Continuing this series to explain why there are 6 ‘P’s in Profit, so far we have dealt with the first 3:
You may well notice that these first three are, basically, the product creation process with a great mass of activity crammed into #3 ‘Produce’ where you create what it is that you have decided (Planned) to sell and make profit from.
The remaining 3 our of our 6 ‘P’s cover the marketing phase, the first step of which is to Publish your creation.
It makes no difference whether you are building a cruise ship or writing a digital ebook, this is the point when you take the wraps off and publish your creation to the world.
In the case of a cruise ship this is when you have completed construction, launched your ship down the slipway, finished fitting out and now you can start distributing publicity brochures and booking forms and you are ready to start taking orders.
The same applies if you have created a simple digital ebook. It’s written, converted into pdf format with a nice graphic image and loaded up on your site with a Paypal button and you are ready to start taking orders.
You can apply the same process whether you are building some enormous skyscraper building or selling tickets to a local raffle. At some stage you move from the product creation phase into marketing and this occurs when you publish your product.
So you take my point that it makes no difference what sort of business you are running; selling ebooks on line, building ocean liners or running an existing business of any kind, the basic process of making profits remains the same.
Applying this to Online Marketing our main focus here is to take advantage of the potential of online marketing. So lets take a look at what happens when you publish online.
Again, let’s not forget you can split this activity into 2 types; There are existing offline businesses where you are looking to improve the potential of the existing assets and resources by publishing some of your knowledge and expertise online in order to unlock additional profits – as well as businesses that are working entirely online with digital products
In fact, it is actually offline businesses that frequently demonstrate the greatest profit potential. If you have a successful business offline then you have already confirmed that you have located a profitable niche and an accessible market that is prepared to buy. What you want now is more of the same – to access a bigger market by removing the physical restrictions and going online.
Now what happens if you can both make more money from your existing market as well as reach a far bigger market online? The potential is enormous.
Your Virtual Real Estate
To communicate effectively and spread the information (i.e. to publish) the information about your product or service you will need to have planned the tools you are going to use to achieve this during step 1, Planning.
Your online tools will include:
- your website and blog
- Facebook business Page,
- Twitter stream,
- Youtube channel,
- Linkedin account
… and many other online platforms where you can create your own identity with virtual real estate and people can find you.
From these online platforms you can educate visitors and prospects into a frame of mind in which they are more likely to buy from you as well as direct them by various means to your website or other location where they can buy.
The internet was designed and intended for the communication of information and has three major advantages;
- automation and;
So the online world is entirely focused on the digital product. As a result, offline businesses frequently miss out because they do not see how pure information might figure in their business model.
Someone selling lawnmowers and gardening equipment doesn’t see how a digital ebook can help their business. However, consider that someone buying a lawnmower is buying a tool by which they will put into practice the information that they know about how to keep their lawn in good condition.
But their information is extremely limited. They know they should cut the grass – but very little more. They don’t know why they should do it, the best way to do it or even when to do it.
Don’t you think they would like to know when they should cut the grass and what length they should cut it in different conditions?
If you provide this sort of information then they are likely to be grateful to you for the help you have provided. You also lodge in their mind that you know what you are talking about and you made their lives easier.
So next time that they have a similar problem who are they likely to turn to first? Yes, that’s you. You’ve become the expert on grass as far as they are concerned. You don’t believe me?
Just do a Google search for “lawn doctor” and see how many results you get – then take a look at www.lawndoctor.com to see the site that spawned the ‘lawn doctor’ name that all the others have picked up on to see someone who built their entire business on grass!
So, what’s the lesson to be drawn from this? Even if you think your business is entirely physical there is bound to be some way that you can make some part of your information digital. Once you do this then the the internet gives you the means to communicate and distribute that information widely – and fast!
What’s more, the automation enables you to respond just as quickly and effectively to whatever response you get from your visitors. As a consequence you can start to move them through the marketing process that leads to to a sale and subsequently to repeat sales. You can also adapt your response according to what you learn from them – so you can move into related market niches.
This is the strength of online marketing and how it can add substantially to your existing offline business. By publishing your information online, whether it is:
- a product or service that you can provide online
- marketing information about your product or service
- simple participation in social media so that you become more visible to your potential market
your product – which you’ve always done;
your marketing material – reaches a bigger audience online
your own and your business’ activities – that you could never afford the time or money to do before is now possible online.
All of these amount to Publishing in our 6 ‘P’s process and position you as someone who has something to offer to your prospects.
Now comes the task of turning your prospects into customers and that is the where Participation comes in, the 5th ‘P’ in our 6 ‘P’s in Profit and inextricably connected to that last point of publishing your activities.
Look out for our next post about Participation in your marketplace.
I started out writing the title of this post as; ‘Producing for Tradesmen’ before realising that there are all sorts of assumptions attached to the word Tradesman and they are often quite negative in terms of business potential.
So without wasting a lot of time on it let’s just consider that mediaeval cathedrals were built by master builders – who probably started their working lives as carpenters or stonemasons.
So being a ‘tradesman’ is absolutely no limitation on your business potential either on or off-line.
However, the problem of being time limited in earning potential is even worse for tradesmen than it is for professionals. Why? Because your customers tend to associate you (and your invoices!) with physical products and services delivered to them rather than professional services and advice which tend to be higher valued
If you don’t have a spanner or hammer in your hand then you’re not considered to be working. If you don’t deliver a working boiler or a new house extension then you are not working – and are not perceived as having value.
So how can you ‘produce’ something of perceived value online when your business is directed entirely to physical services?
The answer lies in those 3 magic letters of DIY. Do It Yourself is the biggest activity among the aspiring population to have developed since World War II.
DIY is both the bane of the tradesman as well as greatest boon. Home and property owners who don’t want to pay for your professional services and insist on trying to do the work themselves must be taking the bread out of your mouths – or are they?
Firstly, let’s consider that there is no way that you can stop this activity. Nobody wants to pay for something they can do themselves and with the explosion in property ownership more people than ever before now own their own property.
So they are going to work on their own property whether you like it or not. And there are 3 possible consequences to this activity.
- If they have some knowledge and skill they’ll get by and do a passable job
- They will try to find information to help them do a passable job.
- They will make a mess and need you to sort it out.
Being philosophical again, there’s nothing you can do about those people who have learned how to do the job reasonably well – bearing in mind they have probably made a few botches in the past that they have had to pay professional to come and sort out.
Number 2, when the DIY’er is looking for information about how to go about the job they plan to do themselves is your golden opportunity for you to ‘Produce’ something by way of useful information to help them that can build a long term relationship with them as prospects and customers.
As a tradesman you have years of experience and a wealth of knowledge available to you. That’s why you are able to do a good job when a client hires you. So why not spill that information out into the printed word, audios and videos to show the DIY’er how to do the job?
After all you can be safe in the knowledge that even if you tell them how to do the job they won’t have the years of real expertise so they may well still botch it up. What does giving away this information achieve?
By providing useful information when they need it you begin to create a relationship – the first step in the selling process.
By demonstrating your knowledge and expertise you build authority and credibility and you become the ‘go to’ person that prospect turns to each time they want to do a job in your field.
Give something away and you are entitled to something in return. How about a name and email address? Then you can stay in contact with automated emails and stay in their ‘top of mind’ ready for the day that they decide they really need a professional to do the job.
The 3rd consequence of a DIYer making a mess of the job and needing a professional tradesman to sort it out is manna from heaven for you. But unless you are already in their mind in some way then how do you ensure that it is your number they call and not one of your competitors?
Answer; you need to have created a relationship in some way.
So whether you are a ‘professional’ or a ‘tradesman’ the answer to how you produce something of perceived value to give away to your website visitors in exchange for their name and email in order to start building a relationship on autopilot is the same.
Start taking information that is commonplace for you in your business and make it easily available to your visitors. In the case of tradesmen you will probably use far more images in your ebooks or use videos extensively in order to use the ‘show me’ method of providing information.
But the principle is the same. Give information away to start developing that relationship. Become *the* tradesman in your business as far as that prospect is concerned so that they don’t think of going to anybody else when they need someone.
The same principles apply throughout online marketing. The 2 advantages of the internet for marketing purposes are automation and speed. Automation allows you to do something once and use it many times. Write your ebook once and deliver it many times using your autoresponder.
Write your helpful follow up email messages once and use them thousands of times with no further work on your part. Create show and tell videos once and educate your community thousands of times – every time building your authority and credibility.
Creating giveaway products to build your relationships with your prospects is just as valuable a technique for tradesmen to build their businesses as it is for professionals.
See how a ‘tradesman’ became on online star:
- MyBuilder.com Makes Top Ten in Startups 100 (prweb.com)
- MyBuilder.com Helps to Set up a Surprise Home Makeover (prweb.com)
Producing for Professionals
Talking about producing your product being third in line of your activities seems odd when you must surely have something to sell first to have any business.
However, recalling that the first ‘P’ was Planning you can see that actually deciding what to sell, how to sell it and how to get paid for it all have to be planned before you can set about actually producing it. You can’t fire up the machinery until you know what you are supposed to be making.
Similarly, the type of business you have planned or are already engaged in will dictate your approach to the products you create and your motivation for producing them.
Professional Service, Physical Product or Agency?
Your approach and reason for producing will vary depending on the nature of your business. But it’s important to realise that the fundamental structure of business is the same no matter what you are selling. Everything here applies to you and your business and there are no cop-outs of ‘That doesn’t apply to me/my business’.
Whether you are a professional sitting in a swish skyscraper office or a plumber cramped up underneath a kitchen sink or a marketer selling someone else’s products, the fundamentals still apply to you.
So let’s talk about professionals first. You might say that your product is the service that you provide. Only when people decide to buy your service do they become your customers. You need to make more sales by persuading more prospects to commit to buy but in this case, your problem is that you are setting the hurdle very high for your prospect to leap over to become your customer because the first offer you make to them is for your high priced, personal services.
They don’t know you, they don’t know if they like or can trust you – and the price of your labour is very high. So they have lots of questions buzzing around their head as they ponder whether or not to buy your services.
So, what’s the solution?
Everything that you deliver to your customers comes out of your head or the files of information you’ve got stuffed in all those filing cabinets in your office – or your ability to spend time researching, collating and organising information.
And that the point; what you deal with is information.
And apart from the last activity of using your accumulated knowledge to research, collate and organise much of your expertise lies in static information. Information that is both static and remains completely useless to you as long as it stays locked up inside your head or filing cabinet or office.
The Sales Funnel (which we will deal with shortly) requires that you provide a very low hurdle to entry for your prospects to begin with and then move them through the funnel with higher value products at each stage.
Of course, fewer prospects will buy into the higher value product at each stage but those that do are increasingly committed and very definitely will have come to know, like and trust you.
Professionals often attempt to overcome this problem by offering a free consultation before the prospect commits to their pricey services. This is a valiant attempt to overcome the ‘know, like and trust’ hurdle by making themselves available for a conversation.
However, it suffers from the problem of how many people are going to move through the complete ‘know, like and trust’ process within the 30 minutes or 1 hour of the free consultation while at the same time juggling the problems they are trying to deal with in their head and maintaining a conversation with you?
And, what’s more, that’s an hour of your time that you could have spent making real money with a committed customer.
The solution here is to take some time out to create ‘product’ that you can give away to prospects before you are obliged to give up your valuable time. In other words, take some of that static information and start making it work for you.
The old style solution in many professional offices is the rack of brochures and leaflets on display in reception. The only problem here is that it needs the prospect to visit your office to find them, pick them up and read them. So their real purpose is to reassure your customer that they have made the right decision by engaging your services after they have committed themselves rather than persuading them to do so while they are still a prospect searching online for a supplier.
So get those leaflets converted to .pdf documents and give them away online to demonstrate your expert status. Use the power of the internet to do this automatically without consuming any of your time while at the same time developing a relationship with your prospect.
Whether your product is print, audio, powerpoint or video doesn’t matter. What matters is that you create it once and use your time only once – but can provide that product multiple times to prospects and do so automatically instead of having to repeat the same information over and over in an introductory consultation with every prospect.
I’ve picked on just one format of professional services there but the principle holds good for all ‘professionals’ whatever your trade or specialisation.
By taking information out of your head, producing some form of product to give away in an automated process you can begin the ‘know, like and trust’ process in order to build your relationship with prospects but without taking up any of your time.
Of course, once you start this process and begin to determine the real interest of your prospect then you can begin to sell them information in the same way. Then you are making money from your expertise online – at the very same time that you are making money offline. Hey, now we’re cooking!
You think this isn’t you? Maybe you get your hands dirty making your living – or sell physical products of some description? Then look out for the next installment of ‘There are 6 ‘P’s in Profit’to find out how this applies to you too.
You might also find these articles about product creation and the Sales Funnel
- A Four-Step Guide to Generating Sales Leads from Your Blog (copyblogger.com)
- Optimizing your Customer Acquisition Funnel (forentrepreneurs.com)