Selling to Sellers - Utterly Stupid Idea or Not Quite?
The list of promotional tools and resources available to online marketer today isvery impressing, and new ones appear almost every day, each fancier and more sophisticatedthan ever. Almost all of them however are touched (some willeven say "cursed") by a sort of the original sin. After all, after SPAM became criminaloffence and as the result direct email marketing became all-but-impossible, the onlypeople who see your offer are those who are also trying to sell something.
In my opinion this "selling to sellers" is not at all as absurd as many people believe. It's simply different. And I often wonder why so little has been told about this differenceby the experts. Because to me it seems to be the most important aspect of yourmarketing, the most important initial decision: "Will I be trying to sellthings to people at large? Or perhaps will I concentrate on selling tools, resources andinformation to marketers?". And even the obviously important question of tangible vs. intangiblemerchandises doesn't seem to me more crucial.
Let's now give those two categories some short, simple names for the use of this text. Howabout "X marketers" (from eXternal) and "N marketers" (from iNternal)?The X marketers will be those selling to the "world at large", and N marketers will be thoseselling to fellow marketers.
Now, an explanation is needed. When you start your marketing career you don't usually"decide" whether you want to be X or N marketer. It's mostly determined by the promotional toolsyou have access to at the beginning. If you start without any investments, or only with littleones, you will be using opt-in lists, traffic exchanges, FFA pages and similar resources. Then, by their very nature you start promoting to people who see those ads, and who are those people? Of course they are other marketers using the same tools! You have become an N marketer withouteven giving this issue much thought. (It can be noted that you are an N marketer trying to sellto other N marketers. Selling to X marketers seems a much more difficult matter, for they don'tuse the same promotional tools, or at least not in the same extent. You will need to besomewhat of a Guru to start selling to those people!
No doubt there's lots of common between those two branches. After all "the money is in the list",and the really big profits come from back-selling to people who have already bought from you, are satisfied, trust you and therefore are willing to buy from you more. This part of yourbusiness will be fairly similar, no matter if you send to marketers or non-marketers.
There are also important differences of course. If it wasn't so our distinction would have little meaning andso the this article would have no meaning. But those differences are very visible. let'sstart with the language itself. If you are an N marketer and aresuccessful, have a list of many thousands happy clients and so on -- then you will be soon called a "Guru".If, on the other hand, you're enormously successful in selling let's say 2' x 3' stainless-steel widgets(or ebooks on painless, well-fed & lazy slimming for that matter), which of course means that you arean X marketer, then, even if you have thousands of faithful clients with deeppockets, instinctively reaching for their credit Platinum cards whenever they hear your name...Well, you will of course be admired and envied, not to mention rich, but you won't be called a Guru! You might be called something like "a Great Salesman", which is not too bad of course, but it's not the same, is it?
Another difference is thatin N marketing you don't usually speak much about "niches". Selling memberships in credit based opt-in listsfrom some external point of view can be seen as much "niche marketing" as selling, let's say...polishing-wax for pet anacondas. Not true? But I personally have never heard this term used in this context.
The most important differences are however in how X's and N's find their clients in the first place. Or sometimes how they let themselves to be found by them. This is not just a play with words, as search engines do exactly that --they let people find your offer, don't they? There are of course many different types of search enginesand similar systems ("normal" search engines, Pay Per Click search engines, directories etc.) but fromthe viewpoint of the potential client they basically do the same thing. And for the X type marketerthey are nowadays one of the very few available means of promotion. Of course it's in large part becausethey are very powerful tools, providing you with highly targeted hits. If you'reable to get high position on those search engines that really matter (and don't get bankrupt on the way, as theytend to be costly) you're almost there. Add some off-line promotion and you're onyour way to become The Great Salesman. (Of course all other aspects of your business also must bedone right.)
If however you have decided that selling to sellers doesn't sound so absurd or pointless as it is oftenpresented, then your options are much more numerous. Which is a good thing of course, though yourcompetition also has the same options, so it's not an unmixed blessing. You must show your offerto marketers, so you need to show it where marketers are looking for offers. Why should they be looking? There are two main reasons.
The first reason is that they simply are forced to look at your offers. How? Why? By whom? It's simply that many, if not most, of the methods of online promotionavailable today base on the principle reciprocality. Which in this context means: "I will take a look at yoursif you agree to take a look at mine". Yes, of course, you don't always have to actually look at those offers. Often you can pay the service to show your offers to others and ignore theirs. Still, the people who will see your offer will be those who wantto show theirs to the world. (Of course they don't necessarily need to be commercial offers, they can be sites devotedto hobbies, charities, private or group obsessions etc. But they all want to SHOW people something ratherthan SEE somebody else's offer.)
Does anything positive result from this fact? And, to pose a much broader question: does the marketertrying to sell to sellers (N marketer in our terminology) have any advantages over the one trying to sell to non-marketers(X marketer)? My answers would be: YES and YES. Why? There are a few reasons. Some of them pretty trivial thoughnot without importance, like the fact that marketer usually is much more exposed to contact with offersfrom online businesses.
Marketer also has some needs that can possibly be satisfied by buyingthings online. Two sorts of needs in fact. Firstly, the same needs that everybody else has. Secondly, specific needs related to Internet marketing. By being rather more exposed to Internet ads and offersthan an average person, more used to it and understanding it better, marketer would probably buy morethings online. But the other type of needs is far more important here.
Now for the second type of needs. Marketer will need marketing tools, resources, information...These things change and develop in an enormous pace. This is of course a truism but it's absolutelytrue. If you're able to quickly find new promotional tools, opportunities and/or informationon Internet marketing, you will be in position to sell (more or less directly, we will notplunge here into discussing downlines and referrals) these information - for after all it isexactly information! - to other marketers. I personally see no reason why marketers should beless receptive to this sort of information than average person. In fact they are probablymuch more receptive, as they know perfectly well how much in their personal lives depends onthose tools, information and opportunities.
It is probably not true that whole 95% of people trying to earn online is not earning any money, butit must be obvious that most marketers still have not found their way of doing business online andthere's no reason to believe that this situation ever radically changes. So it's not only information on new available services and opportunities that is sought after, and therefore sellable. In order to be successful in this sort of business, where there's so muchavailable information, potential chances and risks, and so little road-signs that can be fullytrusted, one needs to find their own way. Way of doing business online.
Human life being as short as it is, with most often very limited finances (or you wouldn't spendyour time in front of the monitor with uncertain result, would you?), people who still haven'tfound the right method and attained real success in online business will need a "recipe", or, perhaps better, a successful person to help them -- a teacher, or even perhaps what the Americanscall "the mentor". (There's this old joke about some American children asking their parents topay them tree-climbing lessons, but Internet marketing without qualified help is a dreary andvery risky thing to do.)
If you already are successful, then being the N marketer you have serious advantages. One of them, perhaps the most important, is that you only deal with one (big, that's true) issue: online marketing. As X marketer you would need to handle both marketing itself and the market niche you're in. Thisfact has some further interesting effects. For example this that by attaining success as N marketeryou're becoming a Guru, or "almost a Guru", and this time I'm using this term without irony. WhatI mean is simply that you've become an accomplished expert in your field, which of course isInternet marketing. While if you attait even the biggest success in selling widgets online, youwill be a "Great Expert In Selling Widgets Online". Which means that you will be generally seen asa crossing between "widgets expert" and "marketing expert". Nobody will be certain how good you arein any of those two parts of your activity! Effect of which will be that your success will bemuch harder to duplicate! You will have much more difficulty in teaching people your tested businessmethods. If they are not going to sell widgets like yourself, nobody can be completly sure it's thebest marketing practice that you're teaching. And the widget niche may be too small to accomodate manynew players. It will be a totally different matter with general marketing knowledge that you obtain practicingN marketing.