price-ladder, here are some steps to follow:
- Create several knowledge products with different price-points ranging from $2.99 upwards. When you lead people back from your newsletters to your new blog posts, make sure these blog posts act like conduits for the purchase of small tripwire products that supplement these blog posts. In other words, your tripwire product should look like “content upgrades”. People should read the blog post and feel the tripwire product advertised along with it acts as additional and procurable value to what they have read.
- You can place the tripwire product in the middle of a blog post, say after about 30% of the article is read, or even at the bottom of the post or in a custom sidebar you have created for the article.
- It doesn’t matter that everyone who reads the article will not buy the product. Many people need several such exposures to a range of products before they realize you have other things of worth to sell in addition to the free information on your blog posts. If you repeatedly aim to bring people back to your blog posts from your newsletters, they will end up buying at some point.
- When people buy these tripwire products, make sure your “Thank You For Your Purchase” page has more upsell or cross-sell products they can also buy at higher prices. Always, though stick to the topic areas and formats they like to buy.
- The rule of thumb to always follow is this: every product purchase must be followed with a “Thank You” page that attracts the buyer to consider buying the next higher-priced product you have. He may not do so immediately, but your next product will remain in his mind as a route to take. He’ll start feeling that buying the higher product from on your site (when he’s ready), will be like a value-extension to his current purchase.
3. Boost Your Sales, Reach, Visibility And Brand – And Aim To Become An Influencer
As you get people to gradually buy your bigger-priced products, you have do two things more. One, get existing buyers to refer new buyers for you. Two, amp up your personal brand so that more people will seek you out for your brand power, which they can buy.
In other words, you have to graduate from merely selling products to selling your authority and influence. Here’s how …
a. Get Buyers To Increase Lifetime Customer Value And Referrals
Lifetime Customer Value (LCV) is the sum total of money a customer spends with you over a long period of time as a loyal re-purchaser. You obviously don’t want your relationship with customers to end with just one purchase, right? So, here is what you should aim for:
- Make existing customers buy more and more by constantly emailing them and keeping the relationship with them warm. Most often relationships get broken by seller neglect of customers than by customers heading for greener pastures.
- Remember that every sale to a new customer costs 6 times more than a sale to an existing customer. Calculate the value of every repurchase as at least 6 times the value of a new purchase by a new customer.
- Get existing customers to become advocates for your products and, more importantly, to refer new customers for purchases. If you merely use existing customers for word-of-mouth propagation of your products they are as good as Influencers. But if they refer customers and you pay them a referral fee, they are as good as Affiliates.
b. Amp Up Your Brand And Become A Visible Expert And Authority
When your products are selling well, your brand acquires a lot more power. But you have to do more to reach out to networks of authority online so that you multiply your brand power. When you get projected as a “visible expert brand” your earnings begin to explode. What are the things you can do to increase your reach, visibility and authority? Read on …
- Write a bestseller book or take on classy speaking engagements. There is something to book writing and publishing that stamps the word “authority” all over you.
- Extend your brand into areas that are shoulder niches of your business. A shoulder niche is a complementary niche that is not exactly related to your niche. For example, if you are into “gardening” you could easily move into “pest control for gardens” and then “pest control for homes”. This is how you can branch out to reach new audiences and gain more visibility.
- Explore joint ventures with peers to multiply networking and earnings. If two knowledge marketers with complementary products get together in a Joint Venture (JV), they can both co-promote a whole new idea they may not have achieved alone. This will create a bigger market for both parties, aside from building up both brand names via association.
- Get into big-ticket consulting services with performance-based fees. Big-ticket consultants build their brands by accepting performance-based fees. They show they are ready to risk a part of their fees to deliver the results. They check what additional revenue or cost-savings they can bring to their customers, and then declare that they have a base consulting rate, but will also take 20% or so of the revenues or cost gains the customer derives – as an additional fee for achieving or exceeding targets.
c. Aim To Become An Influencer With Ambitions To Grow In Earnings
Becoming a highly paid influencer for mega-brands is the ultimate earning source in Knowledge Commerce. Once you know the ropes of the influencer game, and have your networks of contact in place, you can then scale up the ladder as an influencer. Begin with micro-influencing, get to mid-tier-influencing, and finally become that mega-influencer.
In Summary …
- Begin your business journey knowing what the end destination is and how to get there … hence this roadmap.
- We’ve created a nine-step agenda that you just get into, and then roll on and on with. It’s a tried and tested formula.
- Your first strategic phase should be to set up shop, get traffic, convert traffic to subscribers.
- Your second strategic phase should be to get your products right, and get people to buy from small to big products.
- Your third strategic phase should be to boost your sales, reach, visibility and brand – and become an influencer.
- Persistence is the most important word in marketing success. Our roadmap, if you sustain it, will definitely pay.
So What Are Your Thoughts? Do Share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of Knowledge Commerce solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.
Related Articles From Our “Understanding The Basics & Power Of Knowledge Commerce: Guide”
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- How Can Solopreneurs Benefit Big From Knowledge Commerce?
- What Products Can You Create And Sell Via Knowledge Commerce?
- What Are Solopreneurs’ Biggest Challenges In Knowledge Commerce?
- What Are The Inhibiting Myths For Knowledge Commerce Solopreneurs?
- What Is The Real Money-Making Potential Of Knowledge Commerce?
- What Are The Best Resources For Knowledge Commerce Solopreneurs?
- What Skills Will You Need To Be Able To Handle Knowledge Commerce?
- Are There Good Case Studies Of Knowledge Commerce Marketers?