ONLINE MARKETING GUIDE
Chapter Four: Generating Advertising that is Free
One of the best ways to get leads on the Internet is by getting a product mention or a free link on another website. Effective online marketing is all about putting your product or service in front of potential customers at the exact time that they are looking for it. This technique is known as "pinpoint marketing". Pinpoint marketing is much different than advertising on radio or television, which are known as "interruptive marketing" techniques. Interruptive marketing costs a lot more than pinpoint marketing and is less effective for the simple reason that you're attempting to put your product out there in front of everybody instead of pinpointing those potential customers who want to find out more about you and your business.
Pinpoint Marketing: Pinpoint marketing is the process of sending the right message at the right time so that it produces actual results. For example, if you're at a ball game and are eating a bag of popcorn. Just when you take a handful of popcorn the Coca-Cola logo appears on the big screen. The next you thing you know you're looking for the first vendor who can sell you a can of Coke. However, if an advertisement for a new car appears on the big screen while you're watching the game and eating popcorn, you're less likely to be interested since it's not something you're looking for at that moment. Interruptive marketing isn't really targeted because it's not something that you are actively looking for. People who use the Internet are usually looking for a solution to a problem. When you put your product in front of them at the right time you've reached a potential customer.
Day-part Marketing: The placement and timing of ads on the Internet has become so important to online marketing that some companies, such as Yahoo!, are selling advertisements in "day-part". Day-part is something that has always been done in television advertising. Day-part marketing works like this, specifying at which time of the day certain ads are viewed so that you can effectively target your customers.
Embedded Marketing Messages: These days, more people than ever are using the Internet to research a product before they buy. As well, most Internet users are becoming more serious about the amount of time that they spend online. Studies show that users are spending less time on the web and that the time they do spend surfing is focused and deliberate. Many users bookmark their favorite websites so that they can access information fast and easily. When people want a solution to a certain problem, such as a health issue or taking a vacation, they often look online for the answers. This is why it's important for you to put your product or service right in front of them whenever you can.
One of the main problems with online marketing is establishing credibility with your customers. Since there are so many Internet scams out there people are wary of whom they do business with and even more cautious of companies they are unfamiliar with. As a small business you need to gain credibility on the Internet by making your logo and company name a familiar item to Internet users. One way that you can achieve this credibility is by setting up a shopping cart on Yahoo! You'll not only have access to the technology of shopping carts you'll also find yourself affiliated with a familiar and successful online company. This gives customers the confidence needed to do business with you. When a customer buys something from your online Yahoo! Store they become more familiar with the name of your company and will be more likely to buy from you directly at your website the next time around.
Get your Content to Other Websites: Another way that you can build credibility online is to swap content. If you can position an article that includes a link to your website on another website that is at the top of the field of your industry you increase your chances of credibility. This then increases your sales potential. But just how do you get web editors to take any notice of your company? In chapter 3 you learned the value of web content for companies of all sizes. You also learned how expensive it can be to purchase web content. The bottom line is that more companies are willing to trade a free mention on your website for a good article. This way the content provider gets targeted and free advertising for their product or service, and the company that is posting the article (and the link) can feature content that is informative and valuable.
You can get some great leads by writing articles. When a potential customer reads your article you establish yourself as an expert in your field. When the customer links over to your website you have a very good lead that can generate sales.
People who use the Internet want results that are immediate. They know exactly what they are looking for so your advertising message needs to be appropriate, concise, and to the point. You need to think about what kind of people will be accessing the website where you plan to post your article.
Swapping Advertising: A great way to get your product information out to people is by using links, banner ads, coupons, and swapping articles. If you're in the home renovation business you can trade articles with other businesses such as painters and electricians. In fact, you can trade articles with anyone in your chosen industry that isn't in direct competition with you. Extra content on your website will give you more credibility while having your articles on other websites will lend your company a position of authority.
Word of Mouth Marketing
The second most common way that people find new websites is word of mouth. Search engines are the number one way. Word of mouth can be generated from message board postings by virtual strangers or by e-mailing friends. Effective word of mouth is known as "viral marketing" and is one of the biggest success stories on the Internet.
Viral marketing works in much the same way urban legends and funny jokes on the Internet work as they are forwarded all around the world. Viral marketing takes advantage of the socialization needs of society. No matter how small the social network starts out as, effective viral marketing can turn a small unknown company into one that is known everywhere in the online world. Some of the biggest companies on the Internet rely on viral marketing to stay successful. You can set up an effective e-mail marketing strategy without a big budget or a lot of technology. All you need to do is set up an e-mail signature that has a marketing message within it. This marketing message will be attached to any e-mail that your company sends. Messages are easily set up through Outlook and other e-mail programs.
You can take the concept of e-mail messages one step further by attaching your marketing message to all mail that is outgoing. This is done through a simple process known as "mail rerouting". When you use this process you can track the results as well as know for sure that every outgoing message will look and feel the same no matter whether you or your employees send the mail.
Something for Free: Everyone wants to get something that is free. When you offer something that is free the word will spread very quickly. And free offers will bring traffic to your website. However, most small online businesses can't afford to give away much for free. What you can do is become creative and offer a free product for the first 20 people who buy another product from your website. This can be as simple as movie tickets.
Message Boards and Chatrooms: Message boards and chatrooms are great places for word of mouth and viral marketing to flourish. This is particularly true for those people who are 25 years of age and younger. In chatrooms people share ideas and concepts and this can lead to some great leads for your business.
E-mail makes it easy for people to share ideas and concepts with others anywhere in the world. If you can attach your marketing message to these infectious e-mails you'll be able to create a buzz and stir about your product or service. When potential customers recognize your logo or company name you're on your way to gaining trust, credibility, and the close of a sale.
Domain Names: One last thing to remember when you're trying to spread information about your company is the effectiveness of a memorable domain name. You want to pick a domain name that is easy to remember, easy to spell, and that relates to what you're selling. When people easily find your website you'll want to make sure that your home page content is dynamic so they keep returning.