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Selling Online Globally ?
Malaysia SME Newpaper, 6-10-2012
Marketing is the lifeblood of SMEs, and business owners should look for the most effective marketing techniques to boost sales, while keeping costs low. The solution is definitely developing your global internet marketing strategies.
By Lim Wing Hooi
In an era of global competition, some of the major problems faced by SMEs who want to start their business online include finding hot-selling products, how to attract customers to their website, how to create a website or how to draw free traffic to their online store. But these should not deter SMEs from bringing their business to cyberspace. eOneNet.com CEO Fione Tan believes that an online presence via an e-commerce website is vital.
“Think of it this way, when you open a new retail outlet in a shopping mall, it caters only of the mall but the costs associated include high rental, renovation costs and even hiring a group of new sales people. This means if offline, the only way to expand is to open various retail outlets, thus increasing your business risk. With one website online, you are able to sell your products and services to anyone globally, not limited to just your local market, without high costs,” she told MALAYSIA SME.
Also, on the Internet, a business owner can run several different types of business at any one time. This will bring them multiple sources of income.
“It is common for a clothes retailer to run apparel website and a website on losing weight simultaneously. This means with the additional website, you will earn money from other businesses too. All you need is a website using website builder software, buy a domain, and apply internet markeing tactics to boost visitors and increase sales,”she said.
Tan further added that instead of displaying the full range of products, SMEs should display products with high demand, which will yield a higher profit margin.
To reach out to global market clients, Tan said the global market, which has a bigger target market and offers higher sales revenue by selling in US$ compared to RM, may not be rocket science.
“Sometimes it can even be as simple as using a different language. For example, your website’s content may be in English, but when you create a similar site in Chinese, or even Korean, you will immediately be able to cater to Chinese-speaking and Korean-Speaking customers as well,’ she explained further.
Sell a benefit or solution, not a product.
A customer buying a product looks at how the item can help solve his or her problem or benefit them.
“For instance, if you are selling a facial mask, you can’t just say it’s a mask. You sell its whitening benefits and anti-aging properties which uses organic ingredients,” she said, adding that the properties of the product sold are as important as the product itself.
Apart from that, a product that allows customers to customize their products would have an edge compared to products that are easily available in any local store, as customers prefer the feeling of customizing their product.
When the solution is right, all that an SME needs is the use some techniques that will attract the customers.
One Way is the use search engine optimization (SEO).
Tan said getting free top rankings in search engines is the best source of traffic, which is targeted and has the highest conversation rate among other ways of generating traffic.
“Many successful websites are able to sell globally, including Japan, Korea, Latin America, Middle East, other than the more popular countries like the US or UK, is because their websites are able to get top rankings in Google,” she said.
Apart from that, social media marketing, such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube is fast catching up.
“According to surveys, more than 35% of people visit a Facebook site before deciding whether to buy into a site. This means that if a company does not have a Facebook, it will lose at least 35% of potential sales,” she said.
Another method is using email marketing.
Email promotions should not be mistaken with spam (sending unsolicited messages via emails to purchased database).
“As a reputable business owner, you should send email to your own customers and prospects, and offer then tips on how to use your products as well as useful information related to your industry,” she said.
“Tan said getting free top rankings in search engines is the best sources of traffic, which is targeted and has the highest conversion rate among other ways of generating traffic.”
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