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There are three types of digital revenue generation that business owners are seeking when trying to capture business online.
Ecommerce businesses are looking for direct transactions and sales off of the web, and lead generation businesses are looking for qualified leads to sell their products and services to via the Internet. There are also businesses that may use the Internet for online branding, engagement and awareness. A non-profit may use it for garnering donors or promoting their events, and a staffing company may use it to find qualified applicants. At the end of the day, the digital space is perfectly suited (pending the right marketing strategies) for connecting those that have a need or a problem, and those who provide and profit off of a solution.
Ecommerce Retailers Want A Sale, Or Multiple Sales to Occur Directly Online.
Ecommerce businesses could be selling anything online, from popular items that sell in the millions, to obscure items that may only ever sell just a few units. Ecommerce retailers at the highest level could be sorted into two buckets, tangible items such as merchandise, cookware, and furniture, etc., to intangible items/intellectual property such as music, software, training modules, etc.
Ecommerce businesses may have websites of all shapes and sizes, but a common feature of these sites is the shopping cart icon, often found in the upper right hand corner of their website. The shopping cart is a subtle symbol that implies to the user ‘this website is trying to sell me something’. Traditionally on these sites, the end goal is to insert your credit card information in return for a product or service return.
You may also see a high concentration of content on ecommerce sites regarding, ‘Sale ends on Sunday, don’t miss out’, ‘Buy Now’, ‘Add to Cart’, ‘Buy One, Get One’ as examples. This type of content is much more suited to people in the ‘bottom of the funnel’ when thinking about the steps in the purchase process, as that’s the website’s ultimate goal. Though it may be very sales focused, a successful ecommerce website will also provide content for people in all segments of the purchase process in order to attract, convert and close sales on-site.
Lead Generation Businesses Use the Internet to Source Leads and Prospects.
Another form of digital revenue generated is through prospecting and generating leads for a business via the Internet. This adds a level of complexity to the sales process being that the website’s job isn’t primarily to make a sale. Its job here is to provide the right kind of educational content, credibility, engagement, and desirability for someone to request more information on your product or a service. It is essentially an Internet liaison for generating online leads for a company’s sales team.
Common online lead generation businesses include B2B companies that have an expensive service or product with a long buying cycle. These types of businesses thrive well with content heavy digital marketing strategies in order to nurture prospects down the sales funnel from interest, to intent, to purchase.
B2C companies such as plumbers, contractors, and other home service providers as a few examples, often also use the Internet to find leads to grow their businesses. These types of services may have a short or long sales cycle; the key here is ensuring the website is built to strengthen a brand and position a business as the leader or expert in the space, in order to capture as much market share as possible.
Businesses looking for leads online generally have offers or calls-to-action on their site regarding: contact us, call us, request a consultation, download an eBook, vendor comparisons, an Infographic, etc. The purpose of this content is to provide enough information on site to make visitors feel encouraged enough to reach out to you over another competitor in the digital space.
3.Digital Brand Engagement
Businesses with storefronts may choose to promote their business online with the intent of ensuring they provide the right information to get folks into their storefronts. Industry examples would be restaurants or food service businesses, bike service shops, and mom-and-pop stores. These websites are likely built to provide menus, products, or descriptions of services, but have a phone number for inquiries and map of their location prominent on-site with the intent to get searchers to physically visit their locations.
The Internet also provides a platform for branding and engagement for businesses. The digital space has many channels and opportunities for brand introduction, recognition and re-engagement. As a business owner, even though someone may not be looking for your solution now, there is inherent value in getting in front of the right people for when they do have your needs. If they know your brand ahead of time, you are that much more likely to capture that potential revenue; the concept is it’s an investment in your future.
As long as people are searching for a product or service online, then it’s important to play the market. The concept is to at least be on the defensive front: if a company is not listed online where people are looking, then it can immediately kiss that potential revenue goodbye. Ensuring you are at least listed in search engine results for relevant searches, maybe in the 3rd or 4th position, allows your brand exposure when people are looking for the needs you provide. The strategy to maintain these kinds of rankings and exposure are likely less capital and labor intensive than those who are aggressively targeting the first position on Google Search results, and if you craft your online experience effectively, this visibility will turn into revenue for your business.
Other businesses may or may not even have their own websites and choose to capitalize on internet based retailer/reseller platforms such as Amazon and eBay, who are market leading examples of aggregators that have realized the pure potential of aggregating individual sellers that need exposure for their products. In these cases, the transactions are still happening online but are facilitated by a third party. Artists may sell on Etsy, musicians on iTunes, app developers on the Apple and Google Play stores. Lead generation companies have aggregator or crowd sourced websites to display themselves on as well, such as Houzz, Yelp, or Angies List.
The methodologies for finding and closing all forms of digital revenue have a lot of cross over in terms of ensuring your business has visibility in the right places and that you maintain a compelling website. Each unique business’s digital marketing approach will require subtle differences in strategies and implementation if they are going to perform optimally. Lead nurture businesses may need to spend more time nurturing opportunities on-site before they are able to see the revenue come through, and hopefully then this may turn into an off-line transaction that was still facilitated via the web. Ecommerce businesses need to focus highly on user experience to make a sale as easy as possible. Step number one in building your digital revenue generation is to figure out, what kind of digital revenue am I trying to generate?