Here are 6 tips to improve your Web marketing efforts, based on my Guaranteed Marketing system of cost-effective, results-producing methods.
1) Why buy from you?
Use a unique selling proposition (USP) Doing business without a USP is like doing business without pants — you’ll be just as successful.
In his EXCELLENT book “The E-Myth Revisited,” Michael Gerber writes that when they see or hear your business name, people should say: “Oh, you’re the guys who _____________.” Fill in that blank with your USP.
I was fortunate enough to do online marketing support for FedEx for two years before starting my own business. I learned from the best about the importance of standing apart from your competition with a USP. This is the most important strategic planning you can do for your small business. If you take the time to devise an effective USP, you’ll separate yourself from 95% of the competition, who probably compete on price, service, or selection.
2) Follow-up works!
You WILL maximize your online sales by following up with your existing prospects and clients.
a) Today, I got a new client 60 DAYS after she first called my Yellow Pages ad. I put here in GoldMine and she replied to the SEVENTH email sent to her.
Takeaway: follow up by email at least 5-7 times with prospects, offering new info each time, with a gentle reminder that you’re still available to serve them. Use a contact manager, such as GoldMine or Act 2000. Or, use a free autoresponder like GetResponse (http://www.guaranteedmarketing.com/get)
b) Another new client just paid for my services TWO YEARS after subscribing to my ezine.
Takeaway: you must publish a newsletter and gather email addresses from visitors to your Web site. This is like printing money. Use listbot.com or another service to distribute your ezine.
3) Keep your Web site instructions simple.
A confused customer will just say NO to your Web site and your business. Here are 4 methods that have worked for me online since 1995:
a) Number and letter your instructions (I’m doing it now!)
Tell them: “You can order in 3 easy steps,” them limit yourself to 3 (or however many) steps … and make those steps EASY.
b) Tell them it’s easy.
Words like, “easy,” “fast,” “quick,” and “simple” work wonders when explaining to customers how to use your site, place an order, etc.
c) Tell them what to expect.
Your customers don’t like surprises, especially when ordering. Tell them when their credit card will be processed, the name of the company that will appear on their bill (to avoid chargebacks), and the number to call with questions.
For the best example I know of how to walk customers through the ordering process, see how it’s done at amazon.com!
d) Less is more.
Whenever possible, I REMOVE links from my Web sites, to give customers fewer, more targeted choices. Remember: a confused mind will say “No” to your site, your products and you.
4) Referrals = found money.
You already know that referrals are the best, most cost-effective way to get customers who spend more and complain less, right? Right.
So, you should be doing everything possible to actively encourage your current customers to refer new ones.
Here’s a quick tip that will send lots of new business your way: On your Web site’s order form, offer a $10 discount to any customer who gives you the e-mail addresses of 3 friends for you to contact with info later. Customers in the middle of the buying process already have a favorable impression of your business, so this is an ideal time to ask for referrals.
Does it work?
It helped me triple the number of referrals to my resume writing business in 2000. It can work for you, too.
5) Use bonuses to sweeten the deal and make more sales.
Here are 3 kinds:
a) Informational reports.
If you’ve written any articles or copy for your Web site, chances are you can package as a free report to give to prospects or clients. Make sure you give it a value (“A $29.95 value, yours FREE”), because it’s human nature to not appreciate anything without a price tag.
b) Give away what your competitors sell.
Find the lowest-price product or service that most of your competitors try to sell… and give it away instead. The increased business will make up for it.
c) Give away ANOTHER freebie after the sale.
This will cut returns dramatically and cement good relations with your clients. Marlon Sanders does it with his online marketing course. I give away loads of follow-up advice by email to all my clients. If you use an autoresponder, it can be done while you sleep.
6) Build relationships with potential business partners online.
You already know that you MUST publish an email newsletter, right? Right. But some sites still don’t get this. They feel they don’t have the time or the writing ability. This is your opportunity. Find high-traffic sites in your industry that don’t offer a newsletter, and say: “I noticed your site doesn’t publish a newsletter. You’re leaving money on the table by not keeping in touch with your prospects and clients. I can help. I publish a newsletter that doesn’t compete with your site. If you put a sign-up form on your site for my newsletter, you’ll build instant, profitable relationships with your users. And I’ll give you a permanent spot in my newsletter to run your ad in.”
Who can say “No” to that? But, does it work?
I’m negotiating right now to get one of my newsletters, “Employment Dispatch,” onto two Web sites with a combined viewer-ship of 100,000 people per month.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin Donlin has been selling online since 1994 and was Webmaster for FedEx.com from 1995 to 1997. Since 1999, he’s shared his marketing methods via the Guaranteed Marketing site and its companion ebook, available for free download at http://www.guaranteedmarketing.com