There are two business models that you might be following or hearing about. One is a Consulting Business model, and the other one is an Online Teaching Business.
These two are quite different but you may be able to apply elements of both of them in your business depending on your goals and the kind of clients you want to work with.
However it is important to realise that if you want to be just a consultant, you do not need to do the same marketing as someone who sells online courses or programs!
What Kind Of Online Business Do You Have?
If you have a consulting business, then that means that you are working with clients 1-to-1.
Consulting is more referring to the point of you offering some sort of high level working arrangement with a key group of clients, and this could be consulting, group coaching, or one-on-one premium coaching. This could also be a mastermind, it could be done for your services, web design, marketing, launches, advertising, design, VA, Admin, HR, and also consulting as well. This could also be providing training support for their businesses.
A variety of these options can be under the Consulting Business, but the key is that you are working directly with your clients.
You will have a small number of clients you work with at each moment in time. And effectively, you invest a lot of your time into each working relationship and delivering each project.
So, when I work with clients one-to-one to do done-for-you marketing support, build funnels or ads, this is an example of consulting service because I cannot work hundreds of clients like this.
It can only work with a select few, and for our team, it requires a high investment of time in order to deliver each project. So we do not need hundreds of consulting clients.
Online Teaching Business
Online teaching business on the other hand is quite different. Here, you package your expertise, your experience and your skills into online programs.
And these programs can be completely standalone programs like an E-Course, where someone just buys the course and goes through it, and there would be no involvement from you.
Or, they could be more supportive courses and programs where you could still show up for your weekly Q&A calls, or help them in the Facebook group or an online forum community: so, you still provide some sort of support for your clients as they go through your program or teaching course.
But you are not as heavily involved with delivering it and supporting clients, as when working one-to-one.
In this model, you would then require a lot more clients to get to the level of income you want to get. Especially on low-end E-Courses, like a $100, for you to become a six or seven figure business owner, you would need to sell thousands of those courses per year.
If your courses and programs are priced higher, say $1000, then you need to sell 10-20 per month in order to be a six-figure business owner.
But, to sell 10-20 per month, you would still need to get a lot more leads into your pipeline in order to get the same conversion rates. Compare this to just looking for two new clients per month who would each pay you $5000.
This is where the differences line up between the business.
If you are thinking of running an Online Business, you need to realise which online business you want to have.
Do you want to have an online consulting business where you use online marketing and online systems to get consulting clients? Do you want to have an online teaching business where you sell in bulk online courses, online programs, other online products or memberships sites? Or, do you want to have an online Ecommerce business where you sell actual physical products through websites?
Online Product Business
Ecommerce, for example, could be like Amazon. You could launch your own line of mugs, t-shirts, jumpers, card decks, or actual physical books, that you have to ship out. So, all of these examples are for the Ecommerce business, and for all of those three categories, your marketing strategy will be completely different.
Tell me in comments, which of the two models do you have in your business? Are you more Consulting Business? Are you Online Teaching Business? Or, maybe you have a bit of both, where you might be consulting but you are also selling some Ecourses to top up your income to leverage your time more effectively?
This last one is actually quite good because there maybe months when you do not want to work one-to-one with any consulting or coaching clients, but you could still have income coming through the sales of your online products.
Marketing Strategies: Consulting Business
If you are in a consulting business, and you only need a small number of clients to fulfil your income goals, then you do not need to invest as much into mass marketing and promotions. A lot of the marketing that you can do can be built simply through relationships and online networking.
You could do it in Facebook groups where you can start connecting with people. You could do it through your social media presence, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn; especially if you are in the kind of B2B industry, then LinkedIn would be a great opportunity for you to start building those connections.
And the key here is that you have an ongoing campaign that is constantly generating a small number of leads, and then nurturing those leads to the point that they are ready to work with you and invest in the premium consulting coaching package.
How to Get Leads
There are several ways how you could use social media to do it.
One way, you could post on your social media profile and in Facebook groups, where you could talk about common challenges that your ideal clients will be facing in their life, in their business, in their career. You could share results from your clients and how you have helped them overcome those common challenges.
And then, social media users will engage with your posts, whether they like them, or comment them or share them.
Your next action is to personally connect with those people and thank them for liking, commenting or sharing your post. You could ask them if it is something that they might be interested in. And if they are, then you can proceed to ask them for direct online contact, like a Skype call, to know more details about you and them and how you could help them through your business.
From those messages that you will be sending out to people, you will start generating some replies. You can start a conversation with the person, offer some advice or tips, maybe send them your free resource that you have available already for people with this common problem or challenge. And then invite them to book an appointment with you to have a discovery call.
When they attend the discovery call, either they will buy or not buy.
So, if they buy, then great, you have just secured a premium client.
If they do not buy, you could put them in your CRM system, and then you can follow up with them on a regular basis until they are ready to buy.
This often works with my clients who have come across me several years or months ago. After a period of time, things might have changed in their life and that they may now need a service that I provide.
At that particular time when we first connected, it was not then the right time for them to invest in working with me. But, as time progressed, because I stayed on their radar, and we kept in touch, we kept talking, when they actually were ready to step up and take the leap, then I was the person they knew of, they got to like and trust and know over time.
They were ready to invest and work with me directly.
Create Valuable Posts
You could use this approach of creating valuable posts that either provide some useful insights, share a case study or some form of testimonial from your client, or offer for people to download your freebie as a strategy to constantly generate new leads to talk to 1-2-1 on social media.
You could use all sorts of social media for that: LinkedIn, Facebook, Facebook groups, you could use Twitter—obviously, your messages will be a lot shorter there. You could use Google+, post blogs in other websites.
If you are in any forums, or other communities where you could post those posts, you could also do that.
Do not Direct Promote
The key is that those posts are not directly promotional so you are not saying in the post something like
“this client just worked with me and we achieved this as a result. This is the transformation they have generated.”
And then you go, “So, if you want this and that, then click here to book a time,” or “click here to buy” or, “click here to go to my website.” This would be more promotional.
If you are just sharing something useful, like a tip on “how to get the body of your dream, how to lose ten pounds,” or you share a case study of your client who followed your fitness routine and they have managed to overcome back pain. Or, a client who followed your meal plan for four weeks and they managed to stop all the blood pressure medication because now they are absolutely healthy. Or, a client who followed your program one-to-one and now their children is super well behaved at home.
Whatever it is, then you can share these case studies or testimonials, but not necessarily saying “do this, go here, buy here.”
You are just providing some useful insights and examples. Then, those people who liked your post, they will engage, and then you can start reaching out to them one to one and building those relationships.
Yes, it is time consuming, but…
You might think “isn’t it just easier to post something automatically, or have a Facebook ad?”
First of all, this method is a lot more effective than just necessarily using ads. And secondly, it does not cost you anything.
Specifically if you are just starting with your consulting, or coaching business, you can use this approach to get your first five to ten clients without investing in Facebook Ads, without having a super glamorous website, without building massive funnels and creating hundreds of products and program, and video courses.
You can start getting your business out there, you can start building relationships, connecting with people, getting clients and getting income without investing into all this fancy marketing.
It is a lot easier for you as a solopreneur. It is less costly and it is also less risky because you are not investing as much upfront to test your idea and make sure you can get clients and you can generate sales.
So, that is strategy I would recommend if you are a purely consulting business and you want to get clients.
Marketing Strategies: Online Teaching Business
If you are an Online Teaching Business, then usually you will be looking to get clients in big numbers. You will be launching a course and you do not want to have just five people on the course, you want to have tens and hundreds of people to buy your course.
If you have an online program, again, you do not want to just have a couple of people to join that program, you want tens and hundreds of people to go through your program.
If you have a membership site, you do not want to create content on a weekly or monthly basis if you only have three paying members. Again, you want to have the numbers there to support your efforts.
For that, you need to have constantly high numbers of buyers of your courses, membership sites, or online programs.
And, in order to get high number of buyers, now you need to start getting a high number of leads coming into your business, so then in the funnel, the leads come to the top, they convert and then they become your clients.
But, to get a high number of leads, it is going to be extremely difficult for your to just build those leads through only one-to-one relationships, especially if you are trying to sell like a $97 Ecourse.
So, this is where all these automated marketing, funnels, online systems really comes into play. Because now, you can start automating lead generation, you can start automating conversion, you can start automating engagement, product delivery, because you are working now with a big bulk of clients and leads.
Doing it one-to-one is just going to be completely crazy and it will take up all your time, and that is not what you want to do.
If you are interested in doing an Online Teaching Business where you share courses, programs and memberships sites, this is where you need to build those funnels.
With the funnels, you could have your freebie at the top, that generates interest from the market place. And then, as people sign up for the freebie, they get the next stage in your funnel where you start building relationships, engage those buyers in order to convert them into sales.
And, as they become engaged, they like you, they know and trust you, and then they will buy your products and then they go further down the funnel to the next level.
Then you can stack several funnels on top of each other so you can have your first funnel, which may be selling this $97 course or program. And then you can have the next funnel on top for further buyers where you would sell $297, $497 program. Then, you can have another level of program where you would sell like $997- $2997 program.
And then, finally, those who have completed the whole lot, maybe to those you would offer to work one to one with you as a premium online coaching/consulting business.
If you structure your business this way, then yes, you need to have traffic generation methods like Facebook ads in order to get your leads.
You need to have lead capture pages, you need to have marketing automation systems like Ontraport or Infusionsoft or Active Campaign. You need to have shopping cart systems so you can process payments automatically online. You need to be able to deliver the content either through a membership site or through secure member download pages.
You need to have those various funnels stacked up, and track all your metrics so you really know what is working. Because once you start working with large numbers in your business in terms of leads and investment into getting those leads, you want to really understand clearly what kind of marketing works for you, what is not working for you.
Spending on Ads
Is it always the case to just investing more into cheap ads and getting more leads? Or, is it better to invest more in more expensive ads that generate less leads but more of those leads become clients?
You always need to be clear.
Is it best for me to spend a thousand dollar for these ads that are going to generate thousand leads, but only a five people will buy?
- $1000 investment >> 1000 leads ($1/lead) >> 5 sales x $100 = $500
Or, is better for me to spend a thousand dollars on this ad that is going to generate 500 leads, but a hundred of them will buy?
- $1000 investment >> 500 leads ($2/lead) >> 100 sales x $100 = $10,000
Obviously, your chance to get a buyer with the first ad is less than with the second, although the initial cost to your business of getting the lead with this second ad is a lot more expensive ($1 vs $2 per lead).
But in order for you to really understand those metrics, you need to have good reporting systems and analytics in place.
Use a CRM System
When you are just building relationships one to one in a consulting business, you do not need to worry as much about those analytics and numbers. You could just have a simple Excel spreadsheet where you list all the people that you started conversations with, where those conversations went, and then if you need to follow up with them. Or you could have a simple CRM system.
In my business, I use Capsule CRM. But there are also others like Zoho and Insightly, which can help you track those conversations that you had with prospects, if they converted into buyers, if not, when you need to follow up, and also the outcomes of your previous email exchanges and conversations.
So, if you do follow up with someone in six months, you can review what has been said previously, and then you can resume the conversation from the point in which you left.
Understand YOUR Business
Now, if you want your business to be a combination of Consulting and Coaching and Online Teaching, that is where you clearly need to understand which part of your marketing supports which part of your business.
If you have a funnel that generates tons of leads, are these leads for your teaching business, or are you trying to generate lots of online leads for your premium service?
Because the way of you generating those leads will be quite different depending on the kind of product or service you want to sell.
And, if you are trying to stack multiple funnel on top each other with a different balance of courses and programs and premium coaching and consulting on top of it…
Same – you need to understand clearly: if you have leads on this level, did they buy? Then what happens next to them? Will they go to the next level of promotion regardless of whether they buy the first product? Or, do they have to invest in this first product before you take them up the funnel to the next level?
That is where this strategy element really is needed to be taken holistically. It’s not just about your Facebook ads, or your social media, or website, or your SEO keywords.
You need to look at the whole picture of what you are trying to achieve, clarify the different products and services that you want to sell, and how this all fits together in in one unique online business.
It may seem complicated with all these different strategies that you need to implement in order to be successful, when actually, it can be a lot more simpler and a lot easier!
There are a lot of misconceptions about this point of having an online business because, as you can see, you can do all sorts of different things online and you can still be called “online business”.
So that is why it is important to understand the exact type of online business you want to run, or you are already running, in order to have the right strategy to support your growth to the next level.
I’m here to help. Feel free to book a free Marketing Discovery call to discuss your specific business requirements, challenges and how they can be addresses in the most cost-effective way.