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Marketing Techniques: Hard-Sell Vs. Soft-Sell

by SanDiegoBizMart.com

I'm sure you, too, have been bombarded by those "Paid Program" infomercials that take over our TVs every night.

They suck up a big percentage of the channels available to the late-night viewer until early morning. But, wait…there’s more! There’s also the 24-hr shopping networks doing their best to take your money.

Although you can glean some good marketing ideas from these pushy mega commercials, this is not the sole method to market your service or product. Here is an example of a different approach to marketing…

Think about the soap operas. They all have something in common. The end of every show leaves you hanging and wanting more. Naturally you tune in the next day to see what happened.

This is an excellent example of subtle marketing. Subtle marketing doesn't attempt to get you to part with your money. It asks, instead, that you part with your time which is, in the end, the same thing. When someone parts with their time, you essentially are controlling them on an emotional level, and therefore have them in the palm of your hand. Once you have connected with your customer emotionally, just transfer their enthusiasm over to your product or service. If you then deliver on the product or service, as promised, you will have a customer for life.

The subtle marketing method is perfect for the business owner that has a website that offers information, feedback, and reviews, while pushing their products subtly along with it. This type of site gets the visitor to spend time, feeds on the emotion and ego of prospective customers, and creates "fans" of the site. And what does that do? It sells product, and creates repeat business.

Repeat business is the key to making big money. If you offer an inferior product or service and do not give your customers a reason to do business with you again, you will spend all your time and money working to get new customers. Keep this in mind: The best customer you will have is the customer you already have.

Having to continually market your product or service to prospective customers just to stay even with your "customer count" will never be to your benefit. Often, business owners who offer a shoddy product or service and find themselves in this position never admit the truth. Or possibly they don't know how to not have a sub-standard product or service. Maybe they don't have the know-how to improve their product or service without a loss in revenue, so they feel they are stuck in this mode.

Don't ever think for a moment that you are trapped and can't move forward. Every good businessperson knows there is a work-around for every predicament. It might take a bit longer to find the answer to one problem and less time for another, but the immutable fact remains--there IS a solution to every problem.

All you need to do is to make a commitment to finding that solution.

Second point: you certainly can't find a solution in the middle of chaos. You need to cultivate the ability to step outside the problem and view it with fresh eyes. If you can’t see the forest for the trees, it’s possible you might need to hire a business consultant. Once you have examined the entire situation, rather than simply a piece of it you will be able to solve just about anything.

Note: to be successful, you need to take a cold, hard look at your business, and not from an emotional perspective. Do you want to make money, or just babysit your "baby?"

Back to hard sell vs. soft sell marketing...

The infomercials and the soap operas, as mentioned previously, are prime examples of hard-sell and soft-sell marketing methods. Each uses a different method because each one is customized specifically for the product or service they are selling.

The soap operas only need to use subtle marketing because they want people to watch their show the next day.

Infomercials use hard marketing methods because their main interest is making money and selling the product right then and there. But they also incorporate a subtle approach to the hard-sell method by making the product seem as if the viewer cannot possibly live without it (the emotional hook).

Another trick is having customers call in and relate their experience with the product. The customer feels special because they get to talk on live television, and get their "30 seconds of fame." Just like all the social media sites and online reviews, it is all ego-driven, which is emotionally based (makes them feel important). This "bonds" them emotionally to the company, and, in turn, parts them with their money.

And finally, the most important advice I can give you, one of the top rules in marketing: Features don't sell products… Benefits sell products!

Below are some examples of hard sell vs. soft sell, incorporating features, benefits, emotion, and ego.

Hard Sell - Using Features...

The newest model of the Widget is 50% faster than the previous model. It’s more compact than before, with a smaller footprint, and comes in 5 hot colors. The knobs have been replaced with smooth sliders and the digital readout is larger. Order it NOW while we are still able to offer it at this Low Price!
Order it Now for only $29.95!!

Soft Sell – Using Benefits, Emotion, Ego...

Get a jump on your competition and get the new Faster Widget! Now 50% faster, it will leave your competition in the dust. The reduced size means it can be your companion no matter where you go. With smooth sliders and larger readout, it will help you be the best you can be in the business world. Be the envy of your associates, and be the first in your office with the New Widget!
5 Hot Colors to choose from, one to perfectly fit your personality…
Order it Now for only $29.95

A San Diego BizMart Article
SanDiegoBizMart.com, 2005 – All Rights Reserved

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