Monday, June 8, 2009

Common Sense Marketing: Get A Check-up

Common Sense Marketing: Get A Check-up

Mark Twain had said, "There are lies, damn lies and statistics." Marketing is no different. In this Internet age, information is at your fingertips for everything from A to Z to Google. It's easy to feel overwhelmed with the information overload and yearn for simpler times or just want the plain, simple truth.

Where do you go to get the appropriate advice to help promote your products or services? Sometimes the "marketing truth" is in front of you. For those building a business online or wanting to take it to the next level, the good news is you can use common sense marketing in your assessment of what has worked and what needs work. No, you can't do everything and sometimes it is hard to be objective. But if you have a product or service that is under-performing or has potential, then have a marketing check-up. There is help out there and, better yet, a solution to every problem.

So how can you deliver effective marketing material that will significantly improve sales and see if you are on target? Here are a few simple tips:

1. Solving a Problem: Is the Solution Quick to Understand?
Keep it SIMPLE. Credibility is a key factor in offering a product or service. Online your potential customer needs to see exactly how these benefits can solve their problem. Give them problems/questions they can relate to and answer their concerns plainly.

2. Does It Make Sense?
Keep it REAL. You only have a few ticks of time to catch viewer interest. So you need to have your marketing make sense. No contradictions and no over complicated offers.

Do your family, friends, colleagues, and strangers - old and young - understand what you are offering and how valuable it is? Can you explain it to them in 30 seconds or less and have them repeat it back to you? Remember, they are a cross section of a larger market with more or less attention.

Distill your message to basic features and benefits without complex concepts or terminology. You will be more impressive if you keep it real!

3. Spring Cleaning - Visual Clarity
Keep it CLEAR. When developing a new website or reworking an existing site, keep in mind your target audience: young, old, male, female, occupation, education and buying habits. Once you have determined the demographics, use appropriate visual stimulation - colors, images, graphics and offers - to enhance your content.

Chunk or subdivide your home page so people can go through the portal of choice to the appropriate interior page. If you are grocery shopping and don't know the store, you need visual stimulus or signage to help you find that can of beans. Same holds true for a website. Visual clarity translates into longer page views and deeper interest.

4. Do You Have a Roadmap to Your Destination?
Keep it SEARCHABLE. I know you already know this, but it needs to be hammered home. Even the best-developed site can under-perform if the traffic is not there. Your site must be constructed with content rich keywords and then optimized for search. This is where you need to allocate resources in your budget.

A properly optimized site will rank higher on Google and drive qualified traffic, generating more leads and sales. Your ROI will go up. Hire an SEO expert to review your site so you can quantify the effectiveness of your optimized site. It will be well worth it; and, incidentally, that's where the statistics don't lie.

5. What More Can I Do to Increase Sales?
Keep it MARKETABLE. Take advantage of all your marketing resources. The more noise you make, the more attention you will generate. Social media marketing has finally come into its own. You need to be active on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as article marketing, blogging and developing email campaigns. In short, be in front of your potential customers.

Connect with your list and become a familiar fixture on the net. People are more apt to buy from someone or something they know. Off-page marketing helps give you that street credibility.

People often react to straightforward answers to solve their problems even though they can be wooed by all the marketing extras, the value added incentives, and ironclad guarantees.

By: Bob Speyer

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