Fifteen or twenty years ago the Internet was relatively brand new, and sights, sounds, and messages from around the world bombarded those of us fortunate enough to have an Internet connection; slow as it might have been. We were like wide-eyed kids with our noses pressed to the window of a candy store. It almost didn’t matter what was being sold…we wanted one!
Fast forward to today.
The Internet has matured and become more competitive. The costs associated with driving targeted traffic to a website have increased. And, of course, the Internet consumer has become older, wiser, and more skeptical.
How does a sales professional overcome these obstacles when promoting their product or service on the Internet? Copywriting legend, Clayton Makepeace, creates quantum growth in sales revenues and profits by “Keeping it Simple,” and aiming for a reasonable 30% boost in each of five key metrics. Think about ways that you might attain the same results using these criteria for your Internet marketing plan:
- Increasing the number of new customer promotions per year — Clayton cites an example of one of his clients that did about six major mailings each year to rented mailing lists to attract new customers. The process of mailing and waiting for orders before doing another mailing took about 8 weeks minimum, and limited the client to an average of six major new customer acquisition mailings per year. Clayton suggested cutting a couple weeks off the time spent preparing each mailing (i.e. a new mailing every six weeks in lieu of every eight). That simple strategy allowed the client to do a new mailing as many as nine times per year for a 50% increase in mailings, and potentially 50% more new customers each year.
- Increasing the size of each new customer acquisition promotion — By studying data on response rates, average sale, and return on investment on every list, it becomes a relatively simple matter to pick a handful of lists that consistently outperformed all others. Simply designate those lists as “A” lists, and then index them against every other list tested. Once you have data on how well a package worked with the “A” list, simply use that index number to predict how well the other lists would respond to a new promotion package.
- Increasing the response rate to each mailing — This one is all about testing. Clayton routinely tests new headlines, premiums, offers, and other tests on control packages that bump response rates 20%, 30%, or more. He’ll often take his best two headlines and combine them with four offer variations, and then test his best headline/copy/offer combination in two or three cheaper formats. The trick is in knowing which of your letter components outperform the others and then combining those components with other high-performing components.
- Increase the number of times each customer orders per year — Everybody loves a good deal, and if a customer feels he got more value back than what he spent, he’ll become a loyal customer for a long time. Remember—the life-long value of a customer is far more important than any profit you could make off a first-time sale. In one instance, Clayton realized how each new customer stayed with his client for an average of seven years and made subsequent purchases that generated $3,500 in net profits per year. Therefore it was far more important to develop their customers into “A-list” buyers rather than shoot to make a profit on the first sale. This strategy ensured that the customer would be more apt to order additional products through subsequent mailings.
- Increase the size of the orders — “Vertical marketing” is a process where direct marketers mail a couple of promotions to their entire customer file each month. No matter who the customer is, or what he or she had purchased in the past, they got the same offer as everyone else. This might include devising special promotions designed to make a quick, second sale; upgrade mailings of products that appeal to buyers’ particular desires or concerns; personalized “renewal,” “re-order” and “we-want-you-back” promotions, and special discounted offers on the customer’s birthday, anniversary, or other special times of the year.
These processes lie at the very heart of direct marketing and should be thoroughly understood as you journey toward becoming a successful marketer and better sales person. Knowing them and being able to implement strategies to attain their desired results will pave the way for you to realize increased sales and profits!
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Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles