The Basic Science of Marketing
Have you ever wondered why small businesses fail at such a high rate? It can’t be because the owners don’t understand their own business. More than likely they’re great Electricians, Plumbers, Plasterers, Chefs, Therapists or even Internet marketers, but what they are not, is a great businessperson.
So, what’s the secret to creating a successful business? Quite simply, it’s finding a “need” and creating a service or product to fill that “need.” All the big companies out there today are doing nothing more than that. They have identified a gap in the market and filled it.
Okay, there’s obviously a lot more to this marketing thing it seems. We still have to get our products in front of the people who need them. We also need to do it in such a way that they actually WANT to buy from us, and not from our competitors.
Let’s take a look at the simple, and basic science of marketing online…
Most people I talk to hate the idea of selling. They want their prospects to come knocking on their door to buy their products. This is achievable of course, but only after the ground work has been put in, and you have created a brand that people know, like, and trust. Until then, you must get over this fear of selling to people.
Think of it this way, we are selling to people all our lives. Every interview you have been to, every date you have been on, and every time you have voiced your opinion to another person…you have been selling…Yourself.
So how do we sell effectively? Well, there’s a right and wrong way of doing this…
Forced Sales (Hardsell)
This approach to selling is quite painful to watch. You have seen it every day online since the dawn of the internet. The sales pages that literally try to shove their products down the back of your proverbial neck before you’ve even begun to read the copy. The bombardment of offer after offer as you’re been guided down the one day sales funnel of a not so bright marketer (I use the term “marketer” very loosely here). The popup message that appear as you’re trying to get away from their cheap spammy sales page. It’s awful marketing, and it simply doesn’t have the desired affect that these people are looking for.
Subtle Sales (Softsell)
Now this sales approach is very effective, but I don’t see it being implemented by too many people online these days. The goal here is to not hard sell your prospects, but to give them enough valuable information so they can make an informed decision as to whether they want your product or service. If you have targeted traffic to your business then this shouldn’t be a difficult task.
The reason the subtle approach to selling works fantastically well, is because that’s what people want. Why would you try to give them what they DON’T want? People do not like to be sold to. I hate it, you hate it, my bloody granny hates it, and your potential customer hates it too. And you know what? your visitors are real people…who knew? It’s your job to make the buying experience as pleasant as possible for your prospect. It just makes sense.
So how do we implement the subtle approach to selling?
Probably the most important part of your marketing strategy will be to build relationships with your prospects. Unfortunately, most people associate online marketing with long drawn out sales letters that focus on hard selling. This is not effective and should be avoided at all costs. Remember, people do not want to be sold to. You simply give them enough quality information so they can come to their own decision as to whether they want your product or not.
Going in for the “kill” straight away will hurt your chances of making the sale, it can also guarantee that you will never see that person again on your website. Every day we go online we are bombarded with advertisements, hard sells, false promises and fairytale solutions to our problems. I don’t know about you, but I automatically tune out all the B.S promises and hard selling advertisements that I see online. I can sniff them out a mile away, and guess what, your prospects are seeing through all the rubbish too.
The Beginners Mistake:
The last thing you should be doing if you want to entice your visitors to buy your product or service, is to post ads along the lines of “This is how I made a million dollars in 6 months” or “Lose 5 stone in 5 days with my secret techniques.” These ads have the opposite affect than what you really want. Sure there some who are gullible enough to fall for these marketing ploys, but I guarantee there are far more people who don’t. Not only that, but when the ones who bought your product find out that they can’t lose 5 stone or earn a million dollars, do you think they will ever buy from you again?
You shouldn’t be focusing on making a single sale to your prospects in the first place. You want to continually sell to them, provide value to them, build a long-term relationship with them, and ultimately turn them into raving fans. You want them to tell their friends about you. You want them to be part of your promotions. I see many online webmasters getting hung up on how many unique visitors they’re getting each month. While it’s important to have fresh leads coming into your business every day, your goal is to turn those unique visitors into repeat visitors…now you have a sustainable business space online.
“When someone visits your website, NEVER try to hard sell to them. Give them valuable information that will help them trust you, and let the relationship bloom over time. The more times they visit your site, the more chances you have of making a sale, or more sales.
Ask, Don’t Tell:
What we have covered so far is that the least effective marketing strategy is to tell people what they want, and then try to sell it to them. What we should be doing is giving them free valuable information through the content on our site, a weekly newsletter series, a free video course and/or a valuable eBook that will knock their blooming socks off. We want to find out what our prospect actually wants. How can we do this if we do not follow up with them and build a relationship? Giving something of value away for free in the beginning to help build that initial trust will open the door for us to ASK them what they want. With this approach, you will not only learn more about your customers, you will also learn a lot about your own business and which direction it needs to be heading in.
The 3 Types of Prospects:
There will be 3 types of prospects you will be dealing with it your business. Not many understand this, but it is very important to know.
Cynics are the people who have already decided that they are never going to buy from you no matter how good your marketing strategy is. They will not be responsive to your subtle tactics so it’s best to just move on and don’t waste your valuable time trying to turn them around. Some will say that these people may make a buying decision at some stage, but if you are putting energy into marketing to these people, you are ultimately not going to get a return of interest that’s worth the effort.
Skeptics may not be sure whether they can trust your products, you, or themselves to make the right decision to buy. They may need more information, facts and testimonials to help them go from a skeptic to a believer. Skeptics are the people who do not buy from you until they are absolutely sure that what they are getting in return for their hard earned cash will benefit them.
They are the customer that the hard sellers never get to buy their products, and they are the least responsive to your offers within the first few visits to your website, or contact via newsletter. Skeptics are the main reason why follow up is crucial to getting that all important sale. If they finally buy your product and it over delivers, then they are a skeptic to your products no more.
Buyers are the people who are actively searching for what you have to offer and they already have their credit card in hand. This still doesn’t mean they’re going to buy from YOU. Again, you do not want to hard sell to these people. A simple nudge in the right direction should do the trick. Besides, a buyer is a buyer. They must be looked after. You must build a relationship just like we talked about, because at the end of the day, we want repeat sales. Without repeat sales, we have no business.
Okay, you’ve put all the hard work in, spent a lot of cash, and built a stunning website that looks fancier than the Taj Mahal, but you still can’t make any sales. This can be traced back to your branding, or lack of it for that matter. Remember I told you that people don’t buy from websites? They buy from people they know, like and trust? Well, it’s absolutely correctomundo my friend. People need to know when they hand over their hard earned cash that there’s not some evil dude in a striped jumper and mask at the back-end pocketing the money.
All the big companies are heavily branded. This is what distinguishes them from the rest of the competition. Kids always want to go to McDonald’s even though there are thousands of other fast food joints around that have tastier food. Do they care, nope. They want to go to a place that they know, a place they have seen, a place that sticks out in their mind.
You don’t need to go out and spend a fortune on branding. YOU are your brand. Market YOU, sell YOU, build trust by being the person who provides more value than the rest. Use your name on your website, put a picture up of yourself and write a “my story” page that helps your visitors get to know you on a personal level. If you don’t want to brand yourself, then create a unique hook that grabs people’s attention and makes them think about it. You get my point. Alright, so branding is very important for your long-term success, but what about your…
USP (Unique Selling Point):
When it comes to branding your business, you must identify what your USP is. Every successful business has this, and it’s what sets them apart from the others. Why should your prospect buy from you and not from your competition? Why should they stay on your website and not surf to the many others with just a few clicks of a mouse button? If you’re using your branding effectively, this should be obvious to you.
Your USP could simply be that you provide incredible value for a ridiculously low price. Your unique selling point could be that you provide a service that solves people’s problems in a different way than the rest. The bottom line here is to find out what sets you apart from your competition and work that into your marketing strategy. I am currently working within a very tightly focused niche and not one website on the first few pages of Google are giving away a free gift to their visitors…guess what my USP is?
Have a constructive and profitable day.