tl;dr - Taming Technology
For an online business owner, your website, marketing automation, and shopping cart form the proverbial 3-legged stool that supports your online business. Know the basics, understand your role, and hire help with technology so that you can continue to focus on the revenue generating activities in your business.
If there’s one thing that bewilders coaches (and other online business owners) – and holds them back from building a solid business – it’s technology.
You struggle to figure out how your autoresponder connects to your website, and what page to send buyers to after they complete their purchase. You’re confused by the sheer volume of choices available for every aspect of your business. And you can’t even decide if you need a credit card processor, or if PayPal is enough.
You’re not alone. Rest assured that every business owner goes through this. While technology may not be YOUR gift, there are plenty of people who stand ready to support you in this area.
This Is How We Do It Here (TIHWDIH)
We believe that you don’t NEED to know the intricacies of setting up your opt-in form or shopping cart, or exactly what you need to do to back-up or update your website (kudos to you if you do know all of that!).
But you DO need a general understanding of what’s happening so that you can set expectations, define outcomes and manage the people that are getting it done on your behalf.
As your online office, your website is where potential clients go to learn more about you. It’s where you’ll blog, post videos, maybe host a podcast, and create your sales and landing pages.
Your website has a lot of jobs to do. You want it to:
- Attract new traffic
- Grow your mailing list
- Educate and inform your market
- Sell your products and programs
- Show off your expertise
- Provide personal information for potential partners and the press
Focus on your branding and the content for the site so that when your VA is ready, you’ve got some amazing copy and images that really speak to your prospects and clients.
Having the content ready to go will help reduce confusion and reduce VA fees (literally) because the outcome and expectations have been clearly articulated.
Once you’ve built your website, you’ll want to maintain it with daily back-ups and weekly updates. These tasks are necessary to ensure your website keeps things humming along nicely and keeps you safe(r) from hacks.
- Hosting Company
Sound complicated? It’s not. A good VA can help you get that set up and running in just a few hours. And there are some amazing WordPress tutorials on Youtube that are quite helpful when you’re first learning the platform.
The next step is to begin building your mailing list, and for that you’ll need an marketing automation service.
Many say that email marketing is dead, but the statistics tell a different story. While it’s unlikely that a prospect will visit your website repeatedly, they just might open the emails that you send.
By giving their email address in exchange for something of value – a report, checklist, template, etc. – they’ve invited you into their inbox.
It’s a responsibility (don’t over do it – they’ll unsubscribe) and an opportunity (your chance to get to know them and move them farther along the path of becoming a paying client.)
Your goal as a business owner is twofold:
- Attract and move as many clients through your funnel as you can, and
- Ensure that each stage of the funnel is “converting” so that clients don’t get stuck in the upper parts of the funnel (affecting your revenue)
You do that by making the process smooth, and by creating absolute “no brainer” offers at each step. Always consider what will be the next logical step for your clients.
Ideally, you’ll want to create a series of follow-up emails that are sent on a pre-determined schedule. These are a part of your product funnel, and are designed to promote your products and services to your new subscriber.
You’ll need to create an opt-in offer—perhaps a free report or cheat sheet—then place a form on your website to collect email addresses.
Knowing and understanding how a funnel works is important though, as it will help you establish expectations for your VA and write the best copy possible to help turn prospects into raving fans and finally into paying clients.
- Marketing automation software
Our private clients are using tools such as Infusionsoft, Kartra, or Ontraport for their email lists, but don’t start there.
If you’re just beginning to build your email list, MailChimp will be your best bet. If you want to start as you mean to go on, however – meaning you don’t want to have to move to a new system later, I recommend Kartra or Infusionsoft.
Again, this is not something you must learn to do yourself (unless you really want to) as a good VA can quickly create an opt-in form and put it on your site.
Shopping Cart or Payment Processor
Customers must have a way to pay you, whether for a product or for private coaching.
A payment processor or shopping cart allows you to accept online payments from your clients as opposed to waiting for the ol’ paper checks to arrive in the mail.
It can also automate subscription payments so you don’t have to process and oversee manually each month.
Focus on the customer experience and what best fits with your brand.
Do your homework and ask questions about reliability and customer support. Ask what your colleagues use and about their experience with it.
You’ll also want to consider the cost – payment processors and merchant accounts charge a percentage, and you’ll likely pay a flat fee for shopping cart software.
- Payment Processor (like Paypal or Stripe)
- Shopping Cart System
- Merchant Account
The simplest way to set this up is to simply create a PayPal button, then paste the code generated onto your sales page.
You’ll receive an email whenever someone buys, and then you can follow up with welcome packets or product delivery.
If you’re looking for a more automated system (and I highly recommend it as a massive time saver), then consider purchasing a shopping cart. These can be self hosted or a monthly service, but they all operate similarly.
Your cart will take care of product delivery, add your new client to the appropriate mailing list, and even send follow up emails. You can even choose a cart that tracks affiliate sales, if you’d like to entice others to promote your products and services.
Both Infusionsoft and Kartra are good options here as well, and since they handle both shopping cart AND email marketing, they become a bit more cost effective.
Add in the myriad of other systems and processes you can manage with these software services make them very attractive options.
Want more tool recommendations?Get a glimpse behind the curtain at the tools we use with our private clients!