Big Q: How Do I ...

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| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

Big Q: How Do I ...

So a big question I get from service providers is How Do I Sell Online? This question comes in many forms, such as (1) How Can I Sell This on my Website?; (2) How Can I be like RingCentral?; (3) How do I sell more on the web?; (4) What's that SEO thing?

Let's tackle the SEO thing first. (You can hear Rich Tehrani and I talk about SEO here).  Search engine optimization is about helping your website show up during one of the 31B searches done every month. But really SEO is about determining your best target audience and how they search for you and optimizing your online presence (website, blog, presss releases, etc.) to capture THAT keyword on page 1. There's a some marketing that needs to go into this. It's not all black magic.

First of all, you have to know your target market. Then you have to figure out what keyword or key words they would use while searching Google for your product or services. Considering the garbage pail names and vague press releases in our industry, just doing these first two steps will put you ahead of the game.  (Just becuase everyone is saying Cloud Comm, doesn't mean you have to also. And if you do: how about defining it in your marketing!)

So you have a target and your key words, now you want to create content around that. Blogs, press release, and working with TMC.

Next, let's look at your website.  What is it designed for? Who does it talk to? What is it saying?

If you want a website that sells your services, you have to design it for that. Online brochures, pretty flash objects, and all the bells and whistles don't help sell stuff. Don't believe me? Look at Amazon or as an example of site designed to sell.

All marketing is marketing. Meaning you have to use the basics: call to action, an offer, a headline, a slogan or elevator pitch, clear language, create interest, etc.  Just because it is online instead of offline doesn't mean that marketing is different.

I think it's funny that companies want more ROI and metrics for online but have been buying yellow page ads, billboards, print ads, radio and TV commercials for years without any real measurement. But all the sudden you need REAL metrics.

Yesterday, one marketing director was talking about how he had to design a system to take leads from his online marketing sites; his webinars; and his conference booths to track them and show ROI. I understand why this is important. But think about all the business cards that have been collected in the last three years that were never tracked.

Page views and biz cards are not the metric. They are A metric - a place to start.  You need page views and biz cards to get your message out. Then you need the prospects to take an action, ask questions, etc. You also need the info so your sales team can do its thing - qualify prospect and needs analysis.

Back to the website sales. You need traffic to your website. This can come from a variety of tactics: a PPC (pay-per-click like Google Adwords) campaign; SEO; email marketing; twitter; LinkedIn (but not Facebook since those folks don't like to leave their AOL-like island).

Next is the Landing page. You can have a landing page for each campaign. You can have more than one to segment and test your landing page. But that landing page has about 8 seconds to grab the visitor's attention and tell them a story that they want to hear.

After the story, you want to give them an offer and call them into action. Somehow you want to capture their contact info so that you can put them in your funnel for sales follow up, unless your website is designed to close them, which most are not.

The art of the website close is ease of use. If there is a hurdle or a jump off point or something loads slow or it something looks untrustworthy, they are gone. Ask web marketers about bounce rates and shopping cart abandonment rates.

So there are a lot of components that go into selling online. Maybe a little more than goes into selling IRL (in real life, offline). Face-to-face can build trust easier than a website. The basics of marketing are about the same. The thing is: online metrics are better than offline, so you find out fast how bad your offer is, your slogan is, your website is, your content is, your sales system is. Be Prepared for that.

Today, if you design an email marketing piece or a direct mail piece, your response rate is less than 1%  (a Facebook ad is less than 1/10th of 1%). You expect that. No imagine that you get 2000 unique visitors in a month (a good number in our industry, btw) and only 1% respond. That's still better than the direct response, but somehow it just upsets marketers.

Just some stuff to thing about.

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