Sunday, September 14, 2008

10 Easy Tips for Successful Marketing

Developed to assist those who are relatively new to online advertising. It goes without saying, there will always be new and updated advertising techniques for promoting your online business. However, I have put together some basics that you should be familiar with when trying to develop an online presence. The best return of your investment dollars will be achieved when you reach your niche market with the desired product at the right time.

1. Know your target market - those who will be the most interested in what you are offering.

a. Your broad market

Your broad market is anyone and everyone who might want what you offer at some point in time. Example: Home Décor

Most everyone would be interested in home décor at some point, whether for themselves, gifts for others or someone whose profession may deal in interior design. Your broad market could include hundreds of thousands of people and would be quite costly to try to accommodate them all. It would not be cost effective to try to advertise to your broad market.

b. Your general market

Your general market is interested in the general categories that your website offers. Example: Home Décor >Kitchen Accents

· Anyone who may be remodeling their kitchen, searching for table linens, needing kitchen wall art, engaged to be married or looking for the latest greatest kitchen appliance that will make their life stress free. Your general market would still be quite large. You may not carry an extensive selection of kitchen accents, gadgets or appliances that would accommodate your general market. In all probability you would not receive the ROI (return of investment) that you had hoped for. It would not be advisable to target your general market. When working on a limited budget, you have to be wise when making your advertising decisions.

b. Your specific niche market

· Your specific niche is interested in specific items offered on your website. Example: Home Décor >Kitchen Accents >monogram absorbent coasters

· This is especially important when you use a Pay Per Click form of advertising. The more specific you are in your advertisement, the more likely that the click you paid for will result in a purchase. Lots of traffic does not necessarily relate to lots of purchases. You want to target those who are interested in what you specifically sell.

2. Select Keywords carefully

a. Keywords are words used in your ad to describe what you are offering. The keywords should be relevant to your website and be included in your content.

b. Broad keywords such as the best, the most beautiful, the most unique, the greatest are a waste of advertising words. Most online advertising limit the number of characters used. Carefully consider each word you use in your ads.

c. General keywords are not much better and should also be avoided. Example: coasters. When you type coasters into your search bar, you will be presented with millions of results including everything from The Coasters R&B band to roller coasters. The chances of your website being included on the front page search or even the second and third page is highly unlikely.

d. Use specific keywords - you may actually sell beverage coasters. The better keywords to use would be absorbent beverage coaster.

e. Target your unique niche for the best results. To attract your unique niche use specific keywords that narrow the search to your exact product. The best keyword choices would be Thirstystone monogram absorbent beverage coasters.

f. Use keywords in logical, understandable phrases. Use abbreviations carefully. You may know what your abbreviations are saying, your site visitors may not.

g. Try to include your company name when possible. This will help to associate your company with the product being advertised.

3. Write an effective ad

a. Use your keyword(s) at least twice, no more than three times. Usually once in the title and at least once in the body of the ad.

b. Incorporate a call to action phrase. Example: Instead of “We have Thirstystone monogram absorbent beverage coasters.” Consider saying “Browse our selection of Thirstystone monogram absorbent beverage coasters.”

c. Consider ending with a trailing sentence to enhance interest. Example: Browse our selection of Thirstystone monogram absorbent beverage coasters. Save money when you …..

d. Whenever possible your Url should send prospects to the landing page that specifically features what you are advertising.

e. This is what an ad for The Kozy Nook might look like when promoting their Thirstystone beverage coasters:

Kozy Thirstystone Beverage Coasters

Browse our selection of Thirstystone monogram

absorbent beverage coasters. Save money when you….

f. Although the URL shown is for the main page of the website, you can usually specify a specific landing page that is not seen. The actual landing page URL might look like:

4. Landing Page

a. The Landing Page is where your URL sends the visitor who clicks your ad to obtain more information or to purchase what is being advertised.

b. Keep advertised products easy to find. If you can’t send your site visitors to the exact product page, only require them to click once or at most twice from the landing page to find what they are searching for.

c. Test the ease of finding the advertised product by asking co-workers, family or friends to view the ad, go to the URL and locate the advertised product.

· Was it easy to locate?

· How long did it take to find?

· How many times did they have to click before finding?

· Was the product represented accurately?

d. Use source codes when available

· A source code is an extension placed on the URL that allows you to track where your traffic originated.

· Some website hosting companies provide a system for including source codes within the URL you post. Keeping track of where your traffic originated allows you to compare different ads and only spend advertising dollars where you actually receive the best ROI (return of investment).

5. Offer incentives

a. Free shipping

b. Buy one get one free

c. Coupon for next purchase

d. Monthly specials

6. Advertising Online

a. PPC (Pay-per-click)

1. PPC is a form of advertising that charges you a specific amount whenever someone clicks your ad. You specify how much you want to spend for each keyword. A monthly budget is set for as little or as much as you can afford. Some of the more popular PPC providers are Google AdWords, Yahoo Marketing Solutions, Microsoft adCenter and BidVertiser.

7. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

a. SEO is when you develop your website to attract Search Engines. Depending on how your website is developed, you will either attract search engines or not. If you attract search engines, your site will miraculously generate traffic. If you don’t develop your site to attract search engines your site will be forever lost in the black hole. Although, there are literally thousands of Search Engines, some of the more popular Search Engines include Google, Yahoo, MSN, Alta Vista, Entireweb. Many web hosting providers have an automatic submission process that will analyze your web site and suggest changes that will make your site more appealing to Search Engines. In addition, many will automatically submit your site to the most popular search engines and allow you to manually submit your site to many others. Optimizing your website to make search engines happy is one of the most important aspects of developing an online presence. If you don’t have a website pleasing to search engines, you may as well place a sign on your front lawn and hope people from all over the world will at some point drive past your house and spot it.

b. Some of the most important features a Search Engine looks for are:

· Are your chosen keywords relevant to your website

· How often do you add new material

· New, unique content

· Back Links from other companies that lead to your site add credibility to your company

8. Where to find inexpensive or free online advertising

a. Social Networks

b. Link Exchanges

c. Write and submit articles

d. Craigs List

e. Classifieds

f. Signatures

Develop and utilize custom signatures that include your company name and URL whenever you communicate online

g. Banner exchanges with businesses that offer similar or complementing products as your company.

9. Banners and Buttons

a. Develop and use banners and buttons whenever you communicate online. This can be included as part of your signature.

b. There are many companies that allow you to develop your own banners and buttons inexpensively or free.

10. Affiliate Links

a. Affiliate Links are when other companies place their ads on your website. You are paid a pre-specified amount whenever their ad is clicked from your site.

b. Some companies require the interested visitor who clicks their ad to make a purchase before they will pay a fee.

c. Affiliate links are a great way to help subsidize your paid advertising costs.

I hope you have found this article useful. Establish your niche market, use targeted keywords, send site visitors to a relevant landing page, easy site navigation and developing a search engine friendly website are crucial to an Effective Advertising Campaign. Written by Lindy Pina