This is a guest post by Tim Millett is an Australian freelance writer and journalist.
If you want to guest post on this blog, check out my guest post guidelines.
Forget any hype you’ve heard. Online marketing is about sales. Marketing is about sales, its success is measured in sales, and if you’re not selling you might as well be collecting antique teaspoons. Whether you’re selling share trading strategies or apps for iPhones, the basic marketing rules apply.
The online market environment
Online business is efficient, quick, and above all cost-effective. Businesses can run on a shoestring, and make huge profits. They can also shrivel up and die because they don’t know how to approach their markets. This is the toughest market on Earth, and to sell, you must deal with both your competition and your marketing issues simultaneously.
The only way to sell consistently is by effective marketing of your products and services. That means you need to concentrate on your baseline market, and use your marketing to get exposure and generate interest.
There’s a traditional marketing concept called “The Four Ps” that’s particularly appropriate online.
The Four Ps are:
- Product: Define the product or service
- Price: Quantify the price and profit values
- Placement: Identify the core market for your product/service
- Promotion: Define your promotional strategy
This looks deceptively easy. It isn’t. Get one of these things wrong, and you’ll be looking for a new business.
It is actually possible to make serious mistakes with all Four Ps. If you call a plumbing service a “water systems maintenance” service, what’s likely to happen? Total silence and lack of interest, because people are looking for “a plumber”. Get the profit margins wrong on a product, and you’re likely to lose money. Try marketing steaks to vegetarians, and you’re in real trouble. Promote your product to the wrong market, and nobody will even notice.
Core elements of online marketing
The Four Ps are like a checklist for online marketing:
- Product: Check out the market for your range of products and services.
- Price: Evaluate competitive pricing levels
- Placement: Decide where you want to market, and to which audience.
- Promotion: Cost your promotion and distribution across your market, then design the promotion to beat your competitors.
Important: Everything involving any outlay for marketing must be costed thoroughly. You should know exactly what your marketing will cost before you even start.
The market for your product needs to be very carefully identified. Your best market is always going to be motivated buyers, those who are regular users or experts in the product range. These people often know more about the products than the manufacturers, and they’re truly great customers. They usually blog about their favorite subjects, and can provide you with great, credible and very valuable recommendations. They can also generate a lot of user interest on forums, etc.
You see why targeting is so much more effective than saturation-bombing promotion. Only the truly interested people are actually worth the effort.
Try this as an intellectual exercise:
If you’re selling managed funds info, who’s likely to want to explore that sort of product?
How would you promote it?
Is an instant vision of investors and dedicated information websites the automatic response?
If so, good. That’s how you need to target your products. Be relevant, provide useful information, and a good product can get you more business than you would have dreamed possible.
Tim Millett is an Australian freelance writer and journalist. He writes extensively in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the US. He’s published more than 500 articles about various topics.
Great to see a fellow Aussie over here on Andrew’s blog. I really got a lot out of your article too. Thanks
Have been blogging for awhile now. The social proof and popularity of my blog is there. BUT bloggers are not my target market. Cos even those who are lavender lovers (my niche) still don’t buy.
Most of my customers are local and offline or those who come through Google search specifically looking for information/products. A few bloggers are customers but not the majority.
Also I have found blogging to be very labour intensive and my next site that I am building will be totally different. Have learnt a lot from the experience, but definitely my blogger mindset is changing to be that of a marketer.
Patricia Perth Australia
Patricia, then you have to optimize your blog with the words that will convert, those that people use in google to visit your website and buy smth. And this is the first thing to do if you want to raise your sales – you need targeted audience.
Great information Tim. I am with you on the product, price and placement. When it comes to to promotion part, I stumble. I was in direct sales ones, where it was a one on one. Now I find myself in a new ball game. When it comes to the internet I just really dislike all the emails where they are trying to sell you something, so I am at a stand still when it comes to promoting. Have any advice for me?
Thank you for outlining this selling for me. I do appreciate it and thanks Andrew for the guest post from Tim. Debbie
Thanks Andrew my last post is showing up on my comment. Your the best and always there to help. Thank you,
Patricia- Thanks for the kind words, we Aussies do get around, don’t we? Direct sales is tough, and if nothing else, it builds stamina. There’s one basic rule as a blogger and a marketer- “More isn’t better”. Concentrate on quality, and select your targets for best exposure.
Lavender oil (I use it myself, I’m into traditional herbs)is a major product for herbalists. They’ll pay attention to prices and quality, so work those angles.
Debbie, the best option to get around the spam factor is to reduce your exposure to all but a select few clients and your own network. Hope that helps.
Why forget the hype when hype seems to work? Everyday I see sales letters that have no real content and are full of hype and people buy these products.
Effective marketing is offering people something that they are looking for and at a price they are willing to pay.
Yes, the traditional marketing concept of the “Four P’s” is applicable to online marketing but I think we should add another P that too many online marketers do today and that is “Pester”.
Thank you for great tips, although I don’t develop products online but offer an offline service – many things you have shared apply to my situation and definitely something I can work on implementing