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BizReport : Internet Marketing 101 : December 10, 2020

Should You Be Using a 1-Step or 2-Step Sales Model?

What are the differences between the two online sales models: the 1-step and the 2-step tactics?

The world of online marketing has changed beyond recognition in 2020. We could say it's a result of COVID-19 and the shift of many activities to the virtual world, but that would only be half true. In reality, this virtual environment was ready to boost and become such a major part of marketing in general - and the virus was just the trigger. However, some things will stay the same for the long run, and one of them is the ever-lasting battle between the two online sales models: the 1-step and the 2-step tactics.

If you advertise online, even if you don't do it full-scale, you've probably encountered this dilemma at some point. Let's try to understand what the two models are all about, as well as their advantages and disadvantages, so you can decide which one is better for you and your campaign.

The 1-step model
This model, based on a direct flow between the advertisement and a possible purchase, has existed basically as long as advertising does. What it means is that the advertiser builds the campaign with an immediate goal of convincing a potential client to pull out their wallet. This tactic is very similar to more traditional advertising, just like, for example, an ad on TV for a soft drink with a purpose of getting the viewer to go out and buy that drink.

The key advantage of this model is the immediacy of the sale. There is no middle process, so if your campaign is convincing enough, you'll see money in your bank. Another advantage is that most advertisers are already very familiar with this model. If it's not broken, there's no reason to fix it, as some would claim.

But wait, there are disadvantages as well. Getting a potential client to commit to a sale is not easy - especially when it's done through an ad they see on the web. Think of it, you logged into Facebook to check on your friends, why would you want to purchase something right then and there? This level of commitment may be suitable for when there is an intention, like when someone is searching for something on Google, but that doesn't promise a direct connection to a sale as well, since they may only be looking for information or to compare prices, for example.

The 2-step model
This model is also called 'lead generation', and it's becoming quite popular recently. As opposed to the more direct approach of the former model, here we are aiming at taking a step toward a sale, but not at completing it. Basically the campaigner convinces potential customers to leave their contact details, usually by filling out a form, and only at a later phase is the contact completed - usually using more traditional media, such as a phone call or an email.

Many platforms today serve as a meeting place for businesses and freelance advertisers, for the purpose of lead generation. One of these platforms is Crystalead, and we asked the group's spokesperson, Johnathan Greenwood, exactly how it works: "We get approached by businesses in all kinds of different industries, looking for leads. We take that and pass it on to marketers who want to use our platform. The marketers create a campaign, define its target audience and budget, and we post it on partner sites. Businesses get their message spread out, marketers earn commission for every lead they manage to generate - it's a win-win situation for both sides."

The advantages of this method are numerous. First, it's very suitable for businesses who don't have the time or energy to deal with the campaigning process. Second, contact details (as opposed to, let's say, credit card details) enable businesses to stay in touch with potential clients for the long term and close more deals in the future. Third, leaving contact information rather than making a purchase is much less committing, meaning that much more cooperation on behalf of people exposed to the ad can be expected.

On the disadvantages side, we find the effort businesses need to put into the process, meaning that it's not enough to just advertise - you need to make sure you have a sales whiz on your team to complete the purchase. Also, using platforms like Crystalead can come at a cost - for both the business and the marketer. Greenwood explains: "We make our money by offering our service and platform to users. However, if they're good enough at what they do, marketers will start to see promising results quickly"."


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