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Preselling

Preselling is about putting your visitors in a mood to buy. Sounds simple but it isn't.

What Is Preselling?

Preselling is "the art of getting your visitors to trust you."

Without credibility and trust your visitor will never be open to your product recommendations. Your links and banners will seem like hype in their eyes until you've developed some degree of rapport with your audience.

Let's face it. Most people these days are skeptical of any promotion. They are bombarded with so much advertising and hype-filled marketing "noise" that putting them in the mood to buy something is a real challenge.

This means that job #1 for any online marketer is to develop credibility for themselves. They must get their visitors to see them as a friend and hopefully an authority in their particular niche. They must be seen as a solution-provider who has the real interests of their visitors at heart. Without establishing this type of relationship with their visitors there is little hope for online success. This is what preselling is all about.

How Do You Presell?

I'm always drawn to this Dale Carnegie quote...

"You can make more friends in two months by being interested in other people than you can in two years trying to get other people interested in you."

I think it sums up what your attitude must be towards your visitors. You must get them to feel that you truly care about them. If you don't honestly feel that way every word you write and every recommendation you make will lack the power to make a connection with your visitors.

I like to call this approach "From-the-heart Marketing." Ultimately it's the only kind of marketing that will work in today's marketplace. The reality is it's probably the only kind of marketing that has ever worked.

As I think of the great salespeople I have known in my over 30 years in marketing I see that all the best had this ability to connect with their prospects. They had that ability to get their customers to feel that they truly cared about them and wanted to help them solve their problems. There was always a "genuineness" underneath the relationship where their prospects felt they could be trusted and saw the salesperson as a friend.

And it doesn't take great charisma to be a great salespeople. The style of the backslapping, glad-handing, over-smiling salesperson isn't the one that always works. But the ability to make a connection that makes your visitor feel comfortable and trusting is the underlying skill that does work.

So How Do You Create Credibility For Yourself Online?

Give Your Visitors Valuable Content

When someone searches online they are looking for something. Perhaps they are researching a product they want to buy. Maybe they have a hobby they love and want to know more about. Perhaps they just have a question they need an answer to. There are many reasons people use the search engines but it all boils down to "searching for information."

If you have the information people are looking for (and Google and the other SEs agree) people will come to your site for your information. Assuming you have optimized your content well and are ranked highly by the SEs, now you have a new visitor on your site. Now what?

These days you better be able to express your "value proposition" very quickly. You have about 5 seconds to convince your visitor that you have something they need.

Your site design is the first thing they will sense. Is it professional, easy to navigate, and are they able to "get" what you are about easily.

If you can get them to stick around and begin reading your content the next thing they will notice is your tone and readability. Is your tone friendly and helpful? Is the writing clear and easy to understand? Do they get a sense of authority and expertise?

But most importantly, do they get the feeling that you have something valuable that they need? Do they sense you really care? Don't fawn but clearly position yourself as a problem-solver and a solution-provider.

Show Your Face

The more you can put a face on your website the better. People would always rather buy from a person than from a computer, so show images, or better videos, of the key people in the company. Tell your story and try to get your visitors to like your (or at least trust you).

If putting your own picture or top principals on your site are inappropriate be sure to have plenty of pictures of happy customers or at least real people your visitors can identify with. The goal is show people experiencing the benefits of your value proposition.

Writing For The Web

Writing for the web is really much different than "offline" writing. You should use shorter sentences and simple, easily-understood vocabulary (depending on your niche). Use lots of "skimming techniques" like bolded words and bulleted lists to make your information easy to absorb. Here's a great free book called the Net-writing Masters Course to help you learn more about writing for the web.

Give Away Stuff

Everyone likes a free gift especially if it has some value. An e-book about the subject at hand, or a monthly newsletter packed with valuable information can get your visitors to trust you. Make sure there are no strings attached. It must be sincere altruism at work. It helps if the product has a defined value too. You want them to go away saying "gee thanks."

If you noticed, that's just what I did above. The Net-writing Masters Course is really a wonderful book and my giving it to you hopefully established that I want to help you succeed online. Let me know if it worked that way.

Send Your Visitors Away

If you know of other great sites that offer information in your niche tell your visitors about them. Make sure those other sites are excellent and that you feel they can really help your visitors. This may sound risky but in the long run it will establish trust and authority for you. Of course be sure that those links open in another window so you won't lose your visitor completely.

Also be sure to get a reciprocal link back from those sites. This "off page" search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is also very important for getting the SEs to rank you highly.

Credibility Is Critical

Just to emphasize, job number one is to create credibility for your site. This is the essence of Preselling and it's a skill that must be mastered to succeed online.