Peak SBC, LLC  

 

 

The SBC Small Business Newsletter

presented by the Peak Small Business Center

 

 

March 29, 2003

Table of Contents

 

Welcome

Quote of the Week

Administration

Featured Resource - WOW GRAPHICS RING

Staff Article - WHY WE SHOULD ALL BE IN THE INFORMATION DELIVERY BUSINESS
Guest Article -  UNDERSTANDING THE BUYING PROCESS CAN INCREASE YOUR SALES
Parting Comments

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Welcome

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Quote of the Week

The only way to find the limits of the possible is by going beyond them to the impossible.

- Arthur C. Clarke


Administration

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Featured Resource

WOW Graphics Ring

Need some new graphics for your website? Here is a list of some excellent sites, include many which offer fr^e graphics. If you need some highly original graphics and don't mind paying for them, this is the place to find them, too.

http://www.webvoodoo.com/wow/wow_sites.html   


Staff Article

WHY WE SHOULD ALL BE IN THE INFORMATION DELIVERY BUSINESS
by: Cary Christian


Those of you who are reading this article are involved in many different types of businesses. You sell software, books, art, hardware, services of all types, telecommunications, web hosting, ISP services, reference guides, and much more. But I believe there should one one common thread to all of our businesses. We should all be in the information delivery business.

I do not mean to imply that we should all write ebooks and special reports and stop selling what it is we sell. Not at all. I'm suggesting that you can increase sales of your regular products dramatically if you shift your FOCUS to information delivery as opposed to advertising.

Many people view their website as a billboard where they can advertise their products. They market and advertise to get people to visit their website where more targeted advertising and a hard-sell sales pitch can take place. The entire process consists of one overt sales effort after another.

If the overt sales effort is replaced with valuable information about the subject matter of your products, I believe your sales efforts will be more successful in that you will have higher conversion rates and you will attract more visitors to your site. Let's take a look at why I make this statement.

Let's assume that you sell severe weather clothing. You put lots of information on your site about the benefits of wool and polypropylene clothing, how they allow moisture to be wicked away from your body keeping you warmer, and how they will continue to provide effective warmth even when wet.

You provide informative articles and tips like this for every major type of product you sell. You also include selection guides that help people determine the products that are best for them based on their outdoor activity preferences and the climate they live in.

Within these articles and tips, you explain the benefits of your particular products, highlighting any advantages they have over your competition. This is advertising, of course, but you can state these benefits in such a way as to teach while you're advertising.

Your site has just become a clearinghouse of solid, useful information on how people can protect themselves from the elements. What does that do for you?

First of all, your site has become a resource that should fare very well with the search engines. The targeted content you've added will be rich in the keywords that describe your products and that people are using to find your products. Your content will also be original and useful which will greatly assist you in landing a listing in the Open Directory. From this, your traffic should drastically improve, and it will be very targeted traffic as well.

Second, you've turned the sales process into a learning experience rather than a sales letter. People who visit your site will be interested in reading what you have written and will likely bookmark your site and come back any time they need additional information. And while they're learning and enjoying all the information you provide, they will be subtly learning about your products and probably be developing a preference for your brand. Favorable feelings about the information you provide will translate into favorable feelings about your products, and they won't feel like they're being sold.

Third, you'll find other companies in complementary businesses will want to link to you. For example, a company that sells climbing equipment will want to provide your information as a resource to their visitors. This will help improve your search engine rankings even more and will generate more visitors for you as a result of people following the links to your site.

Fourth, you'll set your site apart from your competitors. People will enjoy your format and appreciate the information so much compared to the same old sales pitches and marketing techniques your competitors will still be using.

Fifth, you will be establishing your company's expertise in your business. People like buying from, and are far more comfortable with, companies that know their industry and their products.

The old saying "Content is king" has never been more true. You just need to understand that content can be tailored to your advantage and can represent a powerful sales message that emphasizes the benefits of your products in a most direct and easily understood manner. Keep these concepts in mind and put them into practice as you continue to expand, build and maintain your site. I know you will be pleased with the results.


Copyright (c) 2003


Guest Article

 

UNDERSTANDING THE BUYING PROCESS CAN INCREASE YOUR SALES
by Karon Thackston 2003
http://www.copywritingcourse.com


Most marketers don't give a lot of thought to the buying processes of their customers. That's a shame. Lending due attention to the buying process can have a dramatic effect on your sales.

What is the buying process? Where does your customer fall within it? How can you use it to help bring your customer to the point-of-purchase? Follow me as we take a look at the decisions customers must make before deciding to buy.

Each and every one of us goes through some sort of buying process when we make a purchase. At times the process is long and labored - as when buying a new computer. At other moments it happens almost without thought - when buying a box of your favorite cereal, for instance. But make no mistake. it does happen.

Generally speaking, the buying process consists of five steps.  Those products/services that are new to the market, are new to your customer, or are very expensive will require a longer period of consideration in each phase. Products/services that are familiar, that have market longevity, or that cost very little will require a shorter (even instantaneous) process.

Step One - Need/Want Recognition

During this step, buyers realize they want or need something.  They recognize that they have a problem or a desire, and they choose to find a solution. If this need or want is something along the lines of lunch, the buying decision can be made relatively quickly, without much thought of the actual buying process. Hunger is a quick problem to solve, most options are familiar to buyers, and the cost is usually low.

If the need or want is a new car, however, the actual buying decision can take weeks or months. There is a greater risk, new models and features come out all the time, the cost is high, and the possibility of making a "mistake" when buying is great.

Step Two - Information Search

Once the choice has been made to fill a need or want, your customer begins to search for information in order to make a quality decision that is in his/her best interest. Web sites may be visited (in which case you should offer some way for the customer to remember you, such as printable versions of information, downloadable brochures and catalogs, a way to bookmark your site, etc.). Brochures may be gathered (be sure to offer your contact information). Phone calls might be placed
(check to ensure you or your call staff has the information they need to answer questions). Free samples, test drives, and other means of "trial" work wonderfully to guide your customer through the information search stage and onto the evaluation and purchase stages.

Step Three - Evaluation

After your customers have collected all the information they feel is  necessary, they begin to evaluate their options and narrow their choices until they finally pick the one thing that they are comfortable with, and that they can afford. This is the time to follow-up with your customers. Is there additional information they need in order to choose? Did they have problems with the free sample that can be corrected? Your "presence" during the evaluation stage is important, so do your best to retain customer contact information in order to "gently" offer any additional details the buyer might need. (Nobody likes a hard sell, or to be pushed into buying.)

Step Four - Purchase

Once all the information has been evaluated, a purchase is made, and your customer walks away happy. right? Well. not always.

Step Five - Cognitive Dissonance (Post Purchase Anxiety)

While customers may have thought they chose the best solution when they purchased, many times customers later experience cognitive dissonance, a.k.a. buyers' regret. They second guess their decision and begin to feel uncomfortable about their decision. This is where trial periods, guarantees, and/or warranties come into play.

Customers will have more confidence in their decision, even after it is made, if they know they aren't "stuck" with their purchase. Having a guarantee to fall back on gives them the comfort to know that - should something go wrong - they won't be left stranded. Generally speaking, a guarantee is a psychological support rather than a literal one. Most customers never take advantage of guarantees. they don't think they need to. However, if a guarantee wasn't offered, the anxiety of feeling "all alone" would overcome many buyers and persuade them into asking for a refund.

Understanding each step in the buying process can help you structure your selling process and your marketing materials to cater to the customer. Take the time to consider what your customer goes through when making the choice to buy, and alter your business accordingly. In doing so, you'll increase your chances of making more sales, and landing more satisfied customers.

Most buying decisions are emotional. Your ad copy should be, too!

--------------------------

Let Karon write targeted copy and ezine articles for you. Visit
her site at http://www.marketingwords.com , or learn to write your
own copy at http://www.copywritingcourse.com . Don't forget to
subscribe to Karon's free ezine at
http://www.marketingwords.com/ezine.html .


 


Parting Comments

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