As a Latino entrepreneur trying to make it in the fiercely competitive U.S. business environment, what do you think your main business priorities are? Product development? Fundraising? Management? Hiring?
One of the greatest business philosophers of the 20th Century, Peter Drucker, knew the answer.
“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”
Before you spend all your time producing your product, looking for financing, recruiting employees, and hiring accountants, you need to market your product or service – because without marketing, you don’t have a business.
In my previous article, The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Business Development: The New Model for Generating Leads and Sales, I provided a theoretical frame work for creating your market, based on the realities of a media environment fractured into millions of pieces by the internet.
Today I’m going to give you the practical outline for how to generate your market, and in the next series of articles we’ll get into the nuts and bolts of each step.
Step 1: Audience Development
Previously I spoke about creating a branded content community. I know, it sounds like social media gobbledygook, but hear me out. In today’s fractured media environment, your competitive secret weapon is to create your own audience – and by creating your own audience, you create your own branded content community by default.
What are the advantages of being your own media company? By producing written, audio or video content on a consistent schedule (check out Arturo Nava’s LograTuDream podcast as a perfect example of this), you attract a loyal audience who come to expect your content to feed their mind.
In the old days, whenever you needed more leads, you had to go rent space and time on somebody else’s media property.
Today, your audience becomes your built-in source of leads because you own the media.
In the next article I’ll show you how to do that by:
- Creating valuable content your audience really wants
- Choosing a content niche and developing a content brand
- Identifying your ideal customers to deliver that content to
Step 2: Lead Generation Using the Inbound Model
One thing is developing an audience by creating a media brand. Another thing is turning that audience into leads and prospects for your product or service. After all, you’re not in this just to get readers and subscribers – you’re in this to sell, right?
And to sell, you need to get prospects sales ready. You need to identify those that are:
- Aware that they have a problem or a need, and are researching how to solve that problem or fulfill that need
- Know exactly what they have or need, and are starting to research all available approaches to fulfilling that need
- Trying to decide which solution is best for them, and are comparing options
Once you identify the different stages in your potential customers’ decision-making process, you then need to give them a reason to give you their email address so you can continue to market to them via email.
Sounds crazy right? Don’t we live in the age of social media? Isn’t email old-fashioned and out-of-date?
Actually, email is still the most powerful and effective marketing channel as I’ll explain in a future article.
And yes, your prospects will give you permission to send them emails so you can market to them, if you give them the right reason.
What tool can you use to give your prospects a reason to give up their email address so you can market to them? Premium content.
In a future article I’ll explain how you can create premium content such as eBooks, tutorials, worksheets, free apps and free membership sites to attract customers during the:
- Awareness stage
- Consideration stage and
- Decision stage.
Step 3: Close the Sale
Selling is what brings the money in – and you’ve got to learn how to close the sale. But today, thankfully, you don’t need to use any cheesy closes, like the “drop the pen” close or the “Ben Franklin” close. Just thinking of them makes me want to take a shower.
The beauty of a value-based, media-centric system like the one I’m describing here is you won’t really have to use a “closing technique.” Closing is a logical step your customers will take as they continue on their journey with you.
But you can still help the process along.
If you sell online, either through an ecommerce website or if you sell a software-as-a-service solution, then your website must be completely oriented towards the tried and true Call-to-Action (CTA).
If you sell a high-end B2B product, then the sale is done by a sales executive, or you close the sale yourself.
A simple closing technique is the “business idea” close. In this close, you give your prospect a business idea, or you might even go so far as to provide them with a customized roadmap for their business.
If they like the idea, their most logical next step is to ask you: “can we hire you to help us make this idea come true?”
That kind of question from a prospect brings a smile to my face, and it’ll make you grin too.
In a future article I’ll cover the ways you can close the deal in this media-centric approach, including:
- How to implement the escalation method to move your customers to increasingly more expensive product or service offerings
- How to optimize your calls to action to generate more sales without increasing traffic to your website
- How to use marketing techniques perfected in the 1920s that are still fresh today
Step 4: Create a Customer For Life
Your job is not done after the sale – it’s just beginning. Getting a new customer is one of the hardest parts of business. Each new customer you acquire is priceless – and you need to do what you can to keep her.
Your job here is to develop processes for how you deliver your product or service so:
- Your customer is always happy
- You solve your customer’s problems quickly and beyond their wildest expectations
- You learn what your customers really want
- Use what you learn to develop additional products or services
- Turn your customers into advocates and evangelists
In future articles I’ll go over the steps to create a customer for life.
This is an exciting time for Latino entrepreneurs. The barriers for market entry are miniscule. There are no more good ole boy clubs, media monopolies, or multi-million dollar advertising campaigns that we can use as excuses for not succeeding.
Whether we succeed or not is up to us – and yes, it requires work. But it’s work we can do if we put in the time and have the passion for it.
Subscribe below so you can get future articles in this series where I go over the details of each step.