What may be obvious in offline marketing is often not that obvious in online marketing.
There are many new website owners that do all the right things – the right things as far as offline marketing is concerned… They offer a great product and pay close attention to:
– Convenience – Purchasing is easy. You don’t even need to leave your home.
– Price & Quality – They often offer products at a discount to offline merchants.
– Preference – They offer products for which they know a demand exists.
– Payment Terms – They provide easy payment options by credit card.
– Customer Service – They have a toll free telephone no. and offer email support.
– Return & Refund Policy – Have a no questions asked money back guarantee.
– Sales Promotions – Offer special promotions and discounts on a regular basis.
And yet, they fail to succeed! Why? Because they do not have credibility. People are often nervous to support an online merchant that they don’t know.
You always need to put yourself in the position of a potential customer. They don’t know you. They don’t know if your product is any good. Many people are reluctant to buy online using their credit cards for fear that their personal information will be stolen. Very often your customer will be hundreds or even thousands of miles away… You can’t hide behind your computer! Most people hate rejection. In fact, I believe this to be one of the main reasons people hate face to face selling and why very few people still do door-to-door selling.
Well, with ecommerce getting more popular all the time many closet salesmen are convinced they have found the ideal way to sell products without risking face to face rejection. After all, isn’t it better if a potential customer simply does not respond to your promotion instead of slamming a door in your face? Yes and no. You see, by hiding behind your computer it is really difficult to learn and improve sales techniques. Most offline salespeople are trained to sell. They are trained to spot certain signals from the buyer indicating his readiness to buy. They are trained to overcome objections. They often personalize a sales pitch based on the specific customer they are dealing with.
Online selling is more difficult than offline. You don’t have to deal with the same type of rejection that you find offline but your online rejection rate will be much higher than offline. Having a laser sharp focus is the best online alternative to personal interaction. A very specific niche and a very good sales copy. Let me explain. People search for specific information, often to solve a specific problem.
How many people have a problem with “dogs”? I would guess many thousands. However, can you solve thousands of problems in one sales letter? No. In fact, by being too general you are not going to succeed simply because people are not searching for general information. You need to be very specific. For example, returning to dogs. Your niche should be focused on a very specific problem, such as hair loss in dogs. The more specific the better. This way you will be able to offer a highly targeted solution. You will be in a much better position to identify with your customers and they will feel that you really understand their problems.
By being very specific you will be able to write a sales letter that really “speaks” to your audience. In fact, they should feel as if it has been purposely written with them in mind. How often have you read a book or article that describes exactly what you are going through? A book or article that really “speaks” to you… That is what you need to aim for in online marketing. It is the closest you can get to personal interaction without actually talking to someone in person.
You have to subtly convince potential customers that having a commercial relationship with you is in their best interests because you understand their needs and can offer them solutions. It is difficult to build commercial relationships online. You cannot compare a close friendship to the relationship between you and your local fruit and vegetable store. However, there is a relationship.
Chances are you support and will continue to support your local fruit and vegetable store if you have any type of relationship with them. Maybe the sales lady is very helpful, friendly and greets you by your first name. Many online marketers try too hard to sell before building a relationship with their potential customers! By trying too hard people will invariable question your motives. They may think things like “He is so friendly. I wonder what he wants from me” or “This guy is obviously only after my money”. It is very easy to try too hard and to scare potential customers away.
Online selling and relationship building need a subtle approach as described in the Briana Booker’s article on newtheory.com. Most people hate ending up on a website full of ads and flashing banners. In fact, you need to be gentle not to scare customers away. Make it clear to them that you understand their problems. Offer them some useful advice and only then inform them that you have the right solution.
Tip: Building a commercial relationship has many similarities with courting!
The customer is always right
There is a popular saying in the sales world “The customer is always right”. Well, I guess this point can be debated… What cannot be debated though is the need to always offer excellent customer service. Let’s face it. Without customers you simply do not have a business. If you want to build a successful online business you need to develop a reputation for providing great customer service. In fact, customer service becomes even more important when you sell online since you do not have any face to face contact with customers. Customers that may already be nervous about doing business online. Helping a customer in need is the best opportunity you are going to get at building a relationship with that customer.