5 Lessons Every Internet Marketer Needs to Learn From Direct Mail Experts
Too many Internet marketers are limited in their viewpoint. They only want to read and see information which has been produced especially for the Internet. Well, I have news for you. I have learned more about Internet marketing through mail order and direct mail courses than I have through 90 percent of the Internet marketing products out there.
Mail Order has prospered for decades and it still continues to prosper even during the Internet revolution. You still receive sales letters in the mail. You still see ads through magazines you are reading. If you will open your eyes you will see that the "Death" of mail order has been greatly exaggerated. It is still alive and well on planet earth.
Mail order has withstood the test of time and can teach you how to create a profitable Internet business...if you let it.
Mail Order Lesson #1: Everything isn't profitable to sell by mail
You will see many people online who are trying to sell products that could have never made it through a mail order approach. The sales letter is too poor and the concept behind the product just won't fly. Plus, many of them are trying to sell products which can be picked up at any local store such as Wal-Mart.
These types of websites would never have stood a chance if they tried mail order. The expenses that went along with it would absolutely destroy their business - the postage, the ad costs, the fulfillment, the order lines, etc. They have chosen a hard road to travel.
The reason they have never realized that they have picked such a hard product to sell is the fact that they have never compared it to a mail order approach. Through the Internet and the free advertising available online, they are able to make money from even the most difficult products and the worst sales letters.
Even though they are making some sales through free advertising online, what they don't realize is that their time could be used much more productively by selling the "right" product to the "right" market. They could be making 10 to 100 times as much money by putting forth the exact same amount of effort if they had applied a few mail order ideas to their Internet business.
How does a mail order business choose the right product? The first test they put it through is that it must not be available reliably locally. It shouldn't be something people can run down to the store and pick up. It should be something unique or something that can presented in a unique way (if it is available locally).
The second test they put it through is that it must be easy to target the best potential prospects and buyers. People do not start mail order businesses and try to sell to everyone. They would go broke. The product needs to be something that appeals to a specific niche market (such as gardeners, model train owners, mothers, etc.).
Mail Order Lesson #2: Target Your Specific Market
Successful mail order and direct mail businesses target their market like a laser. They don't just go through the phone book and try to send a letter to everyone listed. They seek mailing list managers who can help them find specific lists of people who:
- Have Money.
- Bought a Similar Product by mail.
- Spent The Same Amount or More.
- Did all of the above recently.
They go after buyers of similar products. In other words, most successful mail order companies don't create a product and try to find people to buy it. They find people who WANT to buy something. Then, they create something to sell them.
Most Internet marketers have the process backwards. Creating a product and then trying to find people to buy it is the HARD way. Finding people who are ready to buy and then selling them what they want is the EASY way. You may be able to make money the HARD way, but why should you when you could be making so much more money the EASY way.
Mail Order Lesson #3: Use a Proven Sales Process
Too many people have jumped on the Internet bandwagon and have led us to believe that anything goes online. "You never know what will work," they will tell you. The way some "experts" talk you would never be able to figure out what creates successful Internet businesses.
Well, I have news for you. People have been selling products and services by mail for decades now, and every single one of them has something to teach you about creating a successful sales process. Some will teach you what to do. Some will teach you what not to do.
The same rules which have applied to mail order advertising still apply to Internet advertising. For example:
- Mail Order advertisers have told us for years, "The more you tell, the more you sell." Yet, Internet advertisers have tried to tell us differently. They have said people won't read long copy online. They have said people are too educated to be convinced by a sales letter. They have said that you don't even want to use a sales letter on your site. Guess what? THEY are wrong.
The mail order advertisers had it right...after decades of testing their hypothesis again and again. People will read long copy. People just won't read boring copy. If your sales letter educates the customer and tells them more than the competition, then you will make sales online. Good effective ad copy still works today just as it always has.
Mail order advertisers have told us to use a headline on every sales letter. Yet, Internet "experts" have forgotten to tell us to use headlines on all of our web pages. No mail order marketer would even consider sending out a letter without a headline. So, why would you even consider having a single web page without a headline.
Mail order advertisers have also taught us an easy method of increasing our response rates by an immediate 27 percent. All you have to do is put quotation marks around your headline and your response rate will immediately go up, because people believe the quotation marks show that you are saying something extremely important.
- Mail order advertisers have told us to write our sales letters like we are writing them to our best friends. Internet "experts" have told us to present a more professional appearance. Sales letters which have been proven to work time and time again are those which are written in a friendly tone. They use underlining to emphasize key points, shorts words, short sentences, and a personal signature in blue coloring at the bottom.
This same process of writing winning sales letters still works online. You don't want your visitors to think of you as a big corporation. You want them to get to know you personally and to bond with you. Then, once they know you, they will buy from you.
Mail Order Lesson #4: Keep Detailed Records Of Everything
A successful mail order business is always testing everything that they do. Nothing is set in stone until it has been proven in the marketplace. They track how much they spend for ads, how many people respond, and how many of the responders actually purchase their products or services.
Every new ad will be tracked in the exact same way. If they don't keep the records and haven't done their math, they won't be in business for long. Just because much of Internet advertising is currently free does not give you any excuse for not tracking even more specifically.
Mail Order Lesson #5: Develop a Control and Keep Testing It
When you hear mail order advertisers talk, they always speak of a control piece. This is a scientific word which refers to the sales piece which has already been proven to sell. The goal of every mail order business is to continually test this control document and try to outsell it with another piece. Then, once they find a piece which has been proven to outsell the first one, they will replace it as the new control. Then, the process of competition between the pieces begins again.
Do you have a control website for your product? Have you tested a website again and again to prove whether it is effective at selling your products or services? If not, then as soon as you are finished reading this manual the first time, start testing your piece.
Once you have a site that is making sales, then it is time to create a mirror page where you make some minor changes such as a new headline, a different picture, a different price, etc. Then, test that new page in the same type of medium as the first page. Compare the results. Then, test some other sites.
You should never be completely finished in testing your selling process. There is almost always a way to make it sell a little bit better. Think about the difference in profits if you find out that a certain product sells better with a $10 higher price. What if you sell twice as many by dropping the price 10 percent?
The marketers who are usually talked about as "Geniuses" are not any such thing. They are just people who have tested every possible method until they eliminated everything that didn't work. All they are left with is the BEST way to sell their products or services.
9 Easy Ways to Skyrocket Your Online Sales
Apply these marketing strategies to skyrocket your online sales.
1. Design your website based on your Unique Selling Proposition. Why should prospects buy from you instead of your competition? What sets you apart? What makes your products and services unique, better, and more desirable? Do you provide hard-to-find expertise, the best customer service, lowest prices, highest quality, fastest service, or strongest guarantee? Back up your claims with testimonials, statistics, results of studies, and other data. Stand out from your competition. Offer more. Make your offers unique. Be original.
2. Put the benefits of your site and your USP right on top of your home page. Many web visitors never scroll down past the first screen of information. Give your potential buyers the information they need as quickly as possible.
3. Include an "Opt-in" form to collect your visitors' email addresses. An opt-in form captures the email addresses of interested prospects and gives you permission to email them. Getting your visitors' email addresses and building opt-in email lists is essential to staying in touch with your prospects and turning your visitors into buyers. Offer something valuable to get your potential buyers' email addresses such as a newsletter, free report, consultation, discount, or special offer.
4. Stay in touch. Visitors rarely purchase the first time they visit a site. They want to get to know you before they are willing to spend money. Communicate consistently with your prospects through online newsletters and email messages. Give potential buyers reasons to return. Provide valuable information in your ezine. Mention what's new on your site. Provide special offers and discounts to your subscribers. Invite them to visit your website again and again. These techniques work. Try them and watch your prospects become buyers.
5. Ask for feedback. Find out what potential buyers want. Use feedback forms and email surveys to conduct market research. Ask what products and information they're interested in. What benefits are most appealing. What price they would pay. Analyze the feedback and adapt your site as needed.
6. Write compelling sales copy. Effective copy works just as well on the Internet as it does in direct mail. Attract potential buyers with benefits. Start each web page with a compelling, benefit-oriented headline. Tests have proven that the more you tell, the more you sell. If people aren't interested in your products or services, they won't read past the first paragraph. If they are interested, you can't tell them enough.
7. Motivate readers to do what you want them to do with action verbs. A call to action such as "call now," "order now," and "click here" can dramatically increase sales. Give precise instructions. Tell them exactly what to do. For example, tell them to subscribe to your ezine and give you their email addresses.
8. Include your URL on each web page. This will make it easier for people to go back to your website.
9. Keep search engines in mind when designing your site. Include keywords throughout the body of your copy. Repeated use of your keywords can improve your ranking with search engines.
Take a look at your website and see how many of these elements are missing. Implement these proven direct marketing strategies now to increase your online sales!
Eight Easy Ways to Boost Credibility and Online Sales
Credibility is a big concern on the Internet. If you want to sell products or services online, it's essential that potential buyers trust you. Follow these strategies to build trust with your website.
1. Obtain your own domain name. Your domain name is your unique address on the Internet such as www.websitesin5.com. You can register your own domain name once you activate your websitesin5 acccount.
2. Pay for hosting. Why should you pay for hosting when there is free hosting available? To have a short domain name and convey a professional image, you must pay for hosting and obtain your own domain name. Free hosting has many limitations and often provides only limited space for personal use. Your URL (web address) will be long and look like http://www.freeserver.com/yourname/your filename.htm. Most free hosting companies place advertising on your web pages that distracts from your message and slows down your pages. And it's difficult to get listed in major search engines when using a free hosting service. Standard hosting fees average $20-$60/month. Pay this low fee to increase credibility and gain your prospects' trust.
3. Provide useful content. Content is the most important element of your website. It gives visitors and prospective buyers a reason to come to your site, return, and refer others. It builds credibility and makes you an authority on a particular topic. Examples of content include articles, reports, newsletters, software downloads, discussion boards, book excerpts, and resources. Tailor the information to your ideal audience.
4. Update frequently. Studies show that people will spend more time at a site that changes regularly. Add new information often to motivate potential buyers to return to your site and build trust. It may take from four to seven visits before they buy. Remove outdated information regularly. Make sure the information on your site is targeted to your audience. If readers don't understand your message quickly, they will get bored and go elsewhere.
5. Make it easy to contact you. Provide contact information or a link to your contact page on every page. Include the name of a contact person, business name, email address, 800 number, fax, and street address. Give them a local phone number (international prospects can't use 800 numbers).
6. Make purchasing easy. Convenience and instant access are the most attractive features of doing business on the Internet. Make your order form easy to find. Provide plenty of links to your products/services page and order form and lead your prospects to your order form. Accept credit card payments. Give your customers several ordering options, including a secure online order form, and ordering by phone, fax, email, and regular mail. Some people won't trust posting their credit card online but will provide their credit card information over the phone or fax. Overcome buyer resistance with a money-back guarantee.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are not accepting credit cards online via a secured server, you will
7. Boost credibility with testimonials. Testimonials from experts and satisfied customers demonstrate the benefits of your products and are a powerful way to boost your prospects' confidence. Testimonials are much more effective than you touting your products. They convey benefits and confirm your claims. For maximum effect, provide the full name, title, company name, city, and state of the people providing testimonials.
8. Use correct spelling and grammar. Typos will weaken your credibility and sabotage sales. Spellcheck all documents and any changes you make. Remember that words like your, you're, their, there, its, and it's are not caught by spell checkers. Read your website carefully. Have others read it too and consider hiring a professional proofreader.
Apply these strategies to build trust and increase sales.