In our last blog post we discussed how to get started with selling online. Obviously there are lots of ways and lots of tips and tricks to the trade, however, we have found some ideas that we think will help you.

About 40 per cent of shoppers with Internet experience who had bought before online were not able to actually figure out or complete a transaction on leading websites. From a financial or strategic perspective, it means that these companies are throwing money down the toilet.

Phil Terry, CEO Creative Good, interviewed on US National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, December 1999.

online selling

Here’s an idea

If you go through the expense of creating a website for your organisation, and don’t immediately respond to any and all e-mails and customer inquiries directed to the site, you’re committing commercial suicide. You’d be better off saving your money and staying out of cyberspace.


Here’s an idea

As an online sales outlet, what lessons can you learn from this advice to consumers? Pure Commerce advises e-shoppers as follows:

  • Never give your personal details to an unknown source. You should never be asked to give bank account details.
  • Shop with trusted websites. Only shop at sites you have heard of or have been recommended to you. Check unfamiliar companies before making a purchase. Any reputable website will provide contact details so that more information can be provided.
  • Read the security/privacy statement on the site. If you do not like it, shop elsewhere.
  • Shop with a credit card that protects you. Shopping with a credit card usually provides more protection than a debit card or a personal cheque.
  • Retain records of your purchases. After you buy online, you should receive a confirmation of your order including what you purchased and for how much. Always print this out. You can use it if your goods do not arrive.
  • Check the website’s return policy. Online retailers should allow refunds or exchanges.
  • Review your credit card statements to make sure there are no unwanted purchases.
  • Do not jump in and buy something. Compare prices.
  • Check the security features the website has to ensure your information is safe. The most common source of security is SSL. You will know the site is using SSL if you see a lock or key in your browser.


Grabbing attention

“The purpose of an advertisement is to grab the reader’s attention and get them to instantaneously connect with your organisation,” says Kerry Bishop of Herald Publications. Her advice is:

  • Devote up to three quarters of your advertisement to a picture.
  • Slim down the words.
  • Use bold photography, up-close, no more than three faces.
  • Define your target group and focus on one segment only.
  • Use good quality photographs, best taken by a professional.
  • Conclude with a call to action, e.g. ring for a brochure.
  • Don’t waste money on poor advertisements that send the wrong image.
  • If you can’t afford newspaper advertising, use another marketing strategy.


Check out your marketing material

Check your advertisements, marketing brochures and flyers. Do yours:

  • focus on your organisation or product instead of the buyer and the benefits that the buyer gets?
  • look terribly boring, dull and uninteresting?
  • really excite the buyer to take action immediately?
  • ask the prospect to actually do something?
  • tell the prospect ‘what’s in it for him’ if he acts right away?
  • assume the prospect is as interested in the product or service as you are?
  • brag on and on about the product or service features, when all the prospect really cares about is the benefits he’ll get from your product or service?
  • try to be clever and creative, thinking that ‘clever sells’, when actually clever does nothing to motivate a prospect to buy immediately.
  • try to be ‘professional’ and worry about your image – when really you should focus on the benefits that your prospect wants you to tell him about.


Courtney on advertising

‘There are three things in the world that every man can do better than anyone else. One is coach a football team. The second is judge a beauty contest. The third is write advertising.’

A woman was surprised by the success of her advertisement. ‘Last week I advertised for a husband, and I got a lot of replies’, she boasted. ‘They all said, “You can have mine”.’

‘An advertisement without a promise is like a fart without a smell. It passes into the environment unnoticed causing no reaction whatsoever, serving only as a relief to the farter.’

Bestselling Australian author and advertising man, Bryce Courtney, The Pitch, Margaret Gee Publishing, Sydney 1992, page 153.


The Website as storefront

The most important aspect of a Web site from a marketing standpoint is to keep it changing, says Steve Jones in Services Marketing Today. ‘Marketers need to keep the mindset that the Web site is almost like a storefront.’

“Marketers need to keep the mindset that the website is almost like a store front. The most important aspect of a website from a marketing standpoint is to keep it changing.”

Steve Jones in Services Marketing Today.

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