Google’s latest financial reports show a turnover of $23.6 billion. The vast majority of this is generated from their search business – helping millions of searchers find the right site, and helping millions of businesses get found. I am continually surprised however by what happens next. What is it that the searcher finds, and what does the business do now they have been found?
The buying process has changed dramatically in recent years as a result of the internet’s development. Pre-internet consumers were passive and relied on expensive advertising budgets to advise them of what they wanted, and where they could get it.
Nowadays, if you think of some of your recent purchases, consumers are active participants and start the process by launching their browser and researching the market. What product do I want (a camcorder), what model do I want (a Panasonic SDR-S26), where can I get it for the best price (Amazon). Whilst this an end-to-end online purchase, even requirements as diverse as a house purchase, university selection, or a choice of Child Trust Funds would all now start online.
I spend most of my time working with SMB’s. These might be clients, or IT Partners that I work with. When I discuss marketing and websites the response is usually “We get most of our clients from referrals” or “We don’t have time/money/resource for marketing.” Both of these are excuses, and seem crazy to me in light of what we have just discussed about today’s buying behaviour.
If I have just set up a business in Leeds and I need an IT Provider, then the first thing I am going to do is type in “IT Consultant Leeds” into Google. Here’s my advice – as an IT Provider you need to make sure that firstly you are on the front page through a combination of SEO and paid advertising, and then make sure that your prospect likes what they see when they get to your site and that everything on it drives them towards a sale.
I recently bought a book at Amazon, and counted up all the sales techniques they employ on a single product page. Even as an Amazon advocate I was surprised to get to 19 and I think it gives us a good insight into what is possible when a Company really wants to secure business.
Take a look at How They Got Started on Amazon and look for these 19 sales techniques that help make sure you have all the information you need to make a purchase then and there. In brackets my notes suggest how these techniques might be adapted for your own business.
- Look Inside (free trial)
- Customer Reviews (Case Studies)
- Saving from List Price (Why should you should buy from me)
- Delivery times (I can solve your problem quickly)
- Express Delivery (very quickly)
- Other options (Hardback/Used)
- Frequently bought together (bundled pricing/upsell)
- Customers also bought (cross-sell)
- Amazon sales rank (How popular is this item amongst it’s peers)
- Detailed Product Description (I want to make sure you have everything you need to make a decision)
- Tags (Help customers to locate product)
- Rate this item (If you aren’t happy you can let others know and they can let you know)
- What do customers ultimately buy after viewing this item? (Perhaps you really want this….)
- Most helpful reviews (reviewing the reviewers!)
- Customer discussion forum (Meet like-minded customers to discuss products)
- Listmania (See lists of similar products that others have made)
- Similar items by category (More upsell)
- Similar items by subject (and More upsell)
- Feedback (How well have we listed this product)
Amazon’s primary objective is to sell books, but you don’t just go to Amazon for the wide range they stock. You shop there because they have turned their entire business into the product. IT Providers are in the IT industry and should be leading the way here by developing websites and marketing strategies that drive high value recurring revenue contracts into their business.
Not every IT Provider will be able to use every example. But think about your prospect opening up their browser tomorrow morning as they start to look for your Services and ask “Would I buy from my own website?”