The Basics are basic for a reason. And that may be the very reason they're often overlooked, neglected, or simply ignored all together.
The marketing ideas listed here are time-tested, customer oriented, and were successfully practiced long before the advent of the Internet Age. The Internet isn't new anymore, but after all these years, the full power of the common business website remains under-utilized.
1. Who Are You?
You obviously know who you are and have a deep understanding about what you do. But many first time visitors have never heard of you before, and haven't a clue as to what you are all about. They may, in fact, arrive at your site with a set of assumptions quite different than those you originally planned for your site to address.
What is crystal clear to you may be clear as mud to your new visitor.
That's why it's important that every single page of your website prominently display your Core Message, your Mission Statement. Whatever you choose to call it, it's essential that your visitors see immediately that they have come to the right place.
You may have a Slogan, as well, but a Slogan isn't necessarily the same thing -- although it can be.
"We Sell Widgets" may get the job done, but --
"Customized Widget Sales to Original Equipment Manufacturers" leaves no room for doubt.
Presuming you already have your Core Message Statement, when is the last time you reviewed or retested it? Is your statement Clear? Is it Precise? Could you recite it to your next contact in 5 or 10 seconds?
If necessary, reworking your Core Message Statement for the better shouldn't harm your Branding. Currently customers won't be confused, and new customers won't know the difference.
2. Who Are Your Customers?
A wonderful way to highlight your expertise is with a series of pages on your website, each detailing a specific job you did for a prominent customer.
Be sure to include:
- The Unique Problem
- Your Unique Solution
- Well-cropped Photos of your Solution in development, accompanied by vivid text
- Highlight a Key Employee or two, with Photo(s)
- Photo of the End Result
- Link to your customer's website, and/or other Location/Contact information.
This allows your prospects to get an "inside look" into the processes they can expect and benefit from, and can significantly raise their level of trust regarding your work.
But the really important part comes next:
- Once the page is live on your website, contact the customer so you can look at it together, in-person or over the phone.
- Than ask for a written Testimonial and a Photo of the Decision Maker, to be prominently displayed on the page.
Not every business will be able to follow this outline exactly. But with a little thought, you should be able to come up with a way to do something similar.
Once the page is complete, contact your customer again, make sure they are happy with it, and then, you guessed it -- ask for a referral :-).
3. Who Are Your People?
Your people are your best advertising. They are the smile on your business face, the key assets that turn your Company into a Community.
There are probably many people in your organization who interact with your customers and prospects on a consistent basis.
Create one or more pages within your website to highlight your Key personnel.
Do you have a team of salespeople out in the field or manning the floor? Each should have their own section of the Sales People Page, including Photo, any of their own company Contact information, and a short Bio. Include any special knowledge and/or skills that may be important to a prospect or customer. Restrict any personal information to things they tell all their customers, anyway.
Do the same for your Telephone staff, and any other personnel that are Key to the personal interactive functions of your company.
Way back in the Day, when I did Telephone support for the Outside Sales team, I would meet people at conventions who loved that they could finally "put a face to the Voice" on the phone.
A "stock" photo of a pretty model with a telephone headset doesn't cut it. By taking the extra steps to introduce the real people behind your service, you will easily set yourself apart from your competitors, and help establish emotional bonds.
4. Who Are Your Referrals?
The Sale is not complete until your customer is recommending you to their friends and associates. And, recommending their friends and associates to you.
Referrals are the ultimate confirmation of customer satisfaction. If a significant portion of your business does not come from Referrals, you are either not asking for them, or, you are not deserving of them.
Rarely will customers approach you with a Referral, but happy customers will often be quite willing to give you a Referral if asked. Asking for the Referral should be a standard part of the overall Sales Process.
And part of that Process is Follow-Up.
An Internet based business should always email a Thank You after the sale. This could be included with an announcement that the product has shipped, or separately, depending on the type of product or service. The email should always include Customer Service contact information. In the event there is trouble, you want to assure the customer in advance that you will respond immediately.
A second email should be sent after the product has been received. This email reiterates the Thank You, the Customer Service, and then asks for a Referral. Include a Link to an online Form set up for this purpose. You might consider offering a small gift as an incentive.
Admittedly, getting the Referral via email is more difficult than if carried out by a live Salesperson. But it costs nothing, and you have nothing to lose by trying.
The Basics of Trust
These Marketing Techniques are simple and easy things to do, and are things you really should doing already. They are some of the Basics that have proven themselves over many years, and set you apart as more professional, more skilled, and more competent.
All of these techniques are built around the idea of Trust. Building Trust is extremely important and so... Basic.
I have only listed 4 ideas here. I'm sure you have many more. Let's talk about them in the Comment Box below.
RickLaPoint has years of experience with Inside and Outside Sales & Marketing. He has developed software products with C++ for anticipating turning points for stocks, forex, and futures, and has given many live presentations teaching technical analysis skills. For more of Rick's Online Business Ideas visit his website.