Find Your Exact Buyers (in
Large Numbers) on the Web
by Dan Seidman
Marketing experts like Jay
Conrad Levinson, Joe Sugarman, and Jay Abraham agree perfectly on one thing:
The first step to take in promoting a product or service is to identify your
exact potential buyers—the people who should be most willing to pay for
what you provide.
When my Web site of most
embarrassing selling moments, SalesAutopsy.com, went live in July of 1999, I
suddenly had a new target market: people and publications online that would
tell the world about the sales horror-stories site.
The strategy I designed to find my
exact buyers on the Web is quite powerful for entrepreneurs, but it can also be
used effectively in corporate sales and marketing circles. It led to more than
200 articles on my work, plus invitations from dozens of radio shows, a quote
from Sales &
Marketing Management magazine that I use as a tagline, Web-site
awards, and more than 1,000 links to my site, including several from major
insurance companies interested in having their sales reps enjoy the fun while
learning lessons from others’ experience.
The impact on my organization from
this exposure has been incalculable. I continue to be shocked every week by the
buzz that comes, years later, from the momentum I started. Buzz leads to
business, and that’s the key to this strategy.
Steps 1, 2, 3
On the Web, it’s fairly easy to
locate watering holes where people interested in your topic gather to drink of
knowledge, experience, and wisdom. Here are three simple, strategic steps to
take to sell on the Internet.
1. Set up a free email account
with a bland address to use for correspondence related to research. Use only
this address when you subscribe to newsletters and conduct searches so that
your main inbox won’t be cluttered with responses (or with the spam that
results when some newsletters share or sell your email address, even though
they said they wouldn’t). You can get free email addresses from places such as
Google.com, Hotmail.com, and Yahoo.com.
2. Sign up for all e-zines that
match your business or consumer market. For lists of the big and little
e-zines, go to ezines.nettop20.com.
But before you go, make sure you have a list of keywords related to your
business. To get other useful e-zines, go to the Web sites of your trading
partners and competitors (remember, you’re anonymous with this new email
address) and subscribe to their newsletters.
3. Read through these e-zines each
week to find out which ones are quality newsletters and who is writing articles
for them, and to find out how large each one’s subscriber list is. Unsubscribe
to the ones that are poorly done or have low value or a small base of
Once you’ve found the e-zines,
what are some possible ways to get their subscribers to discover you and become
· Contact the best e-zines to ask if
they’ll review your site or product(s).
· Post messages to subscribers that
present your opinions and expertise.
· Write articles for e-zine
publishers. Remember, they have to produce new content for each issue. Your
help may be greatly appreciated. The simple formula I use to construct an
article is: (1) describe a problem; (2) make it worse (show the consequences);
and (3) offer a solution. But don’t blatantly promote your wares. Your insights
should reveal your expertise. People will contact you.
· Email writers who are already
contributing to these e-zines and comment on their articles. Be sure to mention
that their writing caught your eye because your expertise is in that business
area and you respect their insights. This kind of correspondence can lead to
great strategic alliances. Of course, you want to visit these writers’ sites
and sign up for their e-zines too.
· Consider placing ads in the best
e-zines—if you can contact other advertisers who report that they make
money from their ads there.
In other words, reach your target
market on the Web, and you will sell more. Good hunting.
Dan Seidman of
SalesAutopsy.com has collected more than 600 funny sales horror-stories. His
monthly columns reach over 1.5 million readers. To learn more about him and his
talks at conferences and events, call 847/359-7860 or email