Let me guess: You just finished reading They Ask, You Answer, or recently heard Marcus Sheridan speak about all the companies that have experienced a pivot in their business by implementing the methodology of They Ask, You Answer.
Like some people, you might be thinking, “Well, this is great and all but it’s just not right for my company.”
“In short, no, [don’t buy lists.] With regulations like GDPR and CCPA becoming the norm, purchasing lists can put your business at legal risk, severely harm deliverability rates, and break trust with your potential customers.”
Create a community
The goal of an online community is the same as an in-person community: to be a place for people with the same goals, thoughts, or passions to learn from one another or just hang out.
It’s like belonging to the local swimming club. You might go a few times a week, see some friends, and, most importantly, feel welcomed.
By building a community, you are bringing others with the same interests and concerns together to help one another. The community is not a place where you can sell your services but a place to truly learn about what those in your community care about and problems they are trying to solve.
Creating a community is a great alternative to They Ask You Answer because instead of your company directly providing the content and resources to address concerns, you are creating a place where individuals can go to find them from others.
You may be thinking, “Is this the same thing as having social media followers?”
The short answer is no.
Yes, the people that follow you on Instagram or Facebook, etc. could be a part of your community and probably care genuinely about what you do or the conversation you are having, but engagement in a community is more personal.
“The key differences start to appear when you look at how you communicate with each group and how you track and measure your interactions with them.
I like to think of it like this:
Your audience is who you talk to.
Your community is who talks to you.”
You are building a community to have conversations with your audience, not to tell them about your team or services. That is the difference between say an Instagram follower and someone in your community.
How do I start a community?
You may as well be asking me how to put a man on the moon, David!
I know starting a community is not easy, but it is worth it.
Here are some necessary steps to get you started in the right direction.
Identify who your community will serve
Create a mission for your community
Decide where to build your community
From there, the best place to start is by inviting all of your customers and then building the rest organically.
Remember, this should be a community, not an audience. People should be finding this community through referrals or promotion on your website.
Listen, I am not sure if anyone likes small talk, but for the sake of your business, this is a must. You know the old saying, "it's not what you know; it is who you know."
This principle still holds while running a business.
You never know when you need that referral or ask a person to make an introduction.
Building trust either happens face-to-face, or it happens over the internet.
If you are not creating They Ask, You Answer content on your website to build trust with potential buyers, you will have to do it the old school way.
Networking over the years has changed, and now living in a COVID-19 world (and hopefully a post-COVID world shortly), face-to-face networking is probably going to change even further.
Now online networking is going to be crucial to growing your business, but let’s look at both.
Local, in-person networking
If you live in a small town, this might be something you are already really good with. Maybe you even went to high school or are friends with all the other local business owners.
But if you live in a big city as I do, there is always someone new to meet and a connection to be made.
Here at IMPACT, we love our local Better Business Bureau. This is a great place to meet other business owners and just get your name out there in the community. If you are looking for a group to get connected to, here are ten that might just be for you.
Social media networking
Nothing like sliding into the DMs to only be rejected, but you have to give it a shot, even professionally!
If paid advertising is done wrong, it can end up being costly and very frustrating.
That is why it is highly essential to ensure you have the right strategy in place and that your website is set up for conversions before driving paid traffic to it.
Think about it, you would not invite someone over to your house if you did not have furniture
The same is true for paid ads. You should not drive paid traffic to your website if it is not ready to have people on it.
Now, if your website is ready, and has content that people are going to have value in, consider paying for ads. But until then, follow this guide from Google to get your website ready for paid advertising.
How can I start?
I would highly recommend using a service like Wordstream, and they will help get your ads set up and train you on how to manage your ads account.
In the meantime, get Google Analytics, Tag manager, and the Facebook pixel on your website ASAP. This will start collecting data that way, you can make the best ad decisions from day one.
In terms of budget, spending anything less than $5,000 a month on ads will be a waste of time and effort. We have realized that with a small budget, there is not enough data to drive the success required to justify the spending.
Overall, $5,000 per month should be the least amount you spend per month.
Even though you believe your company is not an excellent fit for They Ask You Answer, I would encourage you to see if it is.
When someone works with your company, are they doing it because your company is their only option or are they working with you because they trust you?
We have found that there is a way to make They Ask, You Answer work in almost every industry, but it is the time commitment that’s the real problem.
If your company is 100% sure it is not a fit for They Ask, You Answer, then start with the items above and always return to one thing that drives success in all business: Building trust with your buyer.
If it’s not, then do not do it.
Because trust is not about your bottom line, it is about doing right by your customer.
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