Tuesday 07 October, 2014

Online Marketing Basics – How to Avoid Overselling

Online sales and offline sales are very different. Just look at the approaches used. Offline, we contact prospects directly and promote our goods to them face-to-face, using methods like cold calling, mass media advertisements, direct mail, and so on. Online, we do it in a much more subtle, non-promotional way through means like content marketing and social media.

The reason is that those direct, promotional offline methods don’t work online. People are turned off by marketing messages that shout promotion at them. Quite a bit of research shows that these traditional methods are still valid and produce results today, depending on where and how they’re used. But younger consumers are tired of the marketing message. Online, it’s important not to oversell.

The 80-20 Rule

In general, it’s good to strike a balance that’s about 80% non-promotion and 20% promotion. For example, you may write an informational article with no sales pitch at all with a small bio box at the bottom with a call to action leading the reader to your site.

Of course, it’s alright to promote directly online, but this balance keeps the promotional content in the background where it should be. It shouldn’t be the majority of what you do. Try to keep this balance.

Make It Personal

The older marketing techniques treat customers like numbers. You often hear the phrase, “It’s a numbers game.” Marketers look at statistics and overall trends. They aim their message at the average, trying to appeal to the highest number of people.

Online, it’s better to make it personal. Get to know your customers as individual human beings and tailor your message specifically to them. The internet is all about niche, so it’s better to create content that’s narrowly focused. Take a personal approach to your customers.

Offer Help

The best approach online is to offer help. Put yourself in the shoes of your typical web surfer. While they may be going online to shop, they’re more likely to be looking for information. They have some problem or question and they’re looking for the answer.

Online marketing is about offering this help. This is why we post useful content. Through helping people in this way, you come to be seen as an authority, or a go-to source of information. This is when it’s time to start rolling out the promotions, showing your audience that you have actual products that can help them as well. Make sure helping is the focus of your online efforts.

Flooding Your Market

One way to ensure you’re not overselling is to make sure you’re not flooding your market. If you give your audience an endless barrage of posts, tweets or other content, all of this superfluous communication starts to look like spam. Don’t do it just for numbers. Share content with your audience in mind.

Check Your Analytics

The best way to tell whether or not you’re overselling is to look at your analytics. If people aren’t staying on your site, responding to your email messages or engaging with you on social media, this is a sign that you’re doing something wrong.

Remember that you don’t have to shout your message online. Instead, offer something that fills a need and communicate its value well. Your products and services will sell themselves.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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