I received a great question today on my blog, and it prompted me to share something I used today for my own business…

First the comment:

Hi Janet,

I’d say that prospecting is an incredibly important and very time consuming endeavor. I’ve gotten good at one-on-one prospecting through workshop facilitation, but it is a very slow road to success doing it this way.

I need some ideas that will help me attract a much larger audience, with a much quicker turnaround time.

I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this topic.

Kathleen

Great question Kathleen, here are two ideas for you that I have used to attract large audiences:


1) Distribute a press release online.

Today, I released a press release on the challenges that small business owners — specifically those working from home — face in the current foreclosure crisis.  For this group, the struggle with making mortgage payments not only threatens their family’s home, but also the place where they conduct their business.  It’s a dual problem — and one for which Monday’s much-touted “Small Business Stimulus” holds little in the way of solutions.

As you probably heard, the new Administration in Washington announced a new stimulus plan to support lending to small businesses that was, like all political announcements, sure to get generate a lot of interest.

Because we tied the press release to a current news item, it was an instant hit.  In fact, within two hours of being released it ranked #1 on Yahoo’s small business news page and been added to hundreds of websites.  The phone has been ringing like crazy with media inquiries and prospective client calls.

The most important element of the press release was that it was based not only on newsworthiness, but also on keyword research — it included those words that small business people are searching for online.  Press releases like these also need to be written with news value in mind — it can’t be overtly promotional.

Here are the 24-hour results of the test:

The press release was titled:

Lack of Small Business Stimulus and Housing Crisis Threatens to Sink American Home-Based Business

yahoo-news-feature

It immediately came up in the search results:

It appeared in Google news search results under ‘housing crisis’, ‘home based business’, and ‘small business stimulus’, along with Janet Switzer and Instant Income..

housing-crisis

Small business stimulus:

google-news

To distribute the press release online, I used a unique service most of the top P.R. firms in America aren’t even aware of yet.  I’ll be telling you more about this service over the next few weeks… and how you can add online P.R. releases to your promotions.

Before you consider using an online press release… be ready to capitalize on the interest:

2) Create a downloadable guide, report or planning tool to give away.

People on the Internet are looking for information in addition to products and services. The standard offer of a free email newsletter has become too common… you need to have a compelling offer to attract opt-ins.

If you have a white paper, special report, buyer’s guide or other free written giveaway, you can generate lots of opt-ins who will convert later to consultation clients, first-time buyers, loyal customers or repeat purchasers — often times when you prompt them to do so.

It’s simple to give away a written document.  In fact, many people ask me how to create a website that sells expensive products and consulting services.  And while the Internet itself can be very daunting — the proven “website-that-sells” formula is actually very simple.

It consists of just three pages.

Page One is called a “squeeze page.” It’s where you give away an item of high perceived value (your free report) in exchange for a visitor providing their email address and other information.  It includes a provocative headline, a message from you, testimonials and other information that causes visitors to opt-in to get the free item.

When they do opt-in, two things happen: (1) their information is captured into an autoresponder database for further marketing, and (2) they are taken to Page Two of this three-page website formula.

Page Two is the “confirmation page.” It congratulates the visitor for opting-in successfully and confirms that the free information will be flowing to their email inbox shortly.  It also encourages them — if they want to get started right away — to click through further to read about an entry-level product you have available.

Page Three is the sales letter for the entry-level product you have to offer. It’s linked to your online shopping cart which allows visitors to buy immediately with a credit card.  (Your entry-level product might be a simple starter kit, a one-hour consultation, a special selection of services — anything that gets the online visitor to identify themselves to you as a first-time customer.)

Three simple pages.  That was easy wasn’t it?

But too many experts — because they are not marketers — get caught up in all the ‘exciting’ things you can do with a website. Not only are these ‘bells and whistles’ totally unnecessary, they often get in the way of the sales process.

What free information can you write, develop, lecture about or deliver that familiarizes your website visitor with you, your expertise, your company, the benefits of doing business with you — and — how to purchase what you have to offer?

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