Guest post on Power Retail Magazine.
When it comes to obtaining the competitive advantage in the online spectrum of social media, no e-commerce business can afford to look past the Five Fingers of Death – the techniques are effective no matter the size of the competitor, large or small.
So what exactly are the Five Fingers of Death and how can this concept be applied to your business? In this five-part series, we will take an in depth look into how sales, CRM (Customer Relationship Management), UGC (User Generated Content), Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Brand Awareness can be used to literally squeeze your competition to near death.
The sales cycle of today has changed significantly with the advent of the internet. Traditionally, if you wanted to sell a product, you had to make the customer aware of the product: it’s here, this is our new product, this is what it does. You’d use traditional media to get your message out via TV, radio, and print in an effort to grab the attention of consumers and pique their interest in a particular product, so they would actually consider purchasing from you. Once consumers became aware, interested, and ready to buy, you’d then get the consumer thinking about your business as the preferred purchasing place.
At this point you’re ready to make that sale to that customer and once the customer is ready to purchase, there is every chance you’d involve the up-sell or cross-sell, while instilling some brand loyalty. Using traditional media, it is very easy to reach masses of people and the top of that funnel is very large. If you put a commercial on one of the major networks, you would normally get tens of millions of people aware of your product.
That was then. Today, it is much different. If you put that same commercial on a network program you won’t reach tens of millions of people; your audience will be perhaps be limited to only a couple of million people. The way we consume media has changed. For instance, there are more than 400 channels on my cable TV- people are watching different things, spread across numerous channels. Some watch in real time, others record with DVRs and many watch “on-demand” programming. Today, your audience is very different, and mass media advertising is not as “massive” as previously was. That wide top of the funnel is gone and not as wide as it used to be.
People aren’t listening to the radio like they used to either; they have all their music on their iPod, so you can’t run a radio commercial and reach the audience it used to. And of course newspapers and old print media are struggling, with most losing audience as well.
Now we have a different media model, one that includes multichannel and social media for marketing. This allows small business owners direct contact with a mass audience, without requiring a major media network. This new channel has a funnel for awareness and interest, though not as wide as old media once was due to a fragmented audience. The funnel is now turned upside-down. We can use social media to enhance the back end of the sales funnel. We can offer massive amounts of information for making the purchase, use automation for doing the up-sell, cross-selling and with UGC, you are helping to enhance brand loyalty in a strong way.
With traditional media, it was harder for a smaller business to get this kind of exposure without a large outlay of marketing capital. Cross-selling and up-selling took a team of customer service representatives and a large phone bank to take the orders and calls. We now have low cost, high-end technology for direct mail, email, social media, Web 2.0 tool suites and mobile marketing. These tools enable you to do the up-sell, the cross-sell, and build customer loyalty. These things are available to us and it’s changing the game as we once knew it.