Having an online marketing plan is essential to stay competitive in the 21st century. Essentially, Internet marketing can help your business by using the Internet to do one or more of the following:
– Communicate your company’s message: ex) Biography, mission statement, information about products, services, or business opportunity
– Conduct research: Preferences, needs, and demographics of your existing and potential customers/business partners.
– Sell products and services on your web site or for other vendors on their sites.
– Sell advertising space on your web site and/or other sites over the Internet.
– Share ideas and experiences with others in order for you to build valuable relationships that are vital for success in any business
There are many elements to marketing online, but the core concepts are essentially the same. Here are the most popular techniques used by Internet marketers.
– Building a website, consisting of text, images, and possibly audio/video elements used to convey your message online and inform existing and potential customers of the features and benefits of doing business with you. The website has your contact information clearly displayed and may also include the ability to capture visitors contact information thereby allowing you to keep in touch with them via email. Websites are the Internet equivalents of offline brochures or mail order catalogues and they are a great way to establish your business identity.
– Search Engine Marketing (SEM), which is marketing your website online via search engines, either by improving the site’s natural ranking through search engine optimization (SEO), buying pay-per-click (PPC) ads or purchasing pay-for-inclusion (PFI) listings in website directories, which are similar to offline yellow page listings.
– Email marketing, which is a method of distributing information and getting feedback from customers about your product, service, or business opportunity through Email. Interested parties can subscribe to your mailing list through an opt-in form that is prominently displayed on your web site. You can use an Autoresponder (software program) to send emails out to your prospect list, even when you’re not at a computer. What you do is you create, lets say, a seven-part email course. Then you can set the intervals for the emails to, say, once a day and send them one part of the course each day over the course of a week. So you write the emails one time and then anyone joining that list will automatically be sent those emails for the next seven days. This doesn’t matter if you’re online or if you’re away from the computer. They will get sent automatically. They also get added to the list automatically. And if they choose to unsubscribe, all of that is taken care of without you having to lift a finger. Email marketing is essentially the online equivalent of direct mail marketing.
– Blogging, which is the act of posting comments, expressing opinions or making announcements and can be accomplished either by hosting your own blog or by posting comments and/or URLs in other blogs related to your product, service, or business opportunity online.
– Classified Ads, which is the online equivalent to placing small ads in newspapers or magazines. There are plenty of free online classified ads sites that you can promote your business on by category and really target your audience.
– Forum Marketing, where you can participate in discussion boards on a number of subjects relating to your business. Leaving your URL at the end of all your posts is an excellent way of creating many back links online that readers can click on and visit your web site long after you have posted your entry in the forum.
– Social Networking that can put you in touch with old friends and help you establish relationships with new prospective customers and business partners all over the world. You can set up a personal profile, display your photos, educational info, business info, website URL and email address, audio and video files etc…Facebook and Twitter are the most popular social networking sites and using them properly can greatly enhance your presence online.
– Press releases, which involve placing a newsworthy story about your company, website, products/services, or any related events with on online wire service.
– Article marketing, which involves writing articles related to your business and having them published online on syndicated article sites. These articles then have a tendency to spread around the Internet since the article services permit re-publication provided that all of the links in the article are maintained. Article marketing can result in significant traffic to your website, and the distribution of syndicated articles can promote your brand to a wide audience.
– Banner advertising, which is the placement of ads on a website for a fee. The offline equivalent of this form of online marketing would be traditional ads in newspapers or magazines.
– Social Bookmarking, a method for you to search, store, and organize bookmarks of web pages on the Internet. These bookmarks are usually public, and can be saved privately, shared only with specified people or groups, shared only inside certain networks, or another combination of public and private domains. The allowed people can usually view these bookmarks chronologically, by category or tags, or via a search engine. You can store links to your blog,press releases,and articles in these Social bookmarking sites and allow others to search them.
By consistently applying these fundamental Internet marketing strategies to your business you will see an increase in the traffic to your website which you can turn into customers and/or partners. Each technique has its benefits and some may work better for you than others. Also, different online marketers will have varying results with the different techniques in their Internet marketing game plan. So, it is extremely important for you to use Site Traffic Analysis tools that will give you a clear indication as to where you are getting the bulk of your traffic from. This will let you focus on what works best and maximize your results. Cheers!
Gopal (The Musical Mad Scientist & Entrepreneur)