When you think about Online Marketing, what do you think of first?
Which aspects of Online Marketing are important, which are essential, and which ones can you take or leave? You be the judge.
- Sell more back end products to your existing customer base. You already created rapport, trust and proved your credibility to them.
- Make it a practice to up sell to new and existing customers. After they decide to buy one product, offer them another product.
- Cross promote your products and services with other businesses that aren’t competition. You will reach a wider audience at less cost.
- Create joint venture deals with other businesses. You can expand your product line and target other profitable markets at a lower cost.
- Start an affiliate program for your business. You will be able to spend less profits on risk advertising and spend more money on guaranteed sales. I trust that what you’ve read so far has been informative. The following section should go a long way toward clearing up any uncertainty that may remain.
- Trade advertising with other businesses to save revenue. You could trade e-zine ads, banners ads, links, print ads, etc.
- Outsource part of your workload. This can save on employee costs, equipment costs, taxation costs, expansion costs, etc.
- Add low cost bonuses to your offer that have a high perceived value. It could be eBooks, members only sites, consulting, e-reports, etc.
- Use viral marketing to promote your business on the internet. Give away free stuff with your ad copy include on it so others can give it away.
- Follow up with all your prospects. You can use a free e-zine, a follow-up auto-responder, an update or reminder list, etc.
A Glance At Internet Marketing
Internet Marketing is a concept of business marketing, both to customers and to other businesses, via the internet.
But, to explore and understand this black box is not simple. The main reason is that the internet is forever evolving and is subjected to waves of changes.
With new advances in internet technology, businesses are able to leverage on it and add to their marketing approach and content. Similarly, more people are logging onto the internet every day as the internet access are made more affordable and readily available.
The demographic is changing, and no longer is the wealthy individual the only target of internet marketing. Today, we should consider all income levels in our internet marketing approaches of business.
In the 1990s, internet marketing went berserk. It was a brand-new concept, and caution had been thrown to the wind in all the hype. Companies did not take into consideration that the same variables of marketing in other forms of media should logically be applied to internet marketing as well.
Their failure to study markets and create sound strategies led to the fall of many so-called dot-coms in the end of 2000. The survivors, and successors, began to look toward time-tested logic in marketing for direction, and the result was massive growth.
Through the now-careful approach of businesses and marketers alike, targeted advertising on the internet has brought forth great success. Virtually any market you may wish to break into can be tapped on the internet. Many marketing firms offer the solutions a business needs to get their products out to consumers, while a small firm may wish to handle their marketing on their own and can find lower-cost solutions for their goals as well.
A major resource for internet marketing is the search engines. To get the spontaneous suggestions offered by television or radio, pop-up ads and ads placed directly on a web-site are used. Another excellent form of marketing is the email feature that is available on the internet. But bear in mind that the business will only achieve success when you have built a good relationship with the customer.
Many people are spending hours on the internet daily. This is because the internet offers convenience, and it is capable of helping you get your tasks completed, with handy and easy to use point and click features.
Many tasks no longer require a trip in the car to be completed. Thus, relationships are growing on the web, and as they do, the pace of internet commerce has rocketed into the trillions of dollars. Advances in technology, and increased traffic, are leading to a future for internet marketing that can only point skyward.
A Few Ideas On Internet Marketing
Promoting your small business on the internet is crucial in today’s world. The entrepreneur who ignores this gold mine of potential opportunity does so at his or her own peril.
There is too much to be gained through marketing on the internet, and little to be lost. If you company is internet based to begin with, this is a no-brainer, of course.
But things are rapidly changing on the Web, and those marketing strategies that worked a few years ago may not work as well today. Here are a few things you can do to expose your business to potential new customers that work today, but may not in a few years.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
For the internet entrepreneur who wants their website to be a success, this is the first step toward ensuring that success. Unless you have unlimited funds with which to advertise your product, this is a step you cannot afford to skip. Optimizing your website is the equivalent of building your brick-and-mortar store in a major shopping district as opposed to halfway down a dirt road with an old rusty sign pointing in the other direction.
Its importance cannot be overstated. There are many facets to SEO, and not enough room in this article to get into them. Fortunately, few topics have been as exhaustively written about. Do a Google search of your own, and you will find plenty to read.
Pay Per Click.
This is another fine way to get your internet business off and running. This service is offered by Google, Yahoo!, and MSN, to name a few. With Google AdWords, you’re going to have the most potential traffic, but you may also have the most competition for the best keywords. What does this mean? Well, AdWords (and the others) work by letting you create an advertisement (usually a headline and a couple of sentences).
You then must choose the keywords that will activate your ad. Then you place a bid on how much you’re willing to pay per click of your ad, depending on each keyword. It all sounds a lot more confusing than it is. The benefit of this type of advertising (as opposed to, say, banner advertising), is you only pay when you have been ensured of a visitor. Of course, what you do with that visitor is up to you and your own marketing skills.
Next to SEO, this is the most powerful section of strategy for the up and coming internet business owner. In order to move up in the search engine rankings, you must have incoming links (backlinks, as they’re called in the SEO world). When the search engines see a website with a lot of natural inbound links, they begin to see the website as an authority on whatever subject the site is about.
Thus, the site’s ranking begins to improve. There are many ways to go about getting back-links, but one of the best ways is through writing articles. There are article “farms” on the internet, which host your articles for free and then sell them or give them away to other website owners, who are hungry for content. This benefits you because at the end of the article you will have included your name and a link to your website.
Every time someone grabs your article to put on their website, you get another important link.
There are a million successful strategies for marketing on the internet, but these are the three building blocks. Go and research them, and your business will be the better for it.
Setting Up your Affiliate Marketing System
There is much speculation about how much money you can earn online without your own product.
Marketing your own digital product on the Internet can be very lucrative but there is no reason why you can’t profit a great deal by using creative methods that offer real value to Internet surfers and have your own product as well.
An affiliate program is really not as difficult to set up as you may think. Thanks to the high demand for affiliate systems recently, there are now lots of ways to set up your own program.
Here’s what you need to set one up:
- A web site with your own domain name.
- At least one product or service that you own completely.
- A system to handle commission tracking and payment.
That sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it? Well, actually it is! And it’s getting easier all the time.
The first two items listed above are self-explanatory. Of course, you need your own website and your own product or service. You can’t very well set up an associate program if you don’t own the site or the product(s) you will be promoting.
If you have not taken these two steps, you’ll need to do them first. Once you’ve managed to get by these two steps, you can move right to step three, setting up your program.
You will need to search the Internet for a system that will handle commission tracking and payment. You can try to do this yourself but you will most likely miss some and missed ones are missed income. There are free ones, as well as, paid ones.
The positive aspects of an associate management system are many:
- You can sign on associates more rapidly and grow a larger force of re-sellers.
- You’ll enjoy the automation and online management of affiliates.
- These systems provide full sales statistics for both you and your associates.
Marketing Money Pits
Is your business bombarded by sales and other marketing professionals telling you that the products or services they are offering are in the best interest of effective and cost reducing methods to market your organization?
Finding your way through the maze of offers, opportunities and avoiding potential money pits highlights the importance for all businesses regardless of size to have a strategic marketing plan that is implemented and followed.
It is a tough market place for any small business and information is the key to making wise marketing decisions and for the survival of any business or organization. The relevance of a strategic marketing plan cannot be under stated.
It is unfortunate but all too common that people under the disguise of professionals in marketing and sales will boast their products and services as the most effective and cost reducing methods to market your business. Additionally, by writing articles or giving lectures for example, they attempt to give their claims a form of legitimacy.
Beware of people making extraordinary claims, a true professional want to sell you their product or service but also retains the integrity to learn your business and knows when the product or service is not a good fit. The benefit for this type of sales or marketing professional is your loyalty and trust in future business transactions.
A strategic marketing plan helps a business to avoid potential money pits that waste valuable marketing dollars in expenditures that may appear to cost less but have minimal or no measurable results.
Simply because something may cost less and other businesses are participating does not make it a solid marketing decision for your organization and certainly does not guarantee successful results. Regardless of the ticket price if it does not produce measurable results and drive business to your establishment it is a money pit.
There are many good examples on the internet of people under the disguise of professionals boasting their products or services as sound marketing advice.
One of these claims is that a business could inexpensively build brand recognition through the purchase of low cost promotional items with the organizations name or logo embossed on them; items such as pens, tablets, calendars, magnets, and much more.
The problem is that this technique offers minimal to no measurable success in brand building, but more importantly does nothing to draw new customers into the business.
In terms of simple math, if an advertising business were to spend the same money that would be spent on embossed promotional items in traditional media channels such as print, radio, or television for example with an expected 2% rate of return and a minimal exposure of 12,000 individuals gives the advertising business the opportunity for 240 customers for that expenditure.
If only 30% of the 2% actually make a purchase that provides the business with 72 new transactions. A business can multiply its average transaction price by 72 to see the real potential income from this one marketing expenditure.
Another benefit is brand awareness that would be gained through the advertisement and the opportunity to build customers for life. Furthermore, to entice repeat business and brand loyalty the organization can offer its customers coupons. This method promotes customer appreciation and can be a low-cost marketing method.
Moreover, with any marketing expenditure a business should always perform a cost benefit analysis in correlation with its strategic marketing plan. Simply, if it does not offer measurable results, drive new business, and build brand awareness it is a money pit.
Business Marketing Strategy
The term business marketing strategy might sound like it is esoteric or stratospheric, so let’s take the mystery out of it so you can devise and implement your own business marketing strategy that fits in to your small business plan.
Strategy comes from a Greek word “stratagein” meaning “to be a general”. Think of a strategy as an overall plan of action needed to win a war. The smaller, detailed actions are called tactics. You can have tactical plans which help you achieve your strategic marketing plan or overall business marketing strategy. That’s simple enough, isn’t it?
A business marketing strategy or strategic marketing plan is an overall plan of marketing actions you intend to take in order to accomplish a specific goal for your company.
Start with a goal: $2 million in sales this year; expand into new premises by a certain date; double the size of the company in 2 years… whatever the goal may be. Something realistic but challenging. That’s the “war” you want to win. Guess who the general is.
Then work out a simple, overall plan of the major marketing steps needed to accomplish that (for example):
- Publish a newsletter for all existing customers and mail out quarterly.
- Work out 4 special offers in the year and promote them to all our customers.
- Set up on-line shopping and expand the web site.
- Direct mail campaign promoting the web site to all customers.
- Get mailing lists of (target markets) and do a series of 3 mailings of postcards to them and follow up on and close all leads.
You get the idea. Don’t rush this. Do your homework. What worked in the past? Read up on successful marketing campaigns.
Your business marketing strategy needs to be laid out in the right sequence and you should have some idea of budget when you write it.
“Run a series of 30 second TV ads during the Super bowl” might sound like a good thing to do but can you afford it?
On the other hand, when you build your business marketing strategy you mustn’t try and cut corners. If you don’t promote heavily, it doesn’t matter how good your product or service is, no one will know about it and you will go broke.
What really works when it comes to marketing?
Many business owners don’t have a good enough answer to this important question. I learned by a combination of study and trial and error.
From my own hard-won experience, I have discovered that a real marketing campaign will take into consideration at least the seven points which are outlined below:
Target Your Market
Your marketing will produce the best results for the lowest cost when you target prospects with the greatest need for what you offer.
Identify the best people to send your postcards to. Design your postcards to appeal to their greatest need.
If you are able to break down your target market into sub markets you can then write postcards that specifically speak to the needs of those people.
an example is breaking down your own customer list into customers. who buy most often, customers who spend the most money with you, customers who have been your customers the longest and then making them special offers based on the category they fit into.
Create A USP For Your Business
USP stands for “Unique Selling Proposition”.
It is a statement of what is different about your company and its products. Your USP gives the reason people should do business with you. It amplifies the benefit of doing business with you and your company. My USP is
POSTCARD MARKETING EXPERTS.
Create your own USP and put it on all your promotional materials, invoices, shipping labels etc.
Use your USP to communicate the benefit of doing business with you and why you are better than any of your competitors.
Always Make an Offer
Make sure you ask your prospects and customers to do something when they receive your postcard. By offering them something you know they are likely to want and giving them a smooth path to respond on, you are making it easy and desirable for them to respond.
Create and Maintain a Database of The Customer Information You Collect from The Responses to Your Mailings
Most people who receive a postcard from you won’t contact you the first time they receive one.
But once they contact you, you must create and maintain a database which allows you to repeatedly contact them with offers to respond to.
Fifty percent or more of many businesses’ sales come as a result of following up with people who were previously contacted, but didn’t buy right away.
No kidding, repeat contact does drive sales. One-time mailings can get response, but are bound to leave sales on the table. Those sales can be picked up with repeated mailings.
Take Away the Fear of Loss
People don’t want to be fooled, plain and simple. Unfortunately, trust does not run high today between customers and businesses in general. People have been disappointed too many times by being sold one thing and getting another.
A guarantee or warranty is a good way to reduce or eliminate the customers’ risk of getting something other than what they bargained for.
Guarantees and warranties increase response and sales by reducing customer risk.
Expand Your Product Line
Getting new customers is more expensive than selling to existing ones. By regularly developing new products and services to sell to your customers and offering these new products and services to them, you can expand your business efficiently and easily.
Test Your Postcard Promotions
Track the effectiveness of your postcard mailings. How many people responded to your mailing? What dollar amount of sales resulted from those responses?
Is the money you are spending to attract new business giving you a good return? What can you do to make your marketing more effective? Change your offer, headline, price, the timing of your offer. When you do track the results, and improve your response.
These are the points to follow when designing your own marketing strategy. When you are done, you will have laid out the steps needed to accomplish your goal using existing resources to achieve a great marketing ROI (return on investment).
After that, you simply have to get those steps executed and that might require further planning but it is all in the context of your main business marketing strategy.