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Fool-Proof e-Commerce Marketing Success

I know how to get a blank stare from just about any e-commerce web site owner. All I have to do is ask them about their web site marketing plan!

When I ask them about their web site marketing plan, I get that look. First the eyebrows go up. Then the eyes glaze over for a minute. And then the stammering begins.

"Uh, well, you know - I have my URL on my business card."

"I, ah, I'm going to start an e-mail newsletter."

Some of them may even mention something about "search engines."

But practically no one has a plan! And you know how the old saying goes: "Failure to plan is a plan to fail."

Most small business owners I talk to are frustrated. They think their web site is a big waste of money. An "online business card." A "marketing expense" that doesn't return any of its investment.

And no wonder:

You've spent thousands on a pretty web design. You shell out dough each and every month for web site hosting. You may even be paying a webmaster to update the web site regularly. And month after month, year after year, the sales barely trickle in.

Marketing your web site is frustrating. It's confusing! So we end up doing what all of us do when we're frustrated and confused: deal with it "later." And later never comes.

Know what? It's not your fault! No one ever taught you how to market on the Internet, this new medium. (They sure didn't cover that in my marketing class when I was in school.) And there's all that hype on the Internet - so called web marketing gurus who've made millions online. But guess what? The only thing they've ever sold is reports and e-books on - what else - "how to market on the Internet." They've never packed and shipped a box or ran down the street after the UPS guy.

But what if there was a formula you could follow, a step-by-step guide to creating an online sales machine?

After 10 years of marketing and selling on the web, I've boiled it down to a winning eight-step formula. This formula works for any web business, for any product from amber gemstone jewelry to zebra-print home accessories. In a nutshell, the eight no-fail steps of this formula are:

  • Define Your Goals: With no clearly defined purpose, your web site can't succeed. Be specific with each goal, adding both an amount and a timeframe.
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  • Take a Snapshot: How's your web site performing now? Know your traffic stats and your "three magic numbers."
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  • Define Your Market: Who are you talking to? Be specific about who your products are for, and where these customers exist.
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  • Get Them There: Build targeted web traffic by getting your target audience's attention and creating an ongoing dialog.
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  • Turn Site Visitors into Customers: Once you've gotten them to your web site, make sure you seal the deal before they leave. Know what they're looking for, and what information they need to make a purchasing decision. Give it to them, then ask for the sale.
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  • Increase Their Spending: Would you like some fries with that hamburger? Since they've got their wallet open, ask for the add-on or upsell.
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  • Get Them Back: It's cheaper to get an old customer to buy again than it is to recruit a new one. Make the experience memorable, and make the next one convenient.
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  • Get Their Friends: A happy customer can be your best sales tool.
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  • Empower them to spread the word about your products and web site.