Marketing On The Internet
Internet Marketing Basics
The Internet has the potential to become the most powerful marketing tool
ever created. Never before has a marketing medium been able to project the influence
of a company, an organization, or an individual to such an instant and global audience.
The purpose of this brief explanation about marketing your site
is by no means meant to be a comprehensive symposium on the topic. Rather, it is
intended to provide you with a basic understanding of how the Internet can
expand your marketing efforts to broader audience, utilizing a more effective approach.
Each of these priciples can or will be implemented in the devlopment of your site,
depending on the scope of your marketing efforts. Although we will implement
many of these exercises on your behalf, it's beneficial that you understand the basic
concepts behind this process. This explanation assumes that your site has been
completed and covers the methodology used to integrate your new Web site into your overall
marketing and business strategies.
- Build A Strong, Presentable Image
- Use The Search Engines
- Participate In Link Exchanges
- Use Banner Exchanges And Banner Ads
- Offer Free Stuff
- Issue A Press Release
- Create A Newsletter
- Seek Feedback
- Mesh The Web With Everything Else You Do
1. Build A Strong, Presentable Image
Before you can hope to effectively begin to market your site, you must
have something to market. This may sound like a "water is wet" statement,
but think about it -- how many sites have you only been to once.
The answer is likely a majority of them. Why? Probably because these sites
lacked anything that would draw you back.
Almost all good web sites share four basic characteristics - content,
consistent changes, value, and entertainment:
||In grammar school your English teacher likely spoke about
making sure each paragraph had a "main idea". To apply that same
lesson here, what's the main idea of your web site? There must be some
relevant content that visitors are searching for, that's why they
came to your site in the first place. Be sure your visitors
leave with what they came for - content.|
|Time for a little joke. What do you call a web site that never
changes? Give up? A cobweb. Have you ever seen one of those
before? Change in life is the thing that helps us grow, keeps
us vibrant and forces us to reach new heights. This is no
different on the Internet. Consistent change builds confidence
with your visitors, because they will know there will always be
something new to see. In short, a site that doesn't grow, dies.|
||What do you have to offer someone visiting your site? If you
can't answer this question easily, it is unlikely that your
visitors can answer this question either. You must offer visitors to your site something
of value, whether it be information or a free offer. There must be something to draw visitors that is more
precious to them than the time spend with you.|
||Why are so many people "channel changers"?
In most cases it's because they're constantly searching for something better and
more entertaining than what they are currently viewing. The Internet
is the same - people go from site to site in search of the latest and
greatest entertainment available. In other words, they are searching
for fun or interesting. If you want to keep people coming back, offer them something
that is new and more creative than other options every time they visit.
Even if the purpose of your site is strictly informational or promotional, the
content can still be presented in an entertaining or interesting fashion.
Your Internet site is the world's view into your company. The site
should appropriately incorporate some form of the previously mentioned
characteristics to build a strong, presentable image for your company.
2. Use The Search Engines
Now that you have something to market, the key comes in marketing it
properly. The best place to start for most people is to publicize
your site to the popular Search Engines. As soon as your site is
online, be sure to utilize the listings that the search engines
provide for drawing traffic to your site. For more information on
using Internet search engines, see the
Search Engine Solutions
section of the Marketing Library.
3. Participate In Link Exchanges
Find other sites that offer complementary products or services and
agree to trade links. This process can be very effective in generating
more traffic to both sites alike.
4. Use Banner Exchanges And Banner Ads
Be honest, how many of you have ever clicked on a witty banner
advertising simply to find out more information. I think most of us
know that banner advertising can be a powerful means for generating a
considerable amount of traffic.
Banner Exchange programs,
such as LinkExchange, provide a great way to get free advertising
on the Internet. For those looking
for a more upscale approach, paid banners are available on many of the
most popular sites on the Internet. The price varies, as do the
results, but nevertheless, banners are here to stay and should be
considered for marketing the Internet services you offer and your
5. Offer Free Stuff
Who doesn't like free stuff? That's an easy question to answer, because
all of us have an innate desire to win something for free. Whether the
desire comes from physiological childhood need or is simply the passing
of the "free gene" from one generation to another - the point is we all
want to win something for free.
Visitors to your site are the same, what do you have to offer them
for free? The monetary value in many cases is unimportant, the true
value is it's "free". When planned properly, your "free"
prize can generate business for you in two ways. First, it can often
draw more traffic to your site, traffic that brings along with it
potential clients. Second, the prize itself can be a means of securing
Let's look at the telephone long distance industry for an example. The
big companies are battling it out, offering months of free service if
you switch to their service. Why? Because if you stay for one month
"free", you are more likely to stay and "pay" in the future. Now try
to apply that same lesson to your Internet business. Make one lucky
client, or make them all, a "winner" by offering them a free month of
hosting service. Once the client is
with you they are likely to remain with you. That brings in monthly
residual income that you may not have received otherwise. Your
investment will likely pay off very quickly, bringing with it a loyal
client - after all, you gave them something free.
6. Issue A Press Release
Many Internet Marketers have enjoyed success using this good old
fashioned technique for generating free publicity. By definition,
a press release is for the purpose of
announcing a "news event" that
may be of interest to a specific group. A good press release will
concentrate on being:
||usually no more than a page.|
||must focus on a newsworthy event such as the
launch or redesign of a new web site.|
||your press release should be sent to specific
publications or groups who would find it relevant.|
||press releases are for news, not hype.
Although used for getting free press, it is not free advertising and should
not be used that way.|
7. Create A Newsletter
Distributing a free periodic newsletter distributed to subscribers is
another way to market your services to others. Your newsletter could
focus on topics such as HTML secrets, CGI programming, or any other
subject you are a specialist in. Newsletters provide a means for
building confidence in others about your expertise in a specific area.
Likewise, that trust may eventually translate into your subscribers
trusting you to provide them other Internet services.
8. Seek Feedback
Feedback, in the form of suggestions or criticism, can be very valuable
for informing you of your web site's strengths and possible areas that
may need improvement. This feedback can be invaluable in making a site
better and more marketable in the future. Encourage feedback by
providing a clear e-mail address where comments can be sent.
9. Mesh The Web With Everything Else You Do
The Internet is not intended nor will it ever completely replace traditional
means of marketing that businesses use daily. The Internet is simply one
more, albeit very powerful, tool that a company can use to supplement
its marketing efforts.
In order to begin "meshing the web" with other, more traditional
marketing efforts, a company should include its URL and e-mail address
on all of its promotional materials. These addresses
should be clearly placed on company letterhead, brochures, sales
literature and even on your company's cars. The more places
you advertise your web presence, the greater likelihood it will be used
by potential clients to find you.
In many cases, Internet technology is making order processing and
fulfillment quicker and more convenient for companies worldwide.
Companies which fully implement Internet technology would be wise to
encourage customers to use the technology by offering special
incentives for doing so.
The End (?)
This brief explanation of online marketing is hopefully not an end
for you, rather it is simply a beginning for understanding how online
marketing may make your company more effective and successful on the
Internet. Additional information about online marketing can be found
online at many different sources. Simply use your favorite search engine
to find additional information that will better help you with your