You’ve got to hand it to whoever coined the expression “the customer is always right.” That person certainly knew which side of the bread was buttered. Customers are the single most important aspect to the success of any business venture. That’s why, when you start an online business, getting customers and keeping them happy should occupy more of your time than any other activity.
One of the miracles of the Internet is modern technology. There are sophisticated tools that allow us to identify potential customers and get them to come to our web sites. Now we can combine these Internet marketing tools with tried and true models that have worked in the past. We can put them together to make powerful systems that get us customers for very little, and in many cases, no money at all.
Let’s start by looking at a mindset for getting customers that comes from the direct marketing world. It is something that has served marketers for decades. It is something that you can use to great advantage in your information marketing business.
Most businesses try to sell their products in one shot. For example, let’s suppose I’m selling an information product-a set of twelve instructional DVDs. I want someone to come to my web site, see the picture and benefits of my DVDs, enter in their credit card information, pay me $249.98, get the DVDs shipped to them, and then never bother me again.
Now that’s certainly a great mindset if you live in Utopia, but the problem is that’s not the way information marketing works in the real world. Most people that come to a web site are not already educated about what’s being sold. They don’t know exactly what they want. They certainly don’t know how much value your product offers. In short, they are not ready to enter their credit card and plop down 250 bucks.
On the other hand, when visitors come to your web site, they are usually in the beginning stages of shopping around. They are researching. They are looking at their options. They are trying to understand their problem and looking for information products to help them out.
What you want to say to these visitors is something like “I’ll tell you what. If you enter your name and e-mail address on this web site, I’ll give you a bunch of really great stuff for free. And then you can make a decision.”
Plenty of people are watching a video right now, downloaded from one of my web sites, because I asked them to do just that: “Here. Watch a free video and make a decision later.” I promised I would teach them a bunch of great stuff for free, if they opted into my list. Hey, maybe you are one of them!
Anyway, that’s how it works. It’s called a lead generation model. People who choose to opt-in to our list can get lots of great free stuff.
The lead generation model is a multi-step information marketing process. You don’t come up and tell visitors, “Hey! Give me a bunch of money!” Instead, you show up and say, “Let me give you a bunch of stuff for free-stuff that’s really going to help you out.”
So there you have the mindset: lead generation. You are going to generate some leads and create a list of very interested prospects. Then, you’re going to offer more and more value and education, plus some more stair-stepping. Eventually, when you offer your actual information product, your prospect will be able to make a really good decision, based upon the groundwork you’ve already established, building trust in a relationship.