Does the word “technology” scare you? Are you a self proclaimed technophobe? I am sure I am not the first to tell you that if you want to be competitive in a crowded market and emerge from the crowd as a leader, then you must embrace technology. You do not have to learn all the bits and pieces or become a computer science nerd. Below is a list of different technology tools and systems for you to consider and may I suggest you hire a person or a team to delegate these to? Let the technology professionals take care of the technology and you do what you do best, coach!
Here are 7 ways to utilize technology to build your business, be competitive and emerge as a leader in your market.
- Get a Blogsite
Traditional html sites do not cut it in a competitive and dynamic world. Using a blogsite (blog + site) to promote your business is easiest, fastest and most effective way to get your content published and found on Google.WordPress is the leader in blogsite software. Hire a team to install it on your domain name, customize a theme or have a unique design created for you, and start adding pages (ie. About, Services, Contact, etc) and blog posts (articles, videos, audios etc). If you can write an email, you can publish a blog post in WordPress.
- Provide Value
Create and publish content that your clients and ideal clients need and want to read. The more valuable it is the more often they will come back for more, refer you and share your content with their friends and colleagues.Generate content ideas by:
- listening to the trending topics your clients talk about
- listening for trends in the industry through magazines, the news, and new books
- searching for key industry terms on http://news.google.com such as “corporate coaching”, “business trends” and “business book release”. Use Google Alerts and have Google send you an email with the latest findings each day. Tip: Narrow down your search results and manage your alerts by clicking “show options”.
This is a really important step that many people skip or get “blog paralysis”. Then challenge yourself to create a list of 50+ future blog post topics. I bet that once you sit down you will be able to fill all 50 spots and as a result you will never run out of content ideas. You will never sit and stare at a blank screen hoping a great blog idea hits you in the head. Just refer to your list of 50+ future blog post topics.
- Leverage Your Content
Once you have written your blog posts, don’t just let them sit there. Market them on your social media profiles to make your social media aware of your content. You can use HootSuite.com to schedule your social media updates across your social media profiles.Take a series of blog posts, polish them up and use them as a basis to create an e-book, a published book or another product with them.Share your latest workshop presentations on SlideShare.net. This site gets a lot of traffic from visual people and those looking for speakers to speak at their next conference.
- Capture leads
As soon as you have your site up and running, that is the time to start capturing leads. Leads are people who are interested in what you do and although they may not buy from you right away they may later once they gotten to know you and you have built a relationship with them. Capture these leads by asking them to sign up for your newsletter list. Give them a juicy gift for signing up for your newsletter. The gift could be a few chapters of your book, an audio or video training or a valuable tool like a checklist or an assessment.Use an email marketing system such as MailChimp or Aweber to manage the people on your list, to send them your gift and to email them your weekly or bi-weekly newsletter, filled with, you guessed it, valuable content!
Making money is the reason why we are in business. Otherwise wouldn’t call ourselves “entrepreneurs” we’d call ourselves “hobbyists”. So we will want to be able to make it obvious on our site where they can purchase our products and/or services. I suggest putting a button on your menu that reads “Hire Us”, “Services”, “Store” or “Products”. Try not to stray from those options as they won’t be obvious to your visitor and you can lose out on a new client or consumer. A confused mind won’t be confident enough to spend their time and money with you.
- Accept payments
Accept payments on your site easily by signing up for a merchant account and/or payment gateway. If you are new to this, start with a PayPal account. They take a few minutes to set up and just a few days to verify your banking information. You know so they can send you your money. Clients can pay you using their own PayPal account or with their credit cards through PayPal.If you wanted to sell digital products on your site, like e-books, pdf workbooks, audios etc I like the combination of PayPal with the WordPress plugin WP eStore. Once a product is purchased WP eStore will redirect the buyer to a page where they can download their digital goods. It will also email them links to the digital goods they have purchased.If you feel like your business is busting at the seams and you need something more than PayPal, you can look into other systems. For systems like 1ShoppingCart and InfusionSoft you will need to integrate it with a merchant account. A merchant account is what will process the credit card information for you, and it will communicate back a successful or unsuccesful payment.There are so many other ways to accept payments like through Square for in person transactions and Stripe that integrates with almost 200 systems and services.
- Provide Group Coaching
Group coaching programs are a great way to leverage your time and allow those who cannot afford your one-on-one coaching rate to work with you. There are many online tools you can use to create a great learning experience for your coaching group. My favorite is WishList Member, a WordPress plugin that turns your WordPress site into a learning centre. Add all of your training components (audio, video, pdfs, class schedules etc) into a WordPress page and let WishList know to protect it so only registered members can access it. WishList integrates with PayPal, InfusionSoft, 1ShoppingCart, Stripe and many more payment systems. This means that when someone registers for your class they pay through one of these systems and when that payment is successful they will immediately gain access to your content. You get to choose if they gain access to all of the course content or just the first lesson.
Now that you have 7 ways to utilize technology in your business, you have some delegating and hiring to do. Once these are in place you will see a shift in your business and your business mindset, and so will your clients