The success of any online business depends in large part on
where and how it's marketed. After all, a website sitting all by
its lonesome in cyberspace isn't going to do much good; people
have to be able to find it first!
But that's only where it begins. Once your website is getting
traffic, it's next job is to convert visitors into paying
customers. From there, your job is to try to turn customers into
repeat buyers or into a source of referrals. Here are four major
types of marketing to incorporate into your marketing plan:
__1. TARGETED MARKETING
Who is your target audience, what do they want, and how do you
reach them? Understanding your audience is the first step to a
successful marketing campaign. There are many ways to reach your
target audience on the Internet, including search engines,
links, ezine advertising, joint ventures, and more.
Don't neglect to research your 'offline' market as well -- many
people still prefer to be contacted in the 'real world', rather
than through cyberspace! For more information on offline
marketing methods, visit
__2. PERMISSION MARKETING
'Spam' -- unsolicited email -- can cause varied reactions from
minor irritation to outright rage. You don't have to spam in
order to get business; people acknowledge that there are
products and services about which they're willing to receive
information. The Internet has proved this to be true: how many
times have you willingly signed up to receive a newsletter?
Some methods of permission marketing include publishing a
newsletter; offering product or service announcements or
updates; and using an autoresponder to distribute reports,
articles, stories, etc. Subscription forms can be placed on your
site so that visitors can indicate their interest.
By getting a visitor's permission to contact them, you
accomplish a couple of things:
a) You're able to market to them regularly (unless they choose
to unsubscribe). For various reasons, many people do not make
immediate purchases. When you have permission to contact them
regularly, you are more likely to catch them at a time that
*they're* ready to buy.
b) Subscribers have automatically 'qualified' themselves as
interested prospects. You can focus your efforts on marketing to
them, rather than to visitors who have no real interest in your
products and services.
__3. RELATIONSHIP MARKETING
Relationship marketing has to do with the way you treat your
visitors, prospects, and customers. Unless you operate a site
with a well-known brand, people aren't buying from a 'website'
-- they're buying from other people. Treat them as people
instead of 'just another customer number.'
A few ways to help accomplish your goal include offering an
opt-in newsletter - over time, readers will come to know and
trust you; answer email and phone calls promptly and
courteously; or offer a little something extra, such as simple
'thank you' or Christmas cards by postal mail. A little extra
effort can help your business to stand out from the rest.
__4. CONFIDENCE AND CREDIBILITY MARKETING
People have to trust you and have confidence in your business
before they're comfortable making a purchase. So how do you
inspire confidence with visitors who have no previous experience
First, use some basic, old-fashioned common-sense when creating
your site. For example, if you're selling information about how
you made a fortune in the stock market, don't host your site on
a free domain that's packed with popups and popunders.
Other ways include posting testimonials from happy customers;
writing articles, columns or interviews to establish recognition
as an 'expert'; and asking customers to refer others to your
About the author:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Angela is the editor of Online Business
Basics, a practical guide to building an Internet business on a
shoestring budget. If you're tired of hype and just want solid,
down-to-earth information, then visit us today -- and in moments
you can have access to loads of instantly useable tips,
specifically chosen for beginners!