Top 10 Internet Marketing Tips for Small Business
Building a quality opt-in email database is perhaps one of the most important parts of online marketing. If you donít collect the names and email address of your visitors, once they leave your site theyíre probably never coming back. Most marketers know that it takes up to seven contacts on average to get customers to buy from you, and an email list allows you to do just that. Thatís why itís so important to get this information. It also allows you to build a quality and trusting relationship with your subscribers which makes them more ready when their time comes to do business with you...
You can only do and learn so much. It often makes much more sense to hire a professional than to try and do it yourself. They can most often do a better job than you can and it also allows you to get much more done with the limited time you have. Instead of working in your business, outsource, and work on your business instead. If you donít have competent professionals to work with, check out http://www.elance.com and find one.
9. Be Professional
Web surfers are naturally skeptical and everything you do can affect their decision to buy from you. Unless your business or website is a household name, you probably donít have a ton of credibility in the eyes of your visitors. So you need to do everything you can to ensure that your site builds trust and strengthens your credibility. Something seemingly as small as a spelling error or a minor design flaw can have a huge impact in a visitor decision to do business with you. If you canít get your site right, how can they expect your product or service is all you say it is? Will it have errors, problems or flaws as well?
Whatever you do, get your own domain name, have a money back guarantee, do not use free anything, make sure you get your site professionally designed, be honest and most importantly check and recheck everything you do for spelling, grammatical and design or factual errors.
8. Donít Spam
This can single handedly destroy your entire online business in a matter of days. Spamming isnít just limited to sending out unsolicited bulk emails - search engines can be spammed as well. Repeating a list of keywords on your site for the purpose of obtaining a better ranking, using unrelated keywords (Britney Spears on a marketing site) for the purpose of getting more visitors to your site that are searching for something else or using some types of doorway pages are all considered search engine spamming. Search engines donít like being spammed any more than the average email user, and have been known to permanently ban sites that spam.
If you spam by email, youíll get yourself blacklisted and none of your email will get through. If your email canít get through, then you canít get people back to your site to sell to them and youíll go broke. Needless to say, never send email that isnít opt-in, and a $29.95 CD with 30 Million so called ďopt-inĒ email addresses on it doesnít count.
7. Target Your Audience
If you donít target your website, promotions and everything else you do online to the right market youíre only wasting your time. Thereís no sense sending an email promotion to a business professional on a new knitting pattern. You need to figure out exactly who your target audience is: Where do they live? What do they do? How do they do it? How much do they make? What do they buy? Where do they buy it? The more specific you can be in targeting your audience, the more effective your promotions will be.
6. Use Autoresponders
One of the most convenient aspects of the internet marketing is the ability to automate a large portion of the processes. Autoresponders allow you to do just that. Sequential (or smart) autoresponders allow you to send pre-written, personalized follow-up emails to opt-in subscribers whenever you like. For example, suppose someone signed up for an email e-course on your site which had five lessons. A sequential autoresponder will automatically send out all five messages for you at whichever intervals you like, and even personalize the emails with the information the subscribers filled out when they signed up. If you want to email your entire list with an offer, no problem, just use the built in broadcast email function.
There are many things to look for when choosing an autoresponder, so take a little time to do some comparison shopping; it is imperative to your business that you make the right choice. Although there are many different services, the one I use and like is http://www.1StartCart.com.
5. Setup an Affiliate Program
If you have your own product or service, setting up an affiliate program is a great way to get more foot traffic to your site and thereby make more sales. Youíll need to decide if you want to pay commissions on only one lever (one-tier) or on two levels (two-tier) and also what kind of commission youíll pay. Two-tiered programs are much more attractive to affiliate because they not only earn commissions on their sales, but also on the sales of those they sign up into your program. To run your affiliate program make sure to get an affiliate management tool. I prefer the one from http://www.1StartCart.com as itís integrated with my shopping cart system.
Commissions can be flat rate or percentage based and can be paid on signups, sales or opt-ins; although theyíre almost exclusively only paid for sales of some kind. For most electronic products commissions are split 50/50 between the publisher and the affiliate, while physical products have commission rates anywhere from 5 - 45%. Affiliate programs allow you to use the advertising expertise of others and the best part is you donít pay until you get paid.
4. Testing and Tracking
If you donít test to find out what works and what doesnít, how can you ever increase your conversion rate and ultimately your sales? You canít test if you donít track. The ability to not only track your visitors but what they do on your site is extremely important to the success of any website. Make sure you get a good web stat tracking service such as the one from http://www.webstat.com - you needed it yesterday.
No matter what kind of promotion you do online it is absolutely essential that you test and track everything. If, for example, you have an email list of 25,000 people, before you email your entire list send five different test emails to a random sample of 1,000 people each. Be sure you only change one variable in each email (such as the subject, offer, the PS, lead, sales page etc.) and see which pulls the best results. You will often find that one email may out perform the others by two or three fold. That is the one you want to send to your entire list.
On your website test different headlines, offers, testimonials, benefit statements, prices, free bonuses, opt-in forms, guarantees, design and colorÖ test absolutely everything starting with the variables that will have the most significant impact, to those that will have the least impact.
3. Search Engine Optimization
Optimizing your site for search engines is especially important as it can have profound impact on the amount of traffic you get. Though, it wonít get you much traffic right away, once your site becomes more established, it can do wonders for your traffic; and itís free. Simple things such as using the right keywords in your domain name, page title, headers, body and meta tags can significantly help increase your search engine rankings. Other important things to consider are the number and quality of backlinks to your site (link popularity) and the actual content of your site, and the quality of that content. Simply submit your site to the major search engines and within a few months youíll start getting quality, free traffic if you play your cards right.
2. Generating Traffic
The ďif you build it, they will comeĒ method doesnít work so well on the internet. If youíve got a website, chances are you want people to come to it for one reason or another; and to do that youíll need to advertise in some way, shape or form.
On the net the top five ways to get people to your site are:
Email joint ventures Ė This is the absolute best way because it is quick, and easy and can get you tons of target traffic which can make you a lot of extra money.
Article writing Ė If you write ten articles and place them on ten websites with a link to your site, within a few weeks youíll have thousands of inbound links to your site.
Search engine traffic Ė Both free and paid search engines are a good way to get lots of traffic. It usually takes a little while to get free traffic from search engines, so if youíre just starting out, you might want to pay for it.
Online advertising Ė This encompasses things like banner ads, ads in ezines, text ads, PPC ads and more.
Press releases Ė Sending out a press release to the media is another great way to promote your site. Distribution methods are both free and paid.
Many people forget that they can also advertise their site offline as well as online. This includes things like company letterhead, business cards, pens, vehicles, billboards, print ads, radio and TV, trade shows, direct mail or anything else you can think of. Go nuts - make sure your site is on every piece of printed material that comes out of your business.
1. Build a Quality Opt-in Email Database
Building a quality opt-in email database is perhaps one of the most important parts of online marketing. If you donít collect the names and email address of your visitors, once they leave your site theyíre probably never coming back. Most marketers know that it takes up to seven contacts on average to get customers to buy from you, and an email list allows you to do just that. Thatís why itís so important to get this information. It also allows you to build a quality and trusting relationship with your subscribers which makes them more ready when their time comes to do business with you.
Place an opt-in signup form prominently on your site and give visitors a reason to subscribe. Often a newsletter or ezine subscription is not enough, so offer a free bonus that has a high perceived value in the eyes of your visitors. This could be a free ebook, audio or video download, a special report, an email course or anything else of value. Then keep in touch with your subscribers on a regular basis and send them periodic offers for your products or services, or those of an affiliate program and youíll have the makings of a beautiful relationship.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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