How I Built My Online Platform
A few years ago when I made the decision to grow my online platform, I explored video. I decided publish videos consistently on my YouTube channel. I started by recording several at a time and then publishing one per week. I did not know where it would lead, but I knew that I wanted to establish my online platform in personal finance. A few months into it, I received a call from an advertising agency. They had seen my videos and they wanted to talk to me about creating video for one of their clients, a major bank. We discussed the budget and they flew me to New York to shoot video. As I sat in the chair getting my hair and makeup done, I realized that all of the work I had put into building my platform online had worked.
A little while after that, I received an email from a writer at Business Insider. She had also seen one of my videos and wanted to profile me about my debt payoff story. We had a short call, and she sent over some follow up questions via email. A few weeks later, my story was in Business Insider and it was on the front page of Yahoo Finance. I got a flood of traffic to my website, new followers, subscribers, and new potential clients.
And now it’s your turn. Your turn to stand out online. I’m going to pull back the curtain and share with you the exact process that I use to book my calendar with potential clients. And the strategies I show my VIP clients so they can see the same success.
How to Build Your Platform Online
1) Start with Your Story and Your Why
The first thing you must do is outline the transformation that you offer to a potential client. Why do you do what you do? What is the outcome that your clients could gain after working with you?
The ability to tell your story is an integral part of effectively marketing your business. The reason?
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis found that while listening to a story, participants related by “living the tale” as it was being told. When the story mentioned picking up an object, the area of the brain that controls movement of the hand fired up. When you tell the story of how you started and why you do what you do, those clients that can relate to you will naturally gravitate towards you. People buy from those they know, like, and trust. Your job is to tell your story so you can build the KNOW factor.
My story includes my journey from working part-time delivering sandwiches when I graduated into the Great Recession. It took me 11 months to find a job and I made a vow to myself that I would find a way to earn even if I could not find a job. So I created my own job. I then built my platform as a millennial personal finance expert and used the power of online marketing to find clients and grow my business. My mission is to help women entrepreneurs find the same self-sufficiency.
What is your mission? Why do you do the work that you do? When you take a moment to think, you can bring together your personal story and your business. This is the foundation of your platform.
2) Weave Your Story in Your Online Presence
The next step is to take that brand mission and your voice and weave that throughout the written word, also known as copy, on your website and on your social media platforms. Every time that you write an email to your list or create a social media update, you will think about your why. And when you create your sales page, you will include your story.
When I was a young girl I remember starting my first business with my sister. Our dad took us to the discount warehouse and we purchased a large bag of candy. We started selling that candy to neighborhood kids and we learned how to calculate our profit. Growing up my dad taught me the importance of a good work ethic. It is the reason that I set goals and take action on my goals. I kept sharing my story of taking action on my social media. I found quotes that followed the theme of taking action. And as I did that, I began to attract my ideal clients; action-takers! My clients are ready to take action on their goals and I love seeing them succeed.
How Cara* became confident
When Cara called me she was looking for help. She had already spent money trying to set her business on the right path. She was afraid that she would continue spending money on her hobby. She agreed to take a chance and we started working on her business from the ground up. Her website did not reflect her fun and spontaneity, so we gave it a facelift. Each time I gave her homework she took action and she made a lot of progress in 8 weeks.
She said, “I like how you set them up and I knock them down.” At the end of our 8-week coaching I helped her practice her sales skills so she could confidently relay her value proposition. I still keep an eye on her and it feels really good to see her creating engaging social media images and running her private Facebook group. Cara shares her story each time she publishes.
*name has been changed
Your story should be easily seen in your social media, status updates, and blog posts. This is your online platform.
3) Setup Your Automatic Sales System
Finally, you must have a system to pull all of this together. You need a sales funnel. A sales funnel includes the entire process of what happens when someone first meets you, and gets to know you, all the way through to the sale.
Here’s an example, I meet someone at a conference, I give them my business card, they take a moment to check out my website. On my website they see a button that says sign up here to get a free report. They register for the free report with their email address. They read the report and at the end of the report it says go to this link to schedule a call with LaTisha. They schedule a call with me and we chat about their needs and I tell them about my packages, services and pricing.
The stages of the sales funnel are interchangeable. For example, a prospect may find out about you through an online training, during a speaking engagement, or after speaking to a current client. That potential client could also book directly after reading an email. In general, this is how a sales funnel works.
- A potential client discovers you.
- You give them a free gift in exchange for their email address.
- You continue the conversation via email, or you may follow up with a call as appropriate.
- They choose to contact you via phone or respond via email.
- You discuss their needs either via call or they read it on your sales page.
- They decide to work with you, either saying yes on the phone or clicking a buy button on your site.
That is the base structure of a sales funnel.
Your sales funnel is going to be wider at the top as you perform all of your marketing efforts to generate leads.
Then, as new prospects get to know you, they decide if they like you and they move further down the funnel. There are fewer prospects at this stage. Then the prospect decides if they trust you enough to invest and you make a sale. There are even fewer prospects at this stage.
The key to a healthy sales funnel is to have a steady flow of prospects coming into the widest part. And that is where marketing your business comes into play. While it is possible to have a great website and social media presence that speaks for you 24/7, you must maintain consistent marketing efforts. There are a few ways to do this. You can run ads to your free opt-in to continually generate leads, you can maintain a calendar of speaking engagements, you can attend conferences or other events and you can network.
I suggest pursuing a combination to maximize your reach. Then, as you bring in more and more leads, your sales funnel will work day and night.
Your sales funnel can help convert those onlookers into clients. When a prospect decides to book a call with you, there must be a smooth process. I recommend that you use a scheduling software to automate your client consultation calls. Each time you have a call booked, your calendar will update with that call.
Now you have a choice. You can continue to do what you’ve been doing or you can make a change. It’s time to take action! Let’s grow your online platform so you can get noticed and gain clients. Don’t wait. Your clients need what only you can offer them.
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