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Vapor Guys

In 2009, I had an eCommerce business called Vapor Guys (electronic cigarettes and related accessories). Most of the marketing for the business was web based, and the business was profitable inside of 3 months.

There are two things to keep in mind regarding our audience at the time. First, I knew that I could leverage sales from impulse buyers given the nature of the industry. The other thing to keep in mind is that there are consumable items that are sold in addition to the e-cigarette that users need to re-order such as e-liquid, atomizers, and batteries.

A Brief Overview of the Site Design

I designed the website in a way that was completely different than any of our competitor’s sites. I made sure that page real estate, especially for the index page, was laid out in a way that would encourage specific behavior. The same techniques that brick and mortar stores used to set up their displays (such as at a grocery store checkout), were used to ensure that impulse buyers had easy access to products and promotions that would entice a sale at that time or in the near future.

Two Ways that I Created Urgency & On-line Sales

Time Sensitive Marketing
My first goal was to get traffic to the site as often and efficiently as possible. To achieve this, I frequented a number of message boards and social networks where I answered a lot of questions for new and existing e-cigarette users. In the process of answering questions, I would also provide specific time sensitive coupon codes for tracking purposes.

In addition to using coupon codes, I also encouraged the users I interacted with to subscribe to our RSS feeds, which I used specifically for rolling out special offers. Depending on what we wanted to accomplish, the offer might only be for the next three hours, that day(s), or a future date.

Inventory Tickers Rock!
Once the prospective buyer arrived at our site, and more specifically the product page, they were able to see our inventory &#8212 in real time! If they were on the verge of running out of supplies, displaying a low inventory was just enough to encourage them to buy at that point.

The aforementioned techniques have been overly simplified for the purpose of this article, but that is the gist of what I did to convert my on-line marketing efforts to sales. There were a number of other follow up techniques used either at the point of sale or after the sale to create incentives and motivate both another visit and purchase, but I’ll discuss that in a future post!

Marketers, Have No Fear — Your Leads Are Not Wasted!

An article on HubSpot really resonated with me as I’ve been on both sides of this coin. If you’re a marketer that is frustrated with your sales team, then here’s some good insight for you to consider.

So you’ve spent a ton of time and energy building the sales funnel for your sales reps, but they are not closing the deals. Don’t be discouraged!

Assuming that you have done a good job with Leads Management and you have a nice flow of qualified leads, all hope is not lost. The main reasons that your sales team are not working your leads are:

  1. They do not see the leads as being high quality.
  2. They are being overwhelmed with leads and can’t work them all.

In the event that sales is on target with determining which leads are low quality, kudos to them! If this is the case, they are maximizing their efforts on leads that have the best chances of closing.

If the issue turns out to be the fact that they simply can’t keep up with all the in-bound generated leads, then kudos to you! Do not stop what you are doing!

5 valid points on lead generation that you should take into consideration:

  1. Your sales team will be working leads that they feel are the strongest. Providing them with enough options gives them more room to pick and choose the leads they think are the best to close.
  2. If your sales team is working hard to close deals, but they’re coming up short, then chances are they are not identifying the high quality leads. Step up and help them identify the strong leads and don’t get fixated solely on the number of leads you’re generating!
  3. Ensure the leads that you are sending are ready for the sales team. Do your due dilligence to nurture the lead until it is qualified and ready to be sent to sales.
  4. Keep building the funnel, regardless if the leads are ready for sales or not. What’s not good for February may be great for April! Nurture the lead!
  5. When you are consistently generating leads, you are more engaged with your audience and they are talking about you. This is a good thing!

You can read the article in it’s entirety here.