The more I think about online business in general – and especially online sales strategy – the more it connects back to what I learned when I had a bricks and mortar Planet 13 clothing store.
Online and offline businesses – are they really that different?
Attracting Customers To The Store
Traffic for an online business obviously equals walk-in customers for a physical clothing store.
The better your store’s physical location and the better your marketing, the more walk-in custom you get in your store. Obviously rental on the High Street of the city center is much higher than for a back-lane in the suburbs so it often means only the “big boys” can afford the prime locations.
The most valuable location online is Number 1 in Google for your main keywords. But the beauty is that this position is open to anyone who focuses on the right SEO marketing and social media strategies. These then drive traffic to your online business and the “rental” costs may be absolutely minimal (as little as the cost of hosting and labour costs for SEO.)
“Why Don’t You Try It On?”
It’s become more and more obvious to me how the best online sales strategies mirror what we used to do in the clothing store.
When the customer walked in to Planet 13 our sales staff didn’t ask them straight away if they wanted to buy a Metallica or Slipknot T-shirt. The first step was getting them to the changing rooms so that they could feel and see for themselves how great it looked on them.
Similarly with an online sales strategy what you need to be thinking about is “how do I move the customer along in the sales process?”
Too many online business owners force the issue by concentrating immediately on getting the sale, whereas in reality there’s a process involved and the customer will only buy when they’re good and ready.
So Where Are the Online Changing Rooms?
Online, a typical example when a prospect comes to you might be this:
- They find you through organic search and land on your home page, where there is an offer to opt in for a free report.
- They choose to opt in and provide their email address – that’s the first step to the “changing rooms”!
- An autoresponder email then delivers the free report to their inbox or directs them to where they can download it.
- Follow-up emails over the course of the next couple of weeks let them know a bit more about who you are, what your services are and let them know you are available to help if they need it.
- This has opened a communication channel between the two of you and has brought them, effectively to your online “changing room” where they can begin to feel comfortable with you and your product.
- There has been some bonding and engagement between you and you have built credibility and authority with them – and they have seen that you provide products and services that can solve their problems; they are ready to buy from you, just the same as that Metallica t-shirt fits perfectly and looks and feels fantastic and the price is right for them.
Do you see how online and offline sales are a series of steps that you need to have clear of in your own mind? Then you can use them to guide the customers through until the transaction and beyond.
Many of the same steps apply to t-shirts or online business services! You can pick up plenty more tips like this in the series of videos available on the learning section of the Melbourne SEO website. Just click here to learn more.