Selling online is a bit different than selling off line. Most companies who migrate to selling online bring with them the same set of attitudes and practices they are accustomed to off line. That’s why they struggle with Internet marketing. They have adopted a “push” method of marketing and often engage in hard sell tactics when a softer approach would be more effective.
Selling online, like selling off line, is about building relationships. But the relationship building takes place in different ways. The tools can be broken down into three very distinct categories:
- Social – Social tools are just as the name implies. Their purpose is to help you better establish and maintain your online relationships. Social marketing tools include social networking, blogs, Skype, VOiP, IM and other tools that facilitate interaction with your audience.
- Informational – Informational tools allow you to disseminate information without necessarily interacting with others. For instance, e-mail, Twitter, blogs, static websites, fan pages, articles and other online publishing formats that allow you to provide useful information to your audience and send them back to your website for a deeper relationship.
- Technical – Technical tools are important because in and of themselves they do not necessarily communicate anything, though they may. Link building is perhaps the most widespread technical tool for online marketers, but you might also employ widgets, RSS feeds, apps, etc.
While these definitions may seem a little but cut-and-dry, there is some cross over. Some online tools may actually fall into more than one category. Blogs, for instance, can be used for building relationships, interacting with your audience and providing useful information that drives people back to your primary landing and sales pages. Widgets and apps may be technical, but they can also be social in nature.
The key to effective online selling is to know what tools are available to you and how you can use them. Better still, how will you employ them to make your online selling experience the best it can be?