AOH :: 10TIPS.TXT|
10 Tips for selling on the Internet and the World Wide Web
10 TIPS FOR SELLING ON THE INTERNET
AND THE WORLD-WIDE WEB
by Al Bredenberg, author of
"The Small Business Guide to Internet Marketing"
Can you make money on the Internet and the World-
Wide Web? Certainly. Thousands of other businesses are
making money and saving money right now in this new
But if you want to set up shop on the Net, it's
important for you to be just as professional,
businesslike, and cautious as you would be in any other
new venture. So I suggest taking time to get to know
the Internet and to develop a strategy. Let me clue you
in on a few vital tips that will give you a good head
TIP #1: GET TO KNOW THE INTERNET. DO PLENTY OF
If you're already on the Net, you're way ahead of
the pack. I've run into plenty of people who are gung
ho to advertise on the Internet before they've even got
their own account.
You need to know what you're getting into. Sure,
you can hire someone to set up a Web site for you.
Nothing wrong with that. But this is your business, and
you should have a good feel for how it's being
promoted. You know your business better than anyone
else. Because of that, you're going to find dynamite
ways to put the Internet to work -- ways that no
consultant or presence provider could ever think of.
In most places, especially in the U.S. and Canada,
you can get decent Internet access for about $25 a
month. If by any chance you're reading this and you
haven't already got an Internet account, here's my
advice: Go do it. Join in some electronic discussion
groups. Surf the World-Wide Web. Start communicating by
e-mail. Don't wait. Do it now.
TIP #2: BE A RESOURCE.
Internet users expect information.
So make sure your message is more than just hype.
Add value. Be an information provider. Participate in
online discussion groups, and be helpful. If you have a
World-Wide Web site, provide useful background
information about your industry, your specialties, your
areas of expertise. You will become known as an expert
on the Internet, and others -- including potential
customers -- will be drawn to you.
TIP #3: DON'T SEND OUT UNSOLICITED E-MAIL MARKETING
This won't help your business and will just get
recipients angry. There are much better ways to market
your product or service. Electronic mail is different
from postal mail. For one thing, sending out a
conventional direct mail package costs you, the sender.
But often your electronic mail message will cost the
If you become a regular user of e-mail, you'll see
how annoying it would be if your mailbox got filled up
every day with e-mail advertising. There's nothing to
be gained by this.
TIP #4: USE ONLINE DISCUSSION GROUPS FOR "SOFT-
Newsgroups and e-mail discussion groups can be
fertile fields for marketing. But watch out. Most
groups don't tolerate commercial postings. Instead of
barging in to hype your product, be a real participant.
Lurk and listen. Answer questions and offer help.
Include a "signature" block at the end of your
postings to let people know how to get in touch with
you. You'll be surprised how often this will bring in
leads from potential clients or customers.
TIP #5: CHECK YOUR E-MAIL REGULARLY.
People on the Internet expect fast response. I
recommend checking your e-mail messages twice a day.
Respond as quickly as possible. This shows that you're
serious about your Internet presence and that you care.
TIP #6: BEWARE OF "CREATIVITY."
I'm talking particularly about your World-Wide Web
site, once you start setting one up. Because the Web
allows graphical presentations, it's easy to get caught
up in designing something you like -- but that does
nothing to sell your product.
Make sure your site communicates and offers value
to the user. Make sure it's readable and that it's easy
to get around.
Your Web site doesn't have to be boring. You can
be clever, and you can be visual. But just remember my
favorite advertising maxim: "If it doesn't sell, it
TIP #7: KEEP YOUR WORLD-WIDE WEB SITE CHANGING, SO
PEOPLE WILL COME BACK.
Repeat visitors are more likely to become clients
or buyers, and they're more likely to recommend your
site to others. To draw users back to your site, you
need to keep it changing. Update your material. Take
advantage of new technology as it appears. Add new
features, new resources, new information.
TIP #8: USE CORRECT SPELLING, PUNCTUATION, AND GRAMMAR.
I'm surprised how much poorly written copy I see
on the Internet. Project a professional image by
correct writing. Even if it's a lowly e-mail message,
double-check it for typos or vague language.
TIP #9: INCLUDE A CLEAR CALL TO ACTION IN YOUR MESSAGE.
What do you want the user to do after he or she
has followed your presentation? Purchase a product?
Request a proposal and price quotation? Join a mailing
list? Ask for more information?
Let them know what you want them to do, and ask
them to do it in clear, direct terms. Make it easy for
them to respond. Set up a response mechanism -- a
direct e-mail link, a form to fill out, a button to
click. The more direct and immediate the better. A
phone number, a fax number, or a postal mail address is
a second choice but better than nothing.
TIP #10: PROMOTE YOUR INTERNET PRESENCE THROUGH OFFLINE
Let your regular customers and the public know
about your Internet presence. Put your e-mail address
and URL on your business cards, stationery, ads,
brochures, packaging, signage -- anything you can think
of. Send out press releases. Get the word out.
Marketing over the Internet and the World-Wide Web
can bring results in the form of leads, direct sales,
publicity, and image-boosting. Get to know the medium.
Work up a sound strategy. Seek out appropriate online
marketing methods that will get your selling message
across while respecting other Internet users.
Al Bredenberg is a writer, Internet marketing
consultant, and direct marketing creative consultant.
He is the author of "The Small Business Guide to
Internet Marketing," an electronic book, which can be
ordered online. Here's how to get information about the
book or get in touch with Al Bredenberg:
- CompuServe: 71371,225
- Internet: email@example.com
- World-Wide Web: http://www.copywriter.com/ab/
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