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An Introduction to Web Marketing
Marketing on the Internet
12 critical tactics, strategies and tips to make web marketing increase your profits
Smart marketers know the Internet is a direct marketing medium. Just like direct mail, display advertising, television, and radio are most effective when direct response strategy, copy and graphics are used, the same is true with web marketing.
And, however exciting this new technology may be, it only opens doors. In and of itself, technology doesnt result in sales.
While opportunities to grow a business, increase profits and expand into the global marketplace abound on the World Wide Web, disappointment strikes (and sales are lost) when people focus only on the technology and forget the direct marketing rules.
You may recognize some of the 19 tactics, strategies, and tips outlined here, since theyre based on good solid direct marketing basics. Others have evolved specifically to help you build a marketing message thatll make your product or service stand out in cyberspace. Combined they just may help you make the web a key source of your most successful revenue stream.
Millions of dollars are now lost as people are drawn to a site that destroys a sale, not helps. Over 84% have said they are disappointed in the sites they visit.
Good Marketing Starts with
If your product costs less than $100, the classic one-step direct response sales model will probably work best for you. Ask for the sale right on your web site order form.
If your product costs more than $100, however, the Internet will probably work best for you if you use it to generate leads. Accomplish this by adding a toll-free number to a live telesalesperson, offering visitors a free trial offer, capture the e-mail addresses and motivate a response, ask for more information or special report, or receive a sales call.
The answer isnt high tech graphics. The answer is a direct marketing site with one objective: the sale.
It must use the proven, time-tested direct response
Just like a great direct mail piece will produce better results than a mediocre package, so will a great site vs a mediocre site.
The sole purpose of the graphics is to direct eye flow in a logical way. The key to graphics is to improve readability.
Bold important sentences in any paragraph and dont be afraid to dress them up with a little color. Substitute text coloring for a graphics file if possible.
Many sites use animated GIFs and Java scripting that will make logos and icons (and just about anything else) spin and characters walk across the screen or do a myriad other tricks. This not only increases download time, it distracts from your sales message as well. Internet people are information people, so make sure you spend your time with quality content and not an overbearing image. If they want to be entertained, theres always Disneyland.
Good Marketing Continues with Proven Direct Response Presentation
When you build your web site, think of it in the same terms as you would a direct mail package. For example,
IMPORTANT NOTE: A response within 48 hours is presently the accepted rule. Look into an autoresponder that will automatically let the prospect who has sent the email know that his or her email has been received. This is also a way for your company to reinforce the relationship with the prospect and send a bit more information him or her.
Submit Your Site Right the First Time
Search engines receive thousands of requests everyday from people who want to make changes to their web site listings. These requests wind up at the bottom of any search engines list of priorities. Actually, in most cases, you are better off trying to completely remove your listing rather than change it. That is why its absolutely critical to take your time and submit your site right the first time.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Be careful about using an automated URL submission service. The only way to get properly listed with a search engine, since they all operate very differently, is to know what these differences are and for someone to enter your information by hand. That can be done by you or through a professional company.
Basically, there are three main types of search engines/directories. The first is a directory (sometimes called a category database). This is not a true search engine, but a listing of web pages by category. Many directories allow you to enter the description and keywords for your site exactly as you would like them to appear. You usually have to select the category you want to be listed under too.
A directory will not list your URL and will never become aware of your site if you do not register with it. They do not make use of indexing software (robots that crawl the web looking for new sites and indexing them). Yahoo is an example of a directory.
Search engines (also called crawlers, spiders, robots and worms ) vary to a large degree. They will automatically index your site using indexing software or indexing robots.
Depending on the complexity of the software, these different search engines might do one of the following:
By simply telling the search engine what your URL is, its software robot will go there automatically and index everything they need.
Every search engine uses different search and techniques for handling results. It is important to realize that many search engines change their algorithms on a regular basis (i.e. weekly, monthly, etc.). If youre listed prominently today, that may not be true tomorrow.
Then there are META search engines. These perform searches on multiple search engines simultaneously. In this instance, your ranking for the keywords inputted is calculated by the combined ranking of all the search engines simultaneously used. The key to getting ranked high is to make sure youre listed in all the search engines used by the META search engines. The META search engines use OpenText, Lycos, WebCrawler, InfoSeek, Excite, AltaVista, Yahoo, HotBot, and Einet Galaxy. The two most popular META search engines are MetaCrawler and MetaSearch. It is not necessary to submit your site to META search engines, since they use the results of the major search engines, not their own.
Alas, even the process of learning about Web site promotion can be an expensive lesson for the unwary Web business person. We recently read about someone who paid $1,299.95 to download an incredible web site promotion tool. This incredible tool turned out to be a list of search engine URLs. Useful information, indeed, but available free at several Web sites on the Internet. Think twice before you leap for that great Web promotion deal. Chances are you can do better yourself.
If your site features a language other than English or serves a market outside the United States, make sure you submit your site to foreign search engines and directories, too. The major American sites, such as InfoSeek, AltaVista, Lycos, Yahoo, and Excite all have various international versions.
The search engine companies lead you to believe that if youre listed on one sites engine, then youre listed on all of its foreign variants. Its better to be safe than sorry, though. If your site has an international angle, its wise to submit it directly to each appropriate foreign search engine.
There are also several directories that only list sites from a particular region, so if your site is based outside the Untied States, seek them out. SelfPromotion.com has a huge list of these specialized and international indexes.
However, there are probably some pages - templates, experimental sections, and so on - that you dont want search engines to index. Include a file called Robots.txt in the root directory of your web site with a list of files or directories that shouldnt be indexed. And, remember to link each page to your Home Page (and other pages as appropriate) so that if a visitor reaches your site through the back door, so to speak, he or she can easily find their way to other parts of your web site.
Promote Your Web Site
Place your URL on every piece of marketing literature, advertisement and communication your company generates, e.g. business cards, letterhead, brochures, data sheets, fax cover sheets, print ads, etc.
Remember, this recommendation is based on being a great direct marketing site. If you don't, you could depress results.
Exchanging links with related sites is one of the best ways to increase traffic to your site, but is only worth doing with sites that have a logical connection to yours. Of course, if you can talk other sites into giving you a link without promising to reciprocate, then good for you.
The danger: putting links or banners on your site that could cause a distraction from your message and send your prospect away.