If you have been following my recent posts, you are familiar with the first four A’s and how they are designed to help you drive more people to your business. So, what is the point of all this? The point is to acquire them as leads and customers. Everything we have discussed so far has led us to the fifth and final A—Acquire.
Although getting attention in your market can feel exciting, you don’t want to forget why you want attention in the first place. You want to overcome the unpredictability of word of mouth and referrals instead of building a steady stream of leads who buy from you. When most people think about how to do that, they consider individual tactics like calls to action, valuable opt-ins, links to our website or landing page, or invitations to reach out, follow, or schedule a call. Depending on the channel and timing, each of these could help you get the results you’re looking for. However, the truth is none of them will work in isolation.
Instead, you need to guide them to the sale with a well-oiled machine. You need a marketing engine.
Why a Marketing Engine?
Most people view marketing activities as disconnected tactics with no central strategy. They also dilute their efforts by fueling too many ideas. I prefer to build a single system, drive traffic through it, optimize it, and see what kind of results I can get. I call that process building a “marketing engine.”
A car’s engine won’t work without both a fuel source and someone to put that fuel in it. But when you add that fuel, you can step on the gas and create forward motion in the car. Your marketing engine works the same way. The source of your fuel? An investment of your time and money to create a flow of people’s attention is commonly referred to as traffic. This attention must land on ads, landing pages, blog posts, or some piece of content designed to convert awareness into action.
By creating marketing conversions—those magical moments when a visitor changes into a lead or a scheduled appointment—you’re “stepping on the gas” and moving your business forward with conversations. If any critical parts are missing, the engine won’t get you where you want to go. Without any fuel, you’re not going anywhere, whether you have all the parts or not. If you don’t step on the gas, your engine won’t do anything—and your speed will be zero.
To get your marketing engine working for you so you can “drive” your sales, you’ll have to do six things:
- Find a gas station. (Identify what kind of traffic you want.)
- Fill up the tank. (Use awareness events to bring people to your site.)
- Turn on the car. (Convert visitors into interested leads.)
- Put the car in Drive and step on the gas pedal. (Set appointments and make sales.)
- Check to make sure you’re going in the right direction. (Measure your results.)
- Tinker with the engine to keep it running optimally. (Improve what’s working and fix what isn’t.)
Don’t worry if that doesn’t make sense yet—I’ll explain the first three items on the list now.
- Find a Gas Station (aka, Identify Your Traffic Source)
First, identify your fuel sources. If you plan to get on podcasts, build a list of every podcast that touches your market. If you want to guest-post, create a list of publishers. Love to speak on stage? Build a list of every step relevant to your market. Keep in mind that every audience and awareness channel are equal. Some have more people you can reach than others. You’re going to be tempted to look at multiple channels, but the smarter way is to focus on only one to start.
Build a traffic source plan—and then stick to it.
- Fill Up the Tank (aka, Start with Your Awareness Events)
Once you have found your channel, you’re still only at the “gas station.” You still must fill the tank. In other words, you might have compiled a list of ways to get your message out—but that doesn’t mean you’ll end up with leads.
First, you must get someone to let you share your message in those places. Then you must use those opportunities to make your audience aware of the problems they have and credibly position yourself as a solution. That’s why this part of the process will require an investment of your time or money.
Building a list of blogs or podcasts is just the first step. Getting access to those audiences requires you to invest the time to build relationships with the publishers or hosts, create valuable content, and stay consistent in repeating this outreach activity over and over. To grow our email list to the size it is today, we’ve created more than a hundred publishing opportunities and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising. Through it all, we focused on two factors.
- Quantity of fuel. How much “gas” can you pump into your marketing engine? In other words, how many awareness activities can you pull off? The answer will depend on your traffic source’s size and the frequency with which you can get in front of them. When researching traffic sources, look for signs of size. Increasing the extent to which you rely on a traffic source is one of the easiest ways to score additional awareness for your business. It’s not only possible to circle back to the same traffic source dozens of times in a year, but I strongly recommend it.
- Quality of fuel. It is crucial that the audience you’re doing awareness activities for resembles your chosen customer segment. Look at the kind of relationship the publisher or platform has with that audience. Keep message and market fit in mind as well. In other words, context matters, but so does the relationship.
- Turn on the Engine (aka, Create Conversions)
Fuel is only potential energy. Fuel in the tank does nothing until you turn the engine on and put the pedal to the metal. I can’t tell you how many times I see entrepreneurs build lists of potential sources and then take no action. Once awareness events start happening, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting conversions!
- To create conversions, create a conversion driver. A conversion driver is a compelling offer for your audience to take the next step with you. The best ones directly generate a highly qualified sales conversation with an educated buyer. Some examples are call-to-action, a link to a download or “content upgrade”, a free strategy call, or a free course video that solves a problem your customer is aware of. Whatever your conversion driver is, it must push your audience to a conversion they want—not just one that you think they need.
- What does a conversion driver look like? Not all conversion drivers lead directly to a scheduled call. Those are the best ones, but you can also have a conversation over email, messenger apps, and social media channels—whatever works to get you in front of people and talking so that you can eventually ask for a sales conversation. To help you see a conversion driver in the wild, I’ve created a landing page and four-part email series you can copy and use however you want in your business. You can sign up here: https://ownyourmarket.com/no-website-afterall-email-course.
- Once you have your new conversion driver, follow up. No matter what kind of conversion driver I’m using, I aim to cast a wide net to get basic contact information to keep in touch with them, working on turning them into a customer. Don’t make the mistake of getting email addresses and failing to follow up with people. Once I have an email, I know that I have a good chance of eventually setting up a sales call with them. But that only happens because I follow up.
Now that you found a gas station, filled your tank and turned on the engine, its time to take the final three steps revving up your marketing engine! Join me next time as we bring everything full circle and explore the final three key points in the 5th A—Acquire. In the meantime, if you feel like you are ready to take the next step in owning your market, then it’s time to set up a free strategy session. Simply apply for it here.