Boosting the online credentials of an entity is not easy business. When it comes to content, the web is certainly WIDE, and searching for something as simple as “boosting online sales” or “online sales” can lead to more than three million hits in Google, with 20 to 30 (or perhaps more) blogs on the topic.
With all the companies offering their services and vying for clients’ attention out there, how do you make sure that what you’re advertising can actually get you the results you need? A visitor to your site, when perusing the products or services you offer, naturally has questions waiting to be answered, questions ranging from “Is this company legit?” to “Won’t I just be giving my hard-earned money away for nothing?” to “What if I’m not happy with my purchase?” and a bunch of others.
These questions, of course, are all valid. No one in his right mind wants to be hoodwinked or shortchanged, to say the least. That’s human nature talking. That said, to put your potential clients at ease, here are some approaches to help you lessen the risks for them:
1. Employ the freemium strategy.
Software-as-a-service is a multibillion dollar business dominated by big names like SAP, Oracle and NetSuite. If you’re a new entrant, one way to penetrate a mature market such as SaaS is to either target a segment of the market that hasn’t yet been fully saturated by the giants or offer a free-for-life basic plan that’s as good, if not better. Aside from a customer getting to test your product, your chance of snagging paying clients increases as well, especially if what you offer addresses an unmet need.
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2. Use a “pay only for what you use” model.
If you need a new business logo or your website layout revamped – anything design, essentially – one place to go to is 99designs.com. If you need a business or domain name, a slogan or tag line, PickyDomains, with its contributor pool of more than 50,000, is a site to check out. Both businesses thrive on the “you like nothing, you pay nothing” scheme, which makes for a risk-free business model.
3. Offer free trials.
Eugene Roshal introduced WinRar to an audience size of up to the hundred millions through shareware. Shareware, in a nutshell, is a model that allows users to sample the product for a certain period of time, effectively giving them a taste of what they’re supposed to get. Similarly, other companies like Comindware, a work management software provider, and McAfee, that security software juggernaut, are giving out 30-day trials for free.
4. Guarantee results.
In the field of advertising, if you think guaranteeing results is the riskiest sales model ever designed, I hear you loud and clear. One thing that’s not easy to accurately predict, let alone guarantee, is the direction your results wind vane is likely to take. Still, companies like PublicityGuaranteed.com and LondonPRAgency.com guarantee results where other agencies can’t, only charging for articles that are either published online or come out in the press.
If you plan to use this model, however, ensure that you only work with clients you can trust, as there’s the possibility of putting in too much time and effort for too little pay.
5. Give the customer the freedom to set his price.
In the field of outsourcing, it’s interesting to note one difference between two of the most popular freelancing platforms – at least according to one of my friends. Since finding the best outsourcers usually entails trial and error (money and time, so to speak), he tried finding writers via both Elance and oDesk. After several months, he noticed that his Elance total stayed glued to $50 while his oDesk payments have gone up to more than $3,000. The reason? Where Elance’s minimum assignment cap stood at $25, he was free to set his own price at oDesk.
One other platform that uses the “set your own price” model is AdWords. Clients bid on a keyword depending on how much it is worth to their business.
Risk aversion is not an unfair phrase to label man’s innate wariness of risky situations. While we all know that some risks are meant to be taken, some risks you just can’t risk, especially if you’re a consumer. And while sales are not always 100% sure, it’s a great idea to make doubly sure you are giving your customers the reassurance that they are getting the “bang for the buck” for choosing your products or services.