As the Internet slowly introduced itself to the mainstream, it was companies on the internet who had more of a hold on the sales nature of the web than the consumer. Back in the 90s it was companies who moved into the Internet with traditional sales tactics and many consumers took to it like ducks to water because they were used to “being sold to.”
Much of that has changed. But in order to see the change in today’s terms we have to look back at traditional sales and marketing.
Think about marketing and sales offline, if only a single decade ago. Most companies small, medium and large needed a sales force that had the lion-share of product knowledge and the sales skills to sell it to each and every one of us individually. They delivered those messages to us in person and online, with little difference.
While this worked on the net for a long while, the more accessible the Internet became to the masses and when pages are being added to the web at the rate of millions a day, the paradigm shift from metaphorically uneducated consumer to mega-billions of bits of information at our consumer’s fingertips changed the landscape of sales and marketing on the web, largely to the advantage of the consumer.
Not so long ago websites, as a salesforce were in the business of SELLING TO US as they were the holders of knowledge. That lasted until recently, when people became more educated consumers and were able to find troves of information quickly and easily.
Now, it’s the consumers who have the upper hand and this has caused the average website to have to change to its model.
Consumers are now responding more to value than overt selling. By visiting a website, in a matter of seconds, consumers are able to determine whether they are finding value or they’re leaving and searching until they do.
Marketing and selling online, therefore, is now in the business of value and appeal because consumers have new modes of thinking and researching.
You have 3-5 seconds to draw a person in enough to find value in a website (this may occur with a value offer or enough of an emotional and intellectual connection to navigate further into the site), you had better be on top of your Value game.
It doesn’t matter if you have information, a product or are asking for ideological change, the immediate message better be of financial, emotional or intellectual value or else most is lost; cutting deeply into your ROI.
Appeal runs deeper than a sexy site. While appeal means just that, it also alludes to being sexy with your presence in the right places at the right time; including social media platforms, contextual ads, editorial mentions or mobile-accessible. Your brand has to be strong enough, with strong messages elsewhere, beyond your website.
MARKETING WITHOUT MARKETING
So how are you supposed to market without marketing? Easy! Since information is so readily available about companies it makes sense for companies to be proactive and establish a voice on the Internet and promote transparency.
Being “real” will take your company to the next level and social media is a great way to make your voice heard. The ability to utilize photos, text and videos is a great opportunity for your company to demonstrate who they are.
When people land on your webpage are they able to find what they’re looking for? Are they making the transition easily from visitor to conversion? Is the value you’re offering clear, front and center?
Let’s look at example sites planned, designed and developed by Overit Media:
From the outset the visitor can see two three value tools immediately. First, BestPass has saved its customers millions, BestPass offers to save the visitor money (“How much can we save you?”) and the visitor can immediately assess how much he/she will save by using the savings calculator that appears in the left sidebar sitewide.
By way of search or word-of-mouth, those who click to visit the Capitalize Albany website have a good understanding as to what to expect when arriving on the site. The amount of value though is delivered upon arriving on the homepage landing page. The visitor can see that Albany has experienced $6 billion in economic activity while there have been over 300 development projects that have gone through the system. All value points that no doubt help keep the visitor on the site while encouraging further navigation into the site.