The ranks of organisations boasting a Website are swelling fast, and the explosion in e-commerce has forced an increasing number of companies to turn their attention to the internet for sales, marketing and customer support. For many, however, an internet marketing strategy still consists of a few Web pages of corporate background and product information. A whole range of Web opportunities still lies largely untapped.
The Web can be a major source of sales leads. It offers tremendous customer acquisition economies. Or consider direct mail, which is viewed as an inexpensive lead generator.
The first step in Web marketing is knowing your internet prospects and anticipating how they will find you. While there are many who are internet literate, the vast majority of prospective customers are not. Attracting the latter to a Website is like guerrilla warfare - the Web marketer must anticipate where and how prospects will be searching.
By listing your product and company information in appropriate search engines and directories using a variety of possible terms, you can ensure that your site listing will bubble to the top.
After you have lured prospects to the Website, the second step is to determine who they are, what they are looking for and in what time frame.
If a prospect is truly interested in your product, they will provide this data in exchange for educational value. To this end, it is worth posting white papers, case studies and links to industry research.
You can then ask the prospect to complete information contained on a Web form. The instant a qualified prospect interacts with your Website, your company is presented with an opportunity to exceed their expectations.
Many companies are faced with high seminar attrition. While initial response rates may be encouraging, it is frequently a struggle to confirm, reconfirm and follow through on all responses. With the internet, most of that is automated. Direct marketing efforts can be supported by phone calls giving details of your Website. There a prospect can learn more about the seminar than can be presented in a mailer.
Trade shows are a thorn in the side of software marketing executives.
A lot of energy and significant resources go into conducting the event; yet all too frequently the post-show response is less than energetic.
Most companies have simply scribbled notes on business cards or card-scanner receipts, the result being that there is a delayed response, often measurable in weeks.
With a direct link from the show to your Website, data from qualified prospects can be transmitted instantly to your customer database. With real-time processing, requested literature may be on the way to a prospect's office before they have even left the trade show stand.
The Web can condense the sales process in two main areas. First, Web leads are self-qualified, and as such, information is automatically delivered deeper into the sales pipeline. The telesales department can skip the qualification step and start assessing the prospect's needs immediately.
As a result, Web leads can produce higher close rates and shorter sales cycles.
Second, the internet offers increased remote access capabilities, which can aid the sale itself. The advent of cellular-based internet access provides even more leeway in accessing sales information.
Via a cellular phone internet browser, marketing, sales and service information can be made available to staff in the field. To offer a response to a promising sales enquiry, Web leads can be sent directly to the local sales executive's cellular phone. This enables a salesperson to call the prospective customer only minutes after the initial enquiry has been registered.
Finally, the internet can be used to market products and services to existing customers. A private area of your Website can be maintained just for your customers. There, customers can catch up on company news, upcoming user events, product release schedules, new product features and session notes from past conferences.
Based on the detailed information you will capture on your customers, you can recommend new or additional products.
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