I've talked to people who say, "I can't sell." or "I'd never be any good at selling." In the words of that old adage, "I wish I had a dollar, blah, blah..." The truth is... WE ARE ALL SALESPEOPLE! "But I've NEVER been a salesperson!", I hear you say. Oh really? Have you ever...
- Asked a girl on a date
- Negotiated a better deal on a purchase
- Got someone to accept your point of view
Back before the internet became such a powerful (and, often, badly used) marketing tool, there were still many options for marketers. TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, journals, billboards, posters, the list goes on. Unfortunately, many people are now tending to overlook those traditional methods in favor of the internet. And it's a trend I don't believe will ever stop. Look at your Yellow Pages. It used to be the go-to place to find a business. When did you last look at one? I can't remember - I ALWAYS head to the online version. It's quick, and, more importantly, it's up to date.
The 5 "musts" of website marketing actually apply to marketing anything. We have a vacant lot for sale in New Zealand. We're applying these same 5 principles to marketing that, as we do to marketing websites.
1. Know your target market.
I know that seems logical, but I'm not amazed anymore when people answer this question with, "Well, everyone of course!" I can't think of many businesses that can answer that and be correct. Most of us are marketing to a specific segment of the world. Sure some segments are bigger, but it's not 100%. We need to stop a moment and think about who would buy our product or service. Male, female, old, middle-aged, young, teen? Does race come into it, location, income bracket? Knowing you target market will help you....
2. Know you target market's buying pattern.
Unless you can establish how your market buys, you're still miles from a sale. Why do they buy, when, how often, volume, repeat, where? No point in getting cheap rent for a shop in the suburbs if your target market buys predominantly in a big mall is it? Knowing this allows you to...
3. Know your price point/ROI.
Cost of goods is only one small part of figuring out your ROI (return on investment). On top of that, there is your direct sales costs, overheads, capital investments. It's no use selling a product with a low re-buy rate, or short shelf life at a 75% ROI. It just isn't profitable. But, as anyone in IT knows, a low ROI with a high refresh rate/big turnover can be very profitable. Now you've figured out who you're selling to and how they buy, and you have an acceptable ROI, finally you get to...
4. Decide on a marketing strategy.
"Just hit everything, surely?" is an answer I've had. But, unless you have unlimited funds, and don't mind likely making a negative ROI, then that's not the answer. One thing is clear though. Do not limit your thinking to just the internet. Sounds odd coming from an internet marketer, right? Maybe, but then, I'm not JUST an internet marketer. I understand that marketing your business is a holistic strategy, comprising multiple fronts. Obviously, due to it's reach, low cost and availability, the internet should be on everyone's marketing list. But don't neglect the avenues mentioned before, along with trade shows, events, and sponsorships.
Even within the internet, there are multiple ways of marketing. Pay per Click (PPC), Organic, affiliate, banners, links. That topic alone would fill numerous blogs and I won't even get started here. Suffice it to say, get an expert. When I first got into internet marketing 10-12 years ago I was a real DIYer. And, then, you would get away with it. Now it's become a real art-form, and you need more than a finger-painter to run your "art show". When you're up against others who have hired Picasso's and Rembrandt's, you need one too.
So, you know your market and how they buy. You're settled on a suitable price point that will actually allow you to make money (that's why you're in business, right?), and you have a marketing plan up and running. You begin to get sales, and that allows you to move on to the final step, and that is...
5. Measure and test, measure and test.
This is one area where we all fail at one time and another. Most businesses fail at it all the time. But this is one of the most crucial area (if not THE most) of any marketing plan. We all, generally, have multiple thrusts in our marketing. Internet, radio, newspapers, etc. But which one is bringing in the sales, what's it's ROI? Without measuring and testing you'll never know, and you could be throwing money away.
If you don't know where your sales come from, you don't know where to spend MORE on marketing (the big drawcards) and where to spend LESS or none. Spending $10,000 a year to get $150,000 in sales is better than spending $1,000 a year to get $5,000 in sales. Simple math - 1500% return versus 500%.
There are many ways to measure and test, but the easiest way is ASK PEOPLE! When you get a sale, ask, "Where did you find us?" That can be at the sales counter, over the phone, or on an internet form. It's the marketers equivalent of McDonald's, "Do you want fries with that?" Ask it; every single time. Then record it, and chart it. Then be prepared to adjust your strategy.
Finally, if you were going in for open heart surgery, would you pick a first year medical student to do it because they were cheap? Or would you pick a Rembrandt, a master, a surgeon with years of experience who knew exactly what they were doing? Your business is as important as your life. Or, if it isn't, why are you in it. Don't be stingy with it!