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Archive for March, 2012

Will Internet Marketing Sell My High Ticket Items?

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

A question that trainers, consultants, and professional coaches ask is, “How will an online marketing campaign sell my services?  The typical price is x thousands of dollars.”  The simple answer is, “It won’t”.  At least not directly.  However, it is possible to break down the campaign into sections and make small sales/relationship builders that result in easier sales for the high ticket services.

When directly marketing a product or service, price plays a factor.  How often do you get an email asking you to buy a car?  Hopefully the answer is never because no one is going to spontaneously buy something that costs tens of thousands of dollars.  Even online car listings require interaction with a sales person on site to ensure a vehicle meets a buyers wants/needs.  Ads for particular events or vehicle models are prevalent.  That’s because the ads are designed to get a person interested in visiting a dealer so the sales force can take over the sales process.

Trainers, consultants, and professional coaches are no different.  Most of the services offered run into the tens of thousands of dollars and there is no layout/copy that’s going to convert prospects directly to clients.  This is due to price as well as complexity of the service being purchased.  Prospects usually need individualized information about the training, consulting, or coaching which is very difficult if not impossible to duplicate in a static communication.

So the strategy for engaging prospects changes to some smaller offer.  This is typically done through small items like books, materials, or events.  Prices range from free to thousands of dollars for these items.  Typically the more it costs/the more complex it is, the more resistance there will be from prospects.

The effectiveness of these offers typically mirrors how engaged an audience is.  Someone that’ already engaged in an informative email, social media, blog, etc. campaign will pre-assign credibility to your offers and is more likely to take advantage if it meets a need.  Prospects that are new or blindly communicated to, will put little credence to an offer and will be strongly resistant to even minimal pricing/complexity.

Don’t take this formula as a suggestion to compete on price. That is usually a losing battle online as someone is almost always willing to go cheaper.  What it does mean is that expectations should be set based on the offer being made.

Here are two examples of offers that should have different expectations/processes for engaging a prospect:

  • Purchase our $20 book – This is a small investment proposition. It’s reasonable to expect that prospects will purchase the book with no personal interaction from an individual with your firm.  The engagement funnel allows for people to make direct purchases of the book from an online marketing campaign.  This pool of prospects can then be followed up with by the sales team to gauge whether they are a valid candidate for higher ticket services.
  • Attend a 2-Day event for $1500 – This is a higher investment proposition.  It’s unreasonable to expect any but the most engaged prospects to purchase based off of a single promotional communication.  It’s more likely that the online marketing will introduce the idea and the sales team can use that as leverage for getting people to sign up for the event.  Metrics and data from the online campaign can be used to form a contact list based on people that have some interaction with the initial communication.

The exception to this is the amount of time/effort/money invested in promoting an offer.  National speaking events rely on pure marketing (online and otherwise) to fill massive venues but they also invest significant time (typically 4-6 months lead time) and a large budget to promote the event.  In many cases, large speaking events are an inverse model for offers made by smaller training, consulting, and professional coaching firms in that they spend a lot up front for an event in hopes of selling large amounts of materials to attendees.

This strategy is an unreasonable investment in time and money for many trainers, consultants, and professional coaches.  In these cases, setting reasonable expectations allows for an effective action plan to be put in place.  Rather than relying on a marketing juggernaut, offers can be tailored to fit the amount of personal interaction outside of marketing that needs to take place to sell prospects.

Email Marketing and Social Media Aren’t in Conflict

Monday, March 5th, 2012

There seems to be a perceived conflict between email marketing and social media.  The conflict is usually summed up as social media taking the place of email.  The truth is that the two are intertwined and not at odds with one another.  Well done online marketing integrates the two to communicate to diverse audiences in the way they want to receive the message.

This post was spawned from a recent site review with a client.  Upon seeing that their site was netting record hits and realizing that social media networks were ranked 3, 5, and 6 for traffic sources my client thought he wanted to scale back on email marketing frequency.

So my client and I weighed the probable effect of that.  The first issue is that half the content fed to social media was featured in the email campaign so content management would be a wrinkle to scaling back.  The second major issue was how it could affect the success of the site.  Guess what the primary source of traffic was?  You guessed it, email marketing clicks.  In fact the clicks from that email campaign were 9 times as much as all the social networks combined.

Social media, email, and your website should be intertwined.  The goal is not for one to replace another, they all serve a unique role.  Maybe years down the a unified system that integrates all our web presences will exist.  For now it’s our responsibility to ensure each online marketing channel support the other.

Email marketing communications should include links to social network profiles.  Social networks should provide a sign up process to join the email marketing lists.  Both should point to your website and your website should have corresponding referring links.  In other words each channel supports the other.