Understanding that the Internet is another vehicle for direct response marketing can potentially make you rich!
It's true. Not many people actually 'get it'.
Information marketing has much in common with the 'old school' mail order business. In fact, many of the practices you see online today such as two page direct sales mini-sites, mailing lists and unique products, come directly from the mail order model.
Every Internet Marketer would benefit from studying the mail order industry. The basic marketing principles and practices employed by the industry translate naturally to the online environment.
The five core priorities of successful mail order companies parallel those of the online marketer. They are: demographics, targeting, testing and tracking, up-selling and customer follow up. If you aren?t focused on these key areas yet, read on to discover why should be, and what it will mean for your bottom line.
Direct Response Lesson #1: Demographics
Demographic information provides an in depth profile of your potential customer. There are two ways to acquire demographic information, and two separate motives for each method.
? Acquire data from consumer data mining companies such as MarketShare Online? Acquire data from your existing customer base
The preferred source depends on your product development process and your current resources. Professionally gathered data allows you to survey the market and create highly targeted products. Rather than searching through keyword lists for potential niches, you can use demographic data to target specific classes of consumers based on their spending habits and disposable income. Your marketing strategy becomes much clearer with this data in hand. It allows you advance insight into your customer?s interests, pricing points and mindset. Now, you have a baseline against which to test the effectiveness of your sales message.
You should also acquire as much demographic data as possible from your existing customer base and mailing list. Even when you possess the resources to pay for this information you should still query your own customers.
Quite simply, you need to compare the profile of your existing customer base against your expected customer base. For example, if you sell a high-priced information product targeted towards small business owners, yet find that 50% of your list is composed of non-qualified tire-kickers, something is off with either your sales copy, your targeting or both.
Direct Response Lesson #2: Targeting
Here is a rule of thumb for you to memorize: interest and need alone are not enough to generate a sale. This is a controversial statement, I know. Ask yourself the following question, though: how often have you found yourself interested in a product yet not purchased it? How often have you needed a product, yet not been able to afford it?
The truth is that, in either case, despite your interest and your need, you were only marginally targeted when the offer was presented to you.
This subtle case points to the synergy between demographics and targeting. This is why mail order companies go to such great effort to acquire detailed information on the marketplace. Whether you send 100,000 pieces of mail or pay for 100,000 visitors to your web site, the goal is the same: put the offer in front of the right people, at the right time. If you put the right offer in front of the right person at the wrong time, it?s the same as no offer at all. It is untargeted.
Direct Response Lesson #3: Testing and Tracking
You absolutely must test and track everything you do. You must track your pay-per-click campaigns, your newsletter mailings and the paths taken by visitors to your web site. You must test your ad copy and your product pricing.
The testing and tracking phase of a marketing campaign marks the proving ground between demographics and targeting. Once you?ve acquired the data on your potential customer?s behavior, you must track their actual behavior to find out if it matches the expected results.
Until you do this, you are really only guessing at what works. Every mail order company places a tracking code on their post cards. This allows them to zero in on the exact location, age, income, race and marital status of responsive customers. When you first launch a product online, however, you are essentially blind to this information until you start tracking. As you gather your data, however, you will discover which search engines and which newsletters pull the best. Over time, you will be able to match this up with deeper demographic data collected from your list and discover, at the very least, the age and income of your customers and which search engines they prefer.
Can you imagine knowing that men between the ages of 24-34, for example, prefer Google, or that stay at home mothers prefer Yahoo? This type of data is priceless because it directs your targeting up front. This is the exact goldmine which awaits you when you devote careful attention to testing and tracking your campaigns.
Direct Response Lesson #4: Create Robust Order Forms for the Up-Sell
Your order form can pull more profit through impulse purchases than you realize. Many internet marketers seem to believe that one product should lead to one simple order form. This is probably due to so many of us being self-taught. We copy what we?ve seen.
Have you ever stopped to examine a mail-in coupon or catalog form? Even when the offer ultimately focuses on one major product, the form still includes an up-sell and sometimes even a counter-offer.
?Yes! I?d like to order the Incredible Bikini Wax System for $49.95 today! Also, please include my 14 ounce bottle of Instant Soothing Moisturizer, a perfect complement to the Incredible Bikini Wax System and a steal at only $9.99? (Up-Sell)
?Yes, I?d like to subscribe to Golfing Today! Instead of the incredible offer of 12 issues for $14.99, I?d like to receive a full 52 issues a year for $29.95? (counter-offer)
The reason for doing this, of course, is that the customer is already interested and already in a buying mindset. You?ve done all the hard work to lead him to your site and you?ve enticed him with your sales letter. He?s on the order form with credit card in hand. Why not use this moment to make a complementary offer? You can up-sell a related product of your own or that of one of your joint venture partners for a profit split.
There?s really no harm in making the offer. The customer will either take you up on it or he won?t. The important point here is that a robust order form, with additional offers, helps you squeeze out extra profit and cuts down the work of luring that customer back in the future to make additional purchases.
Direct Response Lesson #5: Post Sale Follow Up
What happens to your customer after the sale? Take a page from the book of mail order secrets and follow up with that customer! If you?ve ever purchased anything through a catalog, you know what happens. You end up on their mailing list and continue to receive catalogs and other offers in the mail.
In fact, you may receive so much mail from that one company that you become irritated! While I don?t recommend going overboard with your mailings, I do recommend moving your customers to an announcement list or newsletter.
You don?t want a one time shot with that individual. Rather, you want to build a lasting relationship. Your follow up process should be designed with several goals in mind:
? Keeping your name and brand in front of the customer? To build trust and credibility by sharing supporting material that adds value to the product? To maintain contact so that you can make additional offers in the future
Customer follow up is so important it can?t be stressed enough. There is a rule which states that 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your customers. In other words, if someone purchases from you once, they are likely to purchase from you again provided you take appropriate action and keep them connected to you.
Remember that your customers are human and may go through a variety of emotions after making a purchase.
They may experience buyer?s remorse. They may feel nervous about sharing their credit card information with you and then never hearing from you again. They may absolutely love you and your product and want to reach out for more information. You must tend to each of these variables in order to gain the customer?s trust and appreciation, so follow up!
What will you do with the five lessons presented to you in this article? You have before you a nearly complete outline of a profitable business system for online marketing. Take these principles to hear and put them into practice. Know your market. Speak to your market. Connect to your market. I guarantee your profits will soar.
Copyright 2004 Jo Han Mok
Jo Han Mok is a frequent guest and featured speaker at Internet Marketing bootcamps and conferences on subjects such as copywriting and Joint Venture Marketing. Visit his website to get a simple step-by-step plan that can take you from ground zero to having money deposited in your bank account from an online business every single day for the rest of your life!==> http://www.SuperFastProfit.com