Have you ever wondered why so many small businesses fail? It’s not because the owner’s don’t know their business. They’re probably a great plumber / massage therapist / electrician / network marketer / affiliate. What they’re usually not, is a great businessperson.
The people who DO succeed in business know that there’s really only one law that all business is based on: the law of supply and demand. The only real secret to doing well in business is identifying a need, and then filling that need. It sounds simple, doesn’t it, but think about some really massive companies out there.
People needed good take out coffee. Starbucks came along, with their philosophy of putting a Starbucks on every corner, and boom, a multi billion dollar company was born. People needed something to use to clean their teeth. Proctor and Gamble developed toothpaste, and another mega company was born.
So the secret to successful business really IS all about finding a need, and making sure, you have the product or service to fill that need. Once you have a product / service / item that fulfils that need, all that’s still up to you is to market it in such a way that the people who need it (your target market) hear about it, and that they trust you to give it to them. Yes. Marketing really IS that simple.
Most business people hate the idea of selling. They don’t want to tell people about their products, but they DO want customers knocking on their door to buy from them.
Crazy isn’t it? But think of it this way: every time you’ve gone to a job interview, or even on a date, you’ve been selling something. Yourself.
Everyone is a sales person, and everyone has been involved in marketing since the day they were born. The truth is, there are two types of selling.
There are the dyed in the wool ‘salesmen’ that turn up on your doorstep, get their foot in the door, and then refuse to leave until you’ve parted with your hard earned cash.
That’s not the kind of selling most people want to do, and quite honestly, that’s not the best way to sell anything.
The second type of selling is a lot more subtle. It’s about providing a great product or service, but it’s also about making the buying experience pleasant. It’s about giving your clients great information, and about going the extra mile. It’s about making people WANT to buy from you.
There are some clever ways to make the online buying experience more fun, and easier, for your clients, but before we get there, let’s look at some of the fundamentals of selling.
ONLINE MARKETING AND RELATIONSHIP BUILDING
Many people associate online marketing with long sales letters that opt for the ‘hard sell’ approach, or with spam email marketing. Those things could not be further from the truth of successful online marketing though. Let’s consider an analogy. Let’s say it’s your first day in a new job. You’re fresh out of college or university, and eager to please.
You walk into the Directors office, sit down, and start telling him how to run the company he started from the ground up thirty years ago. How long do you think you’ll still be employed? If you said not long, you’re on the money.
A far more effective strategy would be to keep quiet, observe how the company works for a while, and then start making constructive suggestions. This is exactly why so many online marketers fail.
Instead of taking the time to build RELATIONSHIPS with their customers, they go straight to telling them what they want. That’s never going to work in a job, and that’s not going to work when it comes to online marketing.
This attitude of going ‘for the kill’ right off the gate has been called Interruption Marketing by marketing guru Seth Godin, in his book Permission Marketing, and as the marketing maestro says in the book, the average person is bombarded with more than 3,000 marketing messages every day!
No wonder we’ve become so adept at tuning out the in your face marketing tactics that some people use! The same goes for internet business opportunities.
People have become so used to being told that they can make a fortune by doing nothing, that they automatically assume that those offers are scams, and they IGNORE them! In fact, when most people see one of those ads, they won’t even click through. They KNOW they are going to get the hard sell, and they’d rather avoid it.
A BEGINNERS MISTAKE
Trying to entice people to your online business opportunity or products by posting ads along the lines of ‘I made a million dollars in three months’ or ‘lose 2 stone in 2 weeks’ and similar ads actually has the opposite effect to what you want. Not only will most people not believe you, they’ll probably also avoid the ad.
If they DO click through, only to be ‘sold at’ hard, they’re likely to leave your site forever, never to be seen again.
There’s an old saying in the online business world – it’s not the unique visitors that matter, but the repeat visitors! Not only is it illegal to make those kinds of false claims about their earnings, but those marketers who make the big promises, and then go straight for the sell are losing all of those people who did click on their links FOREVER!
So here’s the first, golden rule of online business relationship building and sales that you need to remember: when someone visits their site, don’t try to SELL them.
Give them information, help them to trust you, and let the relationship grow over time. The more times they visit your site, the more likely they are to make a buying decision.
ASK, DON’T TELL
A far better way to get the visitors to your site to buy on their first visit is to find out what they want. Instead of TELLING them what your online business opportunity or products can do for them, ASK them what they want. Offer them a free newsletter, or a free video course, that will help them to achieve those goals.
Giving something away in the beginning, and asking your prospects for their opinions, thoughts, or questions is a far better approach when it comes to online business than simply telling them what you want them to hear.
PERMISSION MARKETING, AND YOU
Another key factor that most newbie marketers don’t understand is the concept of permission marketing.
Here’s how it works: you create a value rich site, which offers a subscription mailing list. Visitors to your site decide that they like what you’re talking about, and they sign up, thereby giving you permission to send them information and marketing materials.
You can’t buy, rent or steal those email addresses, or an email-marketing list.
Those people have to GIVE you their permission to send them information. It’s not an overnight process either. First, you have to get their attention, then you have to keep them interested enough so that they opt in to your list.
Once they have, you can’t start spamming them with emails full of hard sales either – you need to keep up the relationship building, until THEY’RE ready to make a purchase from you. It’s time-consuming and labour intensive, BUT, done correctly, this sort of online marketing can build you a list of loyal clients, that will buy from you over and over again. That’s much better than a customer who clicks on your site once, and never returns, isn’t it? Of course, even having your prospect sign up to your list doesn’t guarantee you a sale, and it’s going to take a lot more than that. In this relationship, as in any other, the power rests squarely with your prospect.
He or she can choose to opt out of your mailing list at any time, which means that you need to keep providing them with information that is of value to THEM, rather than trying to ram your sales message down their proverbial throats! The secret is to figure out what your prospects want to know, and then give them that.
It’s a long-term process of finesse, rather than a quick one-time attack, but it has a much, much higher chance of success than the old-fashioned interruption marketer’s approach!
An email marketing provider I would reccomend you to check out would be ConvertKit.
THE THREE TYPES OF PROSPECTS
Another important thing that you need to learn is that there are three types of potential clients that you will encounter.
The first are cynics, then there are sceptics, and then there are buyers. Cynics are the people out there who have already decided that they are not buying what you are selling, and there’s nothing you can do to change their minds.
No matter how often you contact them, and how great your marketing ability is, you’re not going to turn this type of prospect into a customer. Rather move on, and don’t waste time and resources trying.
Sceptics, on the other hand, are those people that might become customers, depending on their mindset.
If they’re sceptical because they don’t believe in themselves, or their ability to turn any opportunity you’re offering into a viable business, then they’re probably not going to become your client.
If, however, their scepticism is external, and all you have to do is convince them that your products or opportunity is a viable option, then you have a fighting chance, and it’s worth pursuing them, albeit gently, using the permission marketing approach.
Give a sceptic enough facts and information to tip the scales from disbelief to belief, and you should have someone who’s ready to sign up or buy your products!
Finally, there are the buyers. They’re the people who are looking for opportunities, or who have already heard of your products, and its successes, and are ready to make a buying decision.
While you should still avoid the hard sell with these prospects, they’re much more likely to make the decision to sign up with only a gentle nudge from you. When it comes to prospects that fall into the second and third categories – the sceptics and the buyers – remember to make the selling process fun, easy, and driven by them. You don’t want to SELL to them, you want them to have enough information to make the buying decision themselves.
The best way to do that is by marketing to their emotions.
People make buying decisions because they want to, and that’s an emotional thing.
When you’re using this type of marketing to build your business, that’s where combining branding, and clever marketing, comes into play.
Keep an eye out on my next blog post on branding next week.
To Launch And Grow An Online Business, You'll Need To Know The Latest And Best Practices For Marketing Your Brand Online.