Marketing (not selling) Online

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Marketing (not selling) Online

Using online tools to increase awareness is a key part of any integrated marketing strategy today. But before you get caught up in the mechanics of e-mail blasts, posting articles/whitepapers, pay-per-click advertising, etc.-make sure you have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish. Remember, you are not selling, you are marketing.

Theodore Leavitt, the longtime Harvard Business School Professor and editor of Harvard Business Review, once distinguished selling and marketing this way: ‘Selling focuses on the needs of the seller while marketing focuses on the needs of the buyer.’

Online is the perfect place for you to focus on the needs of your buyer. In other words, you want to talk about them, not you. When you answer their needs, you position yourself as a solution provider that offers value and services above and beyond the ‘rest’-and that competitive edge is what you need to leverage. How do you make this happen? Here are some basic guidelines:

Ask yourself, ‘Why should they care?’ In everything you create-whether it’s a page on your website, an e-mail, an article, etc.-always keep the reader in mind: What’s in it for them? What benefit will they gain?

Are you being ‘meaningfully different?’ The innovation consultant Doug Hall of Eureka Ranch describes innovation as being ‘meaningfully different.’ Not just different for the sake of being different-difference that really matters. Are you getting across how your product or service is meaningfully different?

The medium is the message. How you choose to communicate will impact what you say-and how long you have to say it. Be sure to calibrate your message accordingly, whether it’s a 140-character Tweet, a banner ad, an IM/text message, an e-mail, blog post, online article, whitepaper, etc. Don’t overload: an e-mail should not become a whitepaper. Take advantage of the opportunity to offer online seminars if you really want the opportunity to present a lot of information. Remember, in most cases, your real goal is to get enough attention to schedule a face-to-face meeting.

Reuse, Reduce, Recycle. There’s no harm in writing less and reusing/recycling the same content. An old adage in advertising is that it’s only when you are sick of seeing your ad over and over that the public is first noticing it. Try to create a ‘repository’ of content and re-purpose it in various venues-seminars, blogs, white papers, demos, POV’s, advertorials, etc.

Where you say it is as important as what you say. Think about where your target customer lives and breathes and make sure you are there. If you are targeting doctors’ offices, think about the trade sites and professional associations they are part of and consider advertising on those sites. Think about contributing to blogs that are read by your core customers and establishing yourself as an industry thought leader-whether that means submitting white papers for publication, editorial POVs (point of views) or blog content, tweets thru twitter, or all of the above. Differentiating yourself through the use of meaningful content requires that you place that content in meaningful venues.

Make connections. Make it easy for people to find you by making sure your content links back to what should be a comprehensive and user friendly website about your products and services with a strong call to action to incentivize the prospect to contact you. Investigate reciprocal links you might add to your website. This increases traffic and is one of the best ways to improve your organic search results so when people type in a product or service you offer, you come up higher in the rankings.

*Taken From Avaya Blog Snippets.

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