Free Guide to "Successful Internet Marketing Strategies ....doc
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    Free Guide to "Successful Internet Marketing Strategies ....doc Free Guide to "Successful Internet Marketing Strategies ....doc Document Transcript

    • Successful Web Strategies Provided courtesy of CompBiz, Inc. http://www.EZWEBonline.com 108 Chapman Ave., Sanford, FL 32771 Ph: 407-322-8654 . Fax: 407-322-1714 . E-mail: Info@CompBiz.net A Web Site is first and foremost “Your Online Brochure” Commonly described as an “online brochure” or simply a “web-presence”, this form of website is used to efficiently provide information in an organized manner. As the Internet is open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, visitors will: find necessary information, answers to questions, get to know you, your company or organization, and experience the site at their convenience and yours. The best benefit of providing information via the Internet is that you and your visitors are not at the mercy of unhurried mailings or ancient product descriptions. Information can be updated as frequently as your business requires. A good example is when you are not looking to increase sales or profit from the website, the benefit is found in saving employee time and increased productivity, which in turn saves you money! The following are goals achievable with a powerful Internet presence: • Increased customer base • Improved communication and feedback with existing clients • Enhanced client relationships • Improved information flow • Decreased employee work load • Decreased operational costs • Increased productivity • Increased profits Maintain Clear Navigation With the current state of web technology most user interaction with a web site involves navigating hypertext links between documents. A big problem with a web site is the lack of a sense of location within the organization of information. Basically, users are getting lost within the web sites. Consistently clear icons, graphic identity plans, graphic or text- based overview and a summary screen will ensure confidence that a visitor will find what is sought while not without wasting time. Visitors must always have the ability to easily return to the home page, or have a consistently available directory of pages. These basic links, needing to be present on every page of your site, are often graphical buttons providing basic navigation links, and creating the graphic identity that reassure users that they are still within your domain. Editorial Style Web pages and individual pages in a printed publication have many similarities, but as web pages can be accessed directly with no preface, they must be more independent than
    • the printed counterpart. far too many web pages end up as wandering fragments of information, separated from the main context of the parent site resulting from a lack of essential cohesion and the failure to properly inform a reader of the contents. Titles and Subtitles Forget icons, banner graphics, bullets, horizontal rulers and colored backgrounds. Editorial landmarks like headers and titles are the fundamental human interface issue of the web page, just as they are in a printed publication. A steadfast method to the naming of titles, headlines, and sub-headlines of the documents will provide the reader with navigation through a potentially complex set of web pages. Online Document Style Documents for online reading must be concise and structured for fast scanning. The “inverted pyramid” style utilized in print journalism should also be applied to the web page. Place important facts near the top of the first paragraph where visitors will locate then quickly. Often, a reader will print an article longer than half a page rather than read it online. Your Target Audience It goes without saying that as one becomes more familiar with the audience, control and persuasive power over them increases. This means a more personalized campaign, often referred to as “tailoring” communications directly to a particular market group. Getting hold of and keeping your visitors’ attention is crucial when you want to inform, persuade, and motivate. Consider these questions: • Who is the target audience? • What is the predominant sex? • What is their age? • Where do they live? • Where do they work? • What is their income? • What is their level of education? • What are their values, beliefs? • What are their preferences? • What is their background? • How are you similar? • How are you different? • What would you like them to do? • How will you best get them to do it? Marketing Your Website Never forget to make the website actually DO something, rather than be a one- dimensional resource of information. As the creator you will be pleased when the website achieves the stated goals, and your visitor will be pleased when they are entertained.
    • Make it useful. Provide practical pertinent information to your audience. Instruct them to do something interesting and inventive. Visitors love to share what they learn with friends, family and co-workers, thus broadening your audience. Make navigation easy. Here we have an underlying theme. Design continuity and consistency are what create a “User Friendly” website. When your visitors arrive at a clear layout and are able to locate desired information easily, they will return more and remain inside longer. Make (and keep) it organized. Divide your information into logical categories. Never attempt to put too much on any page or in any paragraph. It is much better to have the visitor click to read on, than become overwhelmed and promptly exit the site. Employ web pages freely, using one per topic. Also use paragraph titles freely, with one subject per paragraph. The objective to strive for is how well your message is communicated, not the sophistication of the writing or the excellence of the design. Visitors often simply scan paragraphs rather than read an entire document. They also print articles longer than half a page; so be sure all is in a “printer-friendly” format. Important information goes first. Never leave the best for last, as your visitor will seldom reach it. Make people aware of each topic in the first sentence. Make use of the "inverted pyramid" model that begins with the conclusion. Other "firsts" can be amazing facts or thought provoking questions that grab and hold the readers’ attention. Use meaningful titles. Fell free to be creative, while remembering that your visitors will be using them for navigation. The purpose is to inform the visitor while tempting their interest. Be confident. Website visitors must be assured and thus confident in your competence. Since you have designed the site you are now the expert. Instead of boasting simply maintain a tone of certainty. This will install greater confidence in the product or service. Maintain a positive tone. Always instruct people about what you offer in a positive manner, as this is certainly more effective than putting down the competition. Never scare people into buying your products or services, simply define the benefits of using them clearly. Use half the words used in conventional writing.
    • Be simple and direct, as your website is not a novel. Remember the purpose of the website is to do a job and your visitors will appreciate the efficiency, possibly by making a purchase. Web Site Promotion Having a web site is only the first “outpost” in your online “adventure”. One must attract visitors to the site and most importantly, keep them coming back. The more time you invest into promoting and caring for the site, the more likely these goals will be met. The most important way to achieve this is to give the visitors exactly what they want. The same business strategies used in the “real world” are also enforced in cyberspace. This means you must provide friendly customer contact and services that stand out from your competitors. Remember that just like anywhere else, word of mouth possesses the ability to make or break you. If people like the site, many if not all of their friends will hear about it. If you build it, they will come This is not necessarily the law of the land on the Internet. Marketing is certainly required if you want people to find your site. In addition to search engine registration, consider options such as banner advertisements and charitable website sponsorships. You may also get visitors to the site through various link exchanges. Keep your eyes open for sites with similar interests to contact about exchanging links. And finally, never forget to print your web address on all promotional materials, brochures, business cards, etc. Targeted banners Banner advertising can be a very effective marketing tool when properly utilized. Consider a specific target market you would like to reach? It is a much better idea to purchase “Keyword” searches instead of “Run-of-site” banner advertising. This way the people who are already interested and searching for your product or service will be targeted. If you sell noodles, the keyword “pasta” would be of great service as every time it is entered up pops your shinning ad. Newsgroups and Mail lists News groups and mail lists are good places to meet visitors for cultivating business relationships. One must learn how to be informative, while projecting yourself as a group member and not being flagrant about promotion. You will soon find your website being recommended by others and time spent here will be handsomely rewarded. Give Awards or Certificates If you give awards or certificates, the positive response will be surprising. Give awards for excellence, most valued clients, outstanding work in the industry, and certificates of special honor or recognition/appreciation. Provide Business Incentives
    • Use your Internet presence as a catalyst for customer relations. You may want to give customers a free email account, or make a deal through EZWebOnline.com to give your customers/clients a free website. This business incentive or premium not only strengthens relationships; it creates a comfort level for customers by making them “connected”. To make a website an effective tool, it must continue to evolve as your Internet goals evolve. Even when the site looks complete, one must continually re-assess goals and then craft the site to reflect them. • Keep a fresh website. Even when the content is compelling, visitors will not want to see the same old graphics with every visit. • Keep an eye on what other people related to your business are doing with their websites, especially the competitors’ website. What are they doing on their site that is effective? How are their results in the search engines? What should you then incorporate into your site? • Visit EZWEBSuccess often. We will continue to provide you with fresh design ideas, EZtips on reaching your target audience, useful links to other internet topics and much, much more. Website Strategies That Work In this information age, it's almost unthinkable for an organization to not have a website. The most successful websites are not just passive entities; they actually DO something. The best sites have a reason for existing, a specific purpose, and a detailed function with anticipated results. Make sure to have a goal in mind and confirm the results are measurable. The major question to be answered is, "What IS my website strategy? Information behind the Ad One of the premier Internet services is the ability to gather information in advance of the buying decision. This is particularly true when the product or service is of an information intensive nature. In other words, making the sale online does not necessarily mean processing the transaction over the Internet. When you do a sufficient amount of advertising and give your reader immediate access to additional information, you have thus increased the potential of converting a shopper into a buyer. Since editing web information is extremely simple with EZWEBonline, always confirm that your website content is relevant to the current ad or promotion. When electing this strategy, the ultimate goal is to convert a reader into a customer, so make sure there is a clearly defined and easily accessible contact section. In addition to having personnel responding to phone or fax inquiries, make sure to have a staff member in charge of checking email. Immediate response is not only impressive, but also vital while the contact is interested. Mailing Lists
    • The Internet is a great information-gathering tool. It's always open, and has no specific location issues. A visitor can browse in a non-threatening environment, at their most convenient time and at their leisure. Keeping a mailing list of customers/clients is imperative to all small businesses. The Internet is worldwide; it offers an opportunity unparalleled by any other for adding new members to a mailing list. Always encourage your existing customers/clients to place themselves on the list as well. Your goal is to have the visitor to enter all the information you need. Make sure the visitor is comfortable by assuring them their request will be respected. For example, let them know they will: • Receive the information requested • Be e-mailed when the site is updated • Receive company news via email • Get a call back at specified hours Offering an incentive, premium or gift to the visitors for adding themselves to the mailing list will certainly increase results. Also, when the website content is well maintained and regularly updated, they will return often and find value in adding themselves to your list. Measuring the effectiveness of this strategy is relatively simple as the number of mailing list entries can be monitored over time. Mailing lists work well with information intensive services or products such as hobbies, sports, arts & crafts, recreational activities, travel, etc. Market Research As we covered before, gathering information about your customers/clients is extremely valuable. Politicians have been conducting polls- asking the voter about their feelings on certain issues, then building speeches around those same issues. It is wise to follow this model and build a website that permits the visitors to communicate with you about the product or service. Interpret the feedback as constructive and educational. If you respond by accommodating their needs, you will grow and experience a more bountiful customer base. The goal is for visitors to give feedback about products and/or services. Also, you may want them to give additional feedback concerning the website...what works, what doesn’t and what they want more of. This can be accomplished by designing the “contact us” form as a questionnaire. Encourage the visitor to make comments, stating that they will be sincerely considered. To follow-up send an e-mail to each visitor that enters an e-mail address, thanking them for the entry. Finally, record the number of responses received and take it one step further by creating an incentive program to encourage responses - maybe a special gift or discount. Online Help
    • If handling requests for product/service information becomes a regular activity, your website is a great opportunity to reduce costs while increasing the quality of the product support. For online support success, be certain your content is comprehensive with product/service information. Construct a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) library, making sure all the “how-to” information necessary to use the product/service is available. Add information such as: “guest manual”, “instructions”, and “how-to”. Employ the aid of illustrations and images freely throughout the site. Give easy access to a “Contact us” or “Feedback” page, with an e-mail link at the bottom of each page. And certainly respond to each inquiry quickly and carefully. The goal is for your customers/clients to use the website to locate answers to their questions; or at the very least, use the website as a communications tool for asking questions, in place of overwhelming valuable phone lines and staff. Make sure to promote the website in all of your printed materials as the most efficient method for getting questions answered. To measure the effectiveness of your help desk, simply track the number of site visits and inquiries verses the number of inbound telephone calls. Making sure to monitor all inquiries in order to increase the effectiveness of your content. The availability of 24- hour a day information will be appreciated. Finally, as e-mail can be responded to from any location, circulate weekend duty for e- mail reply to employees. They can respond from home, and your customers/clients will get comfortable with freely contacting you when weekends and evenings are available. Relationships The goal is to create business relationships that are personal and strong, whether they are with customers, clients, or business affiliates such as suppliers, distributors, or sales representatives. Another goal is for constituents to return regularly to the website for informational needs. One way of achieving this goal is to provide newsletters, directories, or a "how-to" manual. With our information age, these are valuable assets. People frequently patronize sites like these in order to receive time-sensitive information. You may also want to create an entertaining site for visitors. Those within this category may want an on-line forum like a bulletin board, chat room or discussion center. These give your site an interesting style of information; the type that is visitor-supplied and maintained. You will in essence have your visitors working for you! When visitors are included in the community created for (and by) them, they will return with increasing regularity. Become inventive about the education of customers/clients concerning your products and services. How-to manuals, practical tips, and customer surveys are good tools to achieve this goal. In any event, information-rich content will built customer loyalty and retention. These methods also lead us into the future of Internet Marketing called Permission
    • Marketing. You are basically asking for your clients’ permission to offer products and services by offering some enticing promotion. E-Commerce This can be any form of online showroom, a place where visitors will be making purchases while visiting the site. There are numerous examples of companies who are very successfully conducting business over the Internet. By discovering how they succeeded, the same strategies can be built into your site. While website design can create a comfortable place for customers to shop, your marketing strategy will make it an e- commerce success story. Possibly choosing to not actually sell products and process the transaction online, consider the ability for customers to place orders online. Provide some special incentives to order online, such as same day shipping, or special online discounts. Offer amazing to website visitors not accessible by shopping in person. Amazon.com is an extremely successful online bookseller, as they give visitors a substantial discount as an incentive to purchasing online. They do this because, unlike a typical bookstore, Amazon.com has no storefront expenses like retail space rental; all business is conducted online. Think about giving your visitors a discount or reward for shopping online instead of entering a store. Southwest Airlines provides a special offer to their online ticket shoppers. They award double the amount of frequent flyer miles to those buying from the website, thereby rewarding themselves with the percentage of profits once lost to travel agents. Make the website a hub because of the information provided free to the visitor. When people visit the site daily for information, you have also situated the website to offer products or services. Try building a community around the business that people want to be a part of. A great example of this is if you were a manufacturer of surfboards. The website could offer all sorts of free services: • A map to the best surf spots with comments from people who have been there. • A chat room for discussions about the newest equipment, the most recent big waves and stories of great surfing expeditions. • An online calendar that posts upcoming events and contests. You may even wish to have a link with a travel agency, in exchange the agency could offer discounts for surfers. • Free e-mail accounts for your visitors are a very important element of loyalty building. They keep visitors using the site on a regular basis in order to check and send e-mail. When a visitor wishes to purchase a new surfboard, he can go to your online store and buy it, as he already benefits from the free e-mail and other services! It is imperative not only to track the site hits, but to know where and how your visitors found out about your site. If 80% of the hits are coming from a link from another website, consider more links. If most of the hits are coming from search engine placement (coding) or banners, consider more search engine submission and more banner placement.
    • Make an enticing motivation for the visitor to fill out a questionnaire by giving a discount on the next purchase. (Permission Marketing) Convert a buyer into a regular customer by requesting their permission to be reached via e-mail regarding a new product, special offer or sales. Increase your reach by giving discounts and rewarding bonuses to customers each time they refer a friend that purchases from you.