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How Website Promotion Can Increase Your Sales During Slow Periods

Ancient Chinese Proverb:
"When business slow, turn on extra light bulb"
 
As a business person one of the biggest problems you have on a week to week basis is generating customer interest and getting customers to buy your products or services.
 
The cost of newspaper advertising and other media advertising keeps going up every year, but the enquiries seem to be getting less and less, thus continuously eating away at your profits.
 
You are left with the dilemma of what to do about it.
 
Cutting your advertising budget results in falling sales.
 
Increasing your advertising budget may increase sales, but reduces even further your margin of profit.
 
So what can you do about it?
 
A low cost way to stimulate business is to capture names and email addresses of customers and prospects in a database that you can then use to automate regular contact with them.
 
Regular contact with prospects and customers gets over one of the major problems facing advertisers today: The problem of customers no longer REACTING on the spot to your promotional efforts.
 
There is no ADRENALIN rush anymore. No urgency to make buying decisions.
 
Gone are the days when customers rush to your business because you are giving discounts of 10%, 20% or even 50%. Trust in these types of promotions is gone.
 
Advertising overload, and all the other distractions in our commercialised world today, means your offer goes in the “when I get around to it black hole” – and inevitably that’s where it stays.
 
You need to convince prospects and customers that they can trust you to offer the best service, the best product, and an honest deal.
The best way to convince them is through regular contact and relationship building. With regular contact they will to get to know and trust you.
 
They will become enduring customers.
 
Enduring customers see you as an expert. They begin to rely on you to supply goods or services at a fair price, provide outstanding service, and to keep in contact with them with genuine special offers, new products, new services, and up to date information.
 
Enduring customers are PROFITABLE customers– you don’t have to keep spending hard earned dollars to attract them to your business.
 
They learn to trust you, and they will do business with you, in much the same way you prefer to do business with someone you know and trust – it is human nature.
 
The most remarkable marketing phenomenon of the 21st century is the internet, with its low cost channels for communicating with your customers.
 
People are turning to the internet in droves to escape the hassles and frustration of trying to do business in the conventional way.
 
Even those that don't buy on the internet use it to research and compare products before identifying a suitable source. 
 
Consider these statistics:
 
In 2006 internet sales are predicted to exceed US $561 billion.
 
Five or six years ago internet business was less than $2 billion.
 
93% of all firms employing 20 people or more use the internet to buy, sell, and source information.
 
Can you afford to ignore these figures? Only if you are prepared to give your business away to your competitors!
 
But be wary! If you are like most small businesses you need to be very careful how you spend your dollars on an internet presence.
 
Working on the strategy of building ENDURING customers, you need an interactive site that includes automated systems to make it easy for customers to do business with you, and for you to keep in contact with customers. 
 
Posting a few dead pages on the net and waiting for magical things to happen will not work.
 
Your website needs to be constantly changing in order to attract return visitors and convert them into cash paying loyal customers.
 
You need an interactive site that puts you in control of the content.
 
With an interactive website you can change sales messages, upload pictures, make announcements, include subscriber/inquiry forms, have searchable online catalogues for customers to browse, automate customer contact, even create whole new web pages at the click of a button.
 
An interactive site makes it easy for customers to communicate and do business with you.
 
Most customers like to browse sites, compare offers, and take their time making buying decisions.
 
Once a prospect leaves your site they can easily forget all about you – there are just too many other things going on in their busy lives.
 
You need an automated email system built into your website to collect names, email addresses, and manage contact with your prospects and customers. Regular contact keeps your business in front of customers and gently reminds them that “you are open for business”.
 
Professional marketing people agree that regular contact with a prospect leads to higher levels of conversion.
 
When properly managed, email promotions, newsletters, and promotional announcements can lead to huge increases in your conversion rates, with increased sales of 20%, 40%, and even 60% possible in the medium term. 
 
When you design or upgrade your website make sure it includes an integrated email marketing, newsletter system, and customer database, making it easy for you to keep in contact with your customers and prospects.
 
With these tools integrated into your website you can create HTML brochures, newsletters, articles, autoresponder based marketing campaigns, and announcements, plus have the added bonus of being able to upload your creations as new pages to your website at the click of a button.
 
The benefits of an integrated dynamic website can lead to at least a 20% growth in your business year after year for virtually no cost, with many businesses experiencing much higher growth.
 
Once you have set up your system correctly, the ongoing costs are very small.
 
Compare the cost of media advertising, printing and distributing flyers, or heavily discounting product to attract new business, and I think you will agree automated online systems that keep you in touch with your customers can offer a very low cost solution to increasing your sales.
So, if you are finding business a bit slow, or you want to put an adrenelin rush into your cashflow, then why not do what the old Chinese shopkeepers do and "turn on an extra lightbulb". You will be surprised at much extra business you will attract.
 
For more information on how you can build a profitable online business through automated online catalogues, newsletters, promotional email, and autoresponders contact Mike Greenfield, Marketing Director, SiteDesignNOW.com