Holistic Internet Marketing

by Robert Hensley

At its most fundamental level, effective Internet marketing is not so different from traditional marketing. In fact, there is one fundamental law of nature at the root of all great strategies in life, and it can be stated in a word: holistic.

Holistic simply means all-encompassing, including the whole, and leaving nothing out — the total approach. Success is inevitable when you leave nothing to chance and account for everything in your planning. Before you spend money on banners and other paid advertising to market your Web site, it will be crucial to lay a foundation so that every ad will reap the maximum effect for sales.

The Total Approach

To generate maximum sales of any product or service, your marketing efforts should support every step toward a sale. If you carefully examine the changes in the minds of your buyers as they move toward a purchase, you will find 10 steps in an endless cycle. A well-designed Web site and marketing plan will work together to reach your buyer at every point of the process and encourage each step along the way:

Buying Cycle:
1) Need — circumstances for need are created in the life of the prospect 
2) Perception — need is seen and recognized by the prospect 
3) Realization — prospect realizes the need has a viable solution 
4) Recognition — prospect sees your product as the best solution 
5) Purchase — prospect purchases your product to solve the need

Referral Cycle:
6) Use — buyer uses your solution in life 
7) Enjoyment — buyer enjoys benefit of your solution 
8) Enthusiasm — buyer feels more than satisfied about your solution 
9) Referral — buyer tells friends and acquaintances about you 
10) Need — buyer creates a need in the life of a new prospect

If you notice something interesting about numbers 10 and 1, you are correct. They are the same. The purchase cycle starts over again when you have effectively used your marketing actions to support every step toward a sale. Proper marketing generates sales as well as word-of-mouth and referrals.

How It Works

A good marketing action plan will use every branch of the Internet. Let’s look at a real example from a site that sells diamonds on the Internet. To affect every step along the way, such a site would:

Buying Cycle:
1) Need — supply love poems and e-cards to promote the relationship 
2) Perception — offer an interactive questionnaire: Are You Ready to Take the Leap? 
3) Realization — publish articles that explain why Internet diamond prices are lower 
4) Recognition — use media to show that your diamonds are the best value (most crucial step) 
5) Purchase — make it easy and secure to purchase through e-commerce or a toll-free number

Referral Cycle:
6) Use — offer a newsletter with marriage proposal ideas to make it easy 
7) Enjoyment — contact recent buyers to answer questions and ensure a positive experience 
8) Enthusiasm — follow up with useful information for lovers to ensure lasting good will 
9) Referral — offer incentives to encourage referrals and generate word-of-mouth 
10) Need — use advertising copy to support contact from enthusiastic customers

For a comprehensive approach, an online marketing action plan should include or at least consider strategies for all of the following: targeted discussion groups, opt-in e-mail lists, portal listings, expert directories, traditional search engines and directories, pay-for-position search engines, articles in e-zines, partnerships, strategic links, newsletters and other online methods to collect e-mail addresses of prospects, affiliate programs, customer incentives, free handouts, as well as traditional print and electronic media as appropriate for your particular market and product.

Though the Internet might seem daunting, it will be worth the effort to learn and execute these basic tricks of the trade and lay a foundation for success.

Properly used, the Internet can be the most inexpensive and effective tool for influencing every step in the buyer’s mind and generating online sales.

Robert Hensley is an Internet Marketing Specialist with Sales Training Plus. He can be reached at 719-481-4040 or email at  tom@intuitivewebsites.com for more articles like this one, and more information on Internet marketing plans visit www.IntuitiveWebsites.com.