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The Undeniable Value Of Differentiation
With all the people offering products and services online, what sets yours apart from the crowd?
You can't argue this, to succeed you need to differentiate yourself.
Online businesses come and go every day and about 90% fail.
The reasons online businesses fail vary from situation to situation, here's a few:
All of the above reasons are valid and one of the most common reasons the product offering itself fails, is because the niche market that the business owner is marketing in is semi-saturated and the marketer had no "differentiator".
A differentiator is anything that makes your unique selling proposition differ from any other by the benefits it delivers to the user. Those benefits need to be itemized in the sales copy to make sure the prospect will understand what makes the offering specific to his/her needs.
A differentiator could simply be a different angle or viewpoint on some problem or product not currently realized by anyone else.
How many ebooks have been written about Internet marketing? Hundreds if not thousands...the ones that make money have easily identifiable differentiators.
A differentiator could be an added bonus to your product offering that the prospect can't get anywhere else.
Suppose there are 2 products that a prospect is considering purchasing.
* Product offering #1 offers a bonus that can be easily found on the Internet.
* Product offering #2 offers a bonus that is exclusive to this offering itself that cannot be obtained anywhere else other than through this specific offering.
If both products are equal in benefits to the user and have the same price, which product offering will the prospect choose?
Of course, the prospect will choose Product #2 because of the "exclusivity" of the bonus. That exclusivity is a differentiator.
A differentiator could be a discount on a service that no one else in your niche offers. A differentiator could simply be a promise to respond to customer inquiries within 24 hours.
The trait that defines a truly effective differentiator is uniqueness.
A differentiator could even be something as simple as the packaging of the sales process of a product or service itself. The packaging of a product includes graphics, format of delivery, appearance of web presence, etc.
With regards to graphics, it is important to understand that people respond positively to visually pleasing graphics regardless of whether the end product of offering is actually affected by those graphics. Due to the average person's reluctance to buy online, the better things look, the better the prospect feels about moving forward with a purchase.
In the online world, the prospect decides to purchase a product or service that is being marketed to them somewhat "virtually"...it is intangible to them until they buy. In this instance, a differentiator could be something as simple as slick graphic or choice of product format-pdf, exe, audio, RAM, MP3, etc.
Before you can actually identify a truly effective differentiator for the product offering, a good amount of competitive intelligence needs to be done within the appropriate vertical niche market.
Begin by reviewing all products and services that could be perceived as competitors in that niche market and define the differentiator from there.
Whatever type of differentiator is chosen, it's vital to make certain the prospect clearly can understand the value of it by itemizing the benefits it brings to them.
This is often overlooked and equates to unrealized sales.
Be humble, work smart, keep it simple.
About The Author
Author of "9 Deadly Mistakes To Avoid When Starting An Online Business".
Publisher, "Starting Smart" bi-weekly ezine for new and semi-seasoned Internet marketers.
Profiting From the Online Business: Tips to Boost Your Sales
Creating a lucrative online business is not an easy task. Ask any successful web entrepreneur, and chances are you will receive the same response. While some only intend to use the profits from their Internet ventures to supplement a current income, others aspire to eventually produce a full-time cash flow. Although those striving for a full income through an online business do have quite a tedious road ahead, it can be accomplished. With research, time, and patience, your business can prosper and produce the returns you are aiming for.
E Is for Everything?
Just this week, a member of my audience asked me the following:
Cheap & Easy Online Marketing
A successful online business takes more than a website?a lot more! When I ask people if they have an online business, many people tell me they are creating their website. That's good news except I get the feeling they think that is all they have to do to have a successful online business. Nothing could be farther from the truth!
Web Internet Marketing: 10 Magical Secrets To Make Your Ad Appealing
Do you want to make your ad appealing and increase Your sales?
Income Producing Tasks and The Fluff!
Think about everything you can do in your business that would contribute to bringing money into your bank account.
Getting Some Good Ol Internet Real Estate
Real estate has made many people large amounts of money in the offline world, no doubt. But is there a way we can utilize the same concepts from the offline world and bring them online?
Silver Surfers: Successful Online Marketing to Seniors
If you are marketing to an older audience, don't discount the value of a website. People over 50 account for more than 50% of discretionary spending in the United States, and they are going online to buy. And, they have money to spend.
The Voice of Viral Marketing
Generating buzz through word of mouth will help drive greater sales and from your most important customers.
Building An Effective Banner Campaign
Banner advertising can dramatically help you increase traffic to your web site. Banner advertising can be a very cost effective marketing solution and can help you to gain access to millions of internet users. It can also prove to be a huge waste of time, even creating a net loss rather than increasing your bottom line. So we'll try to guide you onto the path to true results and a very successful Internet Marketing campaign using banner ads. First things first: What's it going to cost you? Assuming you're going to design and building your own banners, you can still loose money on the cost of advertising if you're not careful. Work out the estimated cost of each banner advertising campaign: Cost-per-Visitor: If you pay $10 per thousand impressions ($10/CPM), and you get a 2.0% click-through (20 visitors), your cost-per-visitor is $.50 ($10 per 20 visitors). Cost-per-Sale: Now you know about what you're going to pay per visitor. So what does that amount to per sale? Well, if 1 in every 20 visitors buys your product, your cost per sale is $10.00. Total Sale Amount : $9.95 USD Paypal's Fee Amount : -$0.59 USD Net Profit Amount : $9.36 USD So if each sale of your product produces a gross profit of $9.36, then your net profit per-sale will be -$.64 ($9.36 gross profit - $10 cost-per-sale). This campaign is not profitable! As you can see, something has to change in order to make a profit. That's why it's important to track and calculate every campaign. So what went wrong with this example? -Paying too much for the banner space? -Need a better click-through rate? -Need to charge more for your product? The truth is that only you have the information required to decide but at least at this point you're in a better position to make a qualified decision. Return on Investment Ratios: Your return-on-investment (ROI), before non-marketing expenses, is 0.0% ($0.00 total net profits with a $10 investment). Experiment by advertising on multiple sites or using different banners if your budget will allow it. Find the perfect campaigns that yield the highest ROI. A few terms to know: » CPM - Cost Per Impressions (The "M" comes from the Roman numeral for 1,000). So $20 CPM represents $20 per 1,000 displays of a banner). An Impressions is simply each time your banner is shown. » CPC - Cost Per Click. You pay an agreed amount for each click-through to your site. » Click-Through (CT) - A click on an ad which takes the viewer to another site. » Click-Through Rate (CTR) - This is the number of people who click on an ad (banner or text link) divided by the number of displays of the ad, represented in percentages. Example: 500 people click on an ad that has been shown 10,000 times, which works out at: 500/10,000 X 100% = 5%. » Run Of Site (ROS) - This means your banner will be displayed on all or most pages of the site. Buying or Creating your own banners: You can find a graphic designer to create your banner or you can simply learn to design and build you own. We have done both on this site and our research shows almost equal results when using identical conditions. We're not going to give tutorials on banner design but we will offer a few tips to help get you started. If you decide to purchase your banners: Do your research. There are many so called ' graphic designers' that have very little training or experience with any type of graphics much less internet marketing or banner advertising. Get any promises or guarantees in writing. Keep in mind that anyone can setup shop online and many have no idea what they're doing to say the least. Do it yourself banners: There are several options when it comes to creating your own banners. Again, we're not here to teach you how to design and build your own, just to guide you in the right direction. Here are a few things to consider: » Think through your design. » Decide on a format. » Flash or Animated. » Image or HTML. » The best banner size. » Image load times. Image or HTML? Well, most of the banners we see are image based, whether .gif, .jpg of flash. But there is another very simple alternative. The HTML banner. You can even combine images and HTML to create incredible banners. A couple benefits of using a HTML banner are: » HTML banner will normally load faster. » On a HTML banner, you can promote many links. Banners sizes: 468 x 60.....Full banner 234 x 60.....Half banner 392 x 72.....Full banner with vertical navigation bar 120 x 240...Vertical banner 125 x 125...Square button 120 x 90.....Button #1 120 x 60.....Button #2 88 x 31.......Micro button A few tips: Use attractive and attention grabbing images. Keep your text short and simple. Use proven key words like "free" and "now". "Free" is a very powerful incentive for the viewer to click on the button. Even the words "Click Here" can increase your click-through rate. Use a large font size for your message text. Create different versions of the banner. Test different banners to improve your click-through rate. Animate your banner, but use as few frames as possible to keep the file size to a quick loading minimum. Test new banners with a Pay Per Click network, before you use them in Pay Per Impression campaigns. Many sites display two different banners on each page, while others display the same banner at the top "top fold" and bottom "bottom fold" of each page. When given a choice, it's usually best to choose the top fold of page because the viewer is more likely to see your banner. You can expect to pay a lot less for "bottom fold" of page banner spaces. Brian Hawkins - Entrepreneur, Internet Marketer, Online business consultant, Author. Site owner and administrator of several sites including: http://www.extremesitepromotions.com/ and http://www.csc4u.com/
Selling to Sellers - Utterly Stupid Idea or Not Quite?
The list of promotional tools and resources available to online marketer today is very impressing, and new ones appear almost every day, each fancier and more sophisticated than ever. Almost all of them however are touched (some will even say "cursed") by a sort of the original sin. After all, after SPAM became criminal offence and as the result direct email marketing became all-but-impossible, the only people who see your offer are those who are also trying to sell something. Every thinking person involved in the Internet marketing must have noticed this disturbing fact. Most marketers evidently try to forget, after having classified it as some modern version of the ancient Achilles and the Hare paradox - intellectually sound perhaps, but not really applying to the real world. Other escape into "niche" markets where you sell to "normal people" i.e. not-marketers. Which of course is a perfectly valid and often profitable option. But is it really THE ONLY rational solution? Is it really not possible to sell to other marketers and be successful in that? In my opinion this "selling to sellers" is not at all as absurd as many people believe. It's simply different. And I often wonder why so little has been told about this difference by the experts. Because to me it seems to be the most important aspect of your marketing, the most important initial decision: "Will I be trying to sell things to people at large? Or perhaps will I concentrate on selling tools, resources and information to marketers?". And even the obviously important question of tangible vs. intangible merchandises doesn't seem to me more crucial. There are two main branches of Internet marketing. They are, as I will soon try to prove, very different but none of them is "absurd", "stupid", or by definition unprofitable. Of course, there are many more branches. Whether you're selling tangible or intangible goods is perhaps equally important. I don't know. In any case it's much more obvious and widely understood. (That's probably because selling of tangible goods is as old as the humanity itself, and in it the tested methods of the post-order selling still basically rule, though of course adapted to the virtual reality.) Let's now give those two categories some short, simple names for the use of this text. How about "X marketers" (from eXternal) and "N marketers" (from iNternal)? The X marketers will be those selling to the "world at large", and N marketers will be those selling to fellow marketers. Now, an explanation is needed. When you start your marketing career you don't usually "decide" whether you want to be X or N marketer. It's mostly determined by the promotional tools you have access to at the beginning. If you start without any investments, or only with little ones, you will be using opt-in lists, traffic exchanges, FFA pages and similar resources. Then, by their very nature you start promoting to people who see those ads, and who are those people? Of course they are other marketers using the same tools! You have become an N marketer without even giving this issue much thought. (It can be noted that you are an N marketer trying to sell to other N marketers. Selling to X marketers seems a much more difficult matter, for they don't use the same promotional tools, or at least not in the same extent. You will need to be somewhat of a Guru to start selling to those people! No doubt there's lots of common between those two branches. After all "the money is in the list", and the really big profits come from back-selling to people who have already bought from you, are satisfied, trust you and therefore are willing to buy from you more. This part of your business will be fairly similar, no matter if you send to marketers or non-marketers. There are also important differences of course. If it wasn't so our distinction would have little meaning and so the this article would have no meaning. But those differences are very visible. let's start with the language itself. If you are an N marketer and are successful, have a list of many thousands happy clients and so on -- then you will be soon called a "Guru". If, on the other hand, you're enormously successful in selling let's say 2' x 3' stainless-steel widgets (or ebooks on painless, well-fed & lazy slimming for that matter), which of course means that you are an X marketer, then, even if you have thousands of faithful clients with deep pockets, instinctively reaching for their credit Platinum cards whenever they hear your name... Well, you will of course be admired and envied, not to mention rich, but you won't be called a Guru! You might be called something like "a Great Salesman", which is not too bad of course, but it's not the same,is it? Another difference is that in N marketing you don't usually speak much about "niches". Selling memberships in credit based opt-in lists from some external point of view can be seen as much "niche marketing" as selling, let's say... polishing-wax for pet anacondas. Not true? But I personally have never heard this term used in this context. The most important differences are however in how X's and N's find their clients in the first place. Or sometimes how they let themselves to be found by them. This is not just a play with words, as search engines do exactly that -- they let people find your offer, don't they? There are of course many different types of search engines and similar systems ("normal" search engines, Pay Per Click search engines, directories etc.) but from the viewpoint of the potential client they basically do the same thing. And for the X type marketer they are nowadays one of the very few available means of promotion. Of course it's in large part because they are very powerful tools, providing you with highly targeted hits. If you're able to get high position on those search engines that really matter (and don't get bankrupt on the way, as they tend to be costly) you're almost there. Add some off-line promotion and you're on your way to become The Great Salesman. (Of course all other aspects of your business also must be done right.) If however you have decided that selling to sellers doesn't sound so absurd or pointless as it is often presented, then your options are much more numerous. Which is a good thing of course, though your competition also has the same options, so it's not an unmixed blessing. You must show your offer to marketers, so you need to show it where marketers are looking for offers. Why should they be looking? There are two main reasons. The first reason is that they simply are forced to look at your offers. How? Why? By whom? It's simply that many, if not most, of the methods of online promotion available today base on the principle reciprocality. Which in this context means: "I will take a look at yours if you agree to take a look at mine". Yes, of course, you don't always have to actually look at those offers. Often you can pay the service to show your offers to others and ignore theirs. Still, the people who will see your offer will be those who want to show theirs to the world. (Of course they don't necessarily need to be commercial offers, they can be sites devoted to hobbies, charities, private or group obsessions etc. But they all want to SHOW people something rather than SEE somebody else's offer.) Does anything positive result from this fact? And, to pose a much broader question: does the marketer trying to sell to sellers (N marketer in our terminology) have any advantages over the one trying to sell to non-marketers (X marketer)? My answers would be: YES and YES. Why? There are a few reasons. Some of them pretty trivial though not without importance, like the fact that marketer usually is much more exposed to contact with offers from online businesses. Marketer also has some needs that can possibly be satisfied by buying things online. Two sorts of needs in fact. Firstly, the same needs that everybody else has. Secondly, specific needs related to Internet marketing. By being rather more exposed to Internet ads and offers than an average person, more used to it and understanding it better, marketer would probably buy more things online. But the other type of needs is far more important here. Now for the second type of needs. Marketer will need marketing tools, resources, information... These things change and develop in an enormous pace. This is of course a truism but it's absolutely true. If you're able to quickly find new promotional tools, opportunities and/or information on Internet marketing, you will be in position to sell (more or less directly, we will not plunge here into discussing downlines and referrals) these information - for after all it is exactly information! - to other marketers. I personally see no reason why marketers should be less receptive to this sort of information than average person. In fact they are probably much more receptive, as they know perfectly well how much in their personal lives depends on those tools, information and opportunities. It is probably not true that whole 95% of people trying to earn online is not earning any money, but it must be obvious that most marketers still have not found their way of doing business online and there's no reason to believe that this situation ever radically changes. So it's not only information on new available services and opportunities that is sought after, and therefore sellable. In order to be successful in this sort of business, where there's so much available information, potential chances and risks, and so little road-signs that can be fully trusted, one needs to find their own way. Way of doing business online. Human life being as short as it is, with most often very limited finances (or you wouldn't spend your time in front of the monitor with uncertain result, would you?), people who still haven't found the right method and attained real success in online business will need a "recipe", or, perhaps better, a successful person to help them -- a teacher, or even perhaps what the Americans call "the mentor". (There's this old joke about some American children asking their parents to pay them tree-climbing lessons, but Internet marketing without qualified help is a dreary and very risky thing to do.) If you already are successful, then being the N marketer you have serious advantages. One of them, perhaps the most important, is that you only deal with one (big, that's true) issue: online marketing. As X marketer you would need to handle both marketing itself and the market niche you're in. This fact has some further interesting effects. For example this that by attaining success as N marketer you're becoming a Guru, or "almost a Guru", and this time I'm using this term without irony. What I mean is simply that you've become an accomplished expert in your field, which of course is Internet marketing. While if you attait even the biggest success in selling widgets online, you will be a "Great Expert In Selling Widgets Online". Which means that you will be generally seen as a crossing between "widgets expert" and "marketing expert". Nobody will be certain how good you are in any of those two parts of your activity! Effect of which will be that your success will be much harder to duplicate! You will have much more difficulty in teaching people your tested business methods. If they are not going to sell widgets like yourself, nobody can be completly sure it's the best marketing practice that you're teaching. And the widget niche may be too small to accomodate many new players. It will be a totally different matter with general marketing knowledge that you obtain practicing N marketing. One special advantage that N marketing has is something that I personally call "self-propelling money machines". So far they are not very numerous, at least those that work smoothly and bring tons of money without constant need for adjustments and pushing. But there are some, pretty successful. And their will be more. What are those self-propelling money machines? They are smart combination of promotional resources with selling. One could say that they are resources that sell themselves, automatically. The simpler form cosists of just two main parts: the Lead Generating Module (more often multiple Resources) that are constatly being sold by something that can be called the Selling Module to the leads they generate. One program that I remember that worked like that was CommisionSpyder. In another, more advanced, version is probably best represented by the new "Explosive" ebook by Stephanie L. Woolford, a very successful online marketer. (This ebook can be for example found on http://ebiz-guru.com.) Here one can three conceptual modules: the Lead Generating Module, the Selling Module, and an ebook (that can be either free or paid) that ignites the whole process. I'm not sure I managed to describe the idea clearly enough, but it can be understood when seen in action. Ebooks are supposed to be the almost-perfect business and in near future they may really become that. If we assume that this statement is true, we can say probably risk an opinion that X marketers have greater chance of publishing a competent book on topics related to their chosen niche they know lots about, while N marketers seem to have much greater chance of publishing purely marketing ebook, "viral" ebooks, and ebooks of the sort mentioned in previous paragraph included. Which seems to be another advantage of N marketing. So after all Selling to Sellers may not be so stupid idea, wouldn't you agree?
The 10 Success Basics For Your Online Business
It's always a good time to review what's been working or not working for you in your marketing efforts. Take the time to be honest with yourself about whether or not you're moving forward.
Researching For Niche Markets
When it comes to researching for niche markets, many people are confused and are never quite sure if they have found a niche that is open to additional competition and still has considerable demand, or if the niche is closed off to new entry. The answer is there is almost always demand in niche markets, and if you feel the demand is being met then there is demand for additional niches within a niche market. When researching niche markets and trying to decide what would be most profitable, you should first look at what you enjoy and would be best at doing day in and day out. The reason it is important to analyze your desires and strengths is because you want your home based business to work and be profitable, and if you do not enjoy it you will not be able to give it the attention it needs to grow, regardless of the demand within the niche. So, evaluate what you like, your skills, what services or products you can provide, and then begin figuring out the niche for your particular skills and products. If you don't feel there is a high demand, or the market is already saturated, then consider altering your product or service a bit so there is a niche market for it. All you really need is a little creativity.
3 Simple Steps for Revealing Marketing Secrets of the Experts
Learn the easy method I use to reveal marketing secrets. Details of my findings using this method are also disclosed.
Want To Make Money Online? You Need To Sell What People Are Buying
For several years now, enterprising individuals like you have been trying to make money on the Internet. It's flexible, low-cost, and if you do it right, can be extremely profitable. If you're among those who have tried to succeed and have not yet found that magic formula, you may just need to re-evaluate what you're trying to sell.
An Internet Marketing Plan Is Crucial
A Internet marketing plan provides you with a way to define your potential market and allows you the chance to position your business for optimum sales. You wouldn't start on a trip without map, would you? Likewise, starting an online business without a well thought out strategy Internet marketing plan is a recipe for failure. Let's look at some things you must consider when starting to write your strategy Internet marketing plan.
Marketing Your Business - How Do I Adapt To The Internet?
The way we do business is changing rapidly. From VOIP, video conferencing, email support, telephone answering services, and the almighty internet. As a business owner we are faced with hundreds of decisions our parents and grandparents never had to contend with.
Solution Catalog - Getting More Out Of Your Searches The Fast And Easy Way
Are you Tired of being Burned by your Internet solutions? Take advantage of a solution catalog with a difference, where your needs are thoroughly researched before they are presented, thereby providing you with trusted results.
Convey Website Credibility Authentically!
Your prospects want one thing and one thing only! They want the reassurance that what you say about what you offer is legitimate. Because credibility is crucial to the success of your business, convincing potential clients that you can deliver is key. And although conveying credibility is always a challenge, conveying credibility through a web site can be even more of a challenge.
How To Make A Lot Of Money On The Internet Doing Nothing
"You can make a lot of money on the Internet doing nothing!" That's the number one Internet marketing myth.
Does Your Internet Marketing Pull?
"Pull Marketing" has always been, and will continue to be the most effective internet marketing strategy at your disposal. Allow me to explain. Most marketing efforts can be placed into one of three categories:
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