Every business needs a profitable sales funnel. The top of the funnel is the entry point for potential customers or prospects. Prospects who accept to your offer represent sales. The higher the volume of relevant traffic and the higher the rate of offer acceptance equals a higher rate of sales.
Every on line marketer and an increasing number of traditional businesses are focused on increasing targeted traffic at the top of the funnel. Wal-Mart recently announced a test program in my state of Florida offering deep discounts on approximately 300 prescription drugs. Are they buying leads? What will it cost Wal-Mart for those leads? Why are they doing this?
There are very bright and successful people in traditional retail.” Look and you will see examples of successful marketing daily. Of course, just like in the Internet marketing world, there are many examples of companies wasting their money.
The most successful marketers are those successful increasing targeted traffic at the top of the funnel and converting them to buyers. Wal-Mart knows their generic prescription test will drive more traffic to their stores. Some percentage of those people will buy other products offered by Wal-Mart with normal gross margins.
Wal-Mart’s prescription drug marketing program is being tested with a group of drugs representing about 15% of the total number of prescriptions offered by a typical pharmacy. Wa-lMart is testing for two reasons: First even though they have extensive experience with product introduction and price changes, they do not have experience with the impact of a major change in prescription drug pricing. Second Wal-Mart has a major risk that has nothing to do with the prescription drug program itself.
Every major initiative engineered by Wal-Mart is tried in the press before it even has a chance of being voted on by its customers. You may think that since you are not Wal-Mart, that you do not have to consider this risk. You are wrong.
Your marketing strategy, including the information you write about in your blog, is designed to capture the attention of you target audience. Everything you publish is open to evaluation by your current customers, your target market and the media. If you are an Internet Marketer, Direct Response Marketer, Ad Agency, or Sales Rep., your work is constantly being evaluated.
If you offer your target market incentives to visit your store, register for your on-line promotion or purchase a new customer special, please be sure you are not offending your existing customers. Wal-Mart’s offer is open to everyone in the test market. If you still are not sure what I mean, remember the last time you read about a hot offer on a new cell phone and rate plan offered by your current cell phone service? Remember trying to get that deal as an exiting customer? It is likely you were told that to upgrade for the special offer your account will have to be renewed by two years in order to receive that upgrade. How did that make you feel?
What does all this have to do with using a blog to build your list? A blog is one of the best ways to drive relevant traffic into your marketing funnel. A blog is part of your foundation for publishing information that is of high interest to your customers and prospects. If you have followed previous articles in this series you already understand why search engines love content published in blogs.
There are a number of articles in this series published in their entirety at www.stevereports.com For all the complete article on other issues, you need to be a subscriber. Subscription is free. Subscribers to this series conveniently receive all of the articles as they are published directly in their email. Respecting their interest in this series, I do not blast this list with unrelated information. I recommend you always respect your subscribers interests and you are likely to have a growing loyal following.
Technically I use Aweber ( http://www.aweber.com/?213390 ) for my subscription box on my blogs. At my Steve Reports blog, you can find an example of this in two places. First there is a subscribe for updates box in the right hand column of www.stevereports.com Below it there is a link that takes the reader to a page dedicated to registering those interested in the Blogging for Profits Series. The difference between the two is not significant. Using two registration boxes on the same blog seemed like a good idea at the time, since I was intending on creating an exclusive series for those only interested in using blogs for building profits. The strategy is sound. However since Blogging for Profits is part of all the content published at Steve Reports, I am not sure that strategy is optimal.
It is easy to set up a subscription form on a blog with your Aweber account( http://www.aweber.com/?213390 ) . They have a section of their system designed specifically for that purpose. Once this is set up, any time you publish content to your blog, subscribers receive that content in their email. I think this is far superior to the traditional use of autoresponders for list management. Everyone on your list already knows what you are publishing from reading your blog and does not want to miss a single issue. You have multiple benefits by writing articles in your blog with links. In addition to gaining fast visibility in the blog directories and search engines, you are generating inbound links for other sites. You are able to use the content you are writing for your blog in article directories. Your articles can be set in your blog to go out at times you specify similar to an autoresponder series. There is a public archive of all your material for any new visitor to easily read which further helps build the quality of your subscribers. Autoresponders are great but it is my view articles on your blog structured with a list registration section is far superior.
There is no limit to the number of blogs you can create with content of interest to your target audience. I am advising every client I am working with including a huge recreational vehicle dealership, a dominant regional construction company, an international manufacturer and distributor of specialty skin care products and a local cosmetic surgery clinic to use blogs as part of their marketing strategy. Each one is making progress in developing multiple blogs to their target markets.
There is another book waiting to be written on this topic. For now, develop or fine tune your marketing strategy. Part of this process is a clear definition of your target audiences. Decide which blogs are likely to be of most benefit to your business and who will be accountable for developing the content and measuring the success of your blogs. Finally have realistic expectations as to the development life cycle of your blogs.
Be healthy, prosperous and happy,
P.S. My mini series “How To Increase Profits by 30% or More in 90 Days or Less” details the steps used by my clients to achieve improved business performance. This mini-course is complementary. Subscribe at www.stevepohlit.com
Fraud and Failure are the two big F’s that represent the dark side of business. Both are rampant in on line and off line business models. This article addresses the risk of business failure in business with focus on an online Internet Marketing example since the true story included in this report is recent. It also provides guidance on achieving long lasting business success..
Nearly all marketing copy focuses on building revenue. Building revenue is required to build a business. Building profits is required to stay in business.
During a recent visit with the CEO of a company that markets physical products on line. This particular company has regularly recorded sales near $200,000 a week ($10 million a year.) They inventory nearly nothing and their gross margins are very good.
This CEO I met had no internet experience when he started. He had an idea and taught himself some web site design skills. With a very basic web site he began selling a few products that manufacturing companies drop shipped for him. From there, sales took off. With money rolling in, he hired people to help him and sales increased even more.
Today when you talk with him in detail about his business, you observe two things. He knows a lot about search engine optimization. He can tell you all the positives and negatives about each of the sites making up his VRE. The other thing you will notice is that he is very worried. He knows his business is in big trouble and he is hoping someone will help him fix it.
His business can be fixed. I am not sure who will be selected to help him, since once a person is “shell shocked” it is hard for them to pay attention to any rational discussion for more than about a minute. Others have already influenced his thinking on what should be done. My course of action would be different.
How does all this relates to you? Are you making as much profit as is possible from your business? Are you driving a proportionate share of each new revenue dollar to bottom line profit? What is your comfort level in running a business and I don’t mean just generating revenue?
How is it possible for a company to build online sales with decent margins to a level of approximately $10 million a year and be on the brink of total business failure? How is it possible for a off line company with sales of $1.5 billion to go out of business? Failure happens and the frequency is high.
Here are some things to consider. My FREE course “How To Increase Profits by 30% or More In 90 Days or Less” details the steps I recommend to all clients. Guess what!! This material is focused on the exact steps for achieving continual business success. For example, one of the products you receive with this course is a spreadsheet showing you how to maintain a schedule of cash receipts and disbursements on a rolling 8 week forcast. This ties to a financial flash that reports on your company’s financial strength. I use this very same template with every client whether it has $3 million in sales or $200 million. The course is FREE and you can register at my business consulting site.
A final note: if you are worried about the financial strength of your busiess, please call me at 727-587-7871. The initial consultation is complementay. It is possible corrective action is needed immediately to strengthen cash profits and protect your business. Most often with businesses that fail, the signs are not acknowledged soon enough and the corrective action is inadequate. Don’t let this F happen to you.
Wishing You Health, Wealth and Prosperity