Most businesses get advertising wrong. Online is no exception, as a matter of fact, in some sense it may be worse. Businesses both offline and online get brand vs. direct response advertising mixed up. Essentially, there’s no reason any business other than very large corporations needs to do brand advertising. Let’s talk more about this.
Everything about advertising has been thought of before. All this stuff you see on the Internet, free ebooks for the price of your email address, software you download and pay for a month later only after you’re sure you like it, tracking codes, A/B split testing, …all this stuff was invented before the 1920s!
Most of what we use in internet marketing is an application of the principals of the greats like Claude Hopkins, the advertising genius who thought of using coupons to track results of ads. (If you haven’t read Hopkins’ book The Science of Advertising then you’re in for a real treat!)
So, why is it that advertising is so misunderstood when applied to Internet marketing.
I can’t tell you how many times I get emails that say: “Help, I’ve got this great website, but no traffic and no sales! What do I do?”
Okay, in a nutshell, here’s the problem.
Let’s suppose you build a great looking website and put it on the Internet. Let’s also suppose you do some basic search engine optimization and, maybe, pay per click advertising so that you’re actually getting some decent traffic.
The question is what are you doing with the traffic? What do you expect your visitors to do?
Most websites ask their visitors to do too much thinking.
Suppose you search for plumbing tips. One of the search results intrigues you and you click through to the home page of a high-end fixture and plumbing supply company. There’s the usual About Us, Contact, Blog, Articles, Recent Jobs buttons on the navigation bar. What are you the visitor going to do? Probably you’re going to hit the back button and leave. If you stay on the site, you’ll bounce around some, then click out.
Really what could happen here? I believe most website owners with websites like this believe the quality of their website will convince visitors they are the ones to do business with.
I got news for you. There are a ton of great looking websites out there, all competing for your prospect’s attention. The best thing would be for the prospect to pick up the phone and call the company and talk to a real live sales person. That’s probably not going to happen, at least in 99 out of 100 visits.
What needs to happen is you need to take a page from the world of direct marketing and offer your visitor something free (but worthwhile!) in exchange for their email address. According to what you sell, you could offer your visitor a free trial of something.
Anything! to keep them and to get their email address!
Once you’ve got that, then you can start really marketing to them and building a relationship.
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Here’s the simple way to take advantage of the most cost-effective and efficient marketing strategy to grow your bottom line – Opt-in Marketing.
This instantaneous and effective marketing strategy can massively increase your business and grow your bottom line! It is virtually no cost and simple and will, when done correctly, build your credibility within your marketplace, position you or your business as an expert in your field and increase the amount of sales you make – both on and offline.
Opt-in marketing, or Permission Marketing as it is sometimes known, is basically obtaining your website visitors’ consent to receive your newsletters and other promotional materials such as information products, catalogues and free promotions via email. When you have someone’s email address (and their permission to send them information), they are practically inviting you to come and sell them something. Your subscribers want to hear from you, they want updates, and they want to receive your information. But only if it’s topical and of interest to THEM.
Be warned, opt-in marketing can create a valuable long-term relationship with your customers – often times without you even meeting them. This means you have to create a resource that provides value, topical content and interest. Above all, if you treat your subscribers with care, they will reward you handsomely.
So how do you take advantage of this lucrative new marketing medium…
The best way is via email marketing or eMarketing. A professional email marketing system will help you to easily manage your contacts, to create personalised and attractive content and to comply with international SPAM laws – however, you don’t need a professional system to take advantage of opt-in marketing. You can use your everyday email program, like Outlook or Goldmine – just remember to be vigilant with opt-outs and unsubscribers. For people who are using a professional system your opt-outs will be automatically unsubscribed without any action from you.
Opt-in Marketing can be used in a variety of different ways, for example…
It’s a great way to get repeat website traffic and/or customers. Email marketing is timely and topical, which means that your customers will be encouraged to visit and revisit your website for varying reasons. This means increased website traffic and more opportunities for you to create a relationship with your clients. Consider adding a sign-up box to your website interface to allow your customers to simply and easily sign-up to receive your information. But make sure that you include more than just “FREE Newsletter”. You’ll need to encourage your web traffic to sign-up by listing the benefits in bullet points and describing the useful information they will receive. Remember, you’ll need to sell it to them and make sure they know everything you will do for them.
It’s a fantastic way to generate new leads for your business – by receiving regular information from you, your subscribers are getting to know your business in a gentle and unobtrusive way. You’re effectively building rapport with your subscribers over the course of your online relationship. Don’t be surprised when you start getting new offline leads from customers who seem to know a lot more about you and your business – they’re subscribers who over time have developed a relationship with you and now feel comfortable enough with you and your business to buy.
It’s a effective method of creating a database of contacts to sell online products/services to. This highly lucrative method has changed the way many businesses do business. And finally…
Use email to communicate with your contacts, build mass credibility and rapport without spending time one-on-one. This reason alone makes opt-in marketing extremely time and cost-effective.
Sell products online and offline. If you have an online shopping cart, you can use opt-in marketing to sell directly to your subscribers. But if you’re product is a service or you don’t have a shopping cart, you can still use your emails to sell. Consider adopting any of the following strategies into your campaign mix – offer special deals or discounts, advise of upcoming sales, run VIP events, promote seminars or conferences. You could also try… selling meetings with Sales reps – i.e. use your opt-in marketing to encourage clients to set meetings with your sales reps, or package your time and sell consulting packs.
But what to send…
The emails you send to your subscribers should be presented in a manner that will catch their attention and keep them wanting more. We will never stress this enough; content is king and your subscribers will reward you if you can give them your best advice.
Here’s some ideas…
Prepare some well-written informative articles about your subject or service, but make sure your articles are related to your subject of expertise.
Provided your newsletters and articles are useful, your customers will be happy to continue to receive your opt-in marketing and other promotional material, and if you ask them, they may even refer your newsletter to friends, colleagues and associates. Of course this means more exposure for your business and more customers.
Another idea is to ask an associate to provide an article about their area of expertise, which will mix things up a bit and keep your newsletter informative and interesting. For example, if your business is real estate sales, you may wish to write articles on marketing your home, preparing your house for sale, and home renovations that will increase the value of your home. You may also wish to ask a mortgage broker to submit an article about obtaining a mortgage, which is of relevance to the reader too.
Offer some samples of your contents on your website, so that your subscribers will be keen to get their hands on all of the great advice and information they will receive.
How-too’s, Q&A’s, recipes, tips, and profiles are a great way to disseminate your knowledge and position you as the expert.
Case studies on important clients, and how your product/service has helped them are always well received by readers.
A few points to remember…
By providing well written, well researched, informative articles on your site, you will in turn gain a reputation for being an industry expert on your subject and more people will consult your site for information, research and advice. If you don’t have the time or expertise to create articles, a newsletter, or other opt-in marketing material, it will more than pay off in the long-run to hire an expert
Always include links in your eNewsletter to transport them directly to your website for more information.
Your email copy should be compelling and it needs to convey the message that you desire to impart to your readers. Remember, a confused person never buys, so ensure your copy directs your visitors step-by-step through whatever process that you need them to take.
Always check and double check your grammar and spelling.
Remember that search engines, such as Google, recognise the importance and value of articles, and having articles listed on your website or in an Article Manager will increase your Google ranking, which in turn will send more visitors to your site.
By providing well written, well researched, informative articles on your site, you will in turn gain a reputation for being an industry expert on your subject and more people will consult your site for information, research and advice. If you don’t have the time or expertise to create articles, a newsletter, or other opt-in marketing material, it will more than pay off in the long-run to hire an expert such as Altitude Communications.
What is a reasonable expectation?
Do you measure your response rate?
Do you have a goal for your response rate?
Do you know what can be expected from marketing results? Or are you just shooting in the dark and hoping?
Do you manage your actual response rate against the goal and frequently find ways to increase the number of prospects 5-10 times?
Just in case you don’t know, marketing response rate is, the percentage of people who respond by contacting you out of all of the people you touched with your marketing. So, if you send out 100 letters and get 5 calls, that is a 5% response rate. If you do two freebie speeches and get 1 client, that’s a 50% response rate per speech, or you could break it down to 100 people in the two speeches/workshops/seminars, and that would e a 1% response rate.
What’s more important here is that you know what can be expected from similar events from other coaches, set yourself a goal for your own response rate, while working that response rate up to what can be expected, and above. Don’t just live with what is “normal.” I’ve found that most of the time I can outperform “normal.” Maybe the question would be, Do you know what has to change to work that response rate up and up? We’ll discuss that over the next few articles.
So, what is your current response rate?
I’m amazed at how many people I talk with that have no clue what their current response rate is. Which means, most people are running their marketing (if they even call it that) by casting their marketing net out there and just waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting!
They have no clue what is working, what isn’t, or how to make it better. They are not in control, the economy, the market place, and just about everything else is . . . other than themselves.
And by waiting and waiting . . . they are just hoping and hoping. And, frankly, you’ll always continue to get what you’ve always gotten . . . unless you change something. And changing something means that you should be measuring so that when you make that change you’ll see the numbers go up and up . . . and when you see those numbers go up and up you’ll become an EXPERT marketer.
Right now, where do you grade yourself as compared to what is really achievable?
Do you feel like an EXPERT marketer?
What response rate would you consider for an EXPERT?
If you don’t know what should be expected for your marketing you have no idea whether you should live with what you are getting, or whether it’s even possible to be better.
The national average for direct marketing is around 0.5% to 1.0%. What that means is that every time these people send out marketing, whether it is a direct mail letter, a postcard, a brochure, they will consistently get 1 to 2 calls or contacts of some kind out of every 200 they send out. Do you get that much? That is AVERAGE. Are you even achieving AVERAGE in your marketing?
Now let me shock you a bit more. That AVERAGE statistic is average for those that do it and survive. Most take a stab at it, say it didn’t work (and they don’t really know because they didn’t measure it), and then they stop doing it. A FATAL mistake. Having successful marketing is CRITICAL to a businesses success.
In any case, even with a 0.5% to 1% response rate, most of you can be successful at marketing. If you need 10 customers a week, all you have to do is get 1,000 to 2,000 letters, or whatever your marketing is, out there.
But what would happen if you could get 5% to 10%. That would be 5-10 times more prospects.
What that takes is only a slight change in your marketing.
Here’s some levels you should be able to expect.
If you are getting
less than 0.5% — it’s not working very well – You aren’t connecting with your prospect, reword your marketing message, or who you are sending it to, so that you connect better.
0.5% to 1.0% — You are getting an average direct marketing response rate – This is workable for most people. But I recommend that you change your marketing message until you get up into the 5% or greater area. When you get there you’ll understand your market and be 10 times greater at it.
2% to 5% — You are just starting to hit your stride.
5% to 10% — You are Good at one time touch marketing. Great, now let’s figure how to use multiple mailer to nurture them to the next level.
10% to 20% — Now you’re really cooking.
20% to 70% — You are among the REAL professionals. This can be achieved, probably some help, and by nurturing your prospect along with multiple touches.
To get to 5%-10% for a single mailing requires that you stop talking about yourself and your products, and start talking about your prospects problems and solutions. We’ll give you some formulas in later articles.
A direct email marketing campaign can be one of the most profitable ways to promote your business, and can help you create relationships with your customers and build your business quickly and affordably. When first starting out, however, some business owners struggle to find ideas for their email marketing campaign.
When looking for inspiration for your campaign, keep in mind that your goal is to create an extraordinary email marketing campaign. You’re not going to be content with just sending some emails; you want to create a campaign that your readers look forward to receiving. You want to provide great information and create promotions that bring in orders.
With that goal in mind, one place to look for inspiration is other newsletters and web sites in your particular niche. Look not only for campaigns you really like. Also notice what other people are doing wrong, and what you’d do if you were in their place. What are they leaving out? The answer to that last question will give you important answers for your own campaign.
Next, look at other niches you’re interested in or involved in, that are not related to your business. Find examples of things these marketers are doing right, and what you’d do differently, and use those techniques in your own marketing. You can use their ideas as a stepping-off point for your own original ideas and materials. This is one of the most valuable ways to find ideas, because you are no doubt involved in a lot of niches and interest areas.
Plan where you want to go with your email campaign. Are you putting together a newsletter, regular promotions, an autoresponder series, a free email course, or a combination of one or several of these techniques? Know your goals and what you want your readers to do-subscribe, purchase, etc.
Also plan where your content is going to come from. If you’re writing it yourself, start making a list of titles and ideas for your email campaign. If you’re hiring someone to do the writing, you may want to suggest some titles and give your writer some room to think of more, as well. And if you’re using pre-written articles, such as those provided by the large article directories, start looking for niche articles that won’t have been used as often and will more likely be fresh to your readers.
When you’re first getting started with your email campaign, you’ll be looking everywhere for inspiration, and you’ll find a lot of ideas and suggestions as you go through the day. As you get more comfortable with what you want to do, you may not see as much inspiration. Get in the habit of continuing to look for inspiration and see ideas and think about how you can do something similar to or better than what someone else is doing.