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Selling Online

What’s the difference between online and brick-and-mortar sales?

Q: How does the online sales process differ from brick-and-mortar sales?

A: The difference is merely in the process of communicating with the customer. But the basic goal is the same: to find more qualified customers.

Here’s a three-step process to drive more prospects to your Web site:

1. Build a user-friendly site. Start by allowing viewers to navigate easily through your site. Make sure the categories are clearly identified and are logically organized specifically and clearly. Is your site visually interesting? Are you keeping your site current and updated? Designing a Web site is no different than dressing a store window or creating an appealing advertisement. It must seduce all types of buyers. Remember, some of your prospects have never accessed the Internet before and don’t want to be taken through a complicated process. Keep it simple. Make sure your site is creating an impact. Research qualified Web builders and make it a point to see their work before you hire one.

2. Use a variety of advertising vehicles, such as print, telemarketing and direct-mail advertising. Make sure each advertising campaign drives customers to your site. Don’t count on people surfing the Internet to find you. For example, include your Web address on your voicemail an in all newspaper ads, brochures and newsletters. Say something to entice the reader to your site such as, “Check out our Web site and you’ll learn three things you never knew about (pick a topic).”

3. Join an affiliate marketing program. Think of it as practicing network marketing on the Internet. Take my friend, Cathy. She started a “kit business” on the Internet. The first kit she produced was an “Official New Bride Name Change Kit.” It’s an easy-to-use kit for new brides customized to the bride’s state and ZIP code. It contains all required government forms, personal record change forms, and, an instruction guide and checklist to help new brides change from their maiden name to their new married name. Then she created an affiliate program link on her site. This means she partnered with other complementary companies that have products or services that are compatible with her kit. One of her affiliates is an attorney who sells legal forms. If a customer or prospect from her site connects to his site and purchases his services, Cathy earns a commission check. Of course the same applies to the attorney when one of his prospects connects to Cathy’s site and buys a bridal kit.

You can partner with numerous other businesses on your Web site. But before you add banners (more partner links) to your page, research which businesses are compatible with you. If you’re part of the hospitality industry, for example, you can link with travel agents or realtors. Once you figure out who’s compatible with your business, then be sure your future partners are reputable. Taking time to research credentials is especially important on the Internet. Try to get a face-to-face appointment with your prospective affiliates. If they’re in another state, references will beparticularly important.

Another exciting aspect of the affiliate program is incentives. You can create perks that will motivate affiliates to drive qualified prospects back to your site once they’ve purchased from them. Affiliate programs cost nothing to set up and provide a quick source of income for your business. Go to Commission Junction Inc. for more details. It shows business owners how to make additional commissions off ancillary products or services related to what they sell. Check it out.

All the same principles that apply to brick-and-mortar sales apply to online selling: Follow-up, go the extra mile to please the customer, and ask them for future referrals. Online selling is simply another option you can tap to double your income and increase your lifetime customer base.

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3 responses

  1. I’m curious if you ever have problems with what people post? Honestly the internet used to be like a different place, recently though it has turned around. What do you think?

    02/03/2012 at 7:11 AM

  2. It’s pretty interesting that the mainstream media has changed the way it looks at this recently dont you think? What once seemed like a never discussed issue has become more prevelant. It’s that time to chagnge our stance on this though.

    02/05/2012 at 10:17 AM

  3. I must express my appreciation to the writer for bailing me out of this incident. As a result of checking through the internet and getting methods which are not helpful, I was thinking my life was well over. Being alive minus the strategies to the difficulties you have resolved all through your entire site is a serious case, and the ones which may have badly affected my entire career if I had not come across your web site. Your good skills and kindness in dealing with all the pieces was crucial. I’m not sure what I would have done if I had not discovered such a point like this. I can at this moment look ahead to my future. Thanks very much for this skilled and sensible guide. I won’t be reluctant to recommend your blog to any person who requires guidelines about this subject.

    02/09/2012 at 11:15 PM

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