Your Marketing And Increase Your Profit
by: Tony L. Callahan
is marketing? I define marketing as any action taken to attract or keep
customers. Therefore, improving your marketing should help you attract
and retain more customers thereby increasing your profits. Sounds simple
enough, doesn't it?
In fact, successful
marketing is not as difficult as some would have us believe. While this
does not mean that we can all become David Ogilvy overnight, it does mean
that application of some common sense and effort will almost always result
in an improvement in your marketing. After visiting countless commercial
sites and assisting many clients in improving their marketing, I have
compiled what I believe are the ten most important, and most often overlooked,
elements of a successful marketing campaign.
1. Select Your
Don't fall into the trap that EVERYONE needs your product, most people
have gotten along just fine without it. However, if you have done the
proper research, you should have an idea of who your target market is.
Tell your potential customers who will benefit from your product and more
importantly, who will not. If your product is targeted to sophisticated
end users you will not gain by selling it to a neophyte. This kind of
honesty is guaranteed to make an impression on your potential customers.
Your product is probably like many others that are available to your potential
customer. What is it about your product that makes it better for the customer
to buy it from you? Is your product cheaper than the competitions? Faster?
More durable? Easier to use? Once you have identified the key advantages
to buying the product from you, make certain that all of your marketing
reflects these advantages. Each ad should include at least one advantage
to the customer. Your printed marketing materials could include several
and your website should detail them all.
3. Don't Sell
Your Customers, Help Them Buy
No one wants to be sold but most people appreciate assistance when making
a purchase. Write marketing materials with the customer in mind. How will
your product help them solve a problem they have? Point out the benefits
of your product, not the features. If you are selling cleaning products
-- making clean up faster is a benefit, containing xylitol-237 is a feature.
Having difficulty distigushing between features and benefits? A useful
rule of thumb is benefits are about feelings, features are about facts.
4. Offer An Ironclad
A solid, believable guarantee is critical to doing business on the Internet.
For some of us old hands it is hard to believe but to the majority of
people the Internet is unfamiliar territory. Many people are still uncomfortable
making purchases via the Net. You must do your best to put their fears
to rest. A believable, unconditional money back guarantee goes a long
way toward reducing the customer's perceived risk, clearing the path for
completion of the sale.
5. The Personal
People buy from people they know. While it is impossible to meet all your
potential Internet customers it is possible for them to gain some measure
of familiarity with you and your company. If you are a small business,
put a personal profile page on your website. Include photos of yourself
and your employees along with a brief biography. Utilize the customers
name in any correspondence. Always sign any letters sent to the customer
with a person's name, never with something anonymous like "webmaster"
or "the staff".
6. Get Testimonials
The most effective, and least expensive, form of marketing is word of
mouth. When you are marketing a product on the Internet it can be difficult
to get people talking to each other about your product. The next best
thing is to have your satisfied customers tell your potential visitors
about their experience with your product. Ask past customers for their
opinions and for permission to use their words and names in your advertising.
7. Employ Multiple
You have created a web site, now the orders will just pour in, right?
Wrong! You need to utilize as many channels as possible to drive customers
to your web site. Ezine ads, search engines, publishing your own ezine,
buying advertising on high traffic web sites and link swapping a just
a few of the many channels that must be exploited to drive traffic to
your web site and ultimately, to your order page. Maximize your efforts
by focusing on channels that target your market.
8. Partner For
Select complimentary businesses and propose joint marketing ventures.
If you sell a product that restores that new car smell, partner with businesses
that repaint vehicles. If you are a networking consultant, partner with
a reseller of network hardware. Refer customers to each other, create
joint advertising materials. This not only helps share the cost, but allows
your product to reach markets that may not have been accessible without
9. Seek Free Publicity
Nothing establishes your credibility like exposure in the main stream
media. Offer your services as an subject matter expert to local talk shows,
create and distribute press releases to the appropriate media outlets,
involve your business in community affairs such as sponsoring the local
Little League team. Keep your eyes open, there are possibilities for free
publicity all around. With a little practice you will get better at identifying
and capitalizing on these opportunities.
10. Be Consistent
You must select a message and stick with it in all of your marketing.
Marketing is all about building a brand. If your message is inconsistent,
people are never going to remember your business or your product. Think
about Pepsi and their "Pepsi Generation" ads. Even when they shifted to
a new campaign, they stayed consistent by employing the new slogan "Generation
Next". By maintaining a consistent message, they built on the brand recognition
they had already established.
The ideas above are
just a starting point. The most effective methods for your product will
vary depending on factors such as your target market, the amount of research
you have done and your budget.
Ultimately, you know
your product and your customers the best. It is up to you to select the
marketing methods you think will be sustainable and successful in your
market. The real secret is "get started". The sooner you start learning
about what marketing works for you and your customers, the sooner you
will start to increase your profits.
Copyright 2000, 2002
Tony L. Callahan All Rights Reserved
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L. Callahan, is a successful Internet Promotions Consultant with
more than twenty years of industry experience and is president of
his own Internet marketing company, Link-Promote.
He also publishes Web-Links Monthly, a newsletter full of
tips, tricks, tools and techniques for successful web site promotions.
To subscribe, send e-mail to: Web-Linksfirstname.lastname@example.org.
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