If you are a business owner or someone who is interested in selling something online, you probably have realized that there are many ways to sell products online, but it all comes down to effective marketing and traffic building.
Indeed, selling products can be one of the lucrative businesses to do on the internet but you also have to learn how to do it if you want to sell your products fast and beat the massive competition online.
Some would say that we are in the age of internet marketing and if you want to promote your business then you need to be an internet marketing expert yourself or hire one. Marketing a product online needs a lot of strategic and intellectual thinking.
In regard to marketing a product online, marketing professionals suggest a few concepts to be taken into consideration. Marketing research will also be carried out to some extent by the owners of businesses. They will analyze the problems relating to the marketing of goods and services.
Getting to know the customers tastes for goods and services and their budgets, and how much they are willing to spend, is another key aspect to consider when marketing a product online.
Who are the business’ competitors?, What are the marketing strategies involved?, who are the target buyers, what are the key products that the business deals in?, and many other questions need to be considered. With a view to increasing the sales of a particular product, marketing professionals will tend to see things from a different point of view. Their key focus will be on how to increase the amount of customer traffic to a company website. Below I have collected some of the most important steps to follow to an effective online marketing.
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1. Do Your Research
You can learn your audience by analyzing your own website and website’s with similar audiences, you can review your website’s internal search data, and take note of the conversations that you have with members of your audience. You are looking for clues that tell you 1) who your audience is, 2) what their needs and wants 3) when they buy, 4) how they decide on what and where to purchase 5) where does your audience spend their time at online, 6) what is their level of comfort with their current situation and etc.
To understand who your competitions are it is a must beginning with a list of both long and short tail keywords that your audience uses to land on your website (you can find this with Google Analytics) and then searching for these terms on Alexa and Keyword Spy. The sites that show up in when you search for these keywords are likely to be your most likely sources of online competition. Often this list will include retailers, manufacturers, content portals and affiliate sites and that is fine.
Once you know who you’re competing against you can find out what their doing by using tools such as Hubspot’s Website Grader, you can analyze their search engine strategy using tools such as Spyfu, you can look at their blog and you can observe their social media profiles to see what their saying and to see whose speaking for them.
2. Set SMART Goals
The first thing that you should know when it comes to setting goals for your products is that you need goals that are SMART-specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timetabled.
Next you should know that there are two types of goals that you should concern yourself with when it comes to marketing your products online-business goals and marketing goals. These goals will provide you with the benchmarks that you need to assess the success or failure of your online marketing efforts.
Armed with the information that you have on the market for your product you will be in a position to set your business goals. Your business goals should address items such as sales, revenue, costs, and profitability. Since the type and degree of online marketing tactics will be influenced by your budget you will want to also take your financial position into consideration when putting your business goals together.
Your marketing goals should be designed so that your product sales will allow you to meet your company’s business goals. They should include metrics such as monthly website visits, page views, ad impressions, clicks, click trough rate, conversion rate, cost per conversion, average transaction value, and etc.
3. Develop Your Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch, which is also sometimes referred to as a unique selling point (USP), is a tool that you use to etch your brand’s unique qualities into the mind of your audience. In short its what separates you from your competition and it is what let’s your audience know how your product will solve their problems. The Elevator Pitch is one of the most important parts of a sales and marketing strategy for any business. Sadly most people get it wrong, or even don’t know what it is, or how important it is from a business development viewpoint and this can severely limit the potential to obtain new business. However, get it right and you will see a serious increase in business opportunities. The Elevator Pitch comes into play when you meet people and this can be in a number of different ways. You’ve heard the saying “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression” and this is particularly true when you first meet potential new business prospects. The elevator pitch term derives from the idea of having a to the point short speech you will be able to deliver successfully in case you should be lucky to have 30 seconds in an elevator with the right person…
Steps to a Great Elevator Pitch:
1) Your elevator pitch should solve a problem or need. It’s important your website solves your buyers needs or problems. The tighter and more specific the problem or need the better.
2) Speak to your buyer. Who’s the who? Who is your website for? Who are you attempting to attract? Make sure you message matches your target market.
3) Be crystal clear in your message. It’s not time to get cute here. Make sure you’re elevator pitch communicates exactly what you do. ( Try your elevator pitch out on someone NOT familiar with your industry. If they understand what you’re communicating it’s probably a good pitch)
4) Keep it short and sweet. Most people ( especially online), have short attention spans. Make sure you get right to the point and eliminate unnecessary words and flowery language.
5) Give specific results. Numbers don’t lie. If you’re a copywriter and you’ve written a piece that pulled 42% for one of your clients, make sure you use it. If you’re a dentist and you’ve successfully improved 2,375 smiles…say it!
6) Use Curiosity. The human mind hates emptiness and must fill the void. This is why late night news casts use curiosity in their headlines.
7) Be ready to tell folks more. This is particularly true if you’re sharing your elevator pitch face to face with a prospect. If you’re crafted a tasty elevator pitch, your buyers will want to know more. Be ready to give it to them.
4. Finding an Online Home
Now that you’re about to begin marketing your product(s) online you will want to determine which type of website is the most suitable to help accomplish your goals. The basic options that you have are:
- Squeeze Page. This type of site consists of a single page, usually with no navigation that begins with copy and leads into the crescendo-a product sales offer. It works best when you have one product and want the consumer to take one action-which is either a purchase and/or to make a request for information. This is a tool for building squeeze pages fast that I recommend.
- Micro Site. A micro site is a miniature website that is typically built around one product; they often include several different types of commercial online content such as online videos, white papers, and etc. This type of website works well when selling expensive or complicated products.
- Website. This can be an ecommerce site, a blog, or a more standard website. This format works well when you have multiple products to sell. Often times marketers who utilize a complete website to market their products have several different landing pages-one for each product or family of products.
5. Promotional Plan Online and Marketing Strategy
The online marketing tools that you should include in your promotion plan will be based upon your goals, your audience’s online habits and preferences, as well as your company’s financial and time constraints. The most commonly used tools are:
- Organic SEO. Organic SEO is used to impact your website’s position within the search engine results for relevant keywords. Pros: This strategy drives targeted traffic to your site and has long-term benefits that often outlive your efforts. Surfers place more trust in the natural results than they do in paid results. Cons: It takes time for the benefits of organic SEO to materialize. It can be extremely expensive.
- Paid Search Engine Marketing or SEM. SEM is used to drive targeted potential buyers to your site via sponsored search engine results-think “Google AdWords”. Pros: This strategy can provide near immediate results. It also allows advertisers highly detailed analytics. Performance based pay structure-you pay only for clicks. Cons: Many a firm has lost their shirt doing PPC marketing. Campaigns can get expensive really quick and if you aren’t conducting testing you could easily get in over your head.
- Affiliate Marketing. Affiliate marketing is where you pay affiliates a commission on the sales that they help to generate for you online. Pros: Highly cost effective way to bring targeted buyers to your site. In addition to bringing you sales affiliates also give you back-links to your site. Cons: Your sales are dependent upon the strength of your affiliates. Although relative to SEO and PPC overall affiliate marketing costs are low the set up costs can be expensive.
- Online PR. Online PR speaks to the methods that you use to influence the perception of your online audience to your product(s) or brand. This includes social media as well as the management of your online newsroom and press releases. Pros: Relatively inexpensive to utilize. Since online pr often results in people sharing information with each other about your products, this tool is very similar to a traditional referral-you stand to get warm leads. Cons: You have little control of your message as much of online pr as the consumer primarily controls or drives social media. You also have less control over the type of traffic that your website will receive from your online pr efforts-meaning you could get a high percentage of window shoppers from this type of marketing.
- Email Marketing. Email marketing is a form of marketing where the marketer uses emails as the communication medium to reach the consumer-directly. Pros: This can be used to complement PPC marketing and it can greatly enhance the experience of your current customers. Relative to the other tools email marketing offers a very high ROI. Cons: You can easily alienate customers if you aren’t careful. If you break the CAN-SPAM Act you could be fined up to 16,000 USD for a single violation.
- Blogging. You can use a business blog to communicate with your audience while building your web presence. Pros: Very affordable. Easy way to establish your brand online. Cons: Can be highly time consuming. May take a long time to generate sales of your products.
Developing Your Marketing Strategies:
Your marketing strategy is the final process of your plan. Your plan must include both short-term and long-term strategies in order to succeed.
Short term marketing strategies are those that bring you a temporary boost in traffic. Although these techniques are very important to your over-all plan, they are only a temporary traffic source and must not be solely relied upon.
Short term marketing strategies include:
- Purchasing Advertising
- Participating in Forums
- Search Engines
Long term marketing strategies are those that bring you a steady stream of targeted traffic over time. These strategies will continue to produce results even years down the road.
Long term marketing strategies include:
- Opt-in Lists
- Social Networking Sites
- Social Bookmarking Sites
- Giving Away Freebies
- Article Marketing
By creating and implementing a balanced marketing strategy, using both short-term and long-term strategies, you will drive a steady stream of targeted traffic to your web site.
Dustin Betonio is a Translation Management graduate at University of Mindanao. His earlier career was devoted on customer service outside the information highway. Currently studying Law in the same University.