One of my favorite comedy movies is “What About Bob?”
In the movie Bill Murray plays a very needy psychiatric patient who follows his therapist (and family) up to New Hampshire for vacation.
One type of therapy that he’s offered by his doctor (played by Richard Dreyfuss), who is also plugging a new book, urges him to take “baby steps.”
It’s hilarious when you hear Bill Murray’s character (“Bob”) talk about “baby stepping out the door”… and “baby stepping on the bus.”
Yet, there’s something to that idea about taking a “baby step” that actually applies to online marketing and motivating website visitors to “take the next step” with you on their way to becoming a client for your professional practice.
Let me explain…
Marketing funnels anyone?
I’ve never been a big fan of the term “marketing funnel.”
Well, to me it creates the wrong picture in your mind when thinking about your sales and marketing process.
For example, the goal of a funnel is to make sure that EVERYTHING poured into the opening makes it through the bottom spout without spilling a drop. In fact, I typically use a funnel when pouring extra virgin olive oil from the ginormous can I buy at Big Y when it’s time to refill the olive oil bottle with the pour spout.
But the goal of YOUR marketing is NOT to convert every single lead that enters your supposed “funnel.”
Rather, the goal of marketing is to ATTRACT the right people to your website and convert those who fit your “ideal client profile” into a client. As marketing expert Frank Kern points out, you want to attract and engage the people who are a perfect fit for what you do while, at the same time, REPELLING those who are not a good fit for what you do.
If you’re wondering how this works, I’ll refer you to my earlier article on the “Lead Gen Triangle” which, coincidentally, was written almost one year ago to the day…
Does this sound a bit odd to you, the idea of “repelling” people?
It doesn’t seem odd to me.
Having been self-employed since 2004, I can tell you quite honestly that years ago I wasted WAY TOO MUCH TIME talking with people or “chasing after” people who just weren’t a good prospect.
Look, it happens.
So you want… NEED… to repel the “tire kickers” and “time wasters” out there who will “rate shop” you to death.
So talk of funnels seems horribly misleading, if you ask me.
Asking clients to “take the next step” with you
Online marketing is about communicating the “what you do” to an audience of people who are actively looking for “what you do.”
With me so far?
And this is especially true when marketing professional practices online.
Look, if you’re selling widgets your product might be viewed as a commodity. If so, you’re stuck in the endless “price game” spiral where folks are ONLY interested in how much your widget costs.
But if you’re in the solutions business, then your sales process involves some sort of on-going dialogue BEFORE they are ready to become a client.
Now, truth be told I’ve closed COLD sales leads in as little as ONE day, primarily by supplying them with proven marketing materials (PDFs and links to my site and articles) that did a LOT of the heavy lifting for me.
And I’m currently closing between 30 and 50% of these leads after making a few tweaks to my follow up SYSTEM.
Not too shabby, right?
Now, those tools were ENGINEERED to engage the right kind of people who fit my ideal client profile. So even though I wasn’t actively engaged in talking to EVERYBODY who expressed interest, I was able to personally talk with people who had already “gotten to know me” because I sent them materials or they read marketing materials on my site that addressed their needs.
So what does this have to do with “next step marketing?
People are willing to “take the next step” with you IF…
- you’re not asking them to make or take a “leap of faith”
- you’ve engaged them enough by answering some questions
- you’ve addressed some initial concerns
- the next step in the process follows what you’ve already done NATURALLY
Think of it this way… if we met on a plane and you asked what I do for a living, and that sparks some initial interest, I’d be a damn fool if I asked you to write me a check for a $1000 on the spot to proceed further.
Heck, we only just met.
But if I ask for your email so I can follow up with you when I get to my office, you’d probably be willing to do that.
Small, reasonable steps tend to get a “YES.”
And that’s the point… to get an initial “yes” early on from the right people so you can move them along your sales process until they are willing (and able) to pay you for your services.
Courtship… not one-night stand.
So if you’re not closing enough online sales leads into paying clients, then you have a problem with your marketing and sales process. You might be…
- attracting the wrong people to your site (poor targeting)
- speaking the wrong language to engage them (poor copy)
- asking them to take a leap of faith (poor call to action)
Or you might be doing all three of these. Of course, it’s impossible for me to know without looking at your traffic, your website, and asking some detailed questions about your follow up process.
If you’d like an objective and informed opinion about what’s holding your site back from delivering solid results for your online business, then…
Schedule a website review or phone consultation today
Since early 2008 I have worked with dozens of clients and helped them get more than they thought possible from their websites. And I know I can do the same for you…
There are three ways to schedule your FREE website review:
- call 888-542-2936 and leave a voice message, including your name and URL, or…
- send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org,
- or click the link and complete a short webform.
Online success starts by taking the first step…
Over the years I have helped clients to generate more leads and sales online. Period. To discover how I can improve your current web-marketing efforts to generate MEASURABLE results for you let me review your website, and then we can set up a time to discuss my analysis by phone.