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I recently was involved in a discussion on a yahoo group about selling artwork. A few comments were made about the importance of building a website. I got the sense that many thought their entire strategy was simply building a fabulous website. So I jumped into the discussion and my point was that it takes more than a pretty website to make a sale. If you’re at all interested in selling your paintings or any other product on the website, here are six basic rarely revealed marketing truths crucial to your success.

This is not the field of dreams. Building a website doesn’t mean they’ll come.

Think of the internet as a huge circle. Everybody is surfing the internet on the outside of the circle.

Place the tiniest dot in the circle somewhere and then ask yourself these two questions.

How will web surfers know about my website?
How will the right surfers (people) know about my website?

That’s what internet marketing is all about. Getting the right people to visit and buy from your website. (First Great Marketing Truth – emphasis on ‘right people’ or the ‘Who’)

Most people spend their money on building a website.

I’d like to suggest that initially, any site will do so long as it handsomely shows your product, visitors can easily navigate throughout your site and the products can be purchased directly off of the website. Later on you improve the design of your website to enhance the conversion of visitors to customers.

But the first place to spend money is in finding out who is your customer.

I mean seriously, who will buy from you. And why?

Forty years ago I began life after college as a journalist. In fact, I have two degrees: Electronics (AS) and Journalism (BA). Whenever I wrote a story, (I wrote over 3,000 news articles, 9 books, countless magazine articles and white papers) I had to answer these questions….who, why, what, where, when and how. They are a journalist’s best friend. And an internet marketeer’s best friend.

An internet marketer is anyone who is trying to sell anything on the internet.

So begin with who… Review who has bought from you from the past. Evaluate them….age, interest, demographics, etc… Try to quantify them such that if you wanted to find another 100 people exactly like them, where would you go……?

Once you’ve identified with who………….why do they buy from you. What need do you satisfy?

The best answer is found by asking your customer.

Someone once told me you only own the market your customers say you own.

I don’t know how many companies I’ve worked for in the past and during some marketing brain storming sessions someone always thinks its prudent for us to define the business we’re in and build a corporate image and brand name recognition program based on that session developed answer to this question.

You’re not always in the business you think you’re in, you’re in the business your customers say you’re in (Second Great Marketing Truth). There is no greater truth in sales and marketing than this. So if that’s true, you must ask your customers why they buy from you. This is how you know what business you’re in. Find out the persuasion factors they believe you own. Then capitalize on it.

Once you know who to sell to, why they buy from you, than you can easily define what to sell to them.

I started out selling the Basic Techniques of oil painting DVDs and was quite content to sell just these products and some landscapes and seascapes videos. I thought that was all my customers would want. And, over the past 4 years, I’ve sold tons and tons of these videos.

Then I decided to ask my customers what they wanted, why did they buy and all of the usual questions.

Two strong and surprising bits of feedback came to haunt me.

First, they wanted even better quality in products….i.e. sound, video, creativity, etc….

Second, they wanted more subjects and in this order…… flowers, tall ships, portraits and wildlife.

Did I argue with my customers? Of course not. I did exactly why they wanted. I had a ready-made purchasing market. All I had to do was give them what they wanted. So I produced the floral series and the tall ship series using the same successful formulae of teaching seen in the Basic Techniques of Oil Painting. I’m not good enough in Portraits and so I teamed up with the best portrait artist instructors around, Valerie Stewart. I now sell her DVDs and we’ll be doing joint ventures in the future.

This year, I’m producing the Wildlife Series.

So you have a real-life example of how my customers, my students showed me ‘what’ to sell them.

Here is the third greatest marketing truth you’ll ever find… People will always buy from you if they hear and see what they want to hear and see. Price is never the reason people buy from you. People buy from you because of the perceived value you’re offering for the price.

We know who, we know why, now we know what.

We need to know where.

We get there by logic.

For example, if I’m selling paintings of golf courses, than I should show my works where golfers hang out. So what groups, keywords, sport bars, television channels, magazines, ezines, article directories, radio stations, etc.. cater to the golfers?

Now I can get active. Try a few ads, direct marketing campaigns, SEO, Pay-Per-Click and so forth. See what works, then invest there.

Now here is the fourth greatest marketing truth you’ll ever hear….. Traffic plus conversion equals profits.

The ‘where’ is finding the traffic. The traffic is the number of people you can attract from the outer circle of surfers to your tiny dot within that huge circle you first drew. I will make this statement. I know about 45 different types of internet strategies that will bring customers to your website. But marketing Truth Number 5 says to concentrate on one thing at a time. That’s known as the power of one.

Once your first traffic strategy is under control and meeting your profit goals, then add another traffic generator and etc..

I find that no matter how good you are, if you can find 3 or 4 good traffic generators, you’re doing about what you can handle. How do you define a good traffic generator or a good ‘where’? Here’s the industry standard bench mark…

100 suspects will give you 10 prospects which will give you one customer.

A suspect is one who visits your website. A prospect is one who accepts your offer and gives you their name and email address. A Customer is one who purchases from you.

So…… do we define a good traffic generator or a good ‘where?’

Know your goal, then find the one of 45 possibilities that will generate the proper amount of traffic for you. Let’s say you want to make $100 a day or $36,000 a year. Your product sells for $25.00. You will now need four customers a day to buy from you. That means you need 40 prospects who give you their name and email address each day. That means you must have 400 people visiting your website each and every day.

Your job will then be to test all of the traffic generation strategies to find the 1-4 that will send 400 qualified (right) people a day to your website.

Now that we understand the who, why, what, where, we can look at the when.

Your ‘who’ will determine when they will buy. So ask them.

If you sell snow plows, chances are the ‘when’ is primarily pre-winter up to the second or third heavy snow falls. That’ll tell you when to do your marketing.

Some of us have seasonal products, others have to be cautious about certain days.

I know that for me Fridays and Saturdays are the kiss of death sales wise. So I invest little then. My investments are primarily the other five days that provide me with an extraordinary return. So when should I run my sales? I should promote them Sunday through Thursday when I have the heaviest traffic and conduct the sales on Friday and Saturday. If you’ve been around me, you know I frequently do this….. Any of you who bought my $5.00 or $1.00 Saturday special DVDs will be able to speak on the effectiveness of that strategy.

OK, Brief discussion of How.

How do I convert a Who into a Customer.

By giving them great value through an irresistible offer. Thus the sixth Greatest Marketing Truth is ….

I must be able to articulate in writing an offer that when the prospect reads it, concludes that they’d be crazy not to accept my offer.

As you build websites realize you’re at the beginning of the food chain in generating revenue.

Enjoyed writing this, hope some of you even read it.