Whether you’re in the process of devising a business plan or making a web site for your business, there are a few things to consider about Internet marketing. There are many ways to advertise your business and unfortunately, not all of them are good. Some things are a waste of money, while others are invaluable. There is a ton of competition for your business on the Internet. People tend to have short attention spans while surfing the web, and because of this you need to do the right things to make your site stand out.
One of the most popular ways to market your web site is to use search engines or directories. A directory, like Yahoo!, shows websites broken down into categories. A search engine, like Google, is more specific and will show any web page that matches your keyword. With either one, you have to submit your site to them and be approved before you are added. Because of this, you want to make sure you are sending them the best possible site you can make or hire someone to make. If you are rejected it is hard to get your web site reviewed again.
Choosing keywords for search engines is extremely important. It’s a competition between you and the thousands of other sites out there offering the same service or product as you. You want to choose the best keywords so your site can be easily found, but you don’t want to be too mainstream or many web sites may pop up on the search engine before yours. There is a program that can help you with this. WordTracker (www.wordtracker.com) is designed to give you other keywords similar to your keyword, it gives an average of how often these keywords are searched and shows how many web sites are using the same keyword. It also lets you know what your target audience is entering into search engines and how many times each keyword has been entered. It offers a misspelling search to help you see what sort of misspellings people use for your keyword. They offer a free trial and seem to be well worth the money after your trial period is up.
Some services offer to post your web site on thousands of search engines for a fee. Most of these search engines will not generate many customers for you. Out of 1,000 only about 20-30 are major search engines. Again, ask for testimonials or references from them. A legitimate service like this would run approximately $200 a month.
While banner ads can be effective at times, the cost usually outweighs the effect. Most people ignore banner ads that pop up, so in essence you’d be throwing money away. If you still want to use a banner ad, it is vital to make yours as professional as possible.
Another productive way to market your site is through email. Use your spell check! This is a must. Misspelled words make you look careless and unprofessional. Never use ALL CAPS in the subject heading. This is bothersome to most people, and your email will be deleted before it is even opened. However you choose to promote your business is a direct reflection on you, your product and your service. Don’t get labeled as a spammer. Make the email as professional as you can. At the end of the email be sure to include your name, web site address, email address and any other contact information you wish to give.
How do you get potential client’s email addresses you ask? Good question. There are services that offer you email addresses of people targeted toward your product line. These services are usually high priced, but well worth it if you can get customers out of it. Beware of people who offer you over a million email addresses for a low price ($29.99). You have to wonder why they’re offering such a low price and what you’re going to get out of it. You will most likely end up with addresses that are invalid or do not target your specific audience at all. Most importantly, research any service you’re thinking of using. If possible email them and ask for testimonials from previous or current clients.
Once your site is up and running you can make your own newsletter to send out to potential customers. The best way to do this is to offer your newsletter on your web site and have people fill in their email address. It is also a good gesture to include something at the bottom of your newsletter so they can unsubscribe if they so choose. Your newsletter can go out once a week, bi-weekly, once a month or however often you decide. It is an excellent way to promote new features or items in your business, and to keep in touch with your customers. If you decide to advertise on someone else’s newsletter, be sure to find out how many subscribers they have and see exactly what your advertisement will look like. You also want to read their previous newsletters carefully and check out their web site to make sure you want to be associated with them.
A very productive way to get free traffic is using reciprocal links. On your web site build your own link page and add on sites comparable to yours. Email webmasters of these sites and ask if they can add your link to their site.
AOL has a classifieds page where you can advertise your business for under $15. Right now AOL members can post their first four ads free of charge.
Yahoo! Classifieds are free, and you can post 10 ads at a time. Every couple of days it would be wise to delete your currents ads and replace them. This way you will keep your ads towards the top of the list.
One of the greatest methods to attracting customers is giving away things. Provide free articles, links to other sites, free downloads or links to downloadable software and links to necessary tools. This will not only attract customers, but it will keep them lingering on your site.