After all, it's much easier to launch a business when there are hundreds or thousands of people waiting to buy compared to if you're starting out cold.
To a lot of people, this might seem insane, maybe even lucky.
Although luck may have played a part in Gary Vee's success, it's no secret that he's spent the past decade, or more, building up a massive social media presence.
Almost anyone who's accessed the internet within the past year might know who that crazy Russian man is.
What if I told you that there's still hope for us yet; we're still able to shape our own success story without starting out with a massive social media presence, or a cult-like following.
In this article, we're discussing tips and tricks you to use to build a successful business without a social media presence or following.
Classic email marketing
One of the most effective methods of reaching a lot of people at minimal cost is through email marketing.
I know what you're thinking:
- Email marketing is so 2016
- Email marketing might leave a negative impression on my business
- Isn't email marketing spammy?
While you might be right, there is always a right and wrong way to use email marketing.
Simply buying email lists from Fiverr and sending spammy emails will not only get your email account banned, but you simply won't make a big return on your investment.
The best way to collect targeted emails that are more likely to convert is simply by using sales funnels.
These can be very simple one-page websites that you create in order to capture someone's contact information in return for something you promised.
You want to create a simple website that has an irresistible offer and an email and name input below it.
That way, people who land on the website will be able to see the offer and are then prompted to enter their name and email to receive the offer.
If you're a marketing agency owner targeting real estate agents, your irresistible offer might be 'learn how you can get 100+ quality leads per listing on autopilot...'
As a real estate agent, this might seem interesting, and pretty low-effort.
All you need to do is enter an email, a name, and you'll get sent this free guide.
Now, how do you drive traffic to this sales funnel?
You can run very cheap Google or Facebook adverts to generate leads.
Here's a short and simple article on how you can set up and run your first Facebook Ads Campaign.
From here, you're able to send emails to these addresses that you capture in order to sell them on your products or services.
The reason email marketing is so frowned upon is that people receive dozens of spammy emails per day, and so they're less likely to open or interact with these emails.
A very simple way to bypass this barrier and build an extra layer of trust is to get people to give you their email with the help of sales funnels.
Don't expect to make a lot of sales by simply sending one email.
Be prepared to send a series of follow-up emails to your prospects - the money is always in the follow-up.
Partner with influencers
There are people who spend all their precious time building a social media presence.
Most of the time, these communities that they build are hyper-targeted communities of people who share a lot in common.
When you don't have a social media presence, there is nothing stopping you from partnering up with those who do.
Wherever you look, you'll be able to find people who have the community and connections that you're looking for.
This is where influencer marketing comes in.
Influencer marketing is simply finding and partnering with people who have the following that you need to grow your business.
Although this might seem like basic knowledge to some, a lot of people underestimate the power of influencer marketing.
I've used influencer marketing a few times in the past with minimal success.
To succeed with influencer marketing, there are a few factors that we need to keep in mind.
- Type of influencer
There are two main types of influencers, page influencers, and personal influencers.
You might see these a lot on Instagram with meme pages, animal videos, compilation videos, and more.
Personal influencers are real people behind the camera.
With personal influencers, you're able to really harness the power of influencer marketing because they generally have a much more engaged community because of the human-to-human interactions that happen online.
While you can still pick up some sales or traction with page influencers, you'll want to focus more time and resources on personal influencers.
- Influencer's engagement
The mistake a lot of business owners make when looking for influencers is focusing strictly on vanity metrics like the number of followers an influencer has.
It's incredibly easy to go on a dodgy website and order 100,000 followers for 5 bucks, however, it's very difficult to fake the more important metrics.
When we're looking for influencers, we want to focus on finding influencers who have really high engagement rates.
Engagement is simply the ratio of people who like and comment on the influencer's posts compared to the number of followers they have.
We want to avoid pages that have 1 million followers and 5K likes and focus more on the influencers who have 50K followers and 20K likes.
- Influencer's activity
One of the biggest red flags when it comes to finding influencers is influencers who post a lot of promotional content.
Although it might seem counterintuitive, we want to focus on finding influencers who don't post a lot of promotional content because their followers most likely have had enough o this content or are simply deaf to it.
It might be harder to get through to influencers who post less promotional content, but the payoff is much higher.
- Influencer's niche
Everyone reading this should understand the importance of the influencer's niche.
If you're building an eCommerce business around kitchen equipment, you can't reach out to an influencer who posts about hardware and technology.
You should only be focusing on influencers who are in your niche or industry.
- Your relationship
Building real relationships with influencers is more important than people make it out to be.
You'll find many influencers who simply want to grab some cash and go, however, your goal should be to build long-term mutually beneficial relationships.
This way, your relationship is not only transactional, but helpful for both parties.
Build out a list of your dream 100 influencers, and start working on building relationships with them, today.
Start an affiliate program
Did you know that there are some companies out there that make millions of dollars per year without doing any marketing themselves?
These companies have built a powerful affiliate program that essentially allows the affiliates to build their own, little businesses off the back of the main business.
Let's say that you have a product to sell - you're selling workout protein shakes.
Instead of marketing the products themselves, they have a network of affiliates who are ready to promote the products for the business in return for a piece of the pie.
This piece can vary in size depending on the product or service you're selling - you have the power to set the commission.
For example, if you sell a protein shake for $30 each, and an affiliate has an average order value of $150, they are essentially making you 5 sales per customer.
You can then choose to pay the affiliate 20%, 30%, 50%, or whatever amount you want.
Of course, the higher your commissions are, the more likely you're able to get affiliates that are willing to sell your products.
Some of these affiliates can either be small influencers themselves, or they might simply be affiliate marketers who leverage paid marketing to make sales on your end.
There are a ton of ways affiliate marketers can make a sale.
To start, you can sign up for something like Clickbank (the largest network of affiliate marketers and businesses) and share your product or service on there.
In general, marketing may account for 30% of your entire budget, and so you may decide that 30% is a fair commission to pay your affiliates.
The great thing about affiliate programs is that there's nothing to lose on your end.
You only pay affiliates when they make a sale.
Better yet, everything is automated through software so that you don't have to manually payout commissions.
A lot of businesses prepare scripts, templates, and resources to provide a simple, plug and play experience for affiliates.
This makes it very simple for affiliate marketers to get set up, and it also ensures you limit accidents where affiliates tarnish your brand by saying something they shouldn't be saying.
Build the right connections
Some of the wealthiest people in the world give their success to the connections they made over their lifetime.
Although illegal, inside trading is still a thing and there are people who make a ton of money from it.
Similarly, there are a ton of people who are interested in learning about NFTs.
You can either spend all your time learning information on the internet, and potentially making some costly mistakes, or. if you know the right people, you can speed up the process by getting exclusive information.
Gary Vee has a network of people with who he shares his advice.
These people are all able to take advantage of things long before they even happen because they know Gary Vee.
Knowing the right people can put you miles ahead of others on the same trajectory as you.
However, a lot of people don't understand how to build connections.
I ended up speaking to over 40 entrepreneurs in the span of 30 days, and I was able to learn a lot about networking while getting free wisdom from those who are ahead of me in their entrepreneurial journeys.
There are three important things to keep in mind when you want to make connections:
- Be active
By being active, I simply mean being the one to make the first move.
There's a small chance that people will approach you first, and so the only way to get to speak to people is to be the one to start the conversation.
Through the power of the internet, you don't need to attend physical events - you can find virtual events happening near you, or anywhere in the world.
Don't be passive - start talking and reach out to the people you think can help you.
Building connections is never a one-way street - give first, then you shall receive.
- Be interesting
The reason 40 busy people agreed to give me an hour of their time was because I was interesting.
I told them that I had a cool idea that I was working on and would love to get their input over a Zoom call.
This naturally sparked curiosity amongst many people and gave me the opportunity to learn from people I wouldn't normally have spoken to.
- Be interested
Once again, you don't want to build connections for your own selfish reasons.
You want to focus on building connections with people who you can help as well.
Spend time nurturing relationships and providing value - be interested in other people's lives and businesses.
When there's a real sense of interest and curiosity, people can sense it and will be willing to help you out.
I attended a networking event a few months ago and picked up one important lesson.
Business is not created in the connections you make, but from their connections too.
When you connect to someone on LinkedIn, you then have access to their connections, also known as second-degree connections.
This is where the real magic happens.
Create free resources to provide value
With over 33 million monthly visitors, Statista is by far the biggest database for companies looking to view statistics around specific topics and industries.
The way Statista grew is by simply creating free, valuable resources that people can use.
For example, if we look up 'eCommerce stats 2021,' we see that Statista is amongst the first 5 search results.
In return, we would link back to the original source of information.
If you've read some of my previous articles, you may know that getting links to your site (also known as backlinks) is one of the most effective ways of improving your SE ranking.
Google is by far the most used platform available and so businesses are always competing for attention on Google by trying to get to the top of search results.
When you create valuable articles that a lot of people might be interested in, you're giving people the opportunity to find you and share your content with their following.
The best part is, the content you put out today will be responsible for your growth in a few years' time, as long as you ensure that you're creating evergreen content.
If you're creating content about the pandemic, chances are that you'll see a plateau in growth after a while.
You can easily start a free blog by reading my quick and simple guide on setting up a blog within a day, and you're good to go.
From here, you can create content that is beneficial to your industry or niche.
For example, if you're selling cooking equipment, then you'll likely want to create resources around cooking.
'The top 5 ways to use beef stock in your dishes.'
'The best brands for kitchen equipment.'
'Brand A vs Brand B.'
'The top 10 must-have kitchen equipment.'
Get creative and think of ideas your audience may find valuable.
The idea here is not to focus on getting traffic but letting other businesses or content creators drive the traffic by linking back to your site.
Not only will their followers find you, but your search engine ranking will increase over time.
You can send your resource to your close connections on social media to start building up the snowball.
Don't expect to create one resource then start seeing results, it takes time to kick in.
That is how you can build a successful business without a social media presence or following.
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