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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lesson 8 Some Direct Sales thoughts - Adwords, eBay and Twitter

Okay I'm gonna look at a couple methods to sell products today.

Firstly as you may gather my own personal focus is more than just selling the product itself, I'm looking at tools and gadgets to help organize other areas of the process that leads to sales - in other words "I'm doing it my way" and getting involved in the niche of the business.

Finding Coffee Venues (groups on networks)

Part of my own system is building up a network of coffee venues across many networks then other coffee affiliates can then add their content and be welcome to do so - rather than the situation where affiliates roam about the web like lost sheep/spammers randomly posting in unrelated groups - and end up getting a bad reputation.

So I am creating Coffee related "Venues" or virtual cafe spots on-line where YOU as a coffee affiliate are allowed to post your coffee related information and network with other coffee people - this interaction is important as you learn about new products, suppliers to avoid and you create new friendships. It also means strength in numbers, a venue buzzing with coffee related people.

You will also note that it takes 'a while' for venues to get known about - I've seen some coffee venues that haven't been posted in for several years - so when I find a venue I decide - do I add to this older venue or start a new one ? - if it's full of spam and unrelated posts I start a new venue - if it's full of useful information, I 'dust it down' and begin posting in that old venue again - so finding and sorting the current coffee venues available - is what I am doing at the moment.

Customers Seeking Venues - go where the buzz is

Now a customer likes to be in control of their buying decision these days so rather than being blasted with ads or random posts, a customer who is wanting coffee - will LOOK for coffee - and when they look for it - a good place to start is a place that specialized in coffee -a coffee hub - Coffee HotSpots/Venues/Groups - when these groups are updated regularly, rather like blogs they get followed and shared more the more active they are, so coffee people regularly adding related coffee content will get noticed, by both potential customers and other coffee affiliates - when venues attract people they become more active and the effect is viral - a la viral marketing

Promotions to make the Customer aware of the Coffee (twitter promotions do this too)

Now I also realize some people need to be introduced, reminded that there are more kind of coffee in the world that the stuff you get from the supermarkets this is where the reminders and alerts to deals, flavors comes in - twittering about the coffee is a good reminder or introducer - especially when you make the tweet interesting - My friend - Tom Kern - is a good example of a person using twitter for coffee - So I recommend you follow his tweets to get ideas on how to promote your own coffee product:

http://twitter.com/rdmastk347 You should also be following Star Bucks as they were one of the first good example of using twitter to sell coffee products http://twitter.com/starbucks

I think most people could be tempted to vary their brand if introduced in the right way - some first they need to know it exists - classified adverts - again if you can't directly promote the product you promote your blog/website/twitter/splash page instead to get people to your product.

Many Ways/Methods to bring in sales

There are people out there that are into coffee like any other hobby as an affiliate of coffee you need to know that - and think like a coffee fan - a crazed, obsessed coffee fan maybe :-), a mental note taker/collector of coffee related things, as that's how you become knowledgeable about coffee and you self brand to become known as the person in the family or neighborhood to ask in relation to a coffee product.

With coffee I think the place to start can be the home, rather than trying to sell it to family, try sharing it with them - with my first Energi packs I've shared one pack with myself =) and family and the other pack I will share with people that buy products from my ebay store/listings.

Now, again not everyone wants an eBay store and additional products etc. but that is the way I personally know how to do it. and the one of the routes I will be following on this blog as the eBay store will be integrated with the retail blog to allow a flow of visitors the option to buy from either place.

Some affiliates just focus on one product, they usually have their own landing page / splash page to get people onto their mailing list so visitors aren't 'lost' - as if you 'capture' a visitor on your website, you can remind them to visit your chosen affiliation in each newsletter or updates you provide.

I haven't added this option to my coffee sites yet, but I will do eventually, I'll do one for this blog and point it out to you when it's done. The feedburner optin box is one form of capture page, but most are done via an autorespnder, which is why I am collecting free autoresponder services at the moment on Ning Nomads and trying them out!

ADWORDS - Google Income SCAMS in 2009 warning
Some affiliates have an advertising budget and will focus there attention on getting sales via google's adwords, me and adwords haven't worked together successfully so far in 8 years so I will be leaving adwords to the adswords experts and focusing on what I know instead.

Adwords is however the way that many affiliates make a regular income on-line, if you are going to follow that route ***BE VERY CAREFUL *** - there are a lot of scams out there just lately that use Google's brand virtually as their own and then trick "work at home people" into $70 or $80 USD's a month membership fees for "training"

I had a look at one of these latest scams in closer detail - but being the cautious type (on occasions atleast!) I read the small print, and got out of there! - they did however get my e-mail address during the exercise and the amount of "real spam" I now get via one of my accounts takes me back 8 years in time when that kind of unethical spam posting was actually allowed (because it was new and the rules hadn't been invented yet!)- so I recommend avoiding adding your e-mail for more information about making money on Google on any splash pages.

Making money on Google is the way many affiliates on one product only go - so if you are choosing the one product route - remember - the way you can make money with Google working from home is either with adsense or adwords - both are free to join - and they provide all the tutorials and help you need to get started for free - of course if you want to pay a dubious website $80 a month to send you to a free service that's up to you! - I'd save yourself some money and just go direct to google, join a few Google Adwords groups actually in 'google groups'

The Google Adsense method does work for me, so I will be talking about that method on this blog in the future.

If in doubt about a Company or service contact me and I will check out the service for you first - as I make a point of allowing my self to be taken in sometimes - so I can see how they trick people - sometimes I am tricked - but that's the point, unless you are tricked you don't understand the trick - or empathize with the victims of a trick on the right level.


Direct sales of coffee

So above I'm mentioned the number one source on-line for generating sales with coffee (or any other affiliate product) - Adwords - it's very simple, and I know MANY affiliates that earn their living on it - but as I said a lot of them also run their own websites dedicated to there chosen product - and you will also gather that adwords is not my thing at the moment.

Now you might wonder - well if it the case the Adwords is the thing, why is anyone bothering with social media, and other advertising methods ? as on the face of it if you know the "BIG SECRET" of making money on-line - why bother with anything else ?

Well - because there are quite a few people out there like me that aren't happy using adwords, for whatever reason, just like some people don't like stacking shelves in a supermarket but are happy working in an office.

For me personally I prefer the social / network marketing method of sales, adwords and similar sites involve a lot of number crunching, bidding on keywords - personally it reminds me of Forex or stock trading - It just hasn't worked out for me when I've tried it, so I'm trying alternative methods that have also been proven to work

Network Marketing was on the planet long before the Internet, groups of people meeting together and talking Business to Business - there are also many off-line companies that still make money selling items of small value to many people Betterware is a good example, they taught me some useful skills, so did stacking glasses come to think of it!.


Ebay is just an electronic form of marketplace but it still has a fun element for me, sales are made there and there is an element of chance, but I personally know that with eBay you can generate a profit if you properly take into account postage, advertising fees and time to do the work - AND big tip - don't try to beat people at the pricing games "loss leaders" only work when you have money there as back up if they fail!

Both eBay and Adwords sites have their rich people that have made fortunes - so in the end it is up to you the marketer - where you think your time and effort is best well spent on the traditional methods. You need a ways to capture your visitors though - and these are the various tools and websites and gadgets and stuff that I have been trying out over the years - just like the guy with the blender on youtube does "will it blend ?" - I try out the latest gadgets to figure out "will they stick ?" (meaning will the visitor interact with the gadget or widget on my website, and will they come back ?) "sticky" is a term used my webmasters to keep visitors eyeballs coming back to there website - good written content is "sticky" because if it's good the reader comes back for more. - Facebook - is sticky paradise for visitors as it is full of different sticky content in the form of interactive games and images that keep people on facebook, rather than in the search engines or on websites! - That is another lesson!

More about eBay:

As I said you can using eBay to drive traffic to your product range - even if you can't directly sell it on eBay.

Example so far it looks like eBay don't allow the Selling of food goods on eBay UK - but that in no way means I can't introduce my eBay customers to my product range, it just mean's I will have adapt my approach and think of other ways I can get samples of my products to potential customers... without breaking eBay ruules.

Now if my potential customers are coffee drinking people - or buying for coffee drinking people - which is quite likely - if they are visiting my coffee related items shop (or listings) it is pretty likely I will get chatting to them about Coffee Venues I use or recommend.

Note: You are not allowed to promote/ encourage off eBay sales with your eBay customers(last time I looked) but if you want to catch up with your customers on twitter or facebook - there is no rule banning you from connecting with people on other social networks as friends... and then they decide they want to visit your website well - eBay can't stop your friends visiting your facebook page or buying from where they want (as far as I know!)

- You just can't discuss your off eBay sales on eBay - as it's against the rules.

If a customer "reports you" for trying to sell off site you do risk being banned from eBay, so firstly make sure you know who your friends are! and secondly make it very clear to your customers that you can only talk eBay sales on eBay - they might look to connecting with you via another network if they wish to do a joint venture or set up a regular order, inquire about your product range etc.

To Sum Up - the main two places people generate direct sales on-line:

With Adwords - positive: it can make you money if you figure out how to use it properly - the basics of adwords is typing out a small advert then bidding on keywords (or letting adwords do it for you). Negative: just like anything you can lose money on it too - so it's weighing up your ability to use it with the risk.

With eBay - positive: you can generate an actually profit from it - for me personally I've had more success on eBay than Adwords - you need to take into account eBay and payPal fees, postal costs, these costs can be reduced if you develop customers into friends across networks (or get them onto a mailing list outside of eBay). - negative: the profit might not be as much per sale as you want, insertion costs and fees cut into profits, customers can be nastier in public to you over petty things like shape of the box an item comes in (really!). eBay can feel like "the front line" in sales, exciting when it goes right, deadly when it goes wrong! customers totally rule the roost in eBay land - that is a risk that needs to be factored in too.

2 comments:

  1. Very informative post indeed. For a newbie like me. Will be looking for more in future. Thanks a ton. Have fun with coffee!

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