Here is the transcript of part two of a two part interview:
(If you missed part one click here)
Steve: One question I get from people thinking about starting an online business is, do I need an Internet marketing plan? What is your philosophy on this type of thing?
Larry: That’s an easy one. 100% yes. A plan is crucial. You would not build a bird-house without a plan why would you not take the time to create one for your business? The Internet is now and will continue to play a critical role in every company’s ability to attract qualified customers. There are few companies out there that are not adding Internet marketing to their overall marketing strategy. You leave it out and you get left behind. We live in a clickable culture and to ignore that fact would be foolish.
Steve: As a follow up question, what are the typical types of Internet marketing services involved in an Internet marketing plan?
Larry: That would vary depending on the type of business and where potential customers can be found for your offerings. Some people would have you believe if it exists than you need to do it. I could not disagree more. I only want to be where my customers are. If my potential customers are on Facebook, I’ll be there. If I cannot identify that there is opportunity for me on MySpace then I will move on.
You need to investigate everything and only take on the solutions that have the opportunity for return. Take note, I said opportunity for return not guaranteed return. If you’re looking for guarantees buy a car.
The one constant that every marketing plan should have is a focus on the website. A company’s website is the center of their marketing universe. Everything points to your website, social networking, blogs. Brochures, whitepapers, email everything. Even handing someone a business card leads to them saying, I’ll go check out your website.
Just having a website is not enough. You need to be 100% convinced that it will attract, connect with and convert potential customers. We have taken good websites and made them great by insuring that nothing is left up to chance. Every element, line of text, hyperlink and image exists for one reason, to persuade a potential customer.
If your marketing plan does not contain a hard focus on creating a customer centric website you are short changing every other marketing solution you put forth.
Steve: Since you are both product and service-focused clients, are they different in any way? What are some distinctions in how you focus their Internet marketing strategies?
Larry: Primarily product and service companies are different only in their sales processes and by that I mean the last part of a sale. Product sales are more transaction oriented. Services are more relationship oriented and utilize a consultative selling model.
Contrary to popular belief there is little difference between the two when it comes to Internet marketing. The reason for this is that the customer is the same. Buying behavior is very similar from product to service. I rarely change my buying habits based on what I’m buying. I still need to know I’m making the right choice which means you have to inspire confidence in your potential clients. We have to instill trust, professionalism and expertise. All three of these qualities are vital for both products and services.
Both types of sales end with a success transaction. The product sales ends much sooner as the success transaction is the purchase / ordering of said product. Service transaction success online is a different success transaction, typically a contact choice. At the point of contact the sales process for a service continues off-line.
Steve: To close our interview I would like to get a Top 5 from you. Since we are facing some tough economic times ahead for possibly the next 12-18 months, what are the Top 5 things you would recommend to companies to leverage their Internet marketing strategy?
Larry: I recently spoke at an Affiliate Summit event in NYC. After the event I followed the chatter about my presentation online via blogs, twitter, forums and across multiple social networks. My favorite quote was, Larry Bailin is a brilliant non-traditional e-marketer. That being said I’m going to apologize in advance because my top 5 are not the average picks I see others pushing such as, video, Twitter, Facebook and alike.
1. Strive to put the marketing back into Internet marketing. I’ve watched e-business evolve into business and now I watch as Internet marketing evolves into marketing. Internet marketing is not a technology solution. The technology has become ubiquitous. True results will come from the connection your solutions make with potential customer. Making a connection is a core fundamental in order for any marketing to succeed.
2. When hiring any Internet marketing company you must be sure they do not build anything for you. You are not hiring them to build things to make you happy; you need them to make your customers happy. My company strives to look though our customers. Everything we build or develop is designed for our customers’ customers.
When an Internet marketing company can build solution that makes your customers happy, trust me, you’ll be happy.
3. Measure, modify, test, measure and repeat. Just because your solutions are producing does not mean they cannot be better, in fact I guarantee they can be better. There is no such thing as perfect. Even our country’s constitution alludes to a grammatical fallacy, a more perfect union. There is no such thing as, more perfect but the concept is sound, never settle for perfect.
Always measure, modify, test and measure again. Push your solutions to the limit. Now more than ever you need to insure you’re getting the most from your budget, nothing is ever perfect.
4. Step outside of your comfort zone. I did a podcast with eight (8) time Mr. Olympia winner Ronnie Coleman a couple of years ago. Ronnie is considered one of the best in the sport. He has won eight (8) consecutive Mr. Olympia titles in a row and is tied with Lee Haney for the most wins ever. No one has ever won nine (9) titles (consecutive or otherwise). When Ronnie went for his world record ninth win he lost to Jay Cutler.
When interviewed in my studio he was asked if he was going to retire. He answered, no way! I’m going back to win number nine. When asked if it was possible to be bigger and better than he currently was, without missing a beat he stated, absolutely! I just can’t keep doing the same things that got me here and expect to grow. I have to add more weight to the bar. As marketers we have to develop what I now affectionately call, Marketing Muscle and like Ronnie Coleman, add more weight to the bar.
5. Make time before all you have is time. More often than I care to hear I’m told by my customers that they do not have the time needed to do everything I recommend. My answer is always the same, you need to make time before all you have is time. If your competitors find the time they will take your customers and then you will have more time.
To read he original interview click here