Odd title for an ecommerce “marketing basics” blog post, I know.
“Basics” is certainly applicable. But “Powerwashing”…?
After all, I am a longtime, full-time online marketer, immersed in advanced, ‘next-wave’ stuff.
And that means my livelihood revolves around technology & optimization.
Employing a new app, running multi-variate split-testing, re-thinking funnel optimization ad nauseum, etc.
I do these things in order to boost conversions, lift rankings, or eke out a few percentage points of improvement somewhere, and so this is often where my time & effort is focused.
But focusing so intently on these things can also be detrimental to the overall success of an online business, especially in the beginning.
Last week I happened across a Reddit post that brought that thought to mind and absolutely rocked me!
It wasn’t the post itself, though I found it very interesting, but rather a blog post that was referenced way-deep within the comments.
The blog post was a case study of… a guy starting a one-man powerwashing business.
Talk about ‘unrelated’… what does that have to do with ecommerce or marketing?
On it’s face, nothing.
Until you read it:
(Note: I have no relationship with the guy, his blog, or anything else mentioned there.)
I found it to be inspiring, incredibly interesting, and a fantastic real-world illustration of the ‘power of fundamentals’!
Sometimes we get so caught up in technology & optimization, new shiny objects and the next ‘big thing’ in marketing approaches, etc., that we lose sight of the basics – the fundamentals that ‘make or break’ any business, online or otherwise.
I’m talking about the things that determine whether our path is one of general growth & success, or whether we get ‘stuck’ on a treadmill of constantly trying to squeeze out some marginal success because we haven’t built on a strong foundation of basic business & marketing fundamentals.
I’m talking about the basics:
- Basic sales & marketing copy writing e.g. “WIIFM” (“what’s in it for me?”)
- Basic marketing automation e.g. customer & prospect lists and email marketing
- Basic marketing psychology e.g. upsells, scarcity, etc.
- Basic human psychology e.g. testimonials & social proof
- Basic management efficiency & optimization e.g. outsourcing
What does this mean for someone trying to make a go at succeeding with an online store – or any other internet business for that matter?
Simply this: if you want to give yourself the greatest likelihood of succeeding, you should:
— Consider whatever you’re doing from your prospective customer’s standpoint – what’s in it for them? If that isn’t immediately – and clearly – obvious, you should immediately re-think and re-do your product descriptions, pricing rationale, your ad copy, etc., even your market or product selection.
— Start building a list, immediately. As in, now.
And not just of buyers, but prospects as well. Then use it to start building a relationship with the people on your list. Send out regular communications, but make sure they’re worth opening.
— Don’t squander the greatest selling moment we ever get: when someone already has their wallet out.
Make sure that when someone buys something, you have something to follow-up with immediately, whether it’s an ‘upgrade’ upsell, an additional related “if you liked that, you might like this” product or offer, or a lower-cost (‘downsell’) option.
— Leverage the strongest motivating force in human nature: social proof. ASK people who bought from you for a testimonial. Don’t like asking for a testimonial? Ask for a review. Or ask for feedback.
If someone does business with you, and isn’t unhappy, you have the opportunity to radically improve your business just by making that fact visible to others.
— Focus on the things only you can do, and use others to do everything else.
Not outsourcing is akin to trying to build a house with only one or two tools; some of it will go well, the rest, not as well as it could or should.
Without understanding and employing the basics of building & growing a business, we will at best be forever spinning our wheels, trying to make a lemon drive like a Cadillac.
The flip side is that we can forego almost everything else and still have a tremendously successful venture, just by building a solid foundation and attending to the basics!
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