It has often been said that the true nature of marketing is four-fold, what is referred to as the four p’s of marketing:
* Place (distribution)
Most people who do business online look at the sole element of Promotion and believe that is the full range of what encompasses the marketing experience. These promoters tell their world audience that they are successful marketers, and the world believes them, because the general world audience fails to recognize the differences between marketing and promotion.
THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF PROMOTION
Promotion actually entails several activities. All promotional activities actually fall under the guise of communicating your sales message to your potential clients, a.k.a. your target market.
All communication between first contact and your after-the-sale customer service is included in your actual promotion. Some people lose sight of the message at this point. They lose site of the message because they feel that promotion ends when the cash register rings.
After-the-sale is as important, if not more important, than every communication leading up to the sale. Many professional marketers have pointed out that it costs six times more money to bring a customer to a purchase, than it costs to keep an existing customer buying your goods and services. Over the long haul, it is much more economic to protect your current customer base than it is to generate a new customer base.
Other factors that fall under promotional activities include:
* determining your promotional strategy
* determining whether you will use direct selling or indirect selling
* determining whether you will do the selling or employ a team of sales people
* public relations and publicity
* sales promotions
* educating your target market as to why they will need what you offer
* closing the sale
* after-the-sale customer service
* generating repeat business
DETERMINING THE HOW
First you must decide how you will reach potential customers. Once you understand who will most likely buy your products and services, then you must determine the most cost effective way of reaching those prospective customers.
If you are targeting the consumer market, you can generally go the direct sales method of advertising and letting customers order directly from your company. Or, you can go after the buyers of the major retail chains, to have your product placed in their stores.
Both methods of delivery to the consumer have different requirements from your marketing team and sales departments.
If you go directly to the consumer, you will need to set up an order fulfillment system, and a means to take the customer’s payments for your goods or services. You will need to decide on a 800 calling system or to put up a store front.
If you go through the retailers, you will need to set up a sales team that will go out into the field and talk to all of the relevant buyers to get your products into their store. You might even be able to go through the wholesaler system to get your goods placed at the wholesaler level, and to utilize their field representatives to sell your products to the stores that will be able to reach the consumer.
DETERMINING HOW YOU WILL COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR BUYERS
Publicity is often a function of capturing the attention of news agencies such as newspapers, magazines, radio and television, and giving them the incentive to create news stories that will tell the message of your business activities.
Public Relations is generally the function of putting a human face on your business in the eyes of the consumer.
Advertising is paying the above mentioned news agencies to tell your story to their own customers — readers, listeners and viewers.
Educating your target market generally falls under the helm of all of the above listed methods of communciation.
THERE IS A TIME TO SELL AND A TIME TO EDUCATE
A common mistake made by promoters everywhere is to fail to see a difference between selling and educating.
In the back of their minds, they are thinking that the point of their activities is to “sell” their stuff. So, when they sit down to sell their stuff, they write to “sell”. In many media’s, this is a catastrophic mistake.
A press release should never be written to “sell”. You are trying to capture the attention of news agencies and encourage them to tell people about your business. Press releases should be written and sent ONLY when there is something “newsworthy” about your business to share with the public. Remember, you are targeting the press, a.k.a. the news media, with your press release.
Look at this matter through their eyes.
They are looking to tell their readers, listeners and viewers about items that are newsworthy, because their users are interested in getting the news from them. They do this so that they can sell advertising to others. Their bottom line is measured in the amount that they can charge for advertising and the amount of advertising they can sell.
Why then would they want to communicate your sales message to their users if there was no news value in your message? They wouldn’t, would they? If you send them a press release that holds no newsworthy information, what is the chance that they will read your next press release? Your chances are definately greatly diminished if you waste their time now. If you want to sell your goods to their customers (readers, listeners and viewers), then you can buy advertising just like everyone else.
This same concept applies online.
EDUCATE ONLINE CUSTOMERS FOR PROFIT
Online publishers and webmasters need to share valuable information with their customers, so that they can sell more advertising to the people who are paying their bills. If you want to sell their users your stuff, then you should buy advertising like everyone else.
But, if you are willing to take the time to develop stories/articles that they can share with their customers, then you might just find that they will be more than happy to print your story/article in their online ezine or website, at no cost to you.
Whole industries online are driven by people who have learned the value of Education in the promotion process.
Just like the press release can generate news stories in print newspapers and magazines, radio and television, the free reprint article can generate significant traffic from publishers and webmasters on the internet.
The trick for reprint articles is the same trick that works for press releases. Press releases encourage offline media companies to generate a story based on news coming from a company. Reprint articles also educate and entertain the users of online properties.
If you want to sell in the ezines and websites, then buy advertising.
But, if you are willing to “educate your target market as to why they will need what you offer” by educating them about the uses of what you offer, then you are one step closer to being able to utilize the reprint article to generate sales for your online business.
The trick is that publishers and webmasters won’t print your article if you employ sales copy in your article. You MUST educate their readers about something of value to their readers. It may be how the reader can utilize a generic product that looks a lot like yours. It may be how to do things that would be important to the people who will buy what you are offering.
What is important is that you must keep the “sales pitch” out of your article. You must educate your reader about what is important to the reader. And when your reader finally reaches the end of your article, you should then provide a resource box about yourself. The resource box is the “about the author” information that follows an article and tells the reader why he or she should visit your website and why he or she should buy what you are offering for sale. And, do keep your resource box short. At most, your resource box should be no more than nine lines in length.
Your resource box should be constructed much like this: