I don't know how to market my business - need serious advice

69 replies
Hi, I'm a complete newbie, and can't figure out how to properly market my business, to the point where my business is now failing!

I run an Ivy League College Admissions Consulting business (link in my profile), and even though I know the clients are out there, I'm not reaching them!

I have tried everything I know how to do -- a Google adwords campaign (no conversions in two weeks time, so I gave up on that), a Google+ page that I location verified. I've contributing to various online forums to try to create active links. I have social media pages up on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter (though, I am not so clear actually how to use all three to reach new people -- especially LinkedIn). I also have a WordPress blog, and I post ads for my business daily on craigslist.

Yet nothing.

Despite all these things, my google ranking has DROPPED, and I am making a fraction of what I made with my business last year.

Can anyone take a look at my site and offer any advice? I don't know what to do. I need like a step plan of action.
#advice #business #market #marketing #serious
  • Profile picture of the author Chris Luck
    Welcome to the community!

    If I were in your shoes and running an Ivy League College Admissions Consulting Business, I would personally hit Facebook Ads HARD.

    Reason being, you can hyper target your audience and get your ads in front of the EXACT demographics you need for such a business.
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    • Profile picture of the author MBA Ivy
      You know, I did that -- I spent $50 on Facebook ads as an experiment, ended up with 63 likes in one week's time, but no conversions at all, so I stopped the ad. I targeted my main region (NYC) and demographic, too. Not sure why it didn't work.:confused:

      I appreciate the input, though --
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      • Profile picture of the author Justin Spencer
        Originally Posted by MBA Ivy View Post

        You know, I did that -- I spent $50 as an experiment, ended up with 63 likes in one week's time, but no conversions at all, so I stopped the ad. I targeted my main region (NYC) and demographic, too. Not sure why it didn't work.:confused:
        Hey there,

        Good feedback you've gotten so far.

        Here is what will probably have the best chance of working for you.

        If your primary media of choice is the Internet then you should probably use Facebook.

        The media (Facebook) is not the problem. It is the way you are positioning your advertisement that is not working.

        You have to thinking like a cunning seller. Someone who understands someones deepest emotional pin-points.

        Use Fear because it's WAY stronger of a motivator than pleasure.

        For instance, more people will respond too this style of AD:

        Why 98% Of College Kids Get Rejected During Admissions and Make 50% Less Income . . . AND The 3 Secrets To Quadrupling Your Chances of Getting Accepted Every Single Time!

        Than this type of Ad:

        Why Ivy League College's Guarantee You More Money, A Better Lifestyle and A Better Experience!

        Get it?
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        • Profile picture of the author H.Miller
          Originally Posted by Justin Spencer View Post

          Hey there,

          Good feedback you've gotten so far.

          Here is what will probably have the best chance of working for you.

          If your primary media of choice is the Internet then you should probably use Facebook.

          The media (Facebook) is not the problem. It is the way you are positioning your advertisement that is not working.

          You have to thinking like a cunning seller. Someone who understands someones deepest emotional pin-points.

          Use Fear because it's WAY stronger of a motivator than pleasure.

          For instance, more people will respond too this style of AD:

          Why 98% Of College Kids Get Rejected During Admissions and Make 50% Less Income . . . AND The 3 Secrets To Quadrupling Your Chances of Getting Accepted Every Single Time!

          Than this type of Ad:

          Why Ivy League College's Guarantee You More Money, A Better Lifestyle and A Better Experience!

          Get it?
          Totally agree with you Justin. You hit it right on the head. Its not the media, but the positioning. Use the ideas Justin suggested and create a few articles and videos pointing back to your site. With headlines like that they are sure to grab people's attention.

          And focus all of your efforts on one social media site. I would suggest Facebook. You will spread yourself too thin trying to dibble and dabble in all of them. Engage the users. Give away free tips every week of simple things they can do to increase their chances of being accepted into an Ivy league school. To learn more direct them to your website where they will need to fill out a form or something of that nature.
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          • Profile picture of the author MBA Ivy
            Good answer. I have been writing articles, but you're right that I need to better grab their attention. If anyone knows of good College or MBA forums to post on, list them here. I am already on Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and GMAT Club, but could use more. I seem to keep getting banned from College Confidential which is the biggest college site -- they don't like non-students (i.e. service providers).

            AND....check out my site if you know any college students or MBA applicants who might be able to benefit. I offer a $50 referral fee for any client!

            MBA Essay Consulting | Ivy League Essay Consulting
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    • Profile picture of the author SaraHendren
      Originally Posted by Chris Luck View Post

      Welcome to the community!

      I would personally hit Facebook Ads HARD.
      This should be the first step for everyone!
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    • Profile picture of the author cyberzolo
      Originally Posted by Chris Luck View Post

      Welcome to the community!

      If I were in your shoes and running an Ivy League College Admissions Consulting Business, I would personally hit Facebook Ads HARD.

      Reason being, you can hyper target your audience and get your ads in front of the EXACT demographics you need for such a business.
      Is your bio true??? lol
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      • Profile picture of the author Chris Grable
        MBA Ivy,

        User DavidAllenNeron has been working on a WSO that will be very helpful to you. It's NOT the answer top your prayers, but it will help you focus and improve your efforts. I just checked and it doesn't look like he has released it yet. I'll see if I can figure out how close he is.

        cag
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        • Profile picture of the author MBA Ivy
          Yes, of course my bio is true (?), and these are all very good suggestions, so thanks. I am trying a few new things today, and we'll see what happens. Have already gotten a few new clients today, alone!

          MBA Essay Consulting | Ivy League Essay Consulting
          MBA Essay Consulting | Ivy League Essay Consulting
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        • Profile picture of the author DavidAllenNeron
          Originally Posted by Chris Grable View Post

          MBA Ivy,

          User DavidAllenNeron has been working on a WSO that will be very helpful to you. It's NOT the answer top your prayers, but it will help you focus and improve your efforts. I just checked and it doesn't look like he has released it yet. I'll see if I can figure out how close he is.

          cag
          Thanks Chris that is much appreciated ...

          A customer avatar really is the best place to start marketing, it's almost a necessity if you want to be successful long-term.

          If anyone is interested in learning more about customer avatars you can check out the link in my signature
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  • Profile picture of the author yunoblog
    I think you are trying to do too many things at once. There is no point of setting pages up on all three networks if you don't have a set purpose for each and every of them. In my opinion, Twitter would probably be the least effective at reaching out to potential clients so you should focus on FB and Linkedin first.

    You also have to bare in mind that you are dealing with a somewhat seasonal market. You are more likely to see results starting from December as students start to finalize their college applications.

    P.s. I think there also needs to be more work done on your website. This is just from my perspective but the website looks slightly unprofessional so I would be reluctant to contact you once I see how plain the website is.
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    • Profile picture of the author MBA Ivy
      Very interesting take, Justin! I think I agree with you. That's actually pretty great.

      And, yunoblog, this is actually the busy season right now. November and December are the best months (which is why it's so disturbing that I'm bringing in hardly anything).

      I do agree that I am trying to do WAY too much, as I am not clear what to focus on first. I would like to learn how to use LinkedIn better. I am not sure how to use it for marketing, to tell you the truth. I have a profile up, and have joined some groups, but need to figure out how to better connect.

      Facebook has done nothing for me, which is so odd, because that is where all the high school students are. Not sure what I'm doing wrong. Will add my facebook link to my profile page, so anyone who wants to take a look at that too, can.

      Never heard the complaint about my website being plain before, though. But I am certainly open to any and all opinions. I just want to figure out what works, and then make it happen!

      Thanks for responding.
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      • Profile picture of the author MBA Ivy
        Oddly, when I type in "Ivy League Essay Consulting" into Google, my company comes up in the #1, #2, and #3 spot (though is that just for my location?)

        But when you take out the word "consulting" I can't even find what Google page I am on...

        And, of course, it doesn't matter if I'm #1 on Google, if I'm not making any money.

        I have no idea what I'm doing.
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      • Profile picture of the author Justin Spencer
        Originally Posted by MBA Ivy View Post

        Very interesting take, Justin! I think I agree with you. That's actually pretty great.
        It's what works. Just thought you should know.

        Don't think to hard about it.

        Just give them a better reason to listen to you - than you are presently and your numbers will increase.
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        • Profile picture of the author goindeep
          What's your site bro?

          You have no sig link.
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          • Profile picture of the author goindeep
            EDIT found your site.

            MBA Essay Consulting | Ivy League Essay Consulting

            If I where you i'd be going the content and information product route.

            I would pay for a shit load of targetted traffic once you have your content and products ready and then go from there. I dont know much about your niche but I wouldn't pay anyone to consult me unless they where the best of the best and currently the site does not show that. Start small, offer free content, build a list giving away "7 free interview tips from ex harvard interviewer" or something like that then sell other info products on top of that or even group skype sessions...
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            • Profile picture of the author goindeep
              BTW by content and free info I mean a blog.

              You have a good little niche you can carve yourself into as a real expert if your smart about it.

              Make yourself an expert by blogging about it.

              If you do one high quality blog post daily + build a list you will kill it!
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  • Profile picture of the author JudiD
    I am a rather new marketer--but I belong to facebook groups for college students amd I also use IBO toolbox to advertise..
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  • Profile picture of the author elijahdean24
    You need to outsource this before you lose more money, find somebody who can setup your campaigns
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  • Profile picture of the author JudiD
    Justin--- I like what you said about MBA's ad---that is sure one of the reasons I went back to college after all these years---was to increase my income!! I don't know much about mobile devices and mobile advertising---but I do know that young people I work with always have their phone in hand!!
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  • Profile picture of the author JudiD
    I was thinking about off-line also. I am a RN---our nurse recruiter goes to career fairs at the local colleges and high schools..to let them know about our hospital...maybe your services could be marketed there also..
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    • Profile picture of the author MBA Ivy
      Thanks goindeep (and judiD and Albert). I agree with elijah, that I actually may have to outsource this before I completely go under, but unfortunately, I need more funds coming in before I can even outsource! I need to pull myself out of this with practically a zero-marketing budget at this point. I have no money to spend.

      Going back to goindeep's comments, though - that's all really good advice. Given that I'm a professional writer, and could easily, easily create more content. I don't understand how WordPress works though -- just because I create a daily blog, how do people find it?? Do I have to market that, too?

      By "list" I assume you mean an email list, and I already have one of all my former clients, but then I don't know what to do with that? It's mostly composed of kids who have already gotten into school.

      I'm a little behind on how all the social media / marketing stuff works, even on a base level. Trying to figure it out...
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      • Profile picture of the author MBA Ivy
        Also thought about writing an eBook...but, what do I do with it??

        I need to focus though. Trying to do everything all at once, is going to end up with nothing getting done, well.

        What is the #1 thing I should focus on tomorrow, for example, that could potentially create some business? I've been posting on craigslist every day, but my ads are getting lost in the multitude of posts.
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  • Profile picture of the author AlbertBarkley
    Originally Posted by MBA Ivy View Post

    Hi, I'm a complete newbie, and can't figure out how to properly market my business, to the point where my business is now failing!

    I run an Ivy League College Admissions Consulting business (link in my profile), and even though I know the clients are out there, I'm not reaching them!

    I have tried everything I know how to do -- a Google adwords campaign (no conversions in two weeks time, so I gave up on that), a Google+ page that I location verified. I've contributing to various online forums to try to create active links. I have social media pages up on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter (though, I am not so clear actually how to use all three to reach new people -- especially LinkedIn). I also have a WordPress blog, and I post ads for my business daily on craigslist.

    Yet nothing.

    Despite all these things, my google ranking has DROPPED, and I am making a fraction of what I made with my business last year.

    Can anyone take a look at my site and offer any advice? I don't know what to do. I need like a step plan of action.
    do social media marketing and search engine optimization after 3 months your business will run online
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  • Profile picture of the author RanD
    Originally Posted by MBA Ivy View Post


    Facebook has done nothing for me, which is so odd, because that is where all the high school students are. Not sure what I'm doing wrong. Will add my facebook link to my profile page, so anyone who wants to take a look at that too, can.
    I have no idea what you have done with it, but with the social media sites you need to be fairly social on them yourself to get things flowing.

    For your situation, I think you might want to check out James Schramko's stuff. His "Own The Racecourse" focus seems to be exactly what you need.

    His membership site has a lot of training and a knowledgeable community. You can actually get his "Own The Racecourse" training for free here --> Own The Racecourse (his site, not mine - no affiliate link)

    That page doesn't have much detail (I linked directly to the opt-in), but it is a great product and will likely be eye opening for you. If you hop over to the homepage there you will find a ton of other free content. Almost all of it available in audio, video, and PDF formats. There are also many interviews with other marketers.

    Are you running any type of analytics on your site? Do you know where your previous traffic was coming from? What keyword searches were bringing people to your site before, but aren't anymore? There's a lot you can learn from your analytics, so going through that could give you some insight.

    Hopefully "I have tried everything..." doesn't include creating spammy links, as that could account for the drop.

    You may also want to contact some of the colleges and see if you can get a link in one of their directories. You could get some direct traffic from them, and the .edu backlinks are always nice to have.
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    • Profile picture of the author erikaawakening
      Hi MBA Ivy,

      So your niche is helping kids get into Ivy colleges then?

      I don't understand what you mean when you say your business is failing. Do you have high overhead? That's the only way businesses ever really fail, if they have high fixed overhead and get into a debt situation. Otherwise you're just not making money yet, and that's okay. As long as you have a roof over your head you can get experimenting until you find something that works.

      My intuition here would not be to go with paid advertising yet. Unless you've already made a name for yourself, you need to make a name for yourself. And the way to do that in my book is to go where your target audience already is online. Yes, start your own blog if you don't already have that and share enough tips and information so people can understand you really are an expert. Make that the teaser and then explain your products/programs/how you can help them if they invest with you.

      I'd be looking for whether there are forums or blogs where people who want to get into these schools are possibly already socializing with each other. I don't know this market at all, but with high school kids being so web savvy now there must be a place to find them online.

      Let me know what you think. I thought my business was "failing" in 2010 and in retrospect I was being a bit dramatic. I just needed to hang in there a few months longer and be more disciplined about learning sales skills and making my offerings clear before it turned around.

      cheers,
      Erika
      Signature

      - Erika Awakening, Holistic Life and Business Coach from http://tapsmarter.com (rapid self-empowerment with money and life) and http://ErikaAwakening.com (powerful self-development)

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      • Profile picture of the author AlexCN
        This is Alex. Contacted you through CL a couple of months ago for a consult. We had a couple of phone conversations on ways to improve your site - I know your budget is/was tight so an expensive paid ads campaign is not in the cards. Small world Have no idea what caused me to open up this post and read it, but I did, so I will throw in my 2 cents (again)

        Anyway, welcome to the WF and nice to have you aboard.

        Your site is believable, but needs to be further optimized to make people better understand the immense value you are able to provide. Showcase yourself and what you have been able to do in the past for people you have worked with. Put your testimonials front and center-

        Throw some fear inducing stats into the mix... ie

        "Were you aware that the applications 7 out of 10 students who attempt to enter Ivy League graduate degree programs are crumpled up and tossed in the trash before they are even seen by the admissions dean?"

        "As part of the 'admissions insiders' teams for X,Y,Z Ivy League colleges for over 4 years, I know EXACTLY what it takes to get your application into the hands of the top decision makers every single time."

        If I were a prospective student, that line alone would scare the crap out of me. I would definitely at least want to get in touch with you to figure out how to keep my application from getting tossed in the trash before it was even read by the decision makers!

        More things:

        Bullets
        Benefits
        Contact info

        Traffic:

        Drive people to the site AFTER optimization. Cheap targeted traffic via adwords. Your niche is $25+ per click. Flip the market!

        Alex
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        • Profile picture of the author erikaawakening
          Originally Posted by AlexCN View Post

          Hey!

          This is Alex. Contacted you through CL a couple of months ago for a consult. We had a couple of phone conversations on ways to improve your site - I know your budget is/was tight so an expensive paid ads campaign is not in the cards. Small world Have no idea what caused me to open up this post and read it, but I did, so I will throw in my 2 cents (again)

          Anyway, welcome to the WF and nice to have you aboard.

          Your site is believable, but needs to be further optimized to make people better understand the immense value you are able to provide. Showcase yourself and what you have been able to do in the past for people you have worked with. Put your testimonials front and center-

          Throw some fear inducing stats into the mix... ie

          "Were you aware that the applications 7 out of 10 students who attempt to enter Ivy League graduate degree programs are crumpled up and tossed in the trash before they are even seen by the admissions dean?"

          "As part of the 'admissions insiders' teams for X,Y,Z Ivy League colleges for over 4 years, I know EXACTLY what it takes to get your application into the hands of the top decision makers every single time."

          If I were a prospective student, that line alone would scare the crap out of me. I would definitely at least want to get in touch with you to figure out how to keep my application from getting tossed in the trash before it was even read by the decision makers!

          More things:

          Bullets
          Benefits
          Contact info

          Traffic:

          Drive people to the site AFTER optimization. Cheap targeted traffic via adwords. Your niche is $25+ per click. Flip the market!

          Alex
          That sounds like some solid advice to me. And from someone who's clearly way more familiar with your business.

          "As part of the 'admissions insiders' teams for X,Y,Z Ivy League colleges for over 4 years, I know EXACTLY what it takes to get your application into the hands of the top decision makers every single time."

          That's very specialized knowledge right there and easy to sell.
          Signature

          - Erika Awakening, Holistic Life and Business Coach from http://tapsmarter.com (rapid self-empowerment with money and life) and http://ErikaAwakening.com (powerful self-development)

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  • Profile picture of the author goindeep
    #1 thing I would do if I was you?

    I would create a plan and run my numbers.

    E.G. how many sales do you need to crunch per day, week and month to hit your goals?

    How many website visitors do you need in order to hit you minum conversions from site visitor to client?

    Once you know your numbers you can begin work. This way you will know haw much traffic you need to generate.

    I would then create a marketing plan. How much time, money and energy do you have? What can you realisticly do with all of that?

    Put your energy into where you are going to get max bang and where it will be used efficiently without wastage for example blog content that i mentioned earlier is excellent but its more of a long term solution which would not be a good idea for you seeing as it seems like you need money NOW.

    Plan should be something like: Write one 1000 word blog post per day, produce one youtube video per month, post 20 forum posts per day etc. That's just an example, lol.

    As part of a more direct immediate short term plan > to get yourself one or two of those sales to get some money into your pocket that you can re-invest for traffic. Why dont you really target these kids with some killer copy and make them an offer they cannot refuse > > > I'd do a write up and flyer drop or do handouts at events where high school seniors hang out that would be interested in your service, in the write up tell them what you can do for them, how you can charge their life and make them an offer they cant refuse like for example tell them you will give them a free consultation so long as they bring one paying friend, get them to make the sale for you basically e.g. "Ill make you a deal you cannot refuse, Ill give you a 100% free consultation worth $400 that could get you into one of the most prestigious Universities - all you have to do is refer one paying customer to me".

    or target their parents, I doubt most kids have $400 or whatever you are charging...

    OR if your prefer keeping it all online and not going for the offline thing, I would re-design your site to get just one customer! Your site is currently designed for the long term business, which you dont have yet. Go the way of the old school long sales letter! then drive traffic via free methods such as yahoo answers, FB, Twitter, SEO, writing articles, guest posting etc...

    Get your mindset right and it will all fall into place

    All the best.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nightengale
    Welcome! You have an interesting business.

    You mention that you spent $50 in PPC, but got only 63 likes. What type of ad did you run and where did you send the clicks?

    I agree that Facebook is an excellent place to be. You could get great results there if you knew what you were doing.

    First, you need to build a list of prospective clients. Second, you need to send them helpful information (via a regular, weekly e-zine) and offers for your services.

    To build a list, you need an enticing offer. Maybe something like a free report on "How to Ace the College Admissions Essay." (Terrible title, but you get the idea.) Then drive traffic from Facebook to that offer. Collect names and e-mail addresses.

    Your current site is nice but does not have an immediate, compelling offer. To make this work and see results the fastest, you need to drive traffic to an offer page.

    I'd strongly recommend getting an account with LeadPages.net and hooking it up to your current site. Then choose a template and create your offer and follow up autoresponder. THEN run an ad to that page.

    Without a clear, compelling offer and followup plan, you're wasting your time and money on Facebook and every other site.

    Also, I understand that money is tight. You can run a business cheaply, but you can't run it on NO money. LeadPages is $37/mo and AWeber is $20/month to get started. Very cheap!

    As you've seen though, lack of marketing know how is killing you. I STRONGLY recommend investing in a couple of Facebook marketing courses:

    1. Michelle Pescosolido's GetFansGetPaid.com
    2. Ben Adkins' Evil Facebook Magician (do a search).

    Opt in to their lists and watch what they do. They're both VERY savvy, successful Facebook marketers.

    Facebook is the best place for you to be and once you get some know how under your belt, you'll really be able to rock it.

    Good luck!

    Michelle
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    "You can't market here. This is a marketing discussion forum!"
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  • Profile picture of the author WordpressManiac
    You don't even have a blog on your site and I also found no social sharing buttons. That's pretty basic and the first thing you should start with. As said from others above post daily on a blog on your site and funnel the traffic to your offer/ build a list.

    Engage the audience to get social and give it some time. If your posts and your product are great it will work!
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    • Profile picture of the author MBA Ivy
      This is all excellent advice, and I appreciate everyone's input so much.

      RanD - I have not learned (yet) how to properly use social media sites, but am trying to read articles and watch tutorials. I will check out the resources you mention.

      I have run analytics on my site, and I think one of my major problems is that I recently had to change my domain name for copyright reasons. I don't think my traffic dropped off so much because of the company name change, but MAY have dropped off because I (perhaps) did the domain pointing wrong, and didn't properly do a 301 redirect, but instead just pointed my old domain to my current one. In other words, not clear, but google may think I have two sites up with duplicate content, when I just have one??

      "I have tried everything..." does not include creating spammy links, as I don't even know what those are!

      erikaawakening - Yes, my niche is helping kids get into Ivy colleges and other "top ten" type schools. By describing that my business is failing, I mean that my client list has dropped from about 20 people a month to 2! (I charge $400 a client, so do the math). I have basically zero overhead though. It is all pure profit.

      However, this is my sole source of income so things are tanking fast. It's so odd, because I have such a great track record -- I am getting these kids into these top Ivy League schools...when I can reach them!

      I do need to develop some actual products/programs like you said. I also have tried posting on a lot of popular college forums, but they actually don't like independent admissions consultants posting on them, and I have been banned from advertising/posting in any way. Also, I really need to market towards the parents. The parents are the ones who pay me, and seek my expertise for their son or daughter. My service is very solid and based on strong experience. I just have to reach the people.

      Alex - Thanks. I sent you a pm. I remember talking with you! Putting the testimonials (or at least some) on the first page is a good idea, as are your other points.

      goindeep - great advice. I'm going to look at this more. I have run my numbers, but I don't know what to do with the information. I would like to have a client a day. 20-30 clients a month. This work is seasonal, and runs from August to April (because I work with MBA students, too) so I need to make the big money NOW, as I have no work, just naturally, May - July.

      I was pulling in this amount before. Something happened to my traffic. That's what's so disturbing!!!

      Nightengale - I ran a facebook ad campaign that had the same picture as the one on my homepage, and stated my credentials, with the tag "Get Into the Ivy League!" I knew my demographic, my best location, and from my data, the best time to show the ad. Only got 63 likes. Have no idea why.

      You're right about the offer thing. I will seriously think about how to set this up. The content itself isn't hard for me, where the bridge is out for me, is what I do with it -- do I buy a subdomain and create an offer "landing page" or do I simply ad another page to my website? This is the stuff that confuses me! This is really good advice, though:

      To make this work and see results the fastest, you need to drive traffic to an offer page. I'd strongly recommend getting an account with LeadPages.net and hooking it up to your current site. Then choose a template and create your offer and follow up autoresponder. THEN run an ad to that page.
      WordPressManiac - I do have social sharing buttons on every page of my site, top right, but perhaps I need to fix them so they're more visible, if you didn't notice them and were actually looking!

      The blog thing is exactly what I don't know how to do, though! So, do I add another page to my website, that is my blog?? Or do I just post my blog in WordPress? Or both? Creating content is easy for me, I am just SO TECH UNSAVY that I need a play-by-play regarding what to DO with it, once I have it.

      For example, I have four new articles just sitting over here. All about "Getting in to the Ivy League." What do I do with them?

      And, finally, if I did manage to come into some income again, I take it I could hire someone to do all of this. I can provide the daily content, but ideally, I would like to just hand that content over to someone who, at least in the beginning, could set me up and basically teach me, through example, how it all works. I guess I need a marketing manager. And I really have no idea how to use LinkedIn.

      My main problem is I don't have the luxury of taking time to learn this, as this is my main season (Nov and Dec) and I am losing money every day. I need to stabilize the business first, get some new clients coming in, and then once stabilized learn all I can.

      I have no idea why my traffic tanked as much as it did. It must have been when I pointed / forwarded my domain. Not sure how to fix this, and not sure who to even call to take a look at the backend (code? links?) and see if something is wrong.
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      • Profile picture of the author Nightengale
        MBAIVY,

        Clarity makes a world of difference. It's so simple when you know it -- and darn difficult when you don't!

        The basic process is the same for everyone, no matter what they're selling:

        Traffic > Opt-in page > E-mail newsletter (to build a relationship) > Sales page

        Online success is basically a 2-step process:

        1. Build a list of qualified prospects.
        2. Make offers to that list.

        When marketing, you MUST go for just 1 goal per campaign. In other words, you can't run an ad and expect a like, a new lead AND a sale all at once. You'll fail.

        You're talking about no results from your Facebook ad and in the same breath talking about only 63 likes. What was your goal? Likes? Leads? Sales?

        If you go for a direct sale on Facebook, you'll fail. So you either need to go for a like OR a lead, but not both at the same time. You need to focus on building an audience on Facebook and engaging them on a daily basis. So you DO need to run ads just to gain likes.

        But you also need to run ads just to build your list. To do this, you need a lead capture page which is designed to do just ONE job only: build your list! So it should have an enticing offer and a place for your peeps to submit their name and e-mail address.

        Your website needs to be overhauled to include an offer and opt-in form, but you don't need to worry about that right now. To answer your questions above, you can quickly and easily create gorgeous opt-in pages from the templates provided by LeadPages.net. Their Wordpress plugin allows you to simply and easily create the page on your existing Wordpress website. So basically it just becomes another page on your existing website. You don't need a new domain name. But if you find a good domain name you like, just redirect it to that page in your existing website.

        It's quite simple, really.

        Michelle
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        "You can't market here. This is a marketing discussion forum!"
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      • Profile picture of the author RanD
        Originally Posted by MBA Ivy View Post


        I have run analytics on my site, and I think one of my major problems is that I recently had to change my domain name for copyright reasons. I don't think my traffic dropped off so much because of the company name change, but MAY have dropped off because I (perhaps) did the domain pointing wrong, and didn't properly do a 301 redirect, but instead just pointed my old domain to my current one. In other words, not clear, but google may think I have two sites up with duplicate content, when I just have one??
        I know that there is a difference between the URL withe the"www.", and the one without. If your site was mostly being found with one, and you only redirected the other, that could be a factor, but that isn't my area of expertise. maybe someone else has some insight on that.

        It also depends on how long ago you made the change and if Google has found the redirect yet. If they haven't it may just be a matter of time until they crawl your old site. Pinging the old site with pingomatic, or pingoat might help speed things up.

        It also depends on how you migrated your data from one site to the other. The slightest differences can make a big deal. You can't worry about just the home page, all your internal pages need to be correct, including mundane pages like Contact us, and About us. If they got renamed in the slightest way, like using a hyphen instead of an underscore between words (I used a migration plugin once that did that), that could make a big difference.

        What you may want to do, if you have not done so yet, is add you site to Google webmaster tools. You will get a lot of information back from that. If you have any major issues it will give you a message about that under site messages. There is a lot of other useful information there, but your immediate concern might be to look in the "Crawl" drop-down and look at Crawl errors. If you see several 404 errors, fix them.

        You can also submit you new sitemap to Google from there, and notify them of you change of domains.

        I found this page for you on Google Webmaster tools --> Moving your site Hopefully it will help.
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        • Profile picture of the author finne
          At least your webpage looks too unpersonal.

          If Im in search for a service like this beeing a parent for example then I want to see a pic of you and a name at least. Best a short video about who you are with a convincing speech.
          This just doesnt look very trustable.

          Also the header changes on every menu page.

          The testemonials sound like they are written from the same person..

          Overall I would say your site is not believable.

          I think thats the reason why you see no return on your advertisment campaign.
          If you sell something for about 600$ you probably cant expect to win soemthing with a 50$ ad campaign.
          The articles you post on your FB page might be better on your website in form of a blog with you giving your opinion on it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Danielle Murphyx
    Banned
    Google Adwords could have worked very well if it had been done right. What was your daily budget? Did you use the right keywords?
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  • Profile picture of the author erikaawakening
    Hmmm it does sound a little tricky with the confidentiality issues and schools not liking it ...

    Then I think an active blog where you're writing articles giving some info but not too much info would be the way to attract the right people ... ideally getting in the search engines so when people put in particular keywords looking to improve their chances, they find you.

    Did something happen when your list went from 20 to 2? It sounds like you were succeeding and then something happened. Often what "happened" is internal ... something that caused us to want it less, or lowered our confidence, or we're afraid something bad is going to happen ... is the copyright stuff possibly interfering with your mojo? It's so hard to give good advice on a forum ... there are so many questions to ask to get clarity on what's going on in your situation ....
    Signature

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  • Profile picture of the author robertlowdon
    I'd say you need to pound the pavement. Get on the phone, and/or email and get your info to every high school guidance counsellor in your state. After that work on the country. You need to specifically target your audience and engage them. Then once you're getting qualified leads driven to your site from great sources, hit all their friends with facebook advertising.
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    • MBA Ivy,

      People are always going to search by need. The more SPECIFIC or timely the need, the more likely it is you will make the connection and eventually the sale.

      You do not need a lot of searches, but you do need to reach those that ARE searching. Ask yourself, "WHO is the person MOST LIKELY to buy this product or service or business opp IF and WHEN they come to know it exists." :confused:

      What I mean by that is this. If I found your service through Google and I was in need of the value you could provide to me, what is my demographic. Age, Ethnicity, Gender, Location, ETC. You can use these details to target your focus within the PPC that you create on Facebook.

      A Question You May Need To Answer...

      Can you get more social media, article, blog post and high PR backlinks than the competition who are currently ranking on the front page of Google? Base this upon the keyword you are targeting for your SEO. If you cannot beat them skip that keyword and take another angle.

      I hope this finds to be helpful and good luck.

      To Your Success!

      Evan Bang


      P.S.

      Use Keyword Tools And MAKE A LIST:

      -Google Keyword Tool (Free)
      -Wordtracker.com (Subscription)
      -Market Samurai (Subscription)
      -Niche Finder (Subscription)
      -SeoCockpit (Subscription)
      Signature
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  • Profile picture of the author Geoff69
    Originally Posted by MBA Ivy View Post

    Hi, I'm a complete newbie, and can't figure out how to properly market my business, to the point where my business is now failing!

    I run an Ivy League College Admissions Consulting business (link in my profile), and even though I know the clients are out there, I'm not reaching them!

    I have tried everything I know how to do -- a Google adwords campaign (no conversions in two weeks time, so I gave up on that), a Google+ page that I location verified. I've contributing to various online forums to try to create active links. I have social media pages up on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter (though, I am not so clear actually how to use all three to reach new people -- especially LinkedIn). I also have a WordPress blog, and I post ads for my business daily on craigslist.

    Yet nothing.

    Despite all these things, my google ranking has DROPPED, and I am making a fraction of what I made with my business last year.

    Can anyone take a look at my site and offer any advice? I don't know what to do. I need like a step plan of action.
    Have you tried doing any research on what relevant keywords people search for on Google or Bing, and then looking at creating relevant content, or guest blog posting.
    You could also see if there are any other people to connect to on FB or Twitter.
    Try looking for relevant FB groups.
    These are all long term options, unfortunately growing an audience takes a lot of work and time.
    hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny12345
    To succeed, you need to do two things: get targeted traffic AND convert your visitors into buyers.

    There are a lot of ways to get traffic, but Pay-Per-Click is the fastest. Facebook PPC lets you target by demographics (so you can go after your very best prospects). Facebook is also where your best prospects probably already hang out.

    I'd probably start there -- but it's going to take more than $50 to split test and start getting good results.

    That said, personally, I'm very fond of AdWords. I've been using it since its inception. Furthermore, if you're able to identify highly targeted sites, using the Google content network could also work.

    Again, there are many way to get traffic. The list of possibilities is long: PPC, banner ads, YouTube, content marketing, classified ad sites, podcasts, press releases, and forum marketing are just a few.

    Your next task is to convert your visitors into buyers.

    I took a look at your site -- this is where things really fall apart for you. There are a lot of problems. Your sales copy is EXTREMELY poor.

    For example...

    1) IMPORTANT: You need to use your name and make it more PERSONAL. Right now, you're completely anonymous. You're a ghost. That does NOT inspire trust. You're asking your visitors to trust a nameless, faceless "expert." Would you?

    2) Remove every exclamation point on the page. "Yelling" won't help. I can almost smell the desperation in your tone. That chases people away.

    3) Add white space to the copy. It's not a newspaper ad -- you're not paying by the column inch. Use white space to make it easy to read. In addition, do NOT justify your text. Your body copy should be left aligned.

    4) IMPORTANT: You need a headline that contains your most powerful BENEFIT. Right now, it just describes a generic FEATURE. But that's not what people are looking for. They want to how they'll benefit from your service. In a nutshell, your copy needs to provide a powerful benefit, explain why it's true, then make them an offer they can't refuse.

    I hope that helps.

    John
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  • Profile picture of the author illiptic
    Are you sending people directly to your website?

    it really looks like a school website or something....I had to scroll down past that huge picture of a professional looking building to read what was on the page, which was several big chunks of text that was a bit painful to read.

    I would put a video of yourself talking right on the front with a big headline above it and a lead capture form on the right....your list is where you are going to to actually convert....and I would get rid of the contact form where they have to fill out all those fields....do name/email address or even just email address.

    People pretty much don't want to read stuff unless its specifically solving a problem they are having (in my experience)

    People do however love videos. Just flip on a camera, think of a way to get people's attention immediately, introduce yourself, and then give a call to action to opt in to your list.

    Then create daily short little videos about little tips about getting into schools or whatever your business is. Connect with the people on your list. Make them feel like you are a real person.

    The videos don't have to be long at all just 2-5 minutes.

    I would have a blog on that site (if you don't already) and put your daily videos on it...so your visitors will have an archive of your videos that can check out and further connect with you.

    Put some videos together in a little batch and give it away as a "free bonus" for opting in to your list. I would make your site pretty much all about why your visitors want to opt in to your list.

    People probly aren't doing business with you because they don't know who you are. Start shooting videos. It doesn't matter if they suck. Just do it every day and you will get better and if you keep running ads and getting traffic to them, you WILL get leads.

    From there just send bits of value, which will give you an opportunity to sell them your services.
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  • Profile picture of the author homebizspot
    I will advise that you go back and check your ad copy. What contents does your ad contain? Is your ad compelling enough to make people want to buy whatever it is you are selling? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself. Providing the answers will help you get the results you desire from your ads.

    You may also want to try email marketing. Specifically, using solo ads may help you a lot. If you decide to do this, then you certainly will need a lead capture page where offer visitors a free gift in return for their email addresses. This is because most people that visit your website may not be interested at the time, but when you follow up with them with emails they may be convinced in the future to buy what you are selling.

    Overall, building success takes a great effort and somtimes takes time too. All you have to do is to be consistent and persistent. You will certainly have a breakthrough.
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  • Profile picture of the author digitalsapien
    Take this business one step at a time. It is very important that you will research and read first. Take small steps and make sure you know the right terms for your business. Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author swansonprincess
    Originally Posted by MBA Ivy View Post

    Hi, I'm a complete newbie, and can't figure out how to properly market my business, to the point where my business is now failing!

    I run an Ivy League College Admissions Consulting business (link in my profile), and even though I know the clients are out there, I'm not reaching them!

    I have tried everything I know how to do -- a Google adwords campaign (no conversions in two weeks time, so I gave up on that), a Google+ page that I location verified. I've contributing to various online forums to try to create active links. I have social media pages up on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter (though, I am not so clear actually how to use all three to reach new people -- especially LinkedIn). I also have a WordPress blog, and I post ads for my business daily on craigslist.

    Yet nothing.

    Despite all these things, my google ranking has DROPPED, and I am making a fraction of what I made with my business last year.

    Can anyone take a look at my site and offer any advice? I don't know what to do. I need like a step plan of action.
    I started my own studio from scratch last year with nothing to invest. I got an entire studio filled in 6 months (with only about 20,000 people in my area), which is extremely quick, ALL from Facebook marketing. Learn to use your Facebook page, and promote fantastic offers. I would be happy to help with any questions you have for me on what worked for me!
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    • Profile picture of the author ireland007
      any suggested reading material on successfully setting up a facebook marketing campaign!
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  • advertising on social media sites like facebook, twitter, and linkedin should help you get the results you want....good luck to you!
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  • Profile picture of the author jgant
    In my pre-IM career I offered professional services in a competitive field.

    What I did was write a book and gave it away. Nothing new here. The book offered a ton of info and prospective clients requested it every day resulting in a truckload of clients.

    I think you could put together a great book "The Sure-Fire Plan for Getting Your Child into an Ivy League College - A Step-by-Step Guide for Securing Your Child's Future"

    Something like that and make it a great book. You could give it away or sell it. Target parents with kids in junior high school. I suspect parents with elementary school aged kids would also be interested. Provide a full plan from grade school that steps them through.

    Throughout the book mention you're available for consultation throughout the process. You could conceivably have long term consulting gigs with these parents guiding them along as their children approach college.

    Reaching parents isn't hard. Facebook and PPC. With Adwords/BingAds, target tutoring services, ivy league college school names, SAT prep ... you'll have to experiment. Use your ads to sell/give away your book. Be sure to get email addresses when giving/selling the book and keep in touch with them.
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    • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
      Banned
      Greetings.

      The people that you have helped are your best source of new business. Make them all part of your team. Praise them, their good decision to utilize your service and how it has paid off for them. Highlight them on your site. Everyone wants to be a video star. :-) Put those people to work. Send them business cards, don't forget their birthdays, ask for referrals, offer finders-fees, etc.. They all have friends one or two years behind them, academically. Cultivate them early. The earlier the better.

      A blog and a freebie eBook are mandatory. The eBook should raise as many questions as it answers in the readers mind. Don't give more than one real secret away and make sure it's not one of your valuable selling points.

      Locate ALL of your competition. See how they market and promote their service. How do your efforts and channels compare?

      Additionally, produce your own series of informational videos that highlight the pitfalls and obstacles that you can eliminate for people. Put the fear of god into them and don't be afraid to bill yourself as one of the "leading authorities" in your niche. Who's going to tell you that you're not? Not, me.

      Finally, any and all of the shortcomings of your web site can be addressed for almost no money. Time, energy and patience are all that's required. If you know anyone that can help you with the social icon placement and getting your blog set up, I would not hesitate to ask for assistance. There are many places that you can go and find help. Most people are happy to help. As Blanche DuBois famously said, "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers." You can find help with minor tasks on Fiverr.com, oftentimes for just $5. I've done it.

      Not much of a techie, myself, or I'd do more than make suggestions. I'm one of those guys who pays for everything, the whole way. lol

      Don't give up. Remember, you gotta be in it to win it. Trite? Maybe. True? Absolutely. It's a great niche with an unlimited supply of potential customers that is fresh every year. WOW!!! A lot of people would kill for a niche like that and the proper experience to go with it. Of course, with all of that being said, I can certainly understand your frustration at not being farther along.

      I do wish you the best in your endeavor.

      Cheers,

      Frank

      P.S. I would also recommend writing a business plan. Not so much for the financial projections, but more along the lines of describing and outlining your business on paper, in words that a banker or investor wants to hear. It can help you spot marketing opportunities you might have missed as well as show you where you may be spinning your wheels. Can't hurt.
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  • Profile picture of the author JanePlaten
    Banned
    Blogging, blogging, blogging. And, when everything else fails, anything that ends with an Ad, Facebook ads, Google ads. etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author MagneticKopy
    I'd suggest you create a targeted list (of the real addresses NOT EMAIL) and call each place and ask who the decision maker is... Get the name and HANG UP.

    Next, draft up a lead generation letter. If you need help, then hit up the offline section here on the forum and I'm sure you'll find some examples. Then, send them the letters with a hand-written address.

    Rinse and Repeat.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Justin, I looked at your site, and I agree with Johnny - the copy is horrible. Most of it is credentialing you, not promising benefits or even hinting at your process.

      I'd also lose the generic contact form and replace it with either a much simpler opt-in form to learn more, or a much longer one with questions designed to help you create personalized responses based on that individual's desires.

      As I see it, you have two main markets - the first, and largest, is parents of high schoolers with Ivy League aspirations. The parents are the ones writing the checks, so they are actually your target. The second is college students with Ivy League aspirations.

      Notice the word "aspirations"?

      At the early stages of prospecting, you need to play to those aspirations. Make them believe that they deserve that Ivy League spot, and that hiring you gives them an unfair advantage over the other applicants.
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  • Profile picture of the author MBA Ivy
    Thanks all for such GREAT responses! I am looking in to each and every suggestion here.

    I will put this idea out to all of you as well: if anyone knows of any potential students who may want to use my services (or if you already have ways in place to market to them), I am offering a $50 referral fee for any student anyone brings me who signs up to work with me.

    Nice way to make extra money, if you guys can perhaps reach people better than I can. You can email me directly, if you want to try. Thought this might be an interesting idea and a way for everyone to benefit. I know some of you are already heavily marketing to my demographic...
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  • Profile picture of the author uniqueas
    Originally Posted by MBA Ivy View Post

    Hi, I'm a complete newbie, and can't figure out how to properly market my business, to the point where my business is now failing!

    I run an Ivy League College Admissions Consulting business (link in my profile), and even though I know the clients are out there, I'm not reaching them!

    I have tried everything I know how to do -- a Google adwords campaign (no conversions in two weeks time, so I gave up on that), a Google+ page that I location verified. I've contributing to various online forums to try to create active links. I have social media pages up on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter (though, I am not so clear actually how to use all three to reach new people -- especially LinkedIn). I also have a WordPress blog, and I post ads for my business daily on craigslist.

    Yet nothing.

    Despite all these things, my google ranking has DROPPED, and I am making a fraction of what I made with my business last year.

    Can anyone take a look at my site and offer any advice? I don't know what to do. I need like a step plan of action.
    Have you considered paying someone to hand out flyers at various high schools? I remember seeing flyers from different colleges tucked under the windshield wiper of my car. We would also see them on our desks just before class. The funny thing was, they actually did get me excited about college and I would bring them home to my parents.

    Simple but effective, laser-targeted marketing in my opinion.

    To get your flyers distributed, simply post an job ad in the various online/paper classifieds for a flyer delivery position. You might spend a few hundred dollars in the process, but you'll get plenty of exposure in the right places. This should bring in some new leads/clients while you get your traffic issues sorted out.

    Good luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author MBA Ivy
      You know, I tried flyers twice, and it unfortunately didn't work. I do still think my referral fee offer (above) to other marketers out there, might be the best (fastest) way to go, and a way for everyone to benefit. I have the credentials to help students if they can just find me!

      MBA Essay Consulting | Ivy League Essay Consulting
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  • Profile picture of the author MBA Ivy
    So, is there anyone on the forum who maybe wants to actively help me market my business, for some agreed upon percentage of each client? This business is seasonal, and NOW, so I don't have time to play around and try things out until at least mid-january. Now is key to make the most in income.
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    • Profile picture of the author kingde
      Originally Posted by MBA Ivy View Post

      So, is there anyone on the forum who maybe wants to actively help me market my business, for some agreed upon percentage of each client? This business is seasonal, and NOW, so I don't have time to play around and try things out until at least mid-january. Now is key to make the most in income.
      If you listen to this very closely, you will find more than enough info to get you off the ground!

      Let me know if you'd like me to point out the major ideas.

      And there's a difference between trying things out and just doing to maximize your potential right now.. I think it's more about your presentation, education (in the form of marketing) and making crystal clear and hard to resist your initial offer than than it is brute force exposure and advertising
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  • Profile picture of the author barkerpkey
    There is no point of setting pages up on all three networks if you don't have a set purpose for each and every of them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fun to Write
    Advertise your referral fee offer on Craigslist, college papers or sites, to parents and students that have used your service.

    Use the...Looking to Earn Extra Christmas Money? Angle

    Contact local organizations that have activities for high school students and see if you can joint venture with them to distribute your information in return for a finders fee.

    Contact local organizations that parents might belong to and see if you can make a presentation at one of their upcoming meetings.

    Place flyers in dentist offices, pizza shops, etc.

    Think of who is already in touch with your target market and make them an offer.
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  • Profile picture of the author yamaha racer
    yeah man i would advise facebook PPC

    the company im with teaches you how to get clicks for like 0.02 cent man which is not too bad considering what you pay for adwords ae

    another good thing about asf is they say build relationships with people dont spam them with your link give them value it will help you out in the long run brother
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  • Profile picture of the author sharmaaisha
    For your business and know about marketing you can check Quickad site that allows you to post Free Classifieds in India in few seconds.
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  • Profile picture of the author supergeeksbiz
    There are many ways of marketing your business. You can try social media marketing, PPC and SEO. The latest trend is social media together with SEO. Our Affordable SEO Company in Las Vegas and Hawaii| SuperGeeks | SuperGeeks.biz, Las Vegas SEO company can always help you.
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  • Profile picture of the author fred67
    There seems to be no point of sale or mention of cost of products/services you offer.

    People visiting wouldn't really know what they were getting into and most people won't make an initial contact unless they do have an indication of cost and purpose first. Everyone is very wary of E-mail and phone number harvesting these days and so won't part with either unless there's something offered in return or they already have 'specifics' of the products/services to hand.

    Just a thought
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  • Profile picture of the author josea
    I will tell you simply look for the people that is searching for your Keyword on the internet,or also try Mega Comerciales.
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    Search Engine Optimization Marketers with Experience in Tourism, Seo, Marketing, and Company Development in Panama

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  • Profile picture of the author cyberzolo
    Market your business through blog commenting on blogs in your niche and forum posting on forums in your niche. Be sure to leave a link back to your website though.
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    • Profile picture of the author MBA Ivy
      Yes, I have been trying to post on some forums, cyberzolo, and fred67 - I do clearly state my rates on my "about" page. I charge a flat rate of $400 for assistance with the first college application, than $200 for each additional school.

      I also provide my phone number so students can contact me directly if they don't feel comfortable filling out my contact form.

      If anyone knows any students who can benefit (college or MBA applicants) I am offering a $50 referral rate for any client.

      Thanks!
      MBA Ivy

      www MBAIvyLeague (dot) com
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  • Profile picture of the author dengkane
    As a marketer, we should try to find where our customers are, then we appear there too, and pre-sell by providing value first, and sell to them slowly after warming up.
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  • Profile picture of the author Assignmentwriter
    Hire some one to do get your business on top
    Signature
    Prospring launch offering a 100 Million in Prizes and stacks of benefits each week.
    http://www.prospringlaunch.com/Akbar786

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