Telling Is selling
If you are serious about being successful in an online business, then you must be able and willing to work hard to communicate with your buyers. If you aren’t willing to put in the kind of time needed to make your web site zing with commerce, then you need to take a serious look at your motivation for being in business in the first place.
Being online has a certain cache, but it also requires hard work, lots of research, lots of time and a dedication to providing your customers with not only what they want but also excellent customer service. If you don’t provide either of those things, are not available to answer their questions, don’t provide fresh content rich copy for your site, and update it with a regularity bordering on the obsessive, you will not be as successful as you would like to be.
And what would the point of having a web site be if your product doesn’t sell?
Before you can be a success in building a business and be a success in communicating, you need to know how to learn to learn. No, this isn’t a typo. If you can’t learn to LEARN then you will not earn. You need a good attitude to learn to build your business and to communicate. No two ways about it. That would involve attitudes, notably yours!
Think about attitudes. We see and hear them daily with everyone we deal with and speak to either in person, on the phone or by email. You know if you speak to an upbeat, positive person you come away feeling pretty great yourself. The “positive” was communicated in a positive way. On the other hand if you wind up talking to a little Bridge Troll with an attitude, you will come away feeling grumpy and stressed.
You cannot communicate in a positive way if you have had “attitude” handed to you. And you cannot communicate in a positive way if YOU have attitude either. As bizarre as this may sound, the way you write your website copy can be directly affected by your attitude and choice of words and phrasing. And if your attitude isn’t in the right frame of mind, people reading your website WILL know.
Another thing you will need is a personal mission statement. Why do I need a personal mission statement? Because if you don’t know what your mission is, how do you expect potential prospects and customers to know? Some of the things you need to include in your personal mission statement are why does your business exist, does it provide a service or product people want or need, who will your customers be and why will they be better off with your product or service. If you can’t answer these questions, then you need to take a long look at your reasons for getting into business in the first place.
IDENTIFYING YOUR AUDIENCE IS POWER!
With mission statement fixed firmly in your mind (and written out where you see it daily), you need to figure out what your market potential is and then know it inside out. You obviously choose your product or service because you feel it appeals to people.
Do you know why it appeals to other people and not just you? If not, better find out fast. How will it benefit them? You need to know these things to talk to your market. This is important because the larger your market, the wider your target markets become. The wider your target markets, the better the growth for your business.
To understand just how large your market potential really could be, you need to know what your product or service offers to people, how it will benefit them and why they need your product or service. If you for instance weight loss products, you will know instantly that virtually everyone, of every age, is concerned about their weight. In fact the weight loss industry is booming. Thus your marketplace suddenly becomes one without barriers. You can market to anyone, anywhere, regardless of age, job or geographic location.
Don’t kid yourself about your market either; you will need to work your market to succeed. You will need to invest time, and yes – money, into making sure you have up-to-date training, product knowledge and are committed to your product/service. Your online business is just like any other “traditional” business, it has to be worked to be successful. Your product/service will not sell itself, nor will it generate income on its own, or find you leads, or help you with targeting your markets. YOU need to do those things. And, if you do them in a slow, sure and steady way, marketing success WILL be yours.
THE TOOLS TO START MARKETING
As an online marketer you really need to know what you’re doing, where you’re going, what to expect, how to handle and how to find prospects. Wow, sounds like a huge task right? It’s not if you have and use the right tools, the right training and take action daily.
What tools do you need? There are a variety of things you can use. Instant messengers – doesn’t matter one or two you choose – just make sure they’re a major part of your marketing strategy. E-mail is critical. A well-written e-mail can work wonders. Use phone marketing even if you don’t fancy it all that much. One quick call to sales prospect inviting them to a special online weight loss seminar (etc.) says lots about your commitment to your product and customer service.
As long as you use relationship marketing properly, it will guarantee you loyal customers that you will keep. Article marketing is smart marketing. YOU provide well-written and relevant articles you’ve written to other Web sites, blogs and eZines for free. This sets you up as an expert, gives you leads, increased site traffic to your web site and improved search engine rankings.
Blogging and SEO (search engine optimization) are two other tools. Blogging provides an arena to combine text, images, and links to other blogs, and web pages about your business, product/service. You can post updates on what you are doing, what new additions there have been to your product/services, any specials/sales and even product photos.
SEO here means understanding what human visitors might search for, and to help match those visitors with sites offering what they want to find. Pay careful attention to this segment as it is crucial to you when you come to write sales copy for your website.
If your business relies on cold calls, referrals, instant messenger communications, and e-mails, etc. you will know the importance of having good website copy. You learn about your prospect and their needs through your interactions with them and determine how your product can meet their needs. Then you market to those needs in language that gets their attention.
MORE ON IDENTIFYING YOUR AUDIENCE
If you were asked why you built a website, chances are you would say it was to tell people about your company. Well, actually, the better thing to do when planning and building a site is to aim it at your intended audience – the customers who need and want your product. Certainly that COULD be anyone, especially if you are marketing weight loss products. However, it’s highly unlikely a horse trainer is going to be interested in your products. So you need to refine your focus.
Who visits your website? Prospects, existing customers, you do as well as your friends and relatives, your employees do and perhaps investors if you have them. Each one of these groups of people would be looking for different content. The way you have your website sales copy written will pretty much determine what the next step will be for each of these user groups. If you want to generate sales, give good customer service and communicate with employees and/or investors, you must have copy that moves them to action.
We mentioned this a little earlier in this chapter about knowing what your audience is searching for and how they do that. There are two ways to find out this kind of information. The first way is to ask your employees what people want and need. These are your internal sources. The answers are likely going to cover product specifications, pricing, availability, features and benefits.
The second way, your external sources, could include user surveys, site keyword and search engine keyword data. This will tell you what your customers are searching for and how they are searching for it. Usually this will mean you have website tracking software on board on your site. If you do, it is a rich source of vital information for you. It will tell you the exact terms visitors used to find you. Once you know what your visitors think is important, you can write copy to fulfill that need, and lay your site out to better supply the information they want.
You can also use search engine keyword research tools. This gives you a slightly different view than site keyword data. It will give you a clear picture how ALL users interested in your product/service will search for those products/services. Understand the vast majority of these searchers won’t be landing on your site anytime soon. However, it does give you a good idea of the search terms/phrases used.
Generally speaking when people perform a search they are trying to solve a specific problem. Many search by describing a desired outcome to a negative situation. For instance the use of words such as improved, higher, better, more tells you the results searchers want. Others will search for a specific service. Basically, although the results of using search engine keyword research tools are interesting, they may not be as applicable to your site as site keyword data.
FINDING YOUR AUDIENCE
About the only way you can truly “find” your audience is to figure out who is going to be reading what is on your site. To do that you need to understand WHO your audience is (we’re using the weight loss site as an example). So this would mean you will be writing for people who feel they are overweight and want to lose pounds and inches safely and quickly. So already you have what their expectations are – losing weight safely and quickly.
What do they bring to your writing? They bring the expectation of wanting to find a website that will at last help them lose weight. What do you want them to take away from your website? You want them to take away hope and solid information on how to lose weight safely.
Really what you have here is the 5 W’s. Who is your audience? People who want to lose weight. What do you want them to know, believe, or feel after they read it? You want them to know how to lose weight safely, believe they can do it and feel motivated to do so.
When and where will your audience read your website content? All over in as many places as you can find to market and place your well written information. They will read it at home, at work, on library computers, on high speed and dial up Internet connections. Why will they read it? They will read it because it is well written and has good information in it. And it is positive and appealing to them. But they may also read it because they have to read it, or are interested in it professionally or because they are personally interested in what you have to say.
Your content is by necessity going to vary to suit your audience. And that means your style and format will also need to change. If you were writing on weight loss issues for Doctors, you’d use some jargon. If you’re writing for those who want to lose weight, you will provide content that is informative. The level you write to is something you need to consider. You will need to aim your content at those with a high school education, but still give those with a higher level of education the content they are looking for. This is all in how you write the copy.
What do you want your site readers to know? This will determine your style and organization, and will tell you if you are going to write about information or ideas.
WHY WORDS STILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE
In a nutshell, words still make a difference because they can be used to invoke feelings, thoughts, images and action. They can appeal to others on various levels – to the visual reader, the auditory reader to the kinesthetic reader. More than anything else in the world, words are the one form of communication that can deliver what we want people to know. They can convey simple truths, complex issues, humor and sorrow. Words are the be all end all in the complex world of communications.