If you’re a business owner, you’d have to be crazy to scoff at the idea of marketing your business online. Besides the fact that the internet never takes a day off, marketing online is a surefire way to reach a national, international and even a global market that may have previously been out of your reach.
However, the thought of fiddling around with all these gadgets and technologies can be an overwhelming feeling to someone who hasn’t much experience with computers. And if cash flow is an issue, hiring out may not even be an option. Well I’m here to tell you if you can just wrap your mind around the fundamentals of marketing online, the rest is just a matter of repetition.
Let’s start with the basics…
Online Marketing is made up of a few essential parts:
Advertising, The Sales Funnel, and the Automated Marketing system. However all 3 are also broken down into smaller subsections, each that demand a good bit of attention if you hope to get them right?
Let’s start with advertising.
Think of your advertising as a message that strikes right at the heart of things. Short sweet and to the point. What are you marketing exactly. What is the nature of your business? The answers to this may seem obvious, but that’s seldom the case.
Think about a pizzeria for instance. From one hand you might say, “We market hot and delicious pizza”, but is that what you’re really selling? Is that what your customer thinks? Probably not. Chances are your customer is thinking, “Man, I really don’t feel like cooking on a Friday night. The work week was long and strenuous and I just don’t think I have it in me.”
Yeah, that’s probably what they’re thinking. In this case you’re not marketing pizza, you’re marketing the convenience of a hot and delicious meal… one they don’t know how to cook and one they don’t feel like cooking. That’s why pizza ads usually sound more like this: “Stove-free Fridays Nights! Buy a One topping pizza and get the other half off. Free Delivery!”
An ad like that is speaking the customer’s language and that’s what you’ll need to do too. It covers all of the bases. Hot delicious meal I don’t have to cook, pick up, pay alot for AND I get two of them.
When coming up with your advertising, it’s always best to put yourself in the customer’s head. Just like in the real world, advertising online can be free or it can be paid for. If you’re a really savvy advertiser, you can pay for it, but still do it for free. We’ll get into that some other time…
A sales funnel is just as it sounds. It’s really wide at the entrance, but get narrower as you get towards the exit. Think of it this way, alot of people are going to see your ad, but not everyone is going to care. However ever some will definitely want to know more about what it is you’re offering.
In the off-line world, this usually happens with a phone call or with a visit to your location. In the online world, prospect’s are delivered to your virtual storefront with the click of a button. Yup… quick and easy is good. When they get to your virtual storefront, aka your website, they get to see a more detailed account of what it is that you’re offering.
They’ve just taken they’re first step into your funnel. At this point your prospect still might not be ready to buy. They may just want to leave you some information so that they can get more info about your products while they think it over. You do have a place for them to leave some info, don’t you?
I would hope that you would. This is really important. Think about it… a million people could visit your site, but you’ll never know a thing about them unless you let them give you some info. A good web page should have the sole purpose of getting that info. It’s a great way for your prospect to ease into the buying patterns.
A page like this is called a Lead Capture Page, or Gateway Page. This is when the sales funnel is entered and the sales process begins. Not everyone will take this step and leave their info, but the ones who do definitely have raised their hand and said, “Yes, tell me more.”
Next we enter the Online Marketing System. This is a system of following up with and building a trusting relationship with your new prospect. Trust is an important part of the selling process. Because most of these people may never have the chance you meet you face to face, you’ll need to infuse some personal touch here. But how do you do that?
You can do this via email. Email is a great way to follow up with prospects and gain their trust. People love getting messages, especially when it has something to do with something they’re actually interested in. This is your chance to shine and show them that you care about what they want. This isn’t really the time for selling, but you can always leave a link for them to take a peak at your sales page. In fact I recommend that you do.
Now, I know what you’re thiking… “Steve, I plan on having millions of people visiting my site, how can I send that many emails?” Well that’s a great question. Let’s not forget, we’re using the internet and it never takes a day off. There is a technology available to you called an Autoresponder. It’s a way of automatically following up with potential buyers through email.
You simply load a series of carefully written messages and BAM! they’re delivered automatically. Now, wasn’t that easy?
All three components of marketing online need to work together and be a sort of greased chute for your prospect to slide down out the other end of the funnel. When that happens, you get paid!
Assembling a fully automated marketing and sales process sounds complicated, but really the parts are quite simple to put together.