3 fundamental marketing strategies any online company should implement

Virgil Horghidan
4 min readMay 26, 2020

Today’s online marketplace feels like a dense, hostile jungle. It’s a “survival of the fittest” situation in a constantly changing world that presses us to continually revisit our assumptions of what works and what doesn’t.

These actionable insights will help you think more strategically when starting a marketing campaign and will inspire content ideas to help you differentiate your offer from the noise:

1. Reach beyond the obvious

Whatever you sell, your customers will always fall into these percentages:

3% are ready to buy

  • Most established businesses focus all their efforts on the 3%, which are the “buying mode” customers that don’t think about looking beyond your offer. Either you came into their attention through referrals, either they’re just impulsive buyers.

17% are in “gathering information” mode

  • Some businesses are aware of this slice (the 17%) and invest more effort into their unfair advantages to differentiate from the other market competitors. The buyers are pickier and study the market place for different benefits, or in the case of service type businesses, they want to solve the problems themselves by gathering information.

20% are aware of the problem you are solving

  • The next 20% are not looking to buy but are aware of the problem that you are solving.

60% are not aware of the problem.

  • What’s left is the big chunk (the 60%) that aren’t aware of the problem even if they are facing it in their lives. We all know that some of the frustrations we have don’t surface into our conciseness until they are pointed out by someone else. This last point brings me to the next insight.
The 3–17–20–60 rule

2. Educate to grow

Most of us see education as tedious and painful because of the way most schools teach. Information is usually prezented dry, with no storytelling to make it attractive and easy to digest and without any ties to life experience. That’s why most of us forget most of what we memorised during school.

But guess what? If your brain believes that some information is vital for your survival or a way to fulfil your life dreams, you will devour any educational material that’s tied to it like it’s your first chocolate cake.

The 20 and 60 per cent that I was talking about earlier can turn into a gold mine through the power of insightful, relevant education.

This is not new. David Ogilvy, the absolute ad genius of all times, harnessed the power of educational reports to fuel an exploding number of relevant leads for his own company that even today is one of the most significant Brandings and Marketing agencies out there.

Structuring the educational report:

  • Create an engaging title. The title’s main purpose is to make read the text. Use numbers, a time-bound achievable goal, sound practical but promise tremendous value.
  • Create intrigue by opening the article with the painful problem that you are solving
  • Say why you are talking about this subject. This adds credibility and positions you as an authority that genuinely wants to help customers.
  • Give a bullet list plan to help readers solve their problems.
  • Talk about achievable success once they complete the plan.

3. Give Before you Take

Today’s online world is swarmed by business, desperately screaming like baby birds at their customers about how they are the best. It’s often apparent that they’re much more focused on earning quick money rather than serving. That can turn possible buyers off.

The best way to stand out from the crowd is to give something valuable before trying to sell. Making it about the customer, not about you.

Reciprocity is a full-on psychological constant in our society. 99% of people will feel obligated to return the favour if you give them something of value. But this shouldn’t be used to persuade only towards the seller’s benefit. A real salesperson will only get involved in win-win situations and will not force anyone into buying what they don’t need.

A way to implement reciprocity into your business plan is by creating a low-cost, highly attractive intro product offered for free or borderline to free (max $20); like a highly insightful booklet, a small gadget, a shopping credit card, a small mobile app, etc. The strategy is not to get any revenue out of it but to use it almost as a gift.

Once people are introduced to your brand and make a small purchase, the probability that they will buy your main product line is much higher, especially now when they are surprised by your “give before take” style.

Thank you for reading!

I’m Virgil Horghidan, a full-stack designer based in Barcelona. I help startups add heart and soul to their business ideas through branding and design.

Any questions? Email me at hi@virgilh.com.

If you’re interested in working with me, Schedule A Free Appointment.