Promotion – The 6th ‘P’ in Profit

So far we have talked about

  1. Planning
  2. Prioritising
  3. Producing
  4. Publishing
  5. Participating
  6. ... and finally, we come to the 6th 'P' in Profit and the entire purpose of your business activity: which is to sell 'stuff', whatever your product or service might be, by promoting it and thereby make a profit.

The 6th 'P' in Profit is Promotion.

Promotion of your product is by far the easiest to consider because we are right back at the basic process of making an offer, but instead of pushing your offer into an unknown, sterile environment you have now done so much more to prepare the ground by participating with your prospects that promoting your product to a successful sale is so much easier.

It is only by laying the groundwork of the first 5 'P's in Profit that opens the way for you to Promote your products to your target market - with whom you have been Participating for some time.

Ensuring that your prospects have already got to meet, know, like and trust you before you ever promote to them means that it is much easier to move them through the buy decision to a sale.

During your Participation phase you have been pleasant and helpful when active in their space. In their Group on Facebook or Linkedin, their Twitter activity or channel on Youtube, their social network whatever it might be - but always on their territory.

A segment of a social network
A segment of a social network (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is important to remember that you are not selling during participation. You can't gatecrash someone else's party by bursting in to their conversation in order to tell them all about your wonderful product.

If you do so then you are likely to be ignored, ostracised and even banned - just as happens in real world social gatherings.

In the course of your participation with your target market they have pre-qualified themselves as prospects by following the links you have subtly strewn in their path to find out what you have Published - and got to know more about you in the process.

Note that if they are not interested then they won't follow your links and will not engage with you as much as those who are interested. You are simply another participant in the conversation they are engaged in - but nothing so unpleasant in their environment as someone trying to sell to them.

But you are unlikely to sell anything to those people anyway - and that doesn't matter because if your online participation is justified by what you DO sell - then however many people see your stuff and don't buy simply doesn't matter - and certainly doesn't cost you anything.

If they are interested, then the keywords that you have scattered into your conversation will have chimed with them and they will follow up in their own time.

Have you ever wondered what is going on when some network tells you that '57 people visited your Profile last month'? Those people never told you they were looking, you don't know what they were looking for but, basically, they were checking you out and getting to know you better.

If they continue to relate to you then you have probably just passed the 'meet' and 'know' stages of the relationship - which we know is going to make it that much easier for them to make a buy decision either when you Promote to them or when they are ready.

The First Social Network Talent Show

Notice I didn't say '..for you to sell to them.' The decision to buy is theirs in their own time. This process is about positioning yourself so that you are the preferred supplier whenever they want something in the product line that you offer.

But it does mean that when you do come to promote and make a hard sell offer then you can simply advise your community of new friends that the offer is there.

They will accept that your product offer is what you do for business, they will accept the marketing language because they will accept that it is not directed at them.

After all, they know you, they trust you and if they buy from you and something goes wrong then already know they can communicate with you and they trust you to treat them right.

And you would, of course, treat them right because they are your friends. If you are not friends with your customers who pay you good money then you have a serious problem!

This new relationship which has come into being courtesy of the social interactivity enabled by the web is also forcing an improvement in standards.

You have to be genuine in your relationships, you have to offer quality products and services and stand by them. Businesses have been destroyed almost overnight by dissatisfied customers using social media.

Which brings us back to Participation. The fact that customers can post negative comments and feedback all over the web is not a reason to hide from it or to fail to participate. Instead it is an opportunity to respond.

If you have Promoted a product that has got a negative feedback then you need to use the same social channels to show publicly what you are doing to put things right for the unhappy customer.

An effective response to an online criticism that deals with the customers complaint and turns them back into a happy customer can gain you serious kudos. Just make sure that you don't repeat the mistake you made!

You may have noticed that much of this post on Promotion has veered back into Participation. As I remarked at the beginning, Promotion is the easy stuff. That's what we've always done.

It is understanding that the new interaction, the Participation enabled by the web has put you in direct contact and communication with your prospects and customers over a prolonged period both before and after the sale and enables a much more intimate relationship.

Planning, Prioritising, Producing, Publishing and Promoting have always been part of the business process leading to Profit. It is Participation, the new kid on the block at number 5, that makes it so much easier to convert your final and 6th 'P' of Promotion into Profit.

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Participation – the 5th ‘P’ in Profit

This is the 5th in this series of posts explaining why the word Profit contains 6 'P's. So far we have covered:

  • No 1 was Planning your business,
  • No 2 was to Prioritise the elements of your Plan
  • and No. 3 was to Produce your product whether it be a physical or digital product or service.

These first 3 comprise what is often called the 'Product Creation' process and is, frankly, quite the hardest part of the whole.

We then went on to number 4 which was to Publish. This was the point at which you unveiled your business to the market and made it possible for customers to place orders. However, it would be unlikely that there would be much of a rush for orders without the last 2 'P's in the pudding.

Participation
So our next 'P' and number 5 in our 6 'P's in Profit is Participation in the marketplace.

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This is where the wave of social media marketing which is sweeping across the connected world has broken the mould of old style marketing.

At this point, old style marketing would have shouted 'PUSH' and pointed prospects straight to the order form. Old style 'push marketing' was a one way broadcast service.

Whether it be ads, leaflets, newspaper, radio or television it comprised: 'Here's our product, this is why we think you should buy it - now buy it.' ...end of message. Probably repeated endlessly as the marketing executives did what they could with split testing and alternative strategies to improve on the results that they were achieving.

However, since 2005 the internet has increasingly enabled a two way process of communication whereby the 'market', otherwise known as our prospects, has been able to reply to the merchant and to give feedback.

And then, in addition, we got the social media explosion of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin and similar social networking sites which enable the market to talk to each other online and, wait for it,.... talk between themselves about the products they are being offered or have already bought.

So we now have 2 additional channels of communication going on:

  1. between merchant and market using interactive capabilities and;
  2. between prospects using social media to talk about how merchants and products impact their lives.

Why is Social Media important?

It is important because the best way to sell something is face to face - the most sociable way of communicating.  Why is this so? To answer this question you need only look at a practice common among successful business people and it's called networking.

Successful business people know that the best way to sell their products and services to other business people is to meet them personally. There are whole business based on providing networking opportunities. One of the better known is 4Networking which has distilled the process into the mantra of 'Meet..Know... Like ..and Trust.

Because every sale of every product or service no matter how it is transacted is between two people; the buyer and the seller. And the buyer will buy when they have met, got to know, come to like and then trusted the seller enough to buy something from them.

Of course, there are lots of variations on this process. But examine any transaction and you will find that this process holds good. So networking during which your prospects can get to meet, know, like and trust you is the most effective way of selling - whether it is business to business or business to consumer.

Now go back and look at the online developments I referred to earlier. Facebook is a social media network. Linkedin is a social media network. Indeed, any site where you can make 'friends', rate or comment on other members input or publish content including your opinion is a network.

It is a network that is providing exactly the same function as the old fashioned face-to-face networking that successful business people have known to be the most effective marketing method for decades.

So social media marketing is nothing new. It is simply old-fashioned networking but carried out online. And note that I said it was the most effective method. Not the quickest, but the most effective. Why is this?

Because it is taking people through that process of meeting you online, getting to know you from the content that you publish and the opinions that you express, liking what they see and hear and ultimately coming to trust you to the point that they will be ready to buy from you when you make them an offer.

Notice that I said 'when' you make them an offer. Because this is not something you have yet done.

Participation in your marketplace
Where your interests overlap with your prospects

Your prospects, by their own actions, perhaps by joining groups on Facebook or Linkedin related to certain keywords, becoming a Fan of a Facebook business page, Tweeting about things they are interested in, have declared their interest in certain subjects.

It is not hard for you to find these areas of interest - just use the Search button on any website or social media service. This is where you Participate.

Not in a blunderbuss fashion but by targeting your participation at those groups of prospects who have already declared their interest in your subject area.

You can start to participate by providing useful help and advice where appropriate whenever someone poses a question or asks for help.

After all, you are the expert in your subject so those with problems in your subject area are almost certainly going to find your input valuable.

After a while, start new conversations yourself. Express an opinion on a relevant subject and ask people what they think. Always seek to obtain a reaction. This is Participation during which you come to be accepted into a group or community. And during this process the other members of that community will have come to meet, know, like and trust you.

To the extent that when you declare that you have some product or service that they may find useful if they bought it then they are already nine tenths of the way through the purchase process.

Let's now go back to the comparison with old style 'push' marketing. Now, instead of just shouting at your market and exhorting them to buy in a one-step 'push' process we have a 2 step process the first of which is that you have become part of their community by participating in it.

By Participation you have become part of the community leaving only the final 'P' of Promotion to follow when, from time to time, you refer to an offer you have available.

In the modern world we are dealing with 'pull' marketing. Get prospects involved with you before you ever offer them anything to buy. Become a trusted member of their community by Participation and you will find that the final push to promote a sale is much, much easier.

Next time we will deal with the final 'P' of Promotion in our 6 'P's in Profit series.

You might also find these related posts interesting:

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Publishing – #4 Of The 6 ‘P’s in Profit

Continuing this series to explain why there are 6 ‘P’s in Profit, so far we have dealt with the first 3:

  1. Plan
  2. Prioritise
  3. Produce

You may well notice that these first three are, basically, the product creation process with a great mass of activity crammed into #3 ‘Produce’ where you create what it is that you have decided (Planned) to sell and make profit from.

The remaining 3 our of our 6 ‘P’s cover the marketing phase, the first step of which is to Publish your creation.

Launching of cruise shipIt makes no difference whether you are building a cruise ship or writing a digital ebook, this is the point when you take the wraps off and publish your creation to the world.

In the case of a cruise ship this is when you have completed construction, launched your ship down the slipway, finished fitting out and now you can start distributing publicity brochures and booking forms and you are ready to start taking orders.

The same applies if you have created a simple digital ebook. It’s written, converted into pdf format with a nice graphic image and loaded up on your site with a Paypal button and you are ready to start taking orders.

You can apply the same process whether you are building some enormous skyscraper building or selling tickets to a local raffle.  At some stage you move from the product creation phase into marketing and this occurs when you publish your product.

So you take my point that it makes no difference what sort of business you are running; selling ebooks on line, building ocean liners or running an existing business of any kind, the basic process of making profits remains the same.

Applying this to Online Marketing our main focus here is to take advantage of the potential of online marketing.  So lets take a look at what happens when you publish online.

Again, let’s not forget you can split this activity into 2 types; There are existing offline businesses where you are looking to improve the potential of the existing assets and resources by publishing some of your knowledge and expertise online in order to unlock additional profits – as well as businesses that are working entirely online with digital products

In fact, it is actually offline businesses that frequently demonstrate the greatest profit potential.  If you have a successful business offline then you have already confirmed that you have located a profitable niche and an accessible market that is prepared to buy.  What you want now is more of the same – to access a bigger market by removing the physical restrictions and going online.

Now what happens if you can both make more money from your existing market as well as reach a far bigger market online?  The potential is enormous.

Your Virtual Real Estate

To communicate effectively and spread the information (i.e. to publish) the information about your product or service you will need to have planned the tools you are going to use to achieve this during step 1, Planning.

Your online tools will include:

  • your website and blog
  • Facebook business Page,
  • Twitter stream,
  • Youtube channel,
  • Linkedin account

… and many other online platforms where you can create your own identity with virtual real estate and people can find you.

From these online platforms you can educate visitors and prospects into a frame of mind in which they are more likely to buy from you as well as direct them by various means to your website or other location where they can buy.

Your Product

The internet was designed and intended for the communication of information and has three major advantages;

  1. speed,
  2. automation and;
  3. reach.

So the online world is entirely focused on the digital product.  As a result, offline businesses frequently miss out because they do not see how pure information might figure in their business model.

Someone selling lawnmowers and gardening equipment doesn’t see how a digital ebook can help their business.  However, consider that someone buying a lawnmower is buying a tool by which they will put into practice the information that they know about how to keep their lawn in good condition.

But their information is extremely limited.  They know they should cut the grass – but very little more.  They don’t know why they should do it, the best way to do it or even when to do it.

Digital eBookDon’t you think they would like to know when they should cut the grass and what length they should cut it in different conditions?

If you provide this sort of information then they are likely to be grateful to you for the help you have provided.  You also lodge in their mind that you know what you are talking about and you made their lives easier.

So next time that they have a similar problem who are they likely to turn to first?  Yes, that’s you. You’ve become the expert on grass as far as they are concerned. You don’t believe me?

Just do a Google search for “lawn doctor” and see how many results you get – then take a look at www.lawndoctor.com to see the site that spawned the ‘lawn doctor’ name that all the others have picked up on to see someone who built their entire business on grass!

So, what’s the lesson to be drawn from this?  Even if you think your business is entirely physical there is bound to be some way that you can make some part of your information digital.  Once you do this then the the internet gives you the means to communicate and distribute that information widely – and fast!

What’s more, the automation enables you to respond just as quickly and effectively to whatever response you get from your visitors.  As a consequence you can start to move them through the marketing process that leads to to a sale and subsequently to repeat sales.  You can also adapt your response according to what you learn from them – so you can move into related market niches.

This is the strength of online marketing and how it can add substantially to your existing offline business.  By publishing your information online, whether it is:

  • a product or service that you can provide online
  • marketing information about your product or service
  • simple participation in social media so that you become more visible to your potential market

Publishing;

  • your product – which you’ve always done;

  • your marketing material – reaches a bigger audience online

  • your own and your business’ activities – that you could never afford the time or money to do before is now possible online.

All of these amount to Publishing in our 6 ‘P’s process and position you as someone who has something to offer to your prospects.

Now comes the task of turning your prospects into customers and that is the where Participation comes in, the 5th ‘P’ in our 6 ‘P’s in Profit and inextricably connected to that last point of publishing your activities.

Look out for our next post about Participation in your marketplace.

 

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