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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year's Resolution for Internet Marketers

One of the mysteries of internet marketing is knowing what exactly your customers want. After all, you can’t count on verbal and non-verbal cues when selling online. But what if you knew exactly what they have in mind? Here's a good blog topic this January 2012.

Let’s face it: selling is difficult. Just imagine those who spend weeks, even months pursuing customers and still end up not getting an appointment. What more of a sale? But how come some salespeople do it as if it is the most natural thing?

Sales superstars have one thing in common: Timing. And a great timing at that. Yes, they may understand their customers’ needs and problems, but most importantly they know time is a too valuable commodity to waste -- both for them and their customers. Great salespeople know when to call, how to ask for an appointment, and what solutions to recommend. It is as if they come in the right time with the right products or services to offer. But are they really just born with intuition or do they happen to know what is in your calendar?

Following Customer’s Itinerary

The key to selling is knowing the season and its effects on your customers’ behavior, particularly on their spending habits. Your customers may know what they want, and ad campaigns have a lot do with their decision-making process, but how they buy is a complex process of your customers’ preconditioned perception of what to buy during what time.

December 2011: Indulgence

Consider last December. Just when everyone thought everyone is stuck in a rut, consumers start lining up for luxury items that come within their budget last December. We may not be seeing the end of the New Furgality period, but people are starting to look at things differently. Plus, things are really more brighter for most consumers.

A word of caution: Spending doesn’t mean squandering.

Yes, the stock market may have showed some signs of moving forward and consumers started feeling hopeful about the future, but the does not have much that effect on consumer’s spending habits when it comes to big ticket items. After all, many still feels the effects of recession as if it only happened yesterday.

So if cars were out, what items really made it to their shopping list? Affordable luxuries. People started lining up for $4 Starbucks coffee. And women started to indulge on specialty items again; ‘Miraculous’ push-up bras, moisturizers from Estee Lauder, and Ralph Lauren saw their revenues increase up to 14 percent. And considering recession isn’t a too distant memory, that number is worth celebrating.

And for online business and internet marketing, this means more people searching for reliable information about brands they may shop for some time in the future. Now shopping does no longer means groceries; forget about Walmart and a too small budget that fits in only the essentials. Shopping goes back to being an enjoyable activity women look forward to. Women will make their lists and stick to them, but some will draw a smiley after some high-end brands they included in it.

January 2012: Clean up

After indulging last December, your consumers are met with the challenge of renewing, of going back to basics in the month of January. January is the perfect excuse to let go of all life’s baggage and regrets, and just move on.

How you can be of help to them this January should be your priority. In order to serve your customers, you must know one thing they will be doing during the first few hours before January: writing their New Year’s resolutions. A recent study shows that at least 50 percent of adults are thinking and writing about their New Year’s resolutions hours before the New Year sets in.

What is in their mind will translate to external action for sure. So they think about it, then later write about it.

Now that you know what is in their calendar, what steps should you take next? Take advantage of what you know. As an entrepreneur, you want to show your customer ways how to set new challenges and tackle issues when they arise. This is a rich source of good blog topics this January.

“But people want so many things, and do so many things at the same time,” you may say. The key is to focus on the issue that most, if not all, people want to achieve this New Year: live a healthier life. According to a 2008 study, the top two health-related resolutions are, one, to stop smoking and, two, decrease their alcohol consumption. This is great if your business is tackling these issues. But what if not?

Try looking at past issues of your fave magazines. The January issue is full of what exactly? Features on how to lose weight, a healthy detox diet, and really just about almost anything that has to do with the theme “The Body You Want to Have.” No wonder these features are glossy magazines staple when it comes to the month of January.

Here are sample articles from some of the leading publications straight from the archives:
  • How to Outsmart the No. 1 Health Risk of 2010
  • The Free and Simple Way to Get Healthier
  • Your #1 Move to Sexy Abs, Butt and Arms
  • Carrie Underwood’s Secret for Clear Skin
  • Shortcuts to Sexy Stomachs
  • The Food Lover’s Diet: 31 Tricks that Peel Off Major Pounds
  • Get Slimmer Everyday: The Simple No-Gym Plan
  • Lift to Lose: The Science of Fat Loss
  • The Spartacus Workout
  • New Year, Better You (A 32-page plan for health, fitness, sex life, and happiness)
  • Your (Totally Sane) Flu Prevention Plan
  • Cook This, Not That (How to cook your fave resto dishes at home)
  • The New American Diet

Bottom line is all people want this January is a clean start. They wake up with hope that this year will be better. And where do they start making these changes? With themselves, with their health. After all, health is wealth. And with great health, everything else will follow.

New Year’s Resolution: Help Others

There are tons of information you can give to your consumers. But what information will they find helpful this January? First, advices and concrete plans (think of step-by-step guide) on how they can make their goals manageable and achievable. Second, tips on how they can stick with their resolutions.

According to a 1998 study in Psychology Today, 40 percent of those who make New Year’s resolution fail after one month and 60 percent totally abandon their resolutions after six months. What does this figure tell us? That consumers are more excited to begin but are less than willing to finish what they have started. Well, they have ended it, but not in a good way. 

Here are the top four reasons why people abandon their resolutions halfway through the new year:

1. Too vague goals.
2. Absence of standards in gauging progress.
3. Relaxed attitude towards discipline.
4. Lack of commitment.

To target your audience’s needs, that is, on how to make and keep an achievable and doable New Year’s resolution, I have here a number of articles to help and guide you in writing for your blog:

Not a one-time affair. It will take the whole year to achieve our New Year’s resolutions. But most of us will give up faster than we expected, especially when we realized we can’t change everything overnight, says Paige Waehner of In Making Your Resolutions Work All Year Long, Waehner offers a friendly step-by-step guide to making a workable and achievable health-focused goals this 2012. Here, Waehner offers a concrete plan on how to make lasting changes and stresses three important things that need to go with our desire to reaching goals this New Year: adjusting our attitude, committing to a healthy lifestyle, and creating a success plan.

Letting old habits go. Many of us fail to keep our New Year’s resolution not because our goals are unachievable but because we find it hard to break old habits - without even realizing it. After all, we do find it difficult to simply let go of the things we are so used to doing. In his article Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions by Learning How to Embrace Your Resistance to Change, Ronald Alexander suggests embracing not only the changes we need to accept but our resistance to it. Only by understanding the reason why we resist change, and, therefore, fail to implement changes in our lives, we can we learn how to make real changes in our lives.

SMART Resolutions. The reason why most people fail to stick to their New Year’s resolution? Their goals are not S.M.A.R.T, according to registered dietician Constance Riggs of the American Dietetic Association. The key is to make your goals doable and realistic. In her article Are Your New Year’s Resolutions SMART?, Riggs explains why is it important for us to not only make goals, but to make them really more friendly, more reachable and attainable. She explains how by making our New Year’s resolutions S.M.A.R.T. - specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely - we can truly be better and successful this New Year.

Extreme resolutions. Comparing your goals with others is the best way to know if you’re geared for success this New Year or set up for failure - again. Review and re-check your New Year’s resolution with Paige Waehner’s list, Extreme New Year’s Resolution.

The common theme among these articles is how people end up being frustrated instead of being inspired after making their New Year’s resolutions. The reason is it is really so much easier to set goals than to achieve them.

This New Year, your audience will look for answers to help them end their frustration after years of planning for the future and fulfilling them. So instead of selling this early, why not help your audience make this year a better, more successful year? After all, helping others achieve their goals is a great way to kick off the New Year.