Due to the effects of lock down, many business owners that traditionally operate in personal, close contact to their customers have been forced to re-imagine how their business can operate at a distance. The ingenuity and resourcefulness has been truly stunning, from restaurants creating DIY home kits all the way to a Zoom-powered NFL Draft.
Digital tools provide great infrastructure to market and sell your product or service via correspondence. For anyone looking to hone their skills as quickly as possible – we’ve compiled the following list of educational resources to get you up to speed as quickly as possible and completely for free.
Same Skills, New Platform
One key thing to remember: Every customer goes through three steps when deciding to make a purchase:
- Awareness – knowing about the product/service
- Consideration – evaluating vendor options
- Decision – price, terms, on-boarding
They did this in 1920 and they do this in 2020. The methods have changed, but the psychology is the same. As such, building an online sales funnel is simply learning new ways to express and scale specific knowledge that you already have.
The following will introduce you to the key concepts of online sales and the platforms to learn.
If a customer is looking for a product or service, chances are they will Google it to understand it a bit more and evaluate options. At the top of the search results they will see several targeted options noted as ads, and then pages of options ranked by how relevant they are to their search.
As a marketer, your goal is to appear at the top of the results for your designated keywords – at the lowest cost possible.
Google Skillshop offers free courses and certifications that focus on making your company more visible via paid ads, Search Engine Optimization and analytics to measure conversions and cost. This is a great place to start to understand the big concepts of Digital Marketing.
Once a customer is aware of a product or service and has looked at a number of vendors, they begin considering who to select. They may sign up for a demo, join a newsletter and download a white paper. Their consideration is aided by your branded content – and Hubspot is the undisputed King of Content Marketing.
Hubspot Academy offers a host of courses that show you how to create content that will be useful and engaging to your audience. Over the past several years, the internet has been flooded with high quality content making it harder than ever to compete at this stage. Leverage this resource to learn the fundamentals and stand out from the crowd.
A physical product has a unique buyer journey online, in that it is much more visual and tangible. Ad platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow a level of display that Google ads do not. Furthermore, the order must be fulfilled by drop-shipping to a customer’s home, which is not a concern for services or software.
For the folks who sell physical products, the platform that you must learn about is Shopify and the best way to get acquainted with it is the Shopify Academy. Learn the basics of eCommerce from the masters of the category, completely for free.
Step Two – Apply your Learning
Once you have a grasp on the theory, you must benefit from the compound interest of publishing resources online in order to build you online presence. Thankfully, in 2020, you do not need to be a programmer in order to build a web presence.
You don’t even need to hire a programmer.
Along with roughly 20% of the websites on the internet, the blog you are currently reading is hosted on WordPress. Start a free blog account and post a few entries that answer common questions your customers tend to ask you. Use the Yoast SEO plugin to optimize for your keywords and try to drive traffic by sharing via social and email.
Your blog will be the first place you begin to build a library of content that can be repurposed and shared. If you are able to answer customer questions effectively, you will begin to see organic traffic from Google Search. There is limitless upside to committing time to this practice.
Fun fact: WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg wrote the code for the platform using an unusual productivity tactic called “Polyphasic Sleep” – sleeping for forty minutes every 2.5 hours – for a year.
As you progress in building a library of writing and begin to share more, you will realize you need better design assets with thoughtful branding (stock images get stale over time). Traditionally you would pay a designer to make up a branding kit and build out assets for you.
Canva is the answer. This is one of the most thoughtfully designed products to enter the market in years (maybe that is why it’s the first billion dollar tech company to come from Australia).
Upload your logo and colours to begin making designs in your own syle. This will elevate the appearance of your content immensely.
The best way to keep in touch with your existing customers is through an email list. Sendgrid provides a free and very intuitive platform to build beautifully designed emails that allow you to share updates, special offers and content you have created. Leverage the designs you’ve made in Canva and the written content you are creating in WordPress to share with your email list.