In 2014, in the digital marketplace, anything is possible. Today you can make international sales without maintaining a sales staff in a foreign country. You can bring your product to your customer’s attention without spending 25% of your annual profits. You can even market your product or services without a traditional brick and mortar office, retail outlet or other cash expenditures that would have been necessary, just a few short years ago.
The good news is that internet marketing has become more targeted and more interactive. The bad news is that, it has also become a lot more competitive and the opportunity window to convert traffic into paying customers is getting smaller all the time.
There is a stark difference between traffic and sales. The idea of, “If you build it they will come” has lost some of its appeal. In 2014, it’s not the volume of traffic or the click rate that determines success. This doesn’t mean that huge volumes of traffic won’t get a percentage of automatic sales. It just may be a smaller percentage than in the past.
It’s important to build on multiple platforms. Once you get the traffic going in the right direction, it becomes imperative that you start a conversation, get them to trust you and begin to engage them. It takes a seamless, persistent effort to both personalize and reassure your visitor, in order to turn them into a paying customer.
There are a variety of on-line marketing strategies across multiple platforms that can be used to target your customers. The successful campaign should boost the on-line presence of your business and convert that brand-new leverage into customers that return to you again and again.
There are 3 important steps in turning traffic into paying customers.
Use Multiple Platforms/Channels:
Local Listings: Update and add to your free listings at: Yahoo! Local, Google Places for Business, Yelp for Business, and any local SEO sites.
Search Ads: The ability to target customers based on their search history is still a valuable tool.
Email Marketing: At one time basic auto-responders blindly blasted out, generic batches of email at captive email addresses. This scorched ground approach often resulted in almost as many spam complaints as customers. With recent developments of more intelligent capture software (buying history, preferences) email marketing has become more targeted and relevant to the customer. It is an integral part of any effective on-line marketing campaign.
Social Networks: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+, LinkedIn, Blogs and Twitter are all doorways for the virtual referral. Using smooth transitions and layered targeting techniques social networks direct the flow of the traffic through unique and relevant content.
YouTube Video Marketing: SEO driven traffic to a well done video can turn a skeptical browser into a customer reaching for their credit card in minutes. Sometimes the visual reinforcement of testimonials and demonstrations are what turns the traffic into convinced buyer.
Mobile Text and SMS Marketing: In the last 18 months, the mobile market has grown with the user friendly IOS technology. Phone, tablets and a variety of android devices are flooding the marketplace. According to mediabistro.com 80% of adults 18 to 44 years old have their devices with them 22 hours a day. Each device is an opportunity to send your message directly into the hand of your potential customer.
Know and Engage the Customer
A successful internet marketing campaign is developed with the idea that each visitor is a potential customer with a name, location, email address, and phone number. Each person that comes to your site, Facebook page or your local listing is a potential buyer with questions, problems, preferences and needs. Capturing specific information about potential customers is the only way to begin to engage them and move them into your sales funnel.
Data mining has been around for a long time. In the past, the goal was to capture an email address to send out a series of emails to follow-up with prospective buyers.
With the creation of more sophisticated and nuanced lead-capture technologies, the savvy internet marketing plan uses the enhanced prospecting information to personalize and predict what the potential buyer needs. When marketing is tailored to respond in a direct personal way to the potential buyer confidence and trust in the company increases with each contact. In the information age, the internet can feel impersonal. If the seller “knows” the potential buyer and is anticipating their needs, the buyer is beginning to “know” the seller or the company that is providing the goods or services that they may ultimately purchase.
Depending on the product or service being marketed, the effort to answer questions, educate the buyer and generally engage them may vary. Internet marketing strategies will be customized to the industry and specific product.
If you are offering a service or product that instantly fills their needs, you can turn that prospect into a sale. Successful on-line marketing efforts anticipate customer needs, and solve customer problems. This intuitive approach captures and redirects traffic flow. You can gain the prospects trust through offering them free information, e-books, digital tools or even a free product or service. When they opt-in for the “freebie” the conversation starts. A creative marketing strategy is designed to turn the conversation between buyer and seller into a long-term mutually beneficial relationship.
Automate and Integrate Campaign
When dealing with volume traffic an automated response is required. A robust marketing campaign should be receiving multiple inquiries, sales and opt-ins daily. When the campaign is automated, lead generation platforms feed directly into an automated process that operates as a sales funnel. An appealing, consumer driven campaign, with relevant, unique and timely information is the key to converting traffic leads into paying customers. Data collected from a variety of sources (social networks, local listings, landing pages, etc… ) is stored into a central comprehensive lead database for future campaigns.
Automated interaction between the potential seller and potential buyer creates future opportunities to convert what may have started out as a tentative contact into a satisfied customer. The more solution oriented the interaction, the better the opportunity to close the deal. The longer you communicate with a prospect increases the chance of making a sell.
This applies to return customers, as well. They may have started by requesting a free report, but they have been developed through an on-going process into loyal customers impressed with the seller’s responsiveness. As traffic is converted to sales return customers are converted into lifetime customers by keeping them involved and interested.