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A Quick Look at Some Marketing Basics

I thought I should put in writing some things about internet marketing which are based on direct experience.

It’s useful to parallel internet marketing with what might be called traditional marketing, or even running a shop on a high street. If you consider your book or your product placed on a website to be similar to a shop on a street, you can see how to better employ some basic marketing approaches.

In the old days, before ‘marketing’ became more than taking one’s goods to market, shops depended on ‘foot traffic’. If they could attract people into their shop premises, chances were increased that someone would buy something. This could be broken down further into

a) people who walk right past the shop without even looking

b) people who pause and look in the shop window

c) people who walk into the shop and browse around

d) people who take an interest in one or two items, but then leave without purchasing

e) people who take an interest in what is on display, and plan to make a purchase, but who are put off by the price or perhaps the manners of the shop staff

f) people who go all the way into making the purchase

to which I would add

g) people who are happy with their purchase and return to the shop later for more.

Let’s replace the word ‘shop’ with website. Basic SEO gets you placed somewhere on Google Street, the main highway, in the district where people might go to buy something that you sell. But you still have a) to g) above. The very first thing to do, then, after SEO basics are in, is to have a bright and attractive display in the ‘window’, or on the landing page, to catch the attention of passers-by. Usually these days this is an eye-catching ‘free offer’, what marketers call a ‘pattern interrupt’, something which, in this analogy, stops walkers in their tracks.

Many will pause, glance at your offer, but then continue on their way. Once you have their attention, you have to lure them inside with something that resonates even more deeply with them. Getting them ‘inside the shop’ or actively spending time on your site is the key: the longer you can get them to stay, the more likely it is that they will move further along the track you have laid out for them. This is how webinars and other videos work - you sit through them hoping to learn something, and the longer you are there, supposedly, the more you are leaning towards going further. In the minds of some marketers, ‘length of visit’ equals ‘amount of affinity the customer is feeling’. This can quickly become a false measure, however - making a customer linger on your site or in your webinar is a bit like trying to compel a prospect to stay in your shop. You have to be clever, inventive and understanding to generate real affinity. Which means you need to really understand your prospects and your customers.

Nevertheless, getting people to engage with your site is key. It’s more valuable than ‘number of visitors or hits’ because the amount of people who looked into your shop or even walked through it can mislead you viewed on its own. Many of them might have walked in only to immediately realise that your ‘shop’ wasn’t for them. You need a measure of real affinity; you need those people who are there because they want to be there.

To turn Visitors into Engaged Public, people who are lingering on your site because they want to be there, you need to ask things like:

  1. What are most visitors looking for? What’s their voiced NEED?

  2. What are the most Frequently Asked Questions?

  3. What is the ‘usual’ pattern of a visitor?

  4. Where do they come from and how can you get more of them?

If you had the above data, and were running a physical shop in the high street, you could develop a ‘sales patter’ or at least guidelines which would assist in engaging their attention. On a website, this would be the written copy in each page.

What about those visitors who don’t linger? You can’t get them to stick around, so what works with them? Similar questions arise. I would like to know:

  1. What are most casual visitors looking for? What’s their NEED?

  2. What are their most Frequently Asked Questions?

  3. What is the ‘usual’ pattern of a visitor who doesn’t stay for long?

  4. Where do they come from and how can you get more of them?

Again, this could lead to a better patter or better copy.

You should spend a little time working out that to have expansion in your business year, you need to sign up a certain number of customers within a certain time period. Something like this:

800 visitors to the website each month = 60 prospects engaged for more than ten minutes.

Engaged visitors to sales you should aim to have at around 75% = 45 sales

But to really flourish, you should have a 75% ‘return customer’ figure. That means three quarters of your purchasers should be coming back for something else that you offer. In this example, that would be about 33 people.

And after that, you need to design more for them to buy and achieve the same kind of returning customer percentage, which would give you about 24 more sales.

This really takes off when you install a ladder of products, so that you have cheaper items and then more expensive products as you go up.

But that’s another story.


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