Investing Time and Money

It would seem that fishing has now gone all hi-tech. The other day, while wandering along a stretch of Coromandel beach with my ageing and mad Spaniel, I noticed a couple on their quad bike carrying what look like to be a orange torpedo down to the water’s edge. Mello, my Spaniel, was as interested as I and did her best to get in the way as they bent down and fussed away to get the thing started.

Within a few minutes a power of froth was coming from the propeller. While he slowly guided it into the surf she walked back holding a line that joined it to their bike. In a few moments the orange flash was tunnelling out through the surf towing a fishing line of 25 baited hooks behind it. Minutes later all you could see was the golden flash of the light as it buzzed through the surf far, far off in the distance.

I sauntered up to learn more. Apparently the “thing” would cover 1Km in 10 minutes and only needed to be out there for 45 minutes at the right time of day. So all you needed to do was invest an hour each day (and the $2750 for the torpedo thingy”) and there was a good chance you would be hauling your fancy gear back with some additional weight of fresh fish. Great for those short on both time and something for tea.

Not such a good plan if you like to fish the way I do.

Needless to say, the fish are safe when I turn up on the beach. My surfcaster is ageing, the reel is even older and you can smell my tackle box before you see it. The ideal evening fishing for me involves lots of casting, lots of still, and very little chance of taking anything back home. A perfect way to spend 3 hours alone on the beach.

I don’t think I’m too dissimilar to others I see lined up next to me. For us it’s more about the time of peace and quiet with the occasional flurry of excitement thrown in occasionally. The appeal of pulling out 25 snapper in 45 minutes is mildly appealing, that is until I think through the logistics of gutting all that flesh and then finding something else to do instead of heading back too early.

The world of online marketing is a space filled with a mass of technology and services all claiming to do more things in less time, just like our friendly orange torpedo example. Very rarely does it all turn out exactly as sold. (Just as an aside while we were at the beach I spotted a notice in the local store posted by someone who was looking for help as their fishing torpedo had come off its line and hopefully was going to wash up on the beach rather than reach landfall in Argentina.)

This month our newsletter talks to the point of mixing up your online marketing tactics to make good use of those delivered in both a “slow” and “fast” way. The theory being that the best long term competitive advantage comes from applying tactics that take the most time to deliver.

The same can apply when influencing the speed at which people purchase online. A small proportion of your purchasers will dive into their wallets immediately on arriving on your site. Others will need time to ruminate about their decision. Most online marketers spend time influencing those that buy quickly when there’s a larger group who need time to make a decision.

Email marketing comes to mind as a key strategy to achieve success here. By now everyone should be familiar with its use, but rarely is its effectiveness measured in the right way. While most track who opened the message and what links were clicked within it, very few look back and see if by receiving these messages customers were more or less likely to buy again or for the first time. These are the real outcomes which the tactic needs to be measured against.

Paid advertising can be a star here too. Here you can set up campaigns to re-market to those that bought from your website before to entice them back as they trawl the Internet. Likewise, if they came but didn’t purchase then your re-marketing could convince them to come back and make that first purchase.

Direct mail, and dare I say telemarketing, are other strategies that can be deployed successfully here too. Just because you created the lead online doesn’t mean you have to always use the same channel to market to them in the same way. Mix up any of these tactics with to help you achieve the most influence where you can.

And that’s the true illusion here. Whilst technology can present the appeal of achieving more in less time, when it comes to making buying decisions the majority still need time to think things through. That will never change.

So this month think about those who have contacted you and are still thinking about the services or products you offer. What can you send to these who have expressed an interest but haven’t purchased yet? And how about those that have bought before but haven’t for a while? What can you do to entice them back?