Marketing for the 21st Century. What are you doing about it?
Picture this. You wake up late and you’re not rushed! You get dressed and get ready to go out for breakfast. As you sit enjoying your coffee, you can actually read your newspaper and then catch up on the small things that you never found the time to do. Does this sound like a dream?
Taking your business and automating it is something that is very important for any business owner. Today I will be discussing the benefits of how you can take your marketing efforts into the 21st century!
e-Marketing: The way of the future
Before you go any further, ask yourself this simple question, “What good is my web site if no one even knows it exists?”
On-line marketing – eMarketing – allows you to easily target a global market 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at a fraction of the cost of conventional marketing.
Some of the best and most cost effective ways to market your web site on-line include:
1. Affiliate Programs 2. Reciprocal Link Exchange with Non-Competing Web Sites 3. Natural Search Engine (Google, Yahoo, MSN) Placement
Are all web sites created equal?
Let’s face it… every company needs a web site. After all, it will end up being the most cost effective sales and marketing tool in which your company could invest.
A couple years ago, when we started working with our eCommerce and design consultant from MerchantCorner.com, he told us that OUR web site should be more than just a web presence, it should be one of the most useful tools that we ever chose to purchase. This really hit home… and it should for you!
Businesses and organizations alike are discovering that a quality Web Site can make a big difference to their bottom line. According to Entrepreneur Magazine (Dec., 2002) "Twenty percent of people say the Internet is the 'most essential' medium in their lives." When people visit your site your business will be judged by its quality and the level of valuable information that is made available.
No two businesses are the same and neither should two web sites be the same.
Your web site should be less focused on pretty eye candy and concentrate more on product / service depth and offer constantly changing, yet relevant information to your visitors. If you don't have the time to improve and maintain your web site, have someone do it for you! If your content remains stagnant and old, chances are very high that your business will fail on-line!
The First steps to your Online Marketing success
Take some time and get informed so you can understand the various online marketing tools that are available and acquire the tools needed in order to effectively maintain and update the content of your web site.
Quick Tip: You can get a free 9 Part Search Engine Optimization course at – www.merchantcorner.com/free-search-engine-course.htm
E-Marketing Success - What you need to focus on:
1. A web site Marketing Plan: Start with a clear vision of your business: its mission, its purpose, its services and products. Set your goals for both the short term and the long term. Once you have clarified your online business goals, picture yourself as a customer, in other words, put yourself in the shoes of your customer, and view your site from their perspective not yours. Refine your ideas.
2. The definition of your target market: Some marketers think big from the start. For example, if they sell fitness equipment they will want to target every person on the web that needs that product. This strategy can work, however it will end up being very time consuming and costly!
By targeting a specific market, you will be able to refine your list of potential clients and keep your advertising costs reasonable.
3. Utilize various online promotional strategies
Try and complement your search engine marketing efforts with one of the following for the best results:
Affiliate Program - Encourage others to sell your products and offer them a percentage of the completed sale.Ø Reciprocal Link Exchange – Target and request a reciprocal link from companies that work with your chosen customer demographic. However, make sure they’re not in direct competition with your company. Ø Email Marketing –Use e-mail to spread the word about your products and services. Ø Write Informative Articles – Allow others to post your articles on their web sites. In exchange, ask that they post your BIO and a link back to your site.
4. To track or not to track that is the question
Detailed yet concise web site tracking is paramount to your on-line web site's success. It is important to be able to track where your web site visitors are coming from and get a better understanding of how they browse your web site! Successful Online Marketing requires:
Web site maintenance: Adding new, relevant content to your web site is one of the key determining factors that the major search engines look for when deciding how to rank the site. By keeping your content fresh, you keep both the search engines and your customers happy!
Merchant Corner, the firm that developed our web business, FITForces, provides a service where by you can easily update and change the content of the web site yourself with little or no computer knowledge.
You can review this service at www.merchantcorner.com
Web tracking – Your potential customer, the online browser, has specific needs, they are what we call the mysterious consumer.
In order to get a better understanding of your web visitors’ habits and to determine into which demographic they might fall, we need to have a tool that tracks their activity. By getting to know their habits, you can get to know their needs!
Search Engine optimization – As you probably already know, once your web site is built it takes time and hard work to attract visitors.
Search engines, like Yahoo, Google and MSN are a primary source of getting targeted traffic to your site. Keep in mind that since there are millions of pages on the web, with more being submitted every single day, your site is competing with an increasing number of other sites. So what can you do about this?
This is where Search Engine Optimization is needed. Search Engine Optimization is the process of preparing your website so that the search engines can better understand and ultimately rank your site.
You need to clearly identify the content of your web site, otherwise the search engine would not understand its purpose. Why then would it give your site a high position in the search results? When you submit your site to search engines, you should only focus on the content, products, or services you provide.
Our budget limits us as to how much we can afford to spend on advertising online. Online marketing, especially search engine optimization, is not cheap. However, if your company is still growing, this is where you should invest your advertising money. Your goal is to make your online business grow and that will allow you to make money while you sleep.
When does my business need a Shopping cart?
A shopping cart allows your customer to purchase your products in a safe and user-friendly environment. In some cases, having a shopping cart is not a pressing need. For example, with our company, we chose not to launch with a Shopping Cart. Instead we chose to focus our efforts on building the free fitness and well being information aspect of the business first.
Now, nearly 2 years later, we are in a position where we can start offering products for sale, through a shopping cart, to our large membership base.