Selling Products Online: What’s your story?

By: Stephanie Diamond

I know that you’re excited about the products you sell online. But do you communicate that excitement to your customers? Based on the bland product pitches I see everyday in my marketing and design business the answer is clearly no.

To sell your product, you need to become a storyteller. In your personal life you apply this principle everyday. You tell friends and loved ones the story of your day and the funny or tragic things that occurred. You need to take that power of storytelling and use it to sell your products. You already have this skill, make it work for you.

Here are five things you can do right away to generate excitement for your products:

1. Understand the NEED your customer has to buy your product.

This sounds deceptively simple. Every marketer makes a long list of features and benefits about their products. But think about the need your customer would satisfy by buying your product. Would they feel smart, innovative, trendy? Would they feel that they had improved their plan for the future or proved themselves a good parent? These are the needs that really drive sales. Carefully think about which ones apply to your product.

2. Develop a one-to-one story based on that need
Once you are satisfied that you have identified those needs, create a story about your product for each one. The key is to create the story in the style you would tell a friend. This is difficult work, so don’t be discouraged if it takes time. If it were easy, the world wouldn’t need advertising agencies. And many of their campaigns don’t hit the mark either. For example, if I am selling a software product, I need to tell you why using this product will make you better liked at your job or encourage your boss to notice you. This doesn’t eliminate the need for features and benefits. It allows your customer to imagine herself as a success after buying your product.

3. Find different ways to tell the same story
The web is a medium that allows you to sell products in a variety of formats, video, audio, text, graphics. Not everyone responds to the same format. If you tell your story in a variety of ways you will capture more of your audience. The mistake most people make is to choose the format they like best. Try to accommodate as many buying styles as your budget allows.

4. Build trust and credibility

This is obviously the cornerstone of selling online. The need is heightened because the customer never meets you face to face. Don’t bother with slick, bombastic language. It doesn’t work for very long and it will generate mistrust, not excitement. Words like ‘fastest’ and ‘best’ can be substituted by ‘faster’ and ‘better.’ Hold to the truth, it’s always the better choice.

5. Test reality— often

I recommend to my clients that they revisit their sales ‘stories’ on a monthly basis. This may sound excessive, but we live in a society where the world turns on a dime. One day your ideas are cutting edge and the next they seem stale and outdated. Not only do you need to understand what your competitors are doing, you need to evaluate how your customers are reacting to your ‘stories.’ Revise and refine as often as necessary.

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Digital Media Works, Inc.( ) is an Internet marketing and design firm. A seasoned 25+ year management/marketing professional, founder Stephanie Diamond, former AOL Marketing Director, is experienced in building profits.

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