This post contains affiliate links. Read the disclosure policy.
Even though some might not agree, I truly believe that the first step to building your business, even before you make an offer, is to build an email list. Of course, this is not to say that you can just start building your email list from day one. Before you do that, you definitely have to be clear on your target audience and what you are offering to them. You can then use marketing automation tools to go through the next steps.
Once you are clear on your target market, it is time to create your first lead magnet. You can read my post on creating your first lead magnet here.
I started my service based business in December 2017. I provided Facebook ads and messenger bots services to online coaches, consultants and service providers. Even before I made my first offer or got my first client, I started building my email list.
The first step was creating my lead magnet. A lead magnet is free value that you provide to your audience in exchange for their email address.
My lead magnet, the 72-page Facebook ads guide, was a big hit with my audience and it helped me gain 500 new email subscribers and 250 new Facebook messenger bot subscribers in the first 45 days of my business.
Not only that, getting started with my email list, early in my business helped me earn more than $6000 in those first 45 days, and jump-started my business, getting me more referrals and clients in the coming months.
Here are the 3 tools that helped me achieve this, and how you can use them in your business:
Clickfunnels is a software that helps you build funnels. When I started my business as a service provider, I was also working full-time. I wanted to shorten the time between getting clear on who I wanted to serve and getting my first client.
So instead of spending time on building a website, I used Clickfunnels to build a lead generation funnel to build my email list. On the thank you page of my funnel, I invited those who had signed up, to book a free 15- minute consultation call with me.
This process not only helped me build my email list, but also ensured that I was able to book calls every week. This also helped me become well-equipped to offer funnel building services to clients. It took me only a day to get my lead generation funnel up (landing page + thank you page). I integrated the Convertkit form to Clickfunnels and my funnel was ready.
Though Clickfunnels is $97 per month, it is very easy to use and it also offers free readymade templates that you can tweak to get your funnel ready in a matter of hours.
Once you are in the more advanced stages of your business, you can use Clickfunnels to create beautiful sales pages, membership sites and also complex funnels with upsells and downsells.
Want to try out Clickfunnels? Start your 14-day free trial here.
Convertkit is a paid email service provider. Although it costs $29 for 1000 subscribers, I am a big fan of Converkit.
It is very easy to set up forms in Converkit and it seamlessly integrates with almost every other business platform. Convertkit has an easy to use visual automation and rules editor which really helps when you want to segment your list based on specific action taken by the subscriber.
If you are looking to save some money on landing page software, you could use the landing page builder offered by Convertkit. It is not the prettiest but it does the job.
The reason I chose Convertkit over Mailchimp was that Converkit is better suited for advance tagging and segmentation, which is needed once you start gaining subscribers consistently.
I was able to build an email list of 500 subscribers in the first 2 months of my business using Converkit. This was without having a blog of Youtube channel. I shared my lead magnet in Facebook groups to drive traffic to my landing page. I wouldn’t suggest this as a long-term strategy, but it a great way to build you list and get clients when you are just starting out as a service provider, virtual assistant or digital marketer.
My email list helped me not only build an audience in the early stages of my business, but it also got me clients.
A note: Make sure you have your welcome sequence in place before you start promoting your lead magnet. This is because once you start getting people on your list, you want to make sure you have emails set up to keep them engaged. You set up your welcome sequence once and you don’t have to worry about emails whenever a new person signs up. This is the power of automation.
Try Converkit for free here.
Manychat is the platform I used to build my Facebook messenger bot. Most of Manychat’s features can be accessed for free.
Now before you get all confused, let me explain what a Facebook messenger bot really is.
A Facebook messenger bot is a tool that lets you communicate with your customers and leads inside of the Facebook messenger. Think of it like Email Marketing, only a lot quicker.
As business owners, we are always looking to get people’s attention and get qualified leads so that we don’t waste time on leads that are most likely not going to convert to buyers. A Facebook messenger bot helps do just that.
A Facebook messenger bot can help you
- Build a personal relationship with your prospect
- Qualify your leads
- Gain insights by surveying them
- Increase engagement
- Segment your prospects
- Automatically answer FAQs
- Provide them information about your products/services
- Book clients on autopilot
- Collect payments
- Be available for your community
- Create and share valuable content
- Answer EVERY message you receive on Facebook
Building a messenger bot for my own business in the early stages helped me present my expertise to my prospective clients in a unique way. It also helped me communicate better with my clients in the early stages.
If you would like to learn more about Facebook messenger bots, you can take my Free 5 day mini-course here.
Here’s the thing, if you are not comfortable making that investment in your first month in business, that is completely okay. But you have to understand that running a business comes with some expenses, which can get a little uncomfortable, especially initially, when you have nothing to show for it.
I am also going to give you some free alternatives that you could use before you move on to the paid ones.
For email autoresponder, you could use Mailchimp instead of Converkit.
For you landing page, you could use the landing page builder from Mailchimp or you could use Ucraft: https://www.ucraft.com/free-landing-page-creator. I personally have not used it but it looks to be an easy to use free landing page builder that you can get started with.
If you have some money to invest, you can look into Envato which is $4 a month.
If you already have a website, you can create your lead generation funnel directly on your website.
Here’s what you can do now!
If you are just getting started,
- Create your lead magnet that is an irresistible offer for your audience
- Create your lead generation funnel. Add a link to your call scheduler on the thank you page and invite people to book a call with you. Integrate your lead generation funnel to your email form.
- Set up a welcome email sequence in your email service provider.
- Start sharing your lead magnet in different Facebook groups and on your social media platforms.
What automation tools do you use in your business? Let me know in the comments below.