Ryan Allis

Ryan Allis is the CEO and co-founder of iContact, a leading on-demand email marketing service. As CEO, he's managed iContact from its start in July 2003 to its current size with more than 90 employees and 25,000 customers worldwide. In 2005, Ryan was named by BusinessWeek as one of the "Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25." Ryan is also the author book Zero to One Million: How I Built a Company To $1 Million in Sales and How You Can Too, published by McGraw-Hill. As an email marketing expert, Ryan will provide guidance in his blog posts on how to enhance and improve your online marketing campaigns.

The skill of sales is one of the most-prized attributes that an aspiring entrepreneur can have. The ability to lay out the reason why someone should buy from you and not your competitor, in a customer-centered fashion – and then go for the sale at the exact right moment, is more difficult than one would imagine.

Your company may have a long or short sales cycle. You may sell a product directly to consumer via the Internet and through you email marketing campaigns. On the other hand, you may be selling a service or product that costs thousands of dollars, and requires the approval of multiple departments.

You may have to present to school boards or Fortune 500 companies. It may take nine months between the time of first contact and the time the sale is closed. If your sales cycle is long, you’ll have to compensate for this in your projections. If can become very frustrating to sell a high ticket item or service that takes months of presentations, discussions, and contract revision to sell.

Before you get started with your sales cycles, you have to come up with some sort of comprehensive sales plan by asking yourself a few important questions. How will your product be sold? What the product’s price points? Why is your product unique from your competitors’ products?

If your business is online, you may never have interactions with your customers before they buy your product, so they have to rely on your email newsletters and your web site for product information. Your email newsletters can be the engine that runs your online sales. Your messages give you the chance to highlight certain aspects of your product for your current and potential customers. In your emails, you should include prominent links to your business’s home page and sales page if applicable. Over time, having an attractive, informative and professional email newsletter will help you increase both your overall sales and your loyal customer base.

For example, at iContact, we send out a monthly newsletter to both our customers and email newsletter subscribers to let them know about what’s going on with our company. Our newsletter is an avenue where we can both keep in contact with our current customers and reach out to new subscribers.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll be back in a few days to continue discussing the art of sales in online marketing.


Ryan Allis

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