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How To Cheaply and Powerfully Reposition Yourself On the Web
It goes without saying that all of us would like better response and conversion numbers from our websites. This is an ongoing dilemma which, unfortunately for many of us, remains a dilemma.
It's just too easy to sit on the same old tired, sour marketing with crossed fingers, hoping for better numbers in the future. The whole idea of rolling out a new campaign or overhauling your web copy can be pretty daunting.
But if your numbers aren't what you'd like (and how many of us are really satisfied with our numbers?), then you need to get off the hope wagon and and put a new plan into action.
In the lines that follow, I'd like to present a concrete, low-cost, three-step plan for renewing your marketing through repositioning.
Step #1. Get Out of the Commodity Business and Into the Information Business
One of the things that happens to many businesses, both online and offline, is "commoditization." When your business becomes commoditized, you become just another face in a sea of similar products or services.
If this is happening to you, you need to change businesses.
Even if you don't feel "commoditized", switching gears and putting your Web business into information mode can only bring good things.
The first step is to make the "psychological leap" from being a product or service provider to being an information provider.
Which means you're going to become an educator.
You're going to start teaching people about your niche in a MUCH BIGGER WAY than you have been in the past...
And you're going to compete on whole new turf from here on out. Instead of competing with every other Joe or Jane selling their dieting ebook or doing horoscope readings, you're going to be competing with those providing solid information about weight loss or astrological services.
A much more pleasing scenario.
Sure, you can still have your root product or service. But that will no longer be the central focus of your business.
Being in the information business offers you a flexibility that simply being in the product or service business doesn't. You'll widen your horizons and branch out into totally new sub-areas of your present niche.
Step #2. Build A New Knowledge Base
In order to educate others, you need to know what you're talking about.
Even if you already have a huge amount of knowledge, you'll find that once you start to write and teach there will be plenty more to learn.
In the teaching business there's an old saying:
"The easiest way to learn about something is to teach it."
The very act of passing on information to others will stimulate your research. You'll gain knowledge and develop fresh approaches to new areas, and even to old areas you may have thought you knew everything about already.
Consider this. If you are reading about something only because you think you "might" need the information one day, how motivated will you be to really get down and study?
Better to just enjoy a novel.
But if you're reading something because it's contributing to an article or report or book or other info vehicle you're in the process of writing -- one that enhances your image as an expert -- then you'll be much more motivated to read and study.
As you read and study, use the power of your imagination to see yourself in a new light. As a soon-to-be respected writer and teacher. As a distinguished information publisher. As an expert consultant and coach.
Step #3. Publicize Your New Expert Status
There are four dirt-cheap vehicles (outside your basic website) you can use for establishing your position online as an expert information provider.
If you don't yet have a blog, you're missing out on a great low-cost publishing vehicle that will get your info out there on the Web RIGHT NOW.
This blog should be an informational blog, where you teach and pass on info about your niche. Not a "chatty" blog where you pour out your feelings and talk about your personal life all the time.
If you want to have one of those chatty kinds of blogs, then by all means have one. But make it separate from your marketing blog.
Of course you CAN still talk about your personal life in your marketing blog, and you should sometimes! But don't make your life and troubles the focus.
And post a lot. At least three times a week.
You need to build content, after all. The search engines will find you fairly quickly if you have a lot of good content.
The Expert Article
Write an article a week, if possible. More if you have time! Submit it to the article directories and article lists right away.
Every time you put an article "out there", you'll see returns in the way of fresh traffic. Plus you'll build credibility. More and more people will become familiar with your name. And other publishers will start to post your articles on their websites, in their ezines, and on their blogs.
Write articles to inform, not to sell. Web-savvy readers don't give an ad disguised as an article much of a look anymore.
Keep your articles between 800 and 1400 words. Anything shorter is too little and anything longer will lose readers.
The White Paper or Specialized Report
Most of us know by now that we need to capture the contact info of people who don't buy from us on the first shot. The one-shot Big Cahuna sales letter can get you some sales, sure, but the real money is in the follow-up.
What do we offer people in exchange for their contact info? Well, we need a great freebie.
A great freebie is one that carries value AND positions you as an expert.
Somebody else's ebook that you have reseller rights to doesn't really fit the bill.
The most killer freebie I know of is what some marketers call an "info widget." This is an authentic lead-generation document, not some thinly disguised sales letter (although sales letters disguised as "free reports" can work too, especially offline).
The White Paper or Specialized Report is great for this, because it shows that you're not just a run-of-the-mill Web marketer, but a real, bonafide authority in your field. It carries mega-power for positioning.
The name "White Paper" is usually used by companies with a technical orientation. So if you're not in a technically-oriented market, you might be better served by the name "Specialized Report." Or you may be able to come up with another name that works well.
The Customer Newsletter
You don't necessarily need to publish an ezine "proper", but you do need to have a customer newsletter to keep in touch with past and current customers.
The real key to a successful customer newsletter is having fun with it. Go out of your way to come up with different, even goofy things to keep your customers informed of what's going on with your business.
And give them some solid info each issue. Offer them tips and advice. And occasional bonuses!
Don't let your newsletter in their inbox be a big surprise either. Keep in touch with them often enough that they aren't shocked to hear from you. Nothing worse than a customer that scratches his or her head wondering who the heck this newsletter is from.
More than anything, though, your customer newsletter contributes to your positioning as an expert. To your status as an authority within your niche.
Remember that this is only the beginning!
Once you've repositioned yourself effectively, you'll be able to set up hugely profitable ventures, such as consulting services and coaching programs. You'll be able to hold teleseminars with expert contributors, sell information packages...
The sky's the limit...
But first you need to get out of the commodity business and into the information business.
Copyright © 2005 by Bruce Carlson
Bruce Carlson is a freelance copywriter and marketing consultant living in Finland. Subscribe to his Dynamic Copywriter newsletter at http://www.dynamic-copywriting.com and see how easily you can improve your online copywriting and direct marketing skills.
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