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.