Getting the most from being online

Stage 1: Planning

The business benefits of a successful website are clear. A successful website will provide you with an additional channel through which to communicate with potential and existing customers. In this article we will be looking at what you need to consider at the beginning of the process.

Step 1 – forget the look (but just for now)

The internet contains many exciting things so when you start thinking about your website it’s easy for your mind to wander off into a world of graphical animations and flashy widgets. But before you go down that road, take a step back!

Your first stop should be your business plan. Remind yourself what your business is trying to accomplish. Your website should reflect those objectives. Of course, the look of your website is very important but this should develop from careful consideration of your marketplace and the website’s purpose.

being online

Step 2 – know your customers

By now you should know who your primary customers are and also have identified any other potential markets.

Your target market is core to the success of your website. That is what should dictate the look and feel of the website, not just your personal preferences.

Step 3- identify your objectives

Your website’s purpose is to fulfill specific business objectives, whether you are driving revenue directly through online sales, or using your site to build brand awareness.

Clearly identifying these objectives will allow you to communicate your needs to a designer and provide you reference points from which to evaluate the success of your website on an ongoing basis.

Using these three steps, the end result should be a website that effectively drives your business. A final word of advice, ensure you continually evaluate your website against your objectives as these will continually change as your business grows.

Content Marketing: Let Customers Come to You

I’ve been learning a lot more about inbound marketing lately, and it’s really captured my interest. We’re all familiar with traditional marketing strategies that push messages out to consumers, often interrupting them in the middle of something else (such as watching TV or reading a magazine), and therefore only gaining their attention for a short time. If outbound marketing is a push, than inbound can be thought of as a pull. Alex Rascanu highlights this difference as he describes how inbound marketing “earns the attention of customers rather than buying it, makes the company/ product/ idea easy to be found, and draws customers to the website by producing relevant and interesting content.”

Inbound marketing is used to attract visitors to your site, where they can be converted into leads, customers, and eventually brand advocates. The key to attracting these consumers in the first place is content marketing. This means providing consumers with free content in exchange for their time and attention. This content can be blog posts, podcasts, videos, webinars, whitepapers, eBooks, infographics or guides. No matter which option(s) you choose, promoting your brand should always appear secondary to providing real value for consumers either through entertainment or education. For instance, a blog filled with useful tips and advice can make your business stand out as a resource within your industry, and is far more valuable to consumers than a series of posts plugging your products. The Home Depot has recently created a series of how-to gardening videos for spring, and while they feature products available through the retailer, the focus is really on helping viewers make the most of their outdoor space.

content-marketing

While consumers continue to find new ways to tune out traditional marketing, producing great content will make them want to listen to what you have to say. Identifying your target audience and learning their wants and needs are crucial to determining what type of content you will create. Targeting increases the likeness that the people consuming your content will be interested in your product or service. The KISSmetrics guides that I’ve consulted for this post are great examples of content that speaks to a specific target audience of marketers, and has drawn me back their site again and again. Not everyone who accesses your content will become a customer, but every time someone visits your blog, watches a video, or downloads a whitepaper it’s another chance for them to deepen their relationship with your brand and potentially become a buyer.

A great way to expand the reach of your content is through guest blogging. Writing content for another blog helps you to position yourself – and your company – as an authority within your industry. It can also gain exposure and build backlinks for your website.. Just like the content you produce for your own blog, the guest post should be useful and relevant to the audience, not purely self-promotion. However, your author bio should  mention your business and provide links to other pages, such as your website or blog. You can also invite other people to be guests on your own company blog to ensure a steady stream of fresh content.

So what benefits can you expect to get out of a content marketing strategy? Continue reading

What kind of articles? Articles about what?

I am immersed in internet marketing, public relations, advertising, etc…each day from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed. I love this stuff. It’s what makes me tick.

Lately I have been working on a new info product (before you stop reading, I am not trying to sell you anything). I passed a copy off to a friend. He is looking to get started making money online as soon as possible and doesn’t know much about technology, marketing, etc… No Problem I thought. This is the perfect course.

I have been working like a madman to create the simplest step-by-step, no experience necessary, do the work, get the results, online money making guide available. For what it’s worth, I think I did a pretty good job.

article-marketing

Anyhow, one of the components of the program involves article writing. For me, I understand exactly what the purpose of writing articles is and how to spin an article to give useful information and still be promotional. But, like I said, I am immersed in this all day long.

Imagine my surprise when my friend said, “Yeah, this is awesome information and I can totally see how it could work, but if you could just tell me…what kind of articles…or..uh…articles about what?”  That was an ah-ha moment. I had to stop and think…not everyone knows how or what to write about in an article. Well, here are a few tips and some examples.

Okay, my friend decided he was going to become an affiliate of a reverse phone number lookup service. He signed up for Clickbank and got his affiliate ID, but now he needed to know what kind of articles to write to promote this service.

I have to admit, that I have never promoted reverse phone lookup, but if I were, here are the kind of articles I would write:

  • 5 ways to prove your lover is cheating on you
  • Are boys calling your daughter? 5 ways of finding out.
  • Is your husband cheating on you? mine was, and here’s how I found out.
  • You suspect it…but how do you know if it’s true? How to find out if your child is on drugs.
  • Cheating isn’t just for straights…5 tips to find out if your gay lover is cheating on you.

I like list articles. Lists are easily digestible articles with practical advice for a short attention span world.

Now, how do  you use these articles to promote your service?

Somewhere in your article (back to the cheating topic) you say something like…“I suspected my girlfriend was cheating. I would look at her cel phone call list when she was in the shower. I kept on seeing a certain number. I went to the Reverse Phone Lookup and found out it was one of my friends!” Continue reading

How Does Reputation Management Work?

Internet marketing may be cheaper compared with radio television advertisements, but it does not mean that you should immediately make use of the internet as a tool in order to promote your products. Before doing so, you should first be aware of the problems or issues you might face when launching the campaign in the internet.

When using the net for marketing purposes, two of the problems that you might face are low website rankings and receiving negative publicity or comments from your customers who are not happy with the quality of the product that they have purchased. You may be able to resolve the first problem through different Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques that may make your website more visible in search engines. Meanwhile, you may be able to deal with the second problem by seeking aid from people who are skilled when in the field of online reputation management.

Reputation Management

It is concerned with handling all the negative information being thrown against you online in a way that they will have minimal or no effect on your business, specifically on the number of your product sales. You may be able to regain your client’s trust and save your online image by doing the following:

  • Analyze the problem and determine how big or small it is. Before taking any action in order to resolve the problem, you should first do research in order to know how serious the problem is. If you were able to know the severity of the issue, then you will have an idea on what reputation management techniques you should use to put an end to it as soon as possible.
  • Interact with your unhappy clients online in order to address their concerns regarding the product. By doing this, clients who are not happy with the quality of the product will feel that you are taking the problem seriously.
  • Communicate with you former clients and ask if they can post comments containing positive information about you and the products they bought from you before. This will show that many people are satisfied with your performance as an entrepreneur and with the product that is in their possession.

Immediate Promotion with Flyers

There are numerous methods to promote a company, but approaching a customer directly and handing them a flyer is extremely effective. It allows businesses to satisfy new customers, offer information about their company, and adds a personal touch to the campaign.

The location for passing out flyers is crucial. Since flyers come with an average response rate of 1.5-2%, businesses will want to boost the total numbers of people receiving flyers. To do this goal, flyers need to be distributed in densely populated areas. Large areas like shopping malls, apartment complexes, and parking lots are perfect.

The kind of products may also influence where you can advertise. For instance, if the business sells sporting goods, a retirement home would not be a great spot to advertise. Locations that could be optimal are parking lots to keep fit gyms and shopping centers, and residential areas. The advertiser has to consider who will use their product and what types of places they would frequent. Once that has been determined, they are able to start marketing there.

Flyers

Other suggestions to consider are target markets as well as their income potential. It is vital to understand if the good or service is going to be widely appealing and affordable to all types of people and income levels. If the method is created for affluent men, it must be marketed differently than if it’s being targeted at middle-class women. Additionally, ethnic groups can also create a distinction in the type of advertising that is done. Marketing to some number of Russians ought to be not even close to the advertising that is performed for African-Americans. Element in all possibilities after which deduce where and how the campaign might be best suited.

If flyers are going to be left instead of distributed, then, that too, requires a befitting location. Places must have high visitors along with a wide selection of people arriving and out. Service venues such as laundromats, barbershops, beauty salons, and doctor and dentist offices really are a prime illustration of pertinent areas. Other sites which have a continuing influx of individuals are bus, train, airports, or subway stations, and fast food restaurants. Flyers could be hidden in inconspicuous places for example in magazine pouches or on chairs as well as in booths. Similarly, marketers could tuck ads in book pouches at the library or perhaps in bathroom stalls and make contact with booths.

Direct marketing is about the locality. Research should be conducted prior to committing ones’ time, money, and efforts in to the campaign. Discover who the prospective audience is and how and where they’ll be bewitched with the advertisement. Get the best locations and use fall off or face-to-face methods to market the product.