Some tips to successfully sell anything online

sales-onlineWhat are some of the fundamentals that drive higher conversion ratios? The first, I think, is to reinforce your prospect’s existing pain. Here’s the catch. When you’re designing an online campaign, how would you know your prospect’s specific pain?

In one-on-one meetings, it’s relatively easy – you ask questions, lots of them. Here, I recommend the POCCAD approach, asking questions related to personnel, their organization, their current system, their current vendors, what applications they’re using, and who their decision makers are. Find their hot buttons and drill deeper.

Online, these tactics don’t convert well. Here, pain is relative to industry trends, and measuring that pain requires some research. I start with the search engines, typically Bing and Google, followed by industry specific forums. Pain can cover everything from slow Internet connections to issues related to their current provider.

values-onlineShowing Value

Value is perceived. You may not have the best product or service, but the perception of those can be vastly improved with effective copywriting. Here, professional presentation is key. You need to capture your prospect’s attention, then emotionally motivate them to action.

Minimize their Risk

Trust is key to minimizing their risk. There are several ways to convey trust. One of those is via testimonials, while another is a guarantee. Testimonials lend considerable credence, especially if that business or organization is well known. Guarantees won’t completely ease the pain of making a bad decision, but it does give the prospect a way out, should the relationship sour.

cap-the-offerCap the Offer

By that, I mean make your offer limited in some fashion, either by time, event or availability. We see these tactics every day in retail – when they’re gone, they’re gone. Don’t miss this chance to own this once in a lifetime deal.

A word of caution here as I see a good number of sites that don’t cap their offers, even though they say they do. A prime example of this would be a site that offers a certain price for the next 24 hours, and one week or several months later is still advertising the same price for 24 hours only. Your visitors will notice!

My take on this is that I think the vendor believes once visitors leave their site, they’ll never come back, and the selling proposition is hence lost. The problem with that strategy is that not all prospects are impulse buyers. I’ve learned this myself the hard way. Do some research before you hit that buy button.

Have an Exit Strategy

Either offer other related products (I see this all the time on sites like Amazon), offer a discounted price or offer some consolation for visiting your site – either a discount on future purchases or possibly a free report.

How you measure up to your competition

When your prospect measures your site against others they just visited, what compels them to act on your offer, and NOT move on to the next host’s site. Is it your bronze, silver, gold and platinum offers? When your plans blur with the competition, what’s left? The answer is perceived value and an effective call to action.

freeFree Offers

Sometimes, free isn’t really free once you add on the shipping and handling charges, and sometimes I’ve seen those charges be higher than the product itself. Take a product that sells for $9.99, but if you purchase it within the next 30 minutes, you’ll get a second one free (just pay separate shipping and handling – which turns out to be $16.99).

Don’t get me wrong. Free offers do work and work well. I would recommend however, that you do not give away something that you actually sell. If you’ve set yourself up as an expert in your field, that something free could be a report. Notepads with your company information are great too, as prospects will leave them lying around. When it’s time for them to pull the trigger, your information is already within their sights.

Good sales strategies don’t require you to employ tricky techniques

Just because you can’t visually see your prospect when you’re selling your products or services online doesn’t mean there’s a lack of good sales techniques at your disposal. Value-add solutions that alleviate an issue, problem or pain are the key to an effective marketing strategy.

videos-sellVideos Sell

Really, how hard is it today to create a video and post it to Facebook or YouTube? Grade school students are doing it! Even if you don’t know how, it would only take a few minutes or hours at the most to learn how. If a picture can speak a 1000 words, what can a two-minute video do? The answer is volumes. The task at hand is to be different than your competition in a way that sells, and videos, properly done, can effectively touch a prospect’s five senses, and dramatically improve your conversions.

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Steve

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