The Four Golden Keys to Maximizing Online Sales

By Hector Cisneros
Courtesy of Pixabay

Ever wish you knew the magic formula for selling products and services online? My business partner Carl Weiss and I have been managing online advertising since the late 1990’s. This includes organic search position (aka SEO), banner ads, pay per click, directory ads and the latest foray which started around 2007, that of social media marketing and social pay per click. These advertising mediums evolve rapidly. We have devised more ways to engage in these types of advertising than I care to remember. In this episode of Working the Web to Win, we will explore four principles that are the keys to maximizing online sales. We call these principles “The Four Golden Keys.” These keys will open new marketing doors for you and your company, so read this information carefully and don’t leave anything out of the process.  

Having said that, I want to make clear what I mean by our four golden keys. These are the principles of marketing that we have not seen change during the internet era. All online sales can be broken down into four main parts. The parts/processes include; Reach, Consistency, a Compelling Message plus Testing and Measuring your results. These principles are not an easy four-step process. They can be simple, but they are not easy. Instead, they are all part of an intertwined co-dependent process that when executed together produce the most success. Each part of this process depends on the other to work. For example, to determine if your message is good, you must test it, to test it, it must also be found, and you just can test it for one day, you must consistently run the test message for at least a week if not longer. Now let’s, break down these four parts into their individual constituents.
  
Courtesy of Pixabay
Tuning Your Message You must pre-determine the purpose of your marketing message.  Is it for branding your company? Is it used for conversion? Are you trying to produce positive engagement? In order to have success, you must have a marketing message that compels people to want to learn more, to buy now instead of later, to get involved, engaged, comment on and share your story with others. If your advertising is getting you found, but you’re not getting sales, you have a problem. That problem is one of conversion, and it usually means either your marketing message is not focused, your offer is not compelling, your competition is better than you, or there is not a strong need for your product/service. Tuning your message for branding, conversion and engagement is a must.
  • Branded Message – Having a consistent look and feel is important. Make sure your logo is on everything. Try and use the same color schemes, slogan, call to action, spokesperson, etc... A consistent message can become a trust factor if it is coupled with quality, good service and an earned reputation for exceeding customers’ expectations.
  • Testimonial, Reviews and Ratings – It’s important that you proactively garner testimonials, high ratings, and reviews. Video testimonials work best, followed by verifiable written testimonials and audio testimonials. You will need to create an ongoing process to continually garner positive reviews and ratings. No matter how good you are, one day someone will post a negative review (maybe even your competitor) and if you don’t have lots of good reviews, you’re sunk!
  • Unique Selling Proposition Message – Your message must show prospects that your different, better in some way, then your competition. Competing head to head with other companies is a sure way to struggle. Being unique, providing a special approach or product can set you apart. It can give you that competitive edge needed to close the sale. This can’t happen if you don’t have a unique selling proposition.
  • Conversion MessageYou must have an Irresistible Offer to close the deal more quickly. People are skeptical of the web and internet sales unless they know you’re a trustworthy vendor. A great compelling offer takes the risk out of the transaction. This allows the prospect to move forward in the sales process. 10% off is not a compelling offer in most instances.
  • Engagement message – You need to give people a reason to interact with your company. Provide a FREE giveaway item to sign up for a newsletter. Make sure you are providing quality social media authoritative and curated posts and ask people to share them in your call to action section of your videos, blogs and pod casts.

Courtesy of Pixabay
Maximizing the Return Testing, tracking and measuring to maximize return on investment is critical for success. If you want the best results, the most sales, likes and positive engagements, you must test, track and measure your whole message. AB testing ads and web properties, tracking with Owly, Bitly, Goo.gl, setting up AdWords and Google Analytics are just a start. You must test, track and measure these key factors. AB testing is where you create two similar ads, landing pages or websites and then run a test to see which of the two produces the most (traffic, sales, conversions, etc.…).
  • AB Testing of PPC ads – Never just create one pay per click ad. Always create at least three ads and rotate them out evenly for at least 30 days. I normally run my test for 90 days if my budget allows.
  • AB Testing of Landing Pages – Landing pages, can be used to test graphics, messages, color schemes, offers, videos, etc. you name it. They can be run in conjunction with pay per click ads, Facebook boost, banners landing positions and more.
  • AB Testing of Social Posts – AB testing for social posts can include testing of curated messages for authoritative blog, video and podcast posts. You can use these to determine conversion, garnering “likes” and followers, etc…
  • AB testing of Video shares – Most often you are trying to garner video views, comments and click through to a specific landing page. Determining which video provides the most views so that you can make money with AdSense or determine which video compels the most visitors to click your offer site is the name of the game.
  • AB testing of Podcast – The purpose here is similar to Video AB testing. You are either trying to create a larger listenership to sell banner views/click or your selling downloads of some kind.
  • AB testing of Blog articles - what’s involved? With blogging, it's all about readership. This, like the video and podcast platforms. It allows you to sell advertising via click or views and of course, it can be an advertising platform for your company as well. Remember a blog is just another type of website so that you can sell your products or services on it just like any other website on the Internet.

Courtesy of Pixabay
Being Found - Another important part is being found! You must optimize your advertising for Reach and Exposure -  If no one knows about you, you’re not in the game. If they can’t easily find your website, you're lost in cyberspace! Being easily found on the web today (i.e. Ranking high or using pay per click) is a multi-faceted process that includes: Optimizing your web properties keywords for organic and paid Search. Running Pay Per Click advertising in the search directories and on Social networks is another way to get found. Producing regularly curated messages in the social networks plus providing authoritative post via blogging, podcasting and publishing video is another. And let’s not forget publishing press releases on a regular basis and creating authoritative backlinks as well.  
  • Organic Search - To achieve a high ranking, your web properties must not only have their content keyword optimized, but your URL, title page, header, and subheads need to be optimized as well. Other key factors for organic search are the relevance, quality, timeliness, usefulness and edutainment value of your content. Lastly, overall traffic is very important, so any way you can drive traffic to your site helps improve ranking.
  • Pay per click - When engaging in pay per click, it’s important that your web properties are optimized for the keywords you're bidding on. Also, choosing the best keywords for search volume and relevance is important. You will also need to determine the best, time of day, the day of the week and page position based on your daily budget as well.
  • Social Networks - Using social networks is all about building an audience. Your audience will follow you as long as you give them what they want. Your post needs to be of high quality and relevant to their needs, not your immediate need to sell something. You also need to cater to a specific audience. This includes posting content specific to their needs and also using social pay per click to target audience via their zip codes, demographics, and psychographic profiles. Selecting the right target audience allows your ads and messages to be keyword optimize both for ads and social curation post.
  • Blogging - Writing blogs is one of the best ways to show off your expertise and at the same time show your audience on the web that you are contributing to the body of knowledge on the Internet. This provides an aura of expertise which adds to your credibility and increases your trust factor. Make sure your blogs and articles have compelling headlines, have keyword optimized headers and content and that you can push out your blog to a large audience.
  • Video - Videos can be keyword optimized as well. The description and heading can be keyword specific and they can be tied back to your web properties (including sales landing pages, blogs or social sites). You can also post videos to all of your social nets with keyword optimized curation. This works well on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.
  • Authoritative Back Links - One of the oldest ranking factors is authoritative back links. This includes adding your profile to authoritative directories, engaging in link exchanges with legitimate and relevant web partners. It also includes the back links you create for cross pollinating all of your social sites.

The Drum Beat of ConsistencyIn a world where everything is constantly
Courtesy of Pixabay
changing, consistency is a reassuring element needed to build trust. There are too many fly by night companies, scammers, and internet rip off artists competing for the consumer's trust. Your company’s message must be delivered often and for a sustained period of time to reassure the public that you’re not going anywhere. On top of that, it normally takes 7 to 12 marketing touches in today’s highly competitive world just to get the prospect to commit to the purchase.
  • The Frequency – You must run your advertising so that it provides a drumbeat of compelling messages. This is usually determined during the testing. Your test should let you know how many sales can be expected based on running your ads on either daily, weekly and or on a monthly basis. It should also tell you what media to run on and what your daily spend should be. For example; If you only run pay per click and bid a maximum of $20 a day and run your ad between 7 am and noon, you may be missing out on a late afternoon shopping crowd or some other prospect buying window because your exposure frequency is too short. Or you may have set your daily spending too low or your bid rate too low which also shortens your frequency as well.
  • The Campaign length – As I mentioned earlier, test campaigns need to run for a month. Your ad campaigns need to also run for as long as your budget allows or until the ad message plays itself out and no longer produces the desired results.
  • Time on the Web - The longer your website is actively available on the web, the higher it will rank based on longevity. Staying power has its ranking privileges and having been available on the web for a long time definitely helps improve rank.
  • Branded Look and feel across all platforms - Being consistent across all your web properties make your brand easier to recognize as being the “Real You”. There are some companies that go out of their way to copy others look and feel – to be like one of the top companies. Today there are thousands of web properties that capitalize on miss-spelled URL names to get traffic and sales by trying to ride the coattails of famous brand names. Don’t let confusion steel your opportunities.
  • Call to Action - Make sure you always add a call to action on every page of your web properties. This can be anything from an irresistible offer to signing up for a newsletter or asking the visitor to share your web page with their friends and co-workers.

Utilizing all four of these Golden Keys and their sub-components regularly will guarantee a higher level of success than if you tried to cherry pick this system. Success is not easy; it can, however, be achieved by simply using these “Four Golden Keys” to cover all your bases. These four main principles will always lead you to a higher level of success if you utilize them. Trying to take shortcuts will only cost you added advertising expense and lost sales. Take the time to re-read this article and share it with your friends. Engage in an open discussion as to why you think these will work for you and your coworkers. If you do, you will find you have already taken the first steps towards success just because you’re engaged in holding these four golden keys in your thoughts.

In this article, I have discussed Four Golden Keys that lead to maximized online sales. These four keys and the dozen plus sub-components will help ensure your online marketing success. I want to encourage our readers to implement these elements on all their web properties. Doing so will increase sales and ranking, which is a goal of all online businesses. It is my hopes that you will share this information with your peers and that you will take the time to leave us a comment on this topic.
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Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”  

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