Friday, January 30, 2009

Seminar on selling

Took a little adventure today. Know those come-on letters you get in the mail every so often that say, "Hear our short seminar, and we'll give you lunch and a gift, etc., with no obligation"? Every time I had received anything like that before I had recycled those without even opening the letter, but recently a company called Stores Online Express sent me one that promised to teach me about making millions on the Internet while I sleep. Actually, it only promised to teach me how to sell things better on the Internet (and quit my day job and live out my dreams ...), which I interpreted more broadly as making millions, particularly while I'm napping. Since I'm taking a class on online publishing, I thought it might be interesting to attend this sort of thing, and I've always wanted to go through the selling gauntlet (yeah, right), to see out of curiosity how I respond to the really hard sale by seasoned pros. I figured with the class as my conscience, I'd keep my wallet in my pocket.

Anyway, the seminar was held at one of the Vancouver area's finest hotels and conference centers, The Heathman Lodge, and lunch was included. So I figured I really couldn't lose. The opening slideshow of the seminar displayed a variety of figures and stats that were fascinating, only the slides moved so fast, I couldn't write down all of the info, including sources, which were listed on most of them.

Here's a few that caught my attention:

Top online activities: 1. Email, 2. Obtaining news, 3. Making a purchase. I was encouraged to read that of all of the Internet activity, news consumption was that high on the list. Maybe there is a future for media after all.

How long did it take for each medium to reach its first 1 million users? Radio = 50 years, television and others were listed, too, and then the Internet = Four years. There probably has never been a medium more quickly spread and adopted in all of human history, although I need to get more confirmation on this than these shabby notes, including a source.

Internet users in the world: 578 million in Asia, 384 million in Europe and North America was third, with a number I didn't catch, somewhere in the 200 million range, I think. I thought America would be way ahead on that one.

Market share of search engines: Google = 50 percent, Yahoo = 24 percent, MSN was third down in the low teens, I think. On this one, I really thought Google would have more of a market share in the 70s or higher. It seems like Internet searching can be communicated as Googling, or as Google this or that. Who Yahoos anymore? Probably the same people who email through AOL.

In short, the bulk of the seminar related to marketing web sites. The No. 1 problem with any site, I was told, is that no one knows about it, or people can't find it, or it's buried on page 36 of a Google search. Search Engine Optimization was stressed over and over again, and I think that's an important area to emphasize. Of course, Stores Online Express will help you with that service, for only $24.95 a month. Ha!

One other idea that was mentioned briefly, but I would like to know more about, is the concept of geo-targeting, or focusing on your local market. Yes, we all know that the web can reach anyone in the world. But what if you really don't need it to do that? What if you just want to reach the people that you can serve within a 30-minute drive or so? That's a concept I haven't heard many people talking about before. I think as the web gets more and more full of material (like it's not big enough as it is) that people will need more guidance to explore the vastness of the information. This sort of approach could be fruitful. I'll look into it more soon and post if I find anything of interest.

One great quote I gleaned from that opening slideshow, too, with no source noted, "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've got." This was something different for me, for sure. And that was a good thing.

- Brett

1 comment:

Carie said...

Brett, My husband and I attended the same seminar about 4 months ago, so your summary interested me. I told my husband that the idea was attractive, but because we aren't impulse shoppers and didn't know the idea behind the seminar when we went, we were not prepared to make any financial commitment. But we learned a lot and watched some interesting people commit financially to making their own dreams come true. I'd like to follow up with them and see how they used the tool and what their experiences have been.