People who do sales and marketing offline know that the skill sets involved are very different—and it’s no different when you’re doing business over the Internet. Just like in the offline world, you need strong marketing to get people “into the door.” But once the prospects are on your website, you’re only going to earn money from them if you can sell them well enough to close the deal.
The easiest way to tell you about the differences between sales and marketing is to tell you what each does and doesn’t do. The picture becomes clearer when you contrast the two.
Marketing is like sending out an invitation. The invitation tells people what’s up, gives them an idea of why they want to attend, and makes it easy for them to reply. Good marketing does all of these things.
Selling is what happens after you get them to the event—in this case, onto your website. You do sales on the Web pretty much like a salesperson does it in a store or a sales meeting. You answer any questions, make an offer, and guide the prospect through making the purchase.
Every aspect of marketing has to be done correctly to get prospects to your website. Your marketing has to show, tell, and sell people on the fact that you have something worth checking out. You do marketing in as many venues as you can: You market on social networking sites, through article directories, on YouTube, and more. All of these marketing messages are geared toward one goal—getting people interested enough to check you out.
I’ve written elsewhere in various other blogs about the reasons that traditional marketing doesn’t work anymore. In this article, it’s enough to say that for your marketing to work to get people to come to you, the marketing messages have to have some value in and of themselves. In other words, you’re giving something away to get something you want—information or samples to get people to come to your website.
Once the prospects are on your site, you’re still going to market to them. You’ll give them free articles and maybe a few additional samples to encourage their interest.
But you’re not giving anything away when it comes time to sell. At that point, the only questions are quantity and how the customer wants to pay.
Don’t think that this makes your sales process any less important than your marketing process, though. To keep your customers’ trust, you have to have a secure way for them to pay you online. You’re going to want your own secure shopping cart or use a legitimate service like PayPal to process their payment. And you’re going to need to have an efficient delivery service that gets the product to the customer on time.
I think you can see how sales and marketing work together on the Internet. Both have to be working well for either to work at all. So make sure you know the differences and are doing everything you can in both areas to make your business shine.