Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Marketing on the Internet: Making it work

Launch a website to promote your company and its products:
  • Make your site an information resource that visitors will value.
  • Create a website that involves visitors and encourages them to return by inviting feedback through questionnaires, offers of emailed bulletins and email reply links.
  • Update your site frequently to keep the look and the content fresh.
  • Keep your website simple and easy to use. Visitors can be put off by flashy graphics, intro pages or sites that are slow to download.
  • Make sure your site is search engine friendly. Search engines do not like complicated websites and you will need to ensure that the key words visitors will use to find your site are embedded in every page.
Consider using web advertising to attract visitors:
  • The most cost-effective web advertising is based on the number of people who click on the ad and follow the link to your site - known as a 'click-through rate'.
  • 'Cost-per-click' advertising such as Google AdWords or Overture send visitors looking for your products directly to your site.
  • Avoid online advertising where you pay 'per impression', such as banner ads, which are more expensive and less effective for smaller businesses.
  • Make sure all your traditional advertising includes your web address.
Collect email addresses for customers and other contacts and keep them informed through email newsletters:
  • Take every legitimate opportunity to build your own list by capturing email addresses from visitors to your website and from people enquiring about your products.
  • Give existing customers news of product launches, discount schemes, service improvements and technical changes.
  • Keep representatives, distributors and dealers up to date with company news.
  • Use announcements of special offers to keep attracting visitors back to your website.
Target new customers by renting email lists:
  • Only use lists where people have specifically agreed to receive unsolicited email ads about a certain topic. These are called 'opt-in lists'.
  • Use a reputable broker. Email works best in focused campaigns. Use targeted lists to reach niche markets.
Gain press publicity for your activities by sending out email press releases:
  • Email makes it quick and cheap to prepare and send your own releases.
  • For most small firms, the aim is simply coverage in a couple of key trade journals or a few local papers.
  • Many journalists, especially in high-tech fields, now prefer emailed press releases.
  • For more ambitious campaigns, online PR agencies can provide low-cost targeted lists of journalists in your product area.
Raise your profile with niche audiences by joining newsgroup discussions:
  • Visit www.google.co.uk and click on 'Groups' to find relevant newsgroups.
  • Give helpful, practical, unbiased answers to specialist questions, without blatantly plugging your product.
  • Make sure your messages have a signature section with the company name and your web address. This should be your only overt promotional tool.
  • Guerrilla marketing (asking friends to pose as satisfied customers recommending your goods or services) can be an effective way of promoting your business, but avoid breaching the strict newsgroup etiquette.


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