Well for us at MADphilips, we want to giveaway NOT for free, but at a ridiculous discount one of our Differentiate Online services –blogging for business design.
Beyond Websites …
If your business doesn’t have a website, it doesn’t have a chance in the market. If you don’t have even a basic website up and running these days, your prospective customers and clients are going to have a hard time seeing you as being relevant.
But there’s more, having a website is no longer enough these days. A website all by itself is naturally static and tends to put your target customers off after the first visit. Just think about the websites you visit frequently, what makes you keep going back there?
It must be because they offer you something VALUABLE in terms of the content/information you have access to there. These contents/information are regularly updated thereby making the website more dynamic than static. Every time you visit, you know for sure there will be a fresh content/information for you and that’s why you can’t get enough of such websites.
This is the role of a blog. So, if you don’t have a blog attached to your website, you will lose every first time visitor to your website FOREVER!
Because you’ve given them no compelling reason to come back. All the things they need to know about your business, product, and service they have already read about on their first visit. So why return?
The Power of Blogging for Business
That’s how many blogs there are (in the world) at the time of this writing.
And, those are only WordPress blogs. There are millions of other blogs that are on other blogging platforms like Typepad, Drupal and Tumblr.
Those numbers are not a coincidence, they are real because many entrepreneurs have discovered the enormous power of blogging for business. I have personally experienced how it can take your business from obscurity to visibility.
5 more reasons why your business needs a blog
Your visibility-especially online, will increase with a blog. The more you write, the better the chances are that you’ll get noticed. And, not just by your potential customers/clients. Reporters, writers, and PR people read blogs too. All these can amount to free advertising for your brand. Remember, more visibility, more sales!
Search engines love fresh, new content. Search-engine spiders –those little robots that are scouring the web, 24/7, get energized when they locate something new…especially if it’s closely related to the words that are being searched by your customers/clients.
Active blogs…ones that have at least 1-2 original posts published weekly, provide that fresh, new content that search engines crave, which in turn, can increase your company’s chances of being found online by your target audience.
You need some. If you don’t come across as being a credible source of information, your customers are going to have a difficult time opening their wallets up to you…your business. Remember, credibility comes before profitability.
A great way to show just how much you know about the kind of products/services you offer is to write about it. These days, there’s no better way to do it, than on a blog. (It doesn’t even have to be done on your own blog alone. See #4.)
4. New Opportunities
Once you’ve been writing posts/articles of your own on your own blog for a while, you can start approaching others in your industry, or even a related one, and write a blog post for them. (A guest post)
Writing an article on someone else’s blog can provide you an opportunity to showcase your knowledge to an entirely new reader base. (And, possible new business opportunities and/or strategic partnerships.)
Just make sure that your post is informational and helpful in nature –not just promotional. (You’ll get an opportunity to promote yourself-your company at the end of your post, along with a link to your website or blog*.)
5. Keeps your head in the game
There’s something to be said for writing your thoughts down, as opposed to verbalizing them or keeping them in your head.
You know things that others don’t. Why would you want to keep those things inside of you?
Do you have an idea that potential customers/clients can put to good use right away? Share it through a blog post. Do you have some opinions about your industry…and what needs to be changed to make it even better? Consider sharing those opinions on your blog.
Having an active blog keeps your head in the game-your game…your industry.
Thousands of articles…blog posts…have been written over the years on the importance of having a blog. If you don’t have one yet, what are you waiting for?
No more excuses, here’s your chance to OWN a blog!
We’ve put together a ONE-TIME offer for naijapreneur subscribers this Christmas season. You can get an unusually crafted blog just like www.naijapreneur.com at 50% discount for the ridiculous price of N25,000 [$165] – this offer ends on Christmas day, don’t do business in 2014 like you did in 2013 click here to order now!
As more and more businesses are leveraging the internet to find, attract, convert and retain profitable customers, it’s now very important for your website to speak the language of your target customers.
Ever been to a website that left you wondering;
“What exactly do they do?”
“What exactly are they trying to say?”
“What exactly do they want me to do?”
“Why should I buy from them?”
Unfortunately, many websites make this kind of impression on visitors; no wonder very few people successfully convert visitors into customers.
The Customer Journey to Online Purchase
According to Google, in a recent study ‘The Customer Journey to Online Purchase’;
Marketing channels (such as email, display ads, paid search ads, social, and direct visits to your website) influence the customer at different points in the path to purchase. These channels are divided into two parts;
• Assisting channels: these channels build awareness, consideration, and intent earlier in the customer journey or “purchase funnel.”
• Decision channels: these channels act as the last point of contact prior to a purchaseGuess what? The direct visit to your website falls under the decision channels. As a matter of fact, your website is the last interaction channel your target customers will have before making the purchase!
Online, Content Rules!
Unlike your offline office, your website is your office online and neither you nor anyone of your staff will be present when your target customers come visiting, so you had better make a great first impression!
One of the ways to make a great first impression and hopefully a lasting one, is your content. Content constitutes the major part of your website. Besides the design architecture of your website, everything else is content; words, pictures, videos and audios.
Content is the way you tell the story about your business and how it can help your target customers. Online, content [words, pictures, videos and audios] all make up your sales force. And the greater part of your content are words, so literally, the words on your website will make or break your sale!
So in the end, it all boils down to one thing; are the words on your website focused on your target customers? Or are you busy talking about yourself and how great your company is or how long it has lived or how many branches it has, just as many others do?
The sole purpose of the content on your website is to help you make your target customers take the action you want him/her to take. It could be clicking on ‘buy now’, subscribing, calling, downloading, registering, etc.
Submit Your Website For CONTENT Review
During the month of October, I’ll be doing a free website content review for the first 10 entrepreneurs who submit their websites for review. To submit your website, use the comment section below this article.
And for you who doesn’t yet have a website, to help you leverage the power of the internet to find, attract, convert and retain profitable customers, we are doing an Independence promo to mark Nigeria’s 53rd anniversary.
Get an unusual web design for just $200 [N32,000]. This offer is only open to the first 10 entrepreneurs who orders from now till 7th of October, 2013. This normally costs $500 [N80,000], so you will be getting a whopping $300 [N42,000] discount!
What do you get?
- Domain name www.YourBrandName.com + email address[es]
- An unusual website design that is also mobile phone friendly
- An email optin-in form to follow-up on visitors and convert them into customers
- Search Engine Optimization to make your website visible on Google and other search engines
- Social Media integration to make your brand visible on major platforms like facebook, twitter, Linkedin and Google+
- Effective web content outline to help you craft compelling stories that sell your products/services
- As they say, seeing is believing, you can View our portfolio of unusual designs here.
Why should you BUY from us?
Here are some feedbacks from our satisfied customers;
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In addition, the Naijapreneur site was already working a model like I wanted. And Tito was passionate about the cause of my website, and it mattered to me to have someone who believed in what I was doing. That way, it didn’t feel like someone was just helping me to develop a site. It was more like I had a partner that knew where I wanted to go and decided to take the journey with me.
For me, the one thing I think you do that others don’t, apart from the fact that you know your work well, is the fact that you make yourselves available. Like I said, I had worked with others before, and they were not always available when I had questions or concerns. Tito was the interface for Differentiate Online, and he was never too busy to listen to my concerns and questions (and I had a lot of them!)”
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From your promptness in service delivery, I don’t think that others can respond to emergencies like you do. When we make an observation on what we want to be added, you just do it within a twinkling of an eye; to the fact that you bring out your heart to do our job as if it’s your own work, trying to surpass your previous works and most especially the high quality of your work, your contribution in helping us make a better alternative to what we presented to you.
Today what you did at inspirational tabloid is still generating good comments from our subscribers and readers. So if you are thinking of how to get a world class job with a good price, think of Differentiate Online!”
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“The one thing I really love about working with them, that I believe others don’t have is this; they apply themselves and go the extra mile. They listen and do their utmost to understand the client’s needs and deliver on them. They stick to it, even when it turns out to be more difficult than they anticipated. They strive to delight the client!”
– Bassey Daniel, www.SMEclub.net
“We chose them because of their leadership. From the way they own the entire process, to the enthusiasm to get hands-on and tackle every issue that comes up. You won’t find a better partner than them!”
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“Working with your company has been an enlightening experience. I like the particular focus of your company on educating the customer every step of the way. You didn’t just tell us how this works, you showed us how to make it work for us!”
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To order, enter your details below!
[ois skin=”Independence Promo”]
Since publishing my first e-Commerce post and also sharing the case study of how I made close to a million in sales within 3months, it’s surprisingly become a major highlight of naijapreneur.
I have been contacted by several naijapreneur readers from all corners of the world seeking for necessary guidance on how to go about starting their own e-Commerce business.
I have been contacted by two major media houses in Nigeria, a radio and Newspaper for an exclusive interview.
I have been contacted by a MBA student from the University of Leeds who needed more insights about the e-Commerce trend in Nigeria. And finally, the number of search engine traffic to naijapreneur related to e-Commerce has also increased.
These are just a few of the feedbacks I have gotten, so in this unusual article, I will be answering some frequently asked questions about e-Commerce that can help you get started on the right path.
8 FAQs About Selling Online
The following questions were asked during an interview with a major Newspaper in Nigeria and I have decided to make this available to you. In case there are more questions you need me to answer, I strongly suggest you use the comment section at the end of the post to ask such question or questions and I promise to answer them in a follow-up post.
(1) Who can sell online?
To really answer this question, I think the first question should be; “what can be sold online?” or “what can one sell online?” Either of these questions will help to answer the “who can sell online?” question.
You can sell either a service or a product online.
So if you provide any form of services to either consumers or companies, you are potentially qualified to sell online. And if you are a retailer or trader who buys and sells physical goods, you are also potentially qualified to sell online.
In other words, anyone who’s got anything of value [product/service] to offer can potentially sell online. The keyword here being ‘potentially’ because selling online is much more than having products/services to sell, it requires some basic skills which can only be acquired through training.
Using my business as a case study, I sell both products and services online. I sell my business development and internet marketing consulting services online and I also sell products such as; smart phones, tablets and shoes online through the fastest growing e-Commerce platform in Nigeria, Kaymu. I can do all these because I understand the dynamics of both models and have acquired the relevant skills through training.
(2) What is the start-up cost for selling online?
The startup cost of selling online is quite small compared to selling offline. There are two approaches or models to selling online;
- Creating your own e-Commerce site, or
- Selling through other e-Commerce platforms, for example Kaymu
Your initial startup cost will be greatly influenced by the model you choose and the nature of what you sell online; product or service.
For example, if you choose to sell online through your own e-Commerce platform, the basic startup costs are;
- Website design
- Internet access
- Cost of providing service/product
And if you choose to sell online through other e-Commerce platforms, the basic startup costs are;
- Internet access
- Cost of providing service/product
(3) What are the necessary things needed to sell online?
I think the answers provided above to question 2 and 3 should clearly suffice. However, let me summarize the necessary things needed to sell online;
- Value proposition – this can be a product/service or a combination of both
- e-Commerce platform – this can be your own website or selling through other websites
- Internet access – you can acquire your own internet modem or use a cybercafé
- e-Marketing skills – you can acquire them through training or simply hire an online marketing consultant to do the job
(4) Where can one get it and how much does it cost?
Not to sound biased in anyway, my company provides two out of the four requirements mentioned above through our integrated internet marketing solution for smart businesses called Differentiate Online.
We can help you meet these two necessary things needed to sell online;
- Develop your own e-Commerce platform or advice you on the most suitable alternatives to use
- Provide relevant e-Marketing training or strategic online marketing consulting services
There are no fixed costs for either of these services, because like I have clearly mentioned above, the dynamics of selling online varies depending on the nature of business and the e-commerce model you settle for. The cost can only be estimated after a thorough evaluation of your unique business. So kindly contact us for a free consultation.
(5) How can one learn how to sell online?
To learn how to sell online, there are basically two approaches;
- Trial and error – this involves teaching yourself without the guidance of an expert, coach or mentor. Using this approach takes a lot of time, effort and wasted money.
- Training – this involves acquiring relevant online marketing skills through the teaching of an expert, coach or mentor. Using this approach saves you time, effort and money.
(6) What is the process of selling online?
The process of selling online, again depends on the model and nature of business you are involved in. There’s really no hard and fast rule or one-size-fits-all process to selling online. You have to evaluate the uniqueness of your own business and the peculiarities of your own situation through the guidance of an expert, coach or mentor. Only then, can the most suitable process be developed for you.
Do not be deceived, selling online is all about online marketing and there can be no form of marketing without a defined strategy. The process of selling online can only be defined from your online marketing strategy!
(7) What percentage of profit can I make on one sale online?
As you must have realized from my previous answers above, there are many factors to consider when it comes to selling online and because of these factors, most of which are peculiar to different businesses, the percentage of profit on one sale online is not fixed. It varies.
But having said that, here’s the very interesting part; the percentage of profit you can make from one sale online can be significantly higher than what you would make from the same sale offline. Why? Because online, the cost of providing the product/service is significantly lower than the cost of providing it offline.
So the percentage of profit you can make from one sale online, ultimately lies in your hand!
(8) How do I build my reputation in selling online and how do I market my goods?
Again, this question is dependent on those factors I have already mentioned above. The way you would market a product is not the same way you would market a service. There are certain dynamics that must be considered while developing your online marketing strategy.
Regarding brand reputation building, the most critical factor that will determine how successful your online reputation will be is credibility. Without it, there is no way you will make any sale online. Before anyone will buy from you online, they need to know, like and trust you.
On the internet, sales are not made in an instant; sales are made by following-up on leads and getting them to know, like and trust your brand. This is why you need an effective follow-up system using content marketing.
Content Marketing means creating and sharing VALUABLE free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.
Content marketing is how you build your brand reputation online. It’s the engine that drives your entire online marketing strategy!
Over to you
I was asked these 8 questions by an interviewer, so if there are any other questions you need answers to, kindly use the comment section below to ask me any question at all relating to e-Commerce.
See you in the comments!
Then in January 2013, I came across Kaymu.com.ng while it was still in its early stage trying to break her way into the Nigerian e-Commerce terrain.
It didn’t take me long to see the market potentials of such a platform where sellers can be connected to over 60 million Nigerians online.
I instantly became a kaymu evangelist. This is partly due to my passion for entrepreneurship development in Nigeria and my successful experience with e-Marketing.
How It Began!
Being an entrepreneurial blogger and coach, I follow up startups both in Nigeria and globally to see how I can help spread the word about their new business venture through unusual interviews with the founders, and that’s how I was introduced to Lukas Zels, the MD of Kaymu.
And as I’ve come to be known for, I asked my typical ‘big picture’ question;
“what’s the bigger purpose for kaymu in Nigeria beyond the obvious –naira and kobo?”
And he replied;
“to empower Nigerians through eCommerce by building the safest and easy to use online marketplace community where genuine buying and selling can take place.”
As it turned out, the meeting ended with me becoming the official brand evangelist [PR consultant] for kaymu. My task was pretty simple; put kaymu to test and share your experience with the world.
My 1st Month Selling Online
I own a boutique business where I sell both male and female clothing and shoes. So I decided to create my own shop online to test run kaymu and listed the shoes on the platform, this was in February. Oh and if you are wondering why I listed only shoes and left out the clothes? Well, shoes are far easier to snap than clothes. Before the month ended, I was able to sell one shoe despite 5 orders, only one buyer followed through to pickup and paid cash –N3000. This wasn’t so bad since Kaymu opened to the public in February.
My 2nd Month Selling Online
Towards the end of February, I decided to expand my shop on kaymu to sell in another promising category other than fashion –phones and tablets. Since I didn’t sell phones and tablets, this was made possible by one of my e-Marketing clients who proposed a partnership. I help sell their phones and tablets online through kaymu and earn commissions on every sale.
So because of this collaboration, in March I sold one Blackberry Z10, an iPad4 and a Tommy Hilfiger shoe for a total of N223,000. Not bad huh?
My 3rd Month Selling Online
April was the best month ever, all of the marketing initiatives where falling into place and people were becoming more confident in the brand due to the number of successful deliveries and safe transactions recorded. So in April, I sold 7 Smart phones and 5 male shoes for a total of N613,547!
February – N3000
March – N223,000
April – N613,547
Total = N839,547
Why It Pays To Sell Online
- Besides the number one obvious fact that you get to reach a whole lot more people through an online shop, the most significant reason for me is the 24hrs 7days a week operational nature of an online shop. There’s practically no closing time online, you can be making sales while you sleep!
- Reducing overhead costs is one other reason why selling online is so super smart. You don’t have to bother about shop space, on the internet there’s unlimited shelf space. The amount of items you can sell is unlimited. As you just saw me explain, I expanded from just selling male shoes to selling smart phones and tablets and it didn’t cost me additional rent!
- And my personal favorite, growing your brand has never been easier. Online you connect with millions of people you would never have been able to sell to offline. And the bonus part, they become your customers as well not just kaymu’s customers because they buy from you directly not from kaymu.
- Safe transactions is another advantage you get by selling on kaymu. Unlike other free classified sites, kaymu is much more than a free classified site. It is an actual e-Shopping mall where you can buy from so many trusted retailers who have physical shops offline. On Kaymu, you are buying from real businesses not just some random individual who has something to dispose.
Over to you
You’ve read my story and as many naijapreneur readers have come to know me for, I hardly share what I haven’t personally applied. My own approach to marketing is simple; “don’t tell people what you will do, show them what you’ve done. Why? Because results sell faster than words!”
If this isn’t sufficient prove that Nigeria is in the early days of a heavy eCommerce boom, then you can choose to ignore this article. But if you are among the few wise ones, you will get in now while many are still contemplating and begin to reap the rewards of selling online. Here’s an invitation, click here to start!
If you need help getting started with e-Commerce, send me an email with the subject “e-Commerce coaching”. I will be putting together a workshop very soon that will help crack the e-Commerce code and only the first 20 people who send me this email will get a 20% discount on the workshop fee!
The term e-Commerce basically means; business done over the internet. Could be buying, could be selling or a combination of both; could be a product, could be a service or a combination of both.
It’s anything that involves using the internet or web as a business medium. In other words, e-Commerce refers to internet-based companies.
This model of business was popularized by American entrepreneurs between 1997–2001 when several e-commerce businesses were being launched; this era was popularly tagged the “DOT-com boom”.
All forms of companies sprang up with e-commerce ideas; anything and everything that was done in the real world suddenly had their online versions.
History Always Repeats Itself
Fast forward to today, 12 years later, Africa is on the e-Commerce spotlight. Suddenly, the whole world is focusing on Africa and her teeming population as the next potential market for e-Commerce. Foreign investors and venture developers are flooding the continent launching the clones [imitations] of successful e-Commerce sites in America.
And because my country Nigeria is one of Africa’s most populated nations, it has suddenly become the ideal market for several e-Commerce startups like; Kaymu, Jumia, Hellofood, DealDey, Konga, EasyAppetite, SunGlasses, Vconnect, and many others. It’s now obvious we are experiencing our own DOT-com boom in Nigeria!
Being a typical entrepreneur, I couldn’t help but spot these opportunities and in this post, I would like to share one with you; how you can own a shop online FREE and start an online retail business. Don’t know about you, but I see money to be made; I see a huge business opportunity; I see a new generation of entrepreneurs –the internet entrepreneurs who would take hold of this huge opportunity and translate it into a thriving business venture.
With this growing trend comes a huge business opportunity that only a handful of Nigerians are taking advantage of. Just think about it again; over 60 million Nigerians are online and counting. These are people with problems, needs, wants, aspirations and most importantly buying power!
How To Startup Your e-Commerce Business
The traditional cost of developing an e-Commerce site is so large that most small businesses are unable to afford one. And then follows the cost of successfully marketing the existence of such site, which is also quite expensive. So what’s your best option?
Own a shop online!
There are a couple of e-Commerce sites that now serve as online marketplaces where buying and selling is done between individual buyers and sellers or corporate buyers and sellers. The popular ones are what is known as classified sites, popularized by craigslist.
Other popular examples are Alibaba, DHgate and many others. These online marketplaces are designed to showcase your goods like you would normally do in a physical store. They have huge marketing budgets that allows them reach as many people both online and offline.
A typical example and the pioneer of such online marketplaces is eBay –the world’s largest online marketplace. The success story of several eBay merchants/sellers who turned millionaires as a result of trading on the eBay platform is enough proof that owning a shop online works. eBay has its branches in so many countries worldwide, but not yet in Nigeria.
Fortunately, there is an eBay clone now in Nigeria and it’s currently the largest online marketplace for buying and selling the smart way –it’s called Kaymu. The parent company; Rocket Internet is known worldwide as the leading e-Commerce incubators and have successfully started over 100 clones of successful internet-based ventures worldwide. As a matter of fact, the eBay clone they started in Germany did so well that eBay couldn’t help but buy it over!
I have previously written about two of their e-Commerce startups in Nigeria, Jumia and Hellofood. Being an entrepreneur and serving a community of unusual entrepreneurs, none of the previous two offers a solid business opportunity like this one.
To show you how big Kaymu is, even Jumia has a shop on Kaymu. Recognizing this business opportunity, I decided to give it a shot last two weeks and opened up the online version of my boutique business on Kaymu. Guess what? I sold 3 shoes within the first week I listed them on Kaymu auctions!
Here’s How Kaymu Works For Sellers/Merchants
- A seller lists an item [new or old] on Kaymu for FREE, almost anything from smart phones to laptop accessories, books to rare coins, etc.
- The seller chooses to accept only bids for the item [an auction-type listing] or to offer the “Fixed price” option, which allows buyers to purchase the item right away at a fixed price.
- In an online auction, the bidding opens at a price the seller specifies and remains on Kaymu for a certain number of days. Buyers then place bids on the item. When the listing ends, the buyer with the highest bid wins and gets the item.
- In a “Fixed price” listing, the first buyer willing to pay the seller’s price gets the item.
- Arrange with the buyer a suitable delivery option such as; shipping, physical pickup or payment on delivery = sales!
Here’s How To Own A Shop Online FREE Using Kaymu
There are 2 options you can start from depending on your preference.
First, if you are a retailer who already buys and sells offline through a physical shop, Kaymu is simply your online shop to showcase what you are selling already offline. If you fall into this category, Click here to sign up for a FREE online shop
That’s what I did with my boutique business since I already own a physical store where I sell unisex clothing for male, female and kids.
Second, if you don’t own a shop offline and would like to take advantage of this opportunity by selling other people’s goods online through the Kaymu platform, follow the steps below.
- Click here to sign up for a FREE online shop
- Decide any product [new or fairly used] of your choice that you would like to sell on your online shop
- Look for a company [manufacturer], store or seller around you who would like to increase their sales [trust me, everyone does]
- Introduce yourself as an internet marketer who can help them sell more via the internet through your online shop
- Negotiate a discount on the product[s] so that you can make a profit selling them on your online shop
- Take clear pictures of the product[s] with a phone or camera to display on your online shop
- Head over to your online shop and list the product[s], the pictures and their prices so potential buyers can contact you directly via email or phone
- Arrange with the buyer a suitable delivery option such as; shipping, physical pickup or payment on delivery = sales!
Head over to Kaymu and click on the register link to claim your shop online, FREE!
This opportunity is also useful for readers from other parts of the world, thanks to eBay. You can adopt the tips in this unusual article to ebay. And if you are interested in the Nigerian market, shoot me a mail and we can discuss more on how to make this happen!
Differentiate Online: How To Use The Internet To Find, Attract, Convert And Retain Profitable Customers
I launched naijapreneur two years ago to celebrate my 26th birthday. Last year, I launched the unusual entrepreneur’s journey ebook to celebrate my 27th birthday. This year’s gift is coming in a little bit late, but as they say, it’s better late than never!
So what’s this year’s birthday gift?
This year, I am launching a complete internet marketing solution that works for smart businesses. It’s called Differentiate Online. It is a combination of services, products, and education that will help unusual entrepreneurs leverage on the internet to find, attract, convert and retain profitable customers.
It focuses on helping smart businesses answer 4 critical questions essential to their success.
1. How do we FIND potential customers?
2. How do we ATTRACT them to checkout our products/services?
3. How do we CONVERT them from prospects into profitable customers?
4. How do we RETAIN them to ensure a long term win-win relationship?
In other words, how do you get your target market to know, like and trust your brand?
A New Era of Marketing
In the past, there existed only three major marketing channels available for businesses to send out marketing messages to their target audience. Collectively they were called mass media. What were they?
1. Print -newsapers, magazines, billboards, handbills or flyers etc.
With these three major weapons of marketing, the age of mass marketing was born. Businesses simply had to create campaigns and just spread them through these mass mediums. The war of winning the market was won by the business with the biggest purse who could spread their message or marketing campaigns through all three mass media.
The more of these three channels they could spread their message through, the more of their target audience they reached. This was how the marketing term advertising came to be very popular. The way it worked was very simple, hire some group of creative minds who called themselves advertising agencies to craft a marketing message or campaign for your business and simply spread them through any or all of the three major mass media depending on your budget.
Marketing then was all about the money; only those who could pay for exposure on these mass media channels had a higher market share. This made more and more small businesses to be left in the dark and contributed to their limited growth. Again, this is no longer the case. The game has changed because there has been an addition to the three major marketing channels available.
This new addition is not one-way communication or broadcasting as the previous three (print, radio, and TV) where only the marketer was allowed to spread their message to their target audience. This new addition is a two-way communication between you the marketer and they the target customers.
This new addition is not mass media, it is called social media and it is powered by the internet. The internet is the fourth marketing channel available to businesses to get their messages out to their target audience.
So today, we have the following marketing channels;
1. Print -newsapers, magazines, billboards, handbills or flyers etc.
The playing field of marketing changed forever with the invention of the internet. Why? Because it didn’t cost as much to be on the internet as it cost to be on the three previous marketing channels. Unlike other three marketing channels that existed before the internet which were privately owned and controlled by media companies, the internet is a public domain.
Meaning that no one person, company, country or government owned or controlled the internet. This simple difference made all the difference in the world of marketing. Because no one determined who uses the internet, it made it completely affordable for any one and indeed everyone to go online.
All it takes is a having website, which serves as your office online. Because no one controlled the price or cost of being online, small businesses now have a chance to make their mark in the world of business. Now small businesses are giving the big marketing spenders a run for their money. How does that make you feel as a small business owner?
Don’t know about you, but I personally believe that this is the best time to be in business. The playing field has been leveled. Anyone with a product/service can find, attract, convert and retain their target market into profitable customers using the internet as a marketing channel.
Today, both small, medium and big businesses now compete for the attention of the customer through the same channel —the internet. Today, with some little funds backed with a lot of will power and creativity, a small business can out-market the big competition leveraging on the power of the internet.
How To Differentiate Online
Below are the four essential elements you need to differentiate your brand online!
To DIFFERENTIATE online, you need an UNUSUAL website that STANDS OUT from the competition. Your website is your office/shop on the internet. It is the replica of your physical ‘brick and mortar’ office/shop. However, on the internet, you don’t have a second chance to make a good impression because the quality of what you are offering is judged by the look and feel of your site. So you need an unusual web design that is creatively crafted to reflect your brand, set you apart from the competition and captivate your target audience.
To DIFFERENTIATE online, your website needs to tell a compelling STORY that captures the INTEREST and ATTENTION of your target audience by clearly addressing their needs and wants. Your website is your office/shop online and the contents on it are your sales team. They have to be creatively crafted to help your target customers get one of the two things they are looking for online;
- A solution to a problem they have but don’t want
- A result they want but don’t currently have.
Your site must be able to clearly articulate the benefits of doing business with you.
To DIFFERENTIATE online, your website needs to be VISIBLE on search engines like google, yahoo, bing, ask, etc and social networks like facebook, twitter, linkedin, youtube, google+ etc. in order to ATTRACT visitors from them. The reason why you created an office/shop online [website] is to make the existence of your business known to your target customers. In other words, you want your website to be a lead generation tool for your business.
To DIFFERENTIATE online, your website must be able to turn TRAFFIC (visitors) into SALES (customers). The whole essence of internet marketing is to make more sales. But sales are not made in an instant. Sales are made by following up on leads and getting them to know, like and trust your brand. This is why you need an effective follow-up system. This follow-up system is your email marketing strategy, with it you can begin to nurture your leads to know, like and trust your brand through a series of sales letters delivered straight into their inbox!
Here’s What You Need To Do Next!
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