From time to time people contact me through the blog, Facebook, Twitter or through the HEASLEY&PARTNERS website with a question, seeking advice. Sometimes those questions are ones that.many people have, so I like to share them here so everyone can benefit.
The other day I got an email from Chad telling me that he was trying to figure out how to actually sell a really great organic dog food that he formulated. He’s passionate about this product so he’s not giving up. Here’s what I shared with him:
You Need to Demonstrate Value – You can’t just plop a product on the home page and say, “Buy.” A glorified shopping cart is not going to work as a website. As a shopper, do you go right to the cashier and say, “I’ll take it”? Of course not. You browse, you read the back label and ingredients, you compare. The same thing happens online, so be sure you clearly communicate value to the customer before asking for the sale.
You Need Professional Design and Content – A site that is not professional breeds fear and doubt in the minds of the people you wish to serve. Is the product safe? Will I lose my money? What if I want to return the product? Are these people legitimate? Will my payment information be secure? You may have the best product under the sun, but if your website looks shady, you will scare people away.
“The truth about the Internet. It is highly competitive and there are no short cuts.The days of whipping up a website and making money are over and have been over for about a decade or more.”
You Need to Connect with the Customer – Once you have the basics firmly in place–you know what you deliver to the customer and you have made your site look and feel professional–you can really start connecting with the people you wish to serve. This is critical because it will set you apart from all the other competitors who say they are the best, tout their features and benefits, etc. Remember we buy with our hearts and justify with our minds, so connect heart to heart. Why do people buy expensive pet food, for example? Because they love their pets, their pets are their kids and they want them to never get old or get sick. It’s all about LOVE! What is the magic word for your product?
This photo from the Hawaiian Humane Society and a quick headline that I wrote delivers a great example of the “connection” I’m talking about. This is what is missing from most websites.
Give Your Dog all Your Love,
And Keep him Healthy Too.
You Need to Share your “Why” – You better have a story, a good one, for why you are doing what you are doing. Today, that’s a deciding factor in why people choose one product over another. “Because you want to make money,” isn’t good enough. That’s the reward, not the reason why. Your “Why” must inspire. It must connect. It must build relationships.
You Need to Provide an Obvious Call to Action – Design it right from the start and know specifically what your call to action will be. Do you want the visitor to buy? Get more information? Sign up for a membership? Get a free sample? Make it simple, obvious and then test, test, test. Try several different offers and see which one does best. Then keep testing with the goal of continual improvement.
You Need to Promote Until You Die – Marketing is a way of life, not an event, so get used to promoting your products all the time everywhere you go and create a special introductory offer. If you believe in what you are doing and have a good solid “why” it will be natural. If you don’t you’ll be a 24/7 sales person with no friends. See, that’s another reason why what you do has to be in your heart!
You Need to Sample, Sample Sample – A very smart person named Paco Underhill told me many years ago and I have advised my clients to do this now for 15 years: If you are serious about selling anything, sample it. Forever. The truth is, you can’t sell what you don’t give away first. A friend of mine built her entire multi-million dollar brownie business by getting the brownies into people mouths for free. Fifteen years later, she still samples and brings brownies everywhere she goes. If your product is as good as you say it is, people will tell other people and you’ll have a real business that grows. If it isn’t all that good, better to know so you can improve the product.
You Need to Make Winning Over Evangelists Job 1 – When you sample and your brand experience wins over customers, it’s your job to turn them into evangelists. How? By communicating, talking with them, asking for their advice, taking it and giving them an emotional stake in your company. Whole Foods is good at this. So is Patagonia Clothing Company. It’s harder for big companies. This is the real power of small start-ups. Use it!
Of course there are many other things that can help you sell stuff online, but these are biggies. They are non-negotiables, the cost of entry and most important of all, they are proven.
What is branding? Heart & Mind® Branding.