Direct selling has gained popularity over the recent years. These entrepreneurs generally lack the budgetary muscle to secure a fixed location to sell their wares and services.
In case you fall in this category of entrepreneurs selling wares such as Tupperware, Beachbody, Jamberry Nails, Mary Kay and others, you know the challenges you face as you market your goods or services on a shoe string budget. Maybe sometimes you even think of giving up. But hold on, there is a way out of these challenges.
Granted, conventional marketing is an expensive. However, the good news is that there are strategies that you can use to effectively market your wares even on your limited budget. Let us look briefly at these strategies and see how they can make your direct sales effort a success.
There are several approaches to market your products to your clients. You can decide to either go traditional or pitch your products and services or better still, you can opt for content marketing. The latter is the most current and effective marketing strategy in today’s business world. Pitching involves talks that try to persuade the client using well-planned sales presentations aimed at initiating and closing a sale of the product or service. This kind of traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective in today’s technology-driven world.
But today, thanks to advances and increased use of Information Technology, more and more people are depending on the internet to source and buy what they want. Entrepreneurs are therefore taking advantage of this new-found medium to market and sell their wares and services. Of course, maybe you already have a blog or website for your business. If not, the faster you get one the better.
Content marketing makes use of your blog or other internet platforms. This approach involves the creation and sharing of relevant, valuable and consistent content that will not only attract but also retain a well-defined audience. It is this kind of audience that can easily make profitable consumer decision and action.
Creating the right content for your blog or social media account is not rocket science. For a start, you need to understand and apply some key concepts in order to make your online marketing successful. Consider the following:
Understand your target client
To succeed in creating awareness of your business and the products or services you are selling, you have to shun the mass market. Do not try to sell your wares to all and sundry; you won’t get far doing that. Instead, understand the market segment you intend to serve with your products and services. This will help you to narrow down to your target clients. Why is this important?
Defining and targeting your clients accurately certainly enables you to refine your content to suit the needs and aspirations of your special category of buyers. Anytime such buyers interact with the content, they get excited when they realize it resonates well with their specific needs. In simple terms, the content is relevant to the aspirations of your potential client. Having said that, you need to appreciate that there are many other entrepreneurs doing direct selling of similar products and services that you are selling. So, how do you differentiate yourself and gain competitive advantage over the other sellers?
For your business and its products and services to stand out, your content must factor in a unique proposition. This refers to what your product or service has that makes it different and superior to what competition has to offer. Your target clients will use this proposition as one of the reasons that will compel them to buy from you.
Unique propositions are not limited to any aspect of the product or service you are selling. They can manifest in a variety of ways. For instance, if you are targeting medium and low-budget clients you can truthfully point out that your product is the most affordable in the market. On the same note, if you are targeting high-end clients you can as well highlight that what you are offering is one of the most expensive in the market.
Other aspects of unique selling points can be: the quality of the product, its durability, its position in the market and so on. For all it takes, make sure you identify that distinctive feature that makes what you are selling superior to what competition has to offer. Craft this Unique Selling Proposition into your blog, social media account and webinar content.
Remember that in marketing you don’t just promote your products; you also promote a specific idea or image about that product or service. This image of the product is what the client perceives of the product when he or she makes the initial contact with it. In general, creating the right perception involves the following 4 basic stages.
Clients will not start forming a perception unless they are exposed to the product. This implies you have to ensure the client gets an initial encounter with the product or service. In case you are advertising on your blog, social media account or webinar, clear images or videos of the products or the services you offer is a must.
Exposure is one thing, but getting interested enough to pay attention is another thing. Clients will pay attention to images and messages that synchronize with their beliefs, attitudes and needs. Failure capture these factors will lead to wasted efforts on your part. You therefore need to understand what tickles the client as far as the product or service you are selling is concerned and then you incorporate these into your message.
Once the attention of the clients has been captured the consumer then tries to interpret the message and assign meaning to the sensory stimulus. This is aided by the client’s familiarity and expectations based on previous experiences with that brand or another similar brand. A positive association generates a positive perception about what you are offering. It is thus important for you to get this connection as you market your goods since a previous negative feeling about the past experience can be detrimental to your sales efforts.
This is another vital stage. It is at this step that the client retains the experience to both long-term and short-term memory. At this point, the potential buyer has committed the product to memory thus becoming a potential and repeat customer. Your message should therefore leave a positive reminder, both in form and content, so that the client finally gets to this stage of making the purchase decision.
Clients will only get attracted and respond to goods and services that meet their physical and psychological needs. In the latter case, these needs include: curiosity, learning, browsing, buying and desperation. Each of these psychological needs represents a given state of mind with regard to the client’s readiness to buy. For instance, a curios client does not have an immediate need to buy; such a client just wants to quench curiosity about the product. A desperate state of mind on the other hand shows that the client has no option other than to buy the product. Your marketing message should be crafted with these stages of necessity in mind; it should satisfy and prompt the client to make the next logical business step.
Hardly will a client spend money without first doing a value assessment of the product against the money he or she is going to spend. The client wants a product that promises value. Granted, defining value in precise business terms is often difficult; value means different things to different people. To some clients, it is the cost of the product relative to other similar products. To other clients it is the actual cost of the product. What we need to appreciate is that value has a perception component.
As you think about how address the issue of value try to consider the following questions:
- How do people actually perceive my brand?
- Are my clients satisfied?
- If the clients are not satisfied, why?
- What can be done to ensure the customers are satisfied?
- Are there any new trends in the products and services you are selling?
- Would a change in prices improve your profits?
With this in mind, craft your marketing message to capture value in its broad sense. Show the client that what you are offering is worth the purchase.
It is clear from the above discussion that with the right approach, you can carry out effective marketing even with a shoe-string budget. This is a sure way to boost your direct selling business.
Do not get disillusioned by traditional marketing strategies; they are costly and will bar you from reaching your goal of financial freedom. Well-structured and executed online marketing efforts offer you the unique opportunity to reach your potential and current clients across the globe at minimal cost.
Remember, you will hardly spend anything to advertise on your blog, website, webinar and social media account. Roll up your sleeves and continue with your direct selling business; the future is bright!