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  1. A Different Breed of Customer
  2. Learn from the "Remote" Sales Experts
  3. Targeting Buyers
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Learn from the "Remote" Sales Experts

If you want your e-business to succeed, my advice is to imitate, not innovate. That is, study what makes mail order/catalog companies so successful—and imitate them.

Follow this list before your launch your new online endeavor—and check it twice:

  1. Before you even think about a marketing strategy to sell goods or services over the Net, find as many catalog companies as you can that match the product or services you sell. Here are some good sources:

  2. See how these catalog companies both display and describe the merchandise they offer in their print catalogs. If they also have a web site, check out how they display and describe their products there as well. You'll find that the products they choose are common products—that is, they exist everywhere and there are "showrooms" in the real world to see and touch them—or are unique enough that they can't be found anywhere else.

  3. Study the types of products they choose to sell "remotely"—that is, without the need for consumers to see or touch the actual products—and compare them to the products you're planning to sell. There are good reasons why mail order/catalog companies have chosen certain products and product categories over the years. Companies that print and mail catalogs are restricted in the number and type of products they sell due to printing, mailing, and shipping costs. So they offer the products that will sell the best.

  4. Study their customer policies. How do they take an order? How many ways can a customer place an order? Find out what kind of information they ask for, what satisfaction guarantees they offer, what their return policies, are and how returns are processed.

Once you've accomplished these things, you're ready to do some outward-bound marketing to attract customers to your web site.

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