Give ’em a Taste

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the original ice cream shop that offers you a taste of any flavor ice cream you want before you make your decision on which scoop you are going to enjoy.

Giving you a taste (or as many tastes of different flavors as you’d like) is a brilliant way to ensure that you not only order a cone at that moment, but it’s also a way to bring you back to try more flavors on another day.

You can use this brilliant marketing strategy in building your business, too. Offering your prospects a taste of what it is that you provide is a proven and easy way to get people to become part of your community, and part of your marketing/product funnel (the funnel is the "journey" (that builds a relationship over time) that your clients follow from the first visit to your website, where they enter by giving you their contact information, down through each level as they make their way through each purchasing step in the funnel). By offering them a sample, you’re giving them an opportunity to get to know you without risking anything more than perhaps a bit of time.

In your marketing/product funnel, the taste you are giving your potential clients is at the top of the funnel, the widest part. The taste is your freebie/complimentary/gift offering and is your first (and usually only!) opportunity to engage your prospect. Your taste needs to be something of value that you offer for free to people who visit your website in exchange for their contact information, usually their name and email address.

This is often one of the most overlooked steps in building an online business. A prospect needs to see your message many times (it ranges anywhere from 5-10) before they will feel confident enough to risk handing over their money to you. In order to build a relationship with people you need to be able to contact them again, which means your goal is to capture their email address before they click away from your website.

If they leave, it’s unlikely that they will come back, so don’t lose the opportunity to welcome them into your community, your funnel. They landed at your website because they were looking for something (usually a solution to a problem they are having, right? :)). Give them a taste of the solution you offer. And remember to make it easy for them: make your sign-up form or email so obvious that they’d have to trip over it not to notice it (yes, that includes pop-ups and the like, because even if they annoy you as much as they do me, they work!).

So, what can you offer of value in exchange for their email address? A newsletter, an ecourse, an audio clip, or a special report, are all good options. Personally, I like the offer of an ecourse AND an ezine. You give them a taste of what your services are like with the ecourse, and then you keep in touch with them on a regular basis with the ezine. The ezine allows you to build a bond with your readers in a uniquely personal way, letting them get to know, like and trust you over time, with you having to build that bond one-on-one.

So, one caution is to not offer any one-on-one interaction with you at this level. You want to leverage your time, and offering free consultations or one-time meetings with you is not a good use of your time. Let them get to know you over the course of your freebie offering. When and if they become serious about you and your products or services, they will move further down the funnel (from free to fee) without you having to "sell" them on what you provide during a complimentary session (how nice is that?).

So what is your taste going to be? Here are some other ideas:

> write a Top Ten article about the benefits of your products and services, convert it to a PDF file, and offer it as a special report.
> record a short audio about the three key things your niche needs to know about X.
> create a mini ecourse that encompasses the five steps to getting started for your market.
> or create a quick-start guide that helps your market focus on how to get started.

Once you’ve given them a taste, they will likely come back for more, eventually turning from a prospect to a client. Creating a taste of what you provide is easy and it’s fun. Try it and watch what happens!

© 2005 Alicia M Forest and ClientAbundance.com

WANT TO REPRINT THIS ARTICLE? You may, as long as it remains intact and you include this complete blurb with it: Alicia M Forest, MBA, Multiple Streams Queen & Coach™, founder of http://www.ClientAbundance.com, and creator of "21 Easy & Essential Steps to Online Success System™, teaches coaches, consultants, online entrepreneurs and solo professionals how to attract more clients, create profit-making products and services, make more sales, and ultimately live the life they desire and deserve. For FREE tips on how to create abundance in your business, visit http://www.ClientAbundance.com

I had to share Chloe’s first pet… 🙂 She loves ducks and making Waddles purple was just too fun… Enjoy!

The Urge to Purge

The Urge to Purge has been super strong for me lately, and while James has been away on business, I’ve been cleaning stuff out left, right and center! And it feels good. I usually do my office every month or so, simply because the piles make me nuts, and completely unable to focus. Now if I would just stop creating them! 🙂

I did most of my office, the kitchen cabinets (that was a big one), and I’m a quarter of the way through my clothes, about which I’m being brutal. I have business suits that I haven’t worn in almost five years still hanging in my closet. Granted, some of them are timeless and classic (love Jones NY for that), but there are definitely some that could use a new home. And if I get them donated before the end of the year, it’s a tax break, too.

James is coming home tonight and we so glad – we’ve missed him – and I’ve got a list of things for him to do, too! 🙂

Busy-Busy

We’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had a chance to post, although I’ve thought of it a number of times.

I just released the second round of a program I introduced last year. It’s a kickstart to the new year program for your business, so if you want to find out more, visit http://www.clientabundance.com/ppp.htm

My Google campaign is going well – I have double the number of subscribers in two months than I had in almost two years before. I’m on a mission to hit 1000 by the end of the year, so if you want to help me out, visit http://www.clientabundance.com/fivefriends.htm. As a thank you, you’ll receive the free ebook Knock Knock: Seth Godin’s Incomplete Guide to Building a Web Site that Works.

I have another program that’s about ready to roll, and this one I’m REALLY excited about because it seems to be what all of my subscribers are asking for, and I can’t wait to offer it to them. I’ll write more about it in another post soon.

So, busy – busy… and I’m just starting to think about our Christmas party – can you believe it?

Make a Connection with Your Ezine Readers

Are there ezines that you receive that you just can’t wait to read? I know I have 3 or 4 that I read as soon as they hit my inbox, and others that I print and put in my "reading box" next to my desk. What do you think makes me want to read those few right away?

It’s the personal connection I feel to the author, even if I don’t know that person (some I’ve met, some I haven’t yet). Besides the valuable content I get each time I read their newsletter, I am most interested in finding out what’s happening with them, personally and professionally.

As they share more about themselves and their lives, I get to know, like and trust them (and their products or services) over time (and you know that people usually only buy from people they know, like and trust, right?). And eventually I tend to make the investment in them and their offerings.

For example, I was (and still am) a subscriber to Chris Barrow’s "More Profit in Less Time" ezine for about a year when I learned through it that he was holding a live event in NYC. I signed up (at $200), attended the event, and left as a client (for $450/month). Do you think I would have invested that kind of money if I hadn’t gotten to know, like and trust CB and his materials? Of course not.

So, how can you put more of YOU in your ezine to make that connection with your readers? Try some of the following:

> What’s going on with you? Can you think of two or three things that are happening in your life right now that you could share with your readers? You only need to get as personal as you feel comfortable with, so don’t feel that you need to share everything, by any means. Just a couple of things that you can share comfortably that your readers might find interesting as well as help them feel more connected to you.

For example, are you going on vacation soon or did you just get back from a trip? This is usually an easy topic to start with, and don’t be surprised if your readers write to you to suggest hotels, tell you their experiences when they visited the same locale, etc.

Or do you have a pet that you can relate stories about? You’ll be amazed at how many of your readers will feel like they really know you if you share your latest "adventures with Rover" stories.

> Ask for help. If you are trying to make a decision about something, ask your readers for suggestions and feedback. To continue the vacation example above, say you are considering taking a cruise. Ask your readers for suggestions as to their favorite cruise line, or which ones to avoid. They’ll be happy to help!

Or for an another example, I know when we go to sell our house in the next few years that the first people I’m going to let know about it are my ezine readers. Maybe none of them would be interested, but they might know someone who is!

> Add photos. I try to add a photo every week, if I can (it’s not hard when I take a lot of pictures of Chloe!). A photo of yourself is also a really good idea. It goes a long way in helping your readers see you as a real person.

Try to incorporate these ideas into one section of your ezine, either at the beginning or the end. You can call it anything you like: A note from you, personal reflections, from the desk of_______, etc. Personally, I like to see it at the beginning since it’s usually the part I read first… 🙂

Remember not to take up too much space, though. You still want the majority of your ezine to contain quality content for you reader, since that’s why they signed up in the first place!

© 2005 Alicia Forest and ClientAbundance.com

WANT TO REPRINT THIS ARTICLE? You may, as long as it remains intact and you include this complete blurb with it: Alicia M Forest, MBA, Multiple Streams Queen & Coach™, founder of http://www.ClientAbundance.com, and creator of "21 Easy & Essential Steps to Online Success System™, teaches coaches, consultants, online entrepreneurs and solo professionals how to attract more clients, create profit-making products and services, make more sales, and ultimately live the life they desire and deserve. For FREE tips on how to create abundance in your business, visit http://www.ClientAbundance.com

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