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Stop Selling, Start Engaging

Just sit down for a moment and imagine this – someone is trying to sell you a product and this person is not telling you how you will benefit from it. Just like every other consumer everywhere in the world, you would want to know ‘what is in it for you’ first, agree? Or imagine someone doing some real earnest hard selling without inkling about what you need in your life.

What does THAT feel like? Yes, I agree with you if you said that having someone consistently try to sell you something is annoying and tiring.

It is especially annoying when someone, regardless of the unwritten rules of online social networking, keeps posting items for sale pictures and then tagging you in it without your permission. Nowhere in this person’s mind is the thought of your feelings. They don’t care about your feelings or if your friends wanted to see you tagged in all those photos.

Another annoying online habit these days is spamming. They will send you countless emails about their products without knowing anything about you and how the product might enhance your life if you purchased it. All they see is the sale and dollar signs.

They move from pestering you online to encroaching into your personal space…your mobile phone. Countless SMSes are sent to your phone without your permission soliciting a sale. Without thinking about how beneficial it will be to you.

In websites, they do and say (write) the same thing over and over again. Buy my product. Buy my product. Buy my product. Once again, without thinking of the product’s benefit to its users.

So, do you want to know or already know what today modern people need is? Do you wish to find a way to introduce your products to them without annoying them?

The strategy is very simple. Engage them.

We use websites to engage them and spike their interest. Sadly, however, there are very few websites out there today that knows the secret to successfully engaging its customers, build their brand and attract MORE buyers automatically. And I will name a few.

Playtex. If you visited Playtex website, you will see this fantastic feature that will interest women. The feature allows women to check if they are wearing the right sized bra.

This is an incredibly smart move by Playtex because according to Wikipedia, more than 80% of women are wearing ill-fitted bras. (A study done by Katherine Wood, Melainie Cameron and Kylie Fitzgerald)

Capitalizing on the fact that this is a very real problem that most women do not feel like talking about to their friends, Playtextfits.com was born. It was designed to help women find out if they are wearing the right sized bra. Guided by Roz, the online bra fit specialist, all end-users need to do is to tell Roz the band size, cup size and bra-type preference.

Playtex then helps narrow down the options and then identify a single one that will satisfy its customers and present a list of Playtex options.

A smart move because Playtex is not merely selling. It is different from its competitors because they are engaging people, telling their customers that they care about comfort and fit and they would love to help. They have found a way to actually HELP a customer and build rapport along the way.

It is my guess that these happy customers would not only come back to Playtex when they need a new bra but they will also recommend it to their friends. In this aspect, they have also succeeded in attracting more potential buyers through their customers…a potent mix of online marketing and word-of-mouth marketing.

And the reason for their success is because their focus was on the customers first, money second.

Celebrity Slim Australia. For those of you who have never heard of this company, it is an Australian-based company that brings weight watchers a brand new meal replacement program that can help people lose the pounds without losing their health.

The company, like Playtex, does not merely SELL their products. Instead, they engage customers and potential customers with a program they call Celebrity Slim Program which is free and with the main aim of guiding potential customers through weight management advice. The program also tells potential customers what to eat and avoid so that they can maintain their weight once the desired weight is reached.

The website also included a helpful food table which indirectly recommends their products at the back of the website and it gives customers information about common goods and their nutritional value. All this information is absolutely free.

On top of that, the company hires a group of experts that publishes useful tips about how to lose weight while engaging their customers and potential customers in a very interesting way. In the forum, members discuss fervently with each other and experts about their weight loss plights.

All these interactive tools aims to engage their customers, keep their customers by sharing and spreading good words about Celebrity Slim Program which indirectly recommends their products.

Are they selling?

No. They are smart in indulging information, things that their potential customers are almost desperate for, and then recommend their products to them. And it is obligation-free.

As you can see, their focus is on what the customers’ needed…not the cash.

Nike Running. This, hands down, is my personal favorite. It is a website called Nike Running (once again, usage of this website is absolutely free of charge; all you need is to create a member account with them). The website lets you save and track your run and the progress that you are making. You can set goals, set challenges, start with a coach, get motivated to run and connect with new friends online.

Just like Celebrity Slim, Nike Running runs their own forum too and it is used by members to share ideas, running experiences, tips, and also a place to motivate each other.

Is Nike selling their products directly? No, they are not. As you can see, it is always about engaging their potential customers with features that they feel will benefit them. Letting the potential customers get the benefits before they have to fork out a cent is a very effective marketing tool.

Nike knows that when they have a huge number of followers, they, naturally, do not have to worry about sales. Nike is different from its other competitors in the sports shoes category because its competitors continue to mull over sales and profit. Again and again, there is evidence that Nike thinks about their how their products will benefit their customers before thinking about sales.

Human Website. Human website is an online marketing consultancy website and again, the aim is not to sell anything. It engages its customers via its newsletter and ROI calculator.

There are two ways in which Human Website engages its potential customers. First, by publishing useful tips on topics related to email marketing. Each week, Human website will publish two newsletters to subscribers who are looking for such information.

This makes Human Website very different from its competitors despite the fact that the products and services, seminars and programs are more or less the same. Human Website WANTS to help others first.

Secondly, Human Website launched its ROI calculator with its customers and clients in mind.

The main purpose the ROI calculator is to help users compare the result of their online marketing efforts without spending too much time and money on hiring others. There are too many SME (small and medium sized enterprises) in Malaysia with owners who do not realize the importance of online marketing. And the purpose of the ROI calculator is to help them realize that. Online marketing is an absolute MUST for any business in the world that we live in today.

And when you view things from the business owner’s point of view, you will see that they WANT to know how much return they are going to get for every dollar of investment that they have made. No one wants to jump into something based on blind faith.

So, the ROI calculator clears the air for mystified business owners while engaging them and telling them the benefits of some ideas and how much they can make online.

Once again, is the Human Website selling per se? No, they engage their customers by giving their potential customers some benefits even before the first dollar is earned.

Hence, if you are thinking of launching a new website or is wondering about the right marketing strategy to use to attract your potential customers, think of finding out what it is, exactly, that they need. Give it to them; help them without asking for anything in return. Engage them, get to know them and understand what it is that they are trying to say.

Instead of pushing your products down their throats and into their faces, give them a reason to come back to your website. If you looked closely, you will see a society of people who wants to know what is in it for them before they will part with their hard-earned cash.

Change the way you sell, give your potential customers the benefits first.

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