Karen Newman is the Sales & Marketing executive for Business ™

The Internet has caused a sales and marketing revolution. Some of the fundamental tenets of sales and marketing have remained – but the ways in which we carry out those critical business functions are completely different. Things are constantly changing, and it’s adapt or get run over on the Internet super sales and marketing highway.

Here are the top five ways the Internet has transformed sales and marketing, and how you can prosper from each:

#5 Top Way the Internet has Transformed Sales & Marketing: Tell Me, Don’t Sell Me

I would say that no one has probably ever liked the hard sell sales and marketing approach. It’s just more readily apparent than it is today – especially in light of the changes the Internet has brought to sales and marketing.

If your website is just about sales and marketing, you probably aren’t getting good, “sticky” traffic to it. Customers want to be engaged by your soft-sell sales and marketing efforts first – so they can buy later. They don’t want products or services rammed down their throats with aggressive sales and marketing “pitches.”

Be sensitive to this with your sales and marketing efforts. Offer customers something of value on your site – for free – like some expert advice. Sharing what you know is the number one sales and marketing strategy of today. And I’d bet that it will be an even more important sales and marketing strategy tomorrow.

#4 Top Way the Internet has Transformed Sales and Marketing: The New Transparency

There is nowhere to hide on the Internet. People see things for what they are in your sales and marketing appeals, and if they don’t, someone is always there to tell them. Sneaky sales and marketing practices are relics of an older era. Instead, actively promote transparency in the way you do business – even make it one of the key selling points of your sales and marketing strategy.

#3 Top Way the Internet has Transformed Sales and Marketing: It’s a Global Marketplace, but a Specialized Sale

The Internet expands your sales and marketing audience across the globe. Ironically, though, it has benefited the sales and marketing of companies with a unique, specialized service the most. Why? Because that narrow target audience can find what they need, even if it is 500 or 5,000 miles away. Distribution is a sales and marketing challenge for specialized products; that disappears on the Internet. In fact, if your product or service appeals to a narrow target market, your best sales and marketing bet is to promote it heavily online.
#2 Way the Internet has Transformed Sales and Marketing: The Googleization of America

The fact that “google” has become a verb (as in “I googled that…”) speaks to how much search engines have become a part of our lives.

If you want to use the Internet in your sales and marketing efforts – and you should – search engines are going to play a big part in your life, because they play a big part in your customers’ lives.

Get familiar with search engines and how they work to have sales and marketing efforts that pay off. One word of caution: Search engine rules are constantly changing – and that can have serious sales and marketing consequences. A Google slap can be a sucker punch to your sales and marketing results. Because of this, many firms now have sales and marketing departments that focus on the Internet only.

If you need help with Internet sales and marketing, get it. You don’t have to hire staff, there are many capable Internet sales and marketing firms –everything from SEO web designers to content providers. Smart business owners know they can’t be an expert in everything, sales and marketing included, so they hire them!

#1 Top Way the Internet has Transformed Sales and Marketing: It’s a Two-Way Street

It’s no longer a one-sided conversation when it comes to sales and marketing. With running commentaries on blogs and websites open to all, your customers and prospects will talk back to you…just make sure you listen! Your initial sales and marketing efforts start the conversation, but you must continue relationship with your sales and marketing plan, too.

With the Internet, the consumer is in the driver’s seat – sales and marketing efforts or not. The consumer chooses whether to go to your site, whether to listen (or read) your sales and marketing story, and…here is the key…whether they will endorse you and buy from you, or slam you online.

You must be concerned with reputation management as a part of your sales and marketing effort. On the plus side, you can score big by responding to sales and marketing concerns quickly and effectively. Truly, the customer has the power in your sales and marketing encounter.

Love it or hate it (or both), the Internet is here to stay. How you use the Internet can make all the difference in your sales and marketing program. You can sink or swim with Internet sales and marketing…the choice is up to you.

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