As your studies will reveal, there are some basic tools that will become essential components in the efforts of any successful Internet marketing plan. Laying this solid foundation means you do not necessarily have to reinvent the wheel with each new campaign, although you should always be prepared to tweak things a bit to fit the needs of the product or service that you want to market. In my last post about developing the mindset of a successful internet marketer, I promised to alight some of the tools that you’d need to embark on this journey. If you missed it, don’t worry yourself. You can read it up here.
Here are some things to put in place in order to do a great job with your marketing plans.
First, you need to get a web site. Period. No discussions or prevarication allowed. The simple fact of the matter is that people trust entities that they perceive as being “real” businesses. You may be creating your marketing empire from the garage or a spare bedroom, but if you have a real web site that people can visit, bookmark, and share with their friends and family, you will have the look and feel of an established business.
Freelance writers are an excellent example of this sort of thing. While some well paying markets are always looking for new writers, they tend to gravitate toward writers that have a web site, complete with writing samples, contact information, and content that indicates that a true business is working there, not just a sideline or a hobby.
The same is true with marketing. Sure, you can post ads all over the place, but if there is nothing that builds up confidence in the permanency of your business, all those efforts will yield little or no return.
Ignoring online marketing is like opening a business but not telling anyone. – Anonymous
The good news is that web sites are relatively inexpensive these days, and many vendors will even have online tools that will help you create a nice looking site. They supply the outlines, color schemes, and the basic layout. You supply the content and the images and graphics. It is possible to have your web site up and running over a weekend, making it possible to you to use this as a basic part of your marketing plan.
One of the first issues to address in creating a web site is your domain name. One of the most common mistakes people make is try to be quirky or cute with the name. Forget quirky and cute, unless you can combine those qualities with a domain name that is short and easy to remember. Keep in mind that the longer your domain name happens to be, the harder it will be for people to remember it.
Sure, they can always bookmark your domain name in their Favorites, but what good does that do when they are casually talking with a friend about your site? Whether we like to admit it or not, the golden time for word of mouth to occur is during that personal encounter. If the domain name can be rattled off with ease, chances are much better that a new prospect will be directed to your site.
The simple fact is that many people may promise to send a link to someone later, but it gets lost in the shuffle of daily life. Make things easier for you and for people interested in your site. Employ the old Toastmasters counsel of KISS (keep it simple stupid). Life will be better for everyone involved.
Next, give the structure of your domain name a great deal of consideration. Are there ways to incorporate keywords in the domain name that will be easy to remember? For example, if you plan on creating a web site that is devoted to the marketing of your own line of greeting cards, try to work in “greeting” or “cards” into the domain name. Keep in mind that the name of your company may or may not be the best choice for the domain name.
While we all like to see our names pop up when we look around the Internet, your focus is on the products you have to market, not on the wonderful name you have chosen for your business. If it seems that creating an easy to remember domain name that calls to attention to your products and services will mean forgoing the use of your company name in the URL, then bite the bullet and go ahead. Keep in mind you can put your company name in all sorts of places on the actual web site.
This helps accomplish two things. First, visitors will associate the URL with the types of products you are marketing. This is always a plus, as it makes it much easier for the consumer to remember and pass on your information to other people.
Second, it helps to make it much easier for your target audience to find your web site during engine searches. The more pointed and focused your domain name happens to be, the more effective this particular marketing tool will become in your quest for success.
Another important aspect is making the best use of your title tag on the front page of your web site. One fatal mistake that is often made is using this space to do a welcome message for the site.
While it may fit in nicely with greeting people as they come into your home, it is completely unnecessary on your web site. The presumption is that anyone who visits the site is welcome, so there is no need to waste space stating the obvious.
Instead, use that space as a means of spelling out in common terms that you have to offer. Keep in mind that we live in a society where people want instant gratification. That means you probably only have five to ten seconds to compel your visitor to stick around and read a little more.
Use that title tag to entice people to your site, and you will probably find that you show up higher on many search engines, as well as make better use of the space on your web pages.
While it is always nice when customers come to you, the fact is you will starve if you take the attitude that your wonderful web site is going to have people lining up to order whatever you are marketing. If the right people don’t know your web site exists, it will take forever for you to build up a steady clientele. Among the tools that will help you be a success is finding out where to market to your potential customer base.
Over the years, a number of resources have been made available to Internet marketers for use in marketing campaigns. One of the most common is the email list. Approach this type of resource with a great deal of caution. The fact is that far too often, these ready to use lists are not qualified.
A qualified email list will only include email addresses that have opted to be a part of the listing, and want to receive emails that have to do with certain products and services.
Far too often, lists are sold that include nothing more than a bunch of email addresses that were harvested off the World Wide Web. Using an unqualified list results in the creation of what is known as spam, or unsolicited emails. No responsible Internet marketer uses unqualified contact lists.
An unqualified list can hurt you in two ways. First, you have to pay good money for that list. If you purchase a list of ten thousand email addresses, and all but a hundred of them come back as undeliverable, you have effectively wasted resources that could have been used to better advantage.
An even more severe consequence of utilization of an unqualified email list is that your emails actually do get through to consumers, who get bent out of shape because they did not want the email in the first place. In a short time, you may find your company name or URL showing up on consumer driven spam reporting web sites, which will provide the type of publicity that you do not want to get.
If you must use email as part of your marketing scheme, then make sure the list is qualified. However, don’t expect grand results. That same qualified email list that you just purchased was probably sold to five other people within three seconds of your purchase.
Direct email campaigns can be costly, and the promise of return is going to be small. Approach this tool with caution, and with an eye to whether or not it will really help your business.
Of course, over time you can build up your own qualified list of email subscribers who want to receive product notices, special offers, and other sorts of marketing information. Adding the ability to opt-in to an email listing that is maintained by you alone is a great way to build up a list that you can rely on.
Make sure people understand that you will not share or sell the list to any third party, and that they have the option of always opting out of the mailing list if they change their minds. This type of courtesy will enhance your reputation as a professional, while also providing you with a targeted direct email audience that wants to see your advertising.
Other online resources are available to market your products and services. Research and find message boards, online yellow pages, business associations, want ads at chamber of commerce web sites, and other locations that will welcome the presence of your contact information and an ad about your business.
Many of these are free, although some may have a modest fee. In some cases, you may be able to find a web site that has to do with an industry type that would benefit from your product or service and arrange for a permanent ad on the site.
One helpful tool is to get a firm idea of the type of customer that would be interested in what you are marketing. For years, traditional marketing has relied on a tool that is known as profiling. Essentially, you want to create an image of your typical customer, including all sorts of details about their lives, likes and dislikes.
For example, would your product be more attractive to single people or persons in a committed relationship and/or married? Does your product appeal more to persons who are just starting out, perhaps in their twenties?
Maybe your product has more of an appeal to people who are in the middle years of life, or to persons who are retired. Will people living in metropolitan areas tend to gravitate toward your offering, or will it have more appeal for persons who live in rural areas?
Asking yourself these important questions about what type of people are most likely to be interested in your product, and why they would be interested, will help you in a couple of ways.
First, you can seek out marketing methods that focus on effectively reaching people who fit the profile you developed. This means you will spend more time getting your product and contact information in front of people who are highly likely to take the time to learn about what you have to offer.
Second, this profile can form the basis for your marketing content. Why waste time talking about the big city when your services are geared toward people who live in a small town? Profiling helps to give your campaign focus, because it opens you up to the possibility of talking points that will grab the attention of the right people.
There is one thing that you should remember about advertising online. What worked very well a few years ago has become commonplace and somewhat stale in some instances. Simply put, there are electronic advertising methods that are not all that effective anymore.
Still, some of these methods may be effective, depending on the customer you are trying to reach. The key thing to remember about online advertising is to not lock yourself into one particular method to the exclusion of all other methods. Investigate your options carefully and always have at least three or four strategies taking place at the same time.
If you can’t identify at least three of these methods that will allow you to reach your target audience, something is wrong. Either you are being too narrow with your basic client profile, or you need to do some more research on available marketing options.
As a last tool in your arsenal, make yourself available. Businesses are not built on the basis of your web site and snappy advertising alone. Sometimes, people will want to talk with your about what you have to offer. This means you should always make sure you have contact information readily available to customers and prospects.
A branded email like firstname.lastname@example.org, rather than one of those free ones, sends a clear message of being a professional and makes you accessible. Including a phone number if possible is also a good approach. However, make sure it is a business line, and not your home phone. Prospective clients are not likely to appreciate your three year old picking up the line. Put in a second phone line and make sure it is always answered with the name of your business.
As a third option, set up a message board as part of your web presence. People can interact with you in that manner as well, plus it allows happy customers to share what they liked about your company, your service, and the products they purchased. Being accessible and responsive to queries by customers and prospects will do a lot to enhance your professional status with the general public.
These tools can even be gotten from a single source, the most important thing is having an online presence. Once you have a website, you can easily integrate web mail portal to enable you send customized emails. You can also in turn sign up for mail chimp or sendinblue which comes handy for email marketing campaigns
In our next post, I will be uncovering How to Conduct Research and Uncover Profitable Online Niches.
Don’t forget to leave a comment and share with your friends if you feel inspired by this. Till weekend.