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Internet Marketing Guide
 

Internet Marketing Guide

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Welcome to the world of onlie marketing! In this booklet, you'll learn a;; about the different methods for marketing your internet business. As in the offline world, online marketing comprises free ...

Welcome to the world of onlie marketing! In this booklet, you'll learn a;; about the different methods for marketing your internet business. As in the offline world, online marketing comprises free promotions and publicity, as well as paid avdertising.

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    Internet Marketing Guide Internet Marketing Guide Document Transcript

    • The #1 Guide to
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO MARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESSCONTENTSWELCOME .....................................................................................................................1SECTION 1: PROMOTING YOUR ONLINE STORE ......................................................3 WHAT YOU CAN PROMOTE ....................................................................................3 PROMOTION = PUBLICITY ......................................................................................3 OBTAINING PUBLICITY ONLINE..............................................................................4 OBTAINING PUBLICITY OFFLINE ............................................................................8 ETIQUETTE ...............................................................................................................12 NON-MEDIA PUBLICITY TRICKS ............................................................................12 PROMOTING YOUR PRODUCTS ............................................................................13 SPREAD THE NEWS ON YOUR SITE ......................................................................14 FREE PUBLICITY WORKS WONDERS ....................................................................14SECTION 2: ADVERTISING...........................................................................................15 WHY ADVERTISE?....................................................................................................15 THE ADVERTISING MODEL .....................................................................................15 WHAT TO ADVERTISE ..............................................................................................17 WHEN TO ADVERTISE .............................................................................................17 HOW TO ADVERTISE ...............................................................................................18 WHERE TO ADVERTISE ...........................................................................................18 THE KEY TO ADVERTISING: CONSISTENCY AND SUSTAINABILITY ....................24 CONTENTS
    • THE #1 GUIDE TOMARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESSWELCOMEWelcome to the world of online marketing! In this booklet, you’ll learn all about thedifferent methods for marketing your Internet business. As in the offline world, onlinemarketing comprises free promotions and publicity, as well as paid advertising.Many marketing techniques used by online business professionals – such as writingpress releases and conducting media interviews – are borrowed straight from traditionalbusiness, so they may seem very familiar. Sometimes traditional marketing techniquesare used, but with an online twist, such as sending out press releases via email.However, many marketing techniques used by online business professionals areunique to e-commerce. Search engine submissions, banner ad campaigns, and affiliatenetworking are all innovative marketing methods that were devised just for Internetbusinesses.You will be pleased to find that provides many tools to make marketingeasier; be sure to take advantage of them. Marketing is a key ingredient to yoursuccess, because it is what drives people to your Web site, and having lots of peopleon your site is the only way to get sales.Start your marketing campaign today. Read this booklet, start applying what you learn,and watch the numbers on your site’s visitor counter go up! WELCOME 1
    • THE #1 GUIDE TOMARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESSSECTION 1PROMOTING YOUR ONLINE STOREWhen you have an online store, it’s important to promote it both online and offline.Online promotion involves some relatively new techniques, such as listing your siteon search engines and linking your site to various other Web sites. Offline promotioninvolves the same basic techniques used by traditional offline businesses to generatepublicity, such as distributing press releases and soliciting media coverage. Sometimesyour online and offline promotions will cross paths; for instance, you might generate aproduct review in a real-world magazine that also has a Web site, to which your Website can link to showcase the review. In such a case, you will have reached both anoffline and an online audience.WHAT YOU CAN PROMOTEYour ultimate goal is to drive “qualified” traffic to your store. The secret to goodpromotion is that you always have to directly promote your store to get the desiredresults. Essentially, there are four topics that you can use to obtain free media coveragefor your site: 1. EVENTS. Announcing an event, such as a special sale or the debut of a new product, can generate some news. 2. PRODUCTS. You can discuss a specific product; for example, you could release a story on how to use a new type of sports equipment. 3. THE STORE ITSELF. You can promote a general story about your store and its basic theme, or a specific listing for the store in a buyer’s guide. 4. YOURSELF. As a storeowner, you might have a unique viewpoint or knowledge worth promoting or being interviewed about.Within each of these areas, you can work any number of angles and outlets. We’ll covermore about these as we move through the sections that follow.PROMOTION = PUBLICITYIt is important to understand how promotion achieves publicity, and how publicityachieves sales, because it can influence what types of promotion efforts you undertake.Publicity provides an opportunity for a third party (such as a newspaper or another Web PROMOTING YOUR ONLINE STORE 3
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO MARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESS site) to generate interest in your store. It’s a chance to receive an implicit or explicit endorsement from another source that people trust or look to for new ideas. In this way, publicity is not just a great method for building trust in your store; it also provides new leads for customers. Publicity can also reinforce existing customers. If someone comes to your site and sees links to reviews of your store and articles that position you as an expert in your field, it provides further comfort and trust. So, publicity allows you to announce your store’s existence and educate new customers about your store, and it also provides customers already coming to the store with corroboration of your store’s capability. OBTAINING PUBLICITY ONLINE Obtaining publicity, whether online or offline, boils down to four things: organization, effort, creativity, and manners. You must organize a list of targeted places from which you’d like to receive publicity. You then need to deliver to those outlets some type of information that results in a publicity hit. This will require some creativity. It’s not good enough to announce that you have a new Hewlett-Packard inkjet printer in stock; no one cares. On the other hand, if you put out a release saying, .Ed’s Computer Store Offers One Lucky Buyer Ink For a Decade. and run a contest in which buyers could win 40 ink cartridges for the printer of their choice if they buy a new printer, that’s more likely to get a response because it’s newsworthy. With regard to manners, good publicity professionals don’t push their news too aggressively. They don’t flood people with meaningless messages day after day, and they generally provide only information that someone might genuinely be interested in. Reporters, Web site masters, newsletter editors, reviewers, and the like all appreciate anyone who doesn’t waste their time with meaningless drivel. One important way to obtain publicity is to make your site easier to find on the Web. This is the best place to start your publicity drive, because not everyone is going to find your store by typing in a link they found in a newspaper article. They might just go to Google or Yahoo! and type in the name of your store after reading or hearing about you. Thus, before you try to get mentioned in the paper or a magazine or on the radio, ensure that people can find you easily just by searching for you on the Web. Search Engines and Directories A key part of any free publicity campaign is search engine placement. Search engines today have three key placement issues. The first is getting placed. The second is to be ranked high for the specific types of searches that you think potential customers would use. The third is a new type of listing called a paid search listing, where you pay to be included in search results. Paid search listings are covered in Section 2: Advertising. To obtain a search engine listing, you must first set up your pages correctly. This means including special information on your pages that provides search engines with a standard description of your site, along with key words related to your site. You will enter this information in TrafficBuilder. In TrafficBuilder’s .Search Engine4 PROMOTING YOUR ONLINE STORE
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO ISPEEDWAY GUIDE TOMARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESSSubmission” section, you can provide the key words and description of your site andsave them. Then you can use the “Submit” tool to send that information to many majorsearch engines, indexes, and other sites on the Web. Be aware that it may take a fewweeks before results begin showing up, but you should see your hit count improveshortly thereafter.Search engine listings can “wear off” with time. As new sites come aboard and othersites gain more popularity, your ranking for various key words on various searchengines can drop. The only solution is to monitor your search engine listings and dowhat you can to improve your ranking, such as resubmitting your site from time to timeand tweaking your key words to keep up with the latest services, products, brands, andother words best associated with your store.All search engines and sites are not created equal. Clearly, some sites stand out fortheir ability to produce customers. A study conducted by Nielsen/NetRatings at thebeginning of 2003 measured the amount of traffic on the Web generated specifically bysearch engines. The winner was Google, although it’s doing even better now. FollowingGoogle, in order, were Yahoo!, MSN Search, AOL Search, Ask Jeeves, GoTo.com,InfoSpace, Netscape Search, AltaVista, Lycos, EarthLink Search, and LookSmart.Google is the reigning king of search engines, and it has a unique way of ranking themost relevant site to any particular key word or phrase. The heart of the Google searchrankings is that it looks to see how many sites link back to any other site within a giventopic. So, a site that has 400 pages linking to it will rank higher on Google than a sitethat has only 200 pages linking to it. Thus, a linking campaign that gets more and moresites to include you as a link from their pages can be an incredibly effective way toimprove your site’s ranking on Google. Google is the highest ranked search engine, soyou can see that what started as just a search engine submission exercise has nowspawned a secondary task: getting links to your site placed on other sites.Link Placements and ExchangesLink placements are when another site links to your site through a solicitation. Linkexchanges occur when you exchange a link with another site, providing a link to theirsin exchange for a link to yours. Obtaining either requires diligent work. First, you mustlocate and research sites that you think have a reason to link to you, and then you mustask them to do so. If they respond that they won’t without a reciprocal link, then youmust decide whether you want to provide that. If they don’t require a reciprocal link,then just send them a follow-up thank-you note and move on.The best way to manage an effective linking campaign is to utilize a spreadsheet. Set itup with specific information, do the research, and then code your responses. First, findall the sites you want to contact. Create a nice letter to send, and then work throughthe list, doing follow-up where necessary. Finally, take stock a couple of weeks later,and decide whether you should do more follow-up, find more sites, and so on. Peoplewho are successful with linking constantly repeat this process. PROMOTING YOUR ONLINE STORE 5
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO MARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESS Finding Sites You can find sites useful to you in the same way that people would find your store: by hitting the search engines. Here is a quick list of search tips that will help you find sites that might link to you: • First search for sites already linking to you. In Google’s search box, type in “link: http://www.MySite.com” (where “MySite” is your Web site name). This will return any sites linking to your home page. It’s a good first step. Some of the sites may have links to other sites in your theme or topic area, and you can put them on your list. • Use Google’s backward links feature and visit your competitors’ sites. Chances are these other sites might be linked to sites of interest to you. • Search for sites that cover your topic area, and put them on your list. Topics can be found not only with key words, but also with entire phrases encased in quotation marks. For example, instead of searching for wicker furniture, search for the phrase “wicker furniture” in quotes. • Many people run blogs, which are mini-Web journals and newsletters, and they are a growing force on the Internet for news, information, and opinion. You can append the word “blog” to searches on Google to find sites, but there is also a special blog-centric search engine known as DayPop (http://www.daypop.com). You can also look at http://www.blogger.com, which has a search engine for people using their blogging tool. Rumor has it that Google will eventually launch a blog-only search tool. • A daily search on news.google.com for topics and key words that relate to your store might turn up various Web-based media sources that provide coverage in your topic and theme areas. • Don’t rely on Google alone to find sites; try some of the other search engines, too. One that sometimes provides great results is http://www.alltheweb.com. Try LookSmart.com, AltaVista.com, Teoma.com, FindWhat.com, Overture.com, Lycos.com, Hotbot.com, and AskJeeves.com as well. • What you ultimately want to find are people that list other sites and links. Try appending to your topic search words or phrases like “link page,” “index,” “other sites,” and “stores,” to draw out pages that specifically list sites that people can check out for the given topic. You can also try appending the type of site you’re looking for. This would include phrases like “blog,” “newsletter,” “fan site,” “community,” or “zine.” • The best way to find other sites is to look through good sites you initially find and follow links they may provide to others. • Once on a site, look for contact information. It can usually be found in an “About6 PROMOTING YOUR ONLINE STORE
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO ISPEEDWAY GUIDE TOMARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESS Us” or “Contact Us” section, or at the bottom of the home page. If it’s not there, try the site’s privacy policy if it has one. • Usually it’s easy to find an email contact for a site, but if you have trouble locating an email for someone behind a certain site, try pulling the domain record for the site by doing a “whois” search at www.dnsstuff.com and typing in the name of the domain. Usually the administrative contact for the site has their correct email, mailing address and phone number posted here. • If you can’t find any email contact, try emailing info@sitename.com, webmaster@sitename.com, or if there is a name on the site, their first initial plus last name (e.g., jsmith@sitename.com), and see whether that gets through to anyone.The Link LetterOnce you’ve compiled a list of sites, it’s time to send an introductory email letter. Itdoesn’t need to be long. Here is a recommended boilerplate you can use: Hi, I wanted to see whether you could add my site to your list of links or other recommended sites. My site, located at http://www.MySite.com, is an online store devoted to [insert whatever it is here], and I thought that the readers of your site might want to know about it. I appreciate any interest you may have, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know. Best, Your NameMost likely, the email will be ignored. For those who respond, some will want reciprocallinks, and others will ask about affiliate campaigns, or even want cash to list your site.It is up to you to decide whether the listing is worth the price; some sites warrantspending the money to have a link. Also offers AffiliateBuilder, an optionalproduct upgrade you can order that lets you create affiliate campaigns by partneringwith other sites (to which you pay commissions each time they send you a customer orsale). Advertising and paid publicity such as this are discussed in much more detail inSection 2.In the end, acquiring links boils down to you going after enough logical sites andsoliciting them one at a time. If a site ignores you, try contacting it a couple moretimes over the following weeks, and then either cross it off your list or send a snail mailversion of the letter to see whether you get any further. TIP: In addition to just a link, you can also provide an entire list of useful tools to promote your store, including ad banners and graphical buttons. You should create these ahead of time and then provide links to them in your letter. PROMOTING YOUR ONLINE STORE 7
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO MARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESS OBTAINING PUBLICITY OFFLINE After you’ve completed the basics of search engine and link placement, the next major task for developing free publicity for your site is generating coverage in newspapers, magazines, newsletter, and other sites. Media List Before you start generating coverage for your site, the first step is to figure out which publications and sites you’re going to target. This means compiling a media list. A media list is nothing more than a file of contacts from whom you can solicit news coverage. A good media list must do two things. First, it must be comprehensive, with entries for as many outlets as possible. Second, it should focus on the specifics relevant to your store. You need to not only find the Web sites and periodicals that fit your store, but also find the best contacts at each outlet who might cover your store. TIP: You can purchase media lists, but they are never completely up-to- date, and usually are missing lots of smaller media like blogs and small Web sites. If you want to buy a media list anyway, Bacon’s MediaSource (http:// www.bacons.com) provides some good products. Press Releases A press release is the standard, formal way to generate news coverage. Before you write a press release, consider that it is also possible to generate press coverage through simple emails under the right circumstances. A press release always opens with its status, which tells members of the press whether the release can go out right away or is embargoed until a certain time and date. An embargoed release would be used if you were going to say something live at an event later in the day, but you want to let the press know ahead of time about the remarks so that they can prepare their stories. Otherwise, you label a release as “For Immediate Release.” If no status is listed, immediate release will be assumed. TIP: Embargoed releases are usually embargoed for no more than 24 hours. Although most major media outlets and trained journalists will respect embargoes, smaller Web sites and blogs don’t always have the highest journalistic ethics, so be careful. Also, don’t try to embargo something that doesn’t require it just to generate hype. Following the status of the release is the contact information, which contains information about who the press should contact for follow-up on the news in the release. A sample contact might look like the following: Contact: Jane Doe 212-555-1212 jdoe@bigstore.com8 PROMOTING YOUR ONLINE STORE
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO ISPEEDWAY GUIDE TOMARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESSThis is followed by the title and subtitle of the release. The title is like a book cover, andit is just as important. It should be something that draws in the reader, because youmight not be able to get them to read much more. The subtitle usually provides morecontext regarding what might be a sensationalized title. Here’s a great example: BigStore.com Announces Free Overnight Shipping Policy Web Retailer Offers Free Overnight Shipping on All Orders Over $200 for Late Xmas Ordering.After the title and subtitle, you start with the main text of the release, but in the openingparagraph you should lead with the date of the release and the city from which therelease originates. Here is an example: January 17, 2004 (Cincinnati, OH) – Today Bigstore.com announced that all orders over $200 qualify for…Writing a press release is a fairly easy process once you know the basics. The releaseshould be no more than a single page (less than 500 words). Press people won’t readmuch more. Keeping it simple is the name of the game. A strong, newsworthy quoteshould be included in the first paragraph, without being over the top. The rest of thetext should provide some basic background and any further quotes that you can addto the release. It goes without saying that a release should be proofed as much aspossible before it goes out.End your press release with a code placed on a single line that lets journalists knowthere is no further information. This code can be either “-30-” or “X X X.”Distributing A Press ReleaseYou have four options for distributing a press release. The first is to send it out directlyvia email to specific press contacts that you’ve identified on your media list. Put thesubject line in the header, and put the release in the body of the email. (Don’t attachit as a Word document because that’s one more step for a journalist to take, and onemore chance they won’t read any of it.) To send the release to all your media contactsat once, you can create a mailing list using e-mail marketing center inTrafficBuilder, or use a BCC (blind carbon copy)-based mailing in your email client. Putall the press emails in the “BCC” email field, put your name in the “To” field, and emailit.You also can distribute your press release on one of the major wire services. Thebiggest are PR Newswire (http://www.prnewswire.com) and Businesswire(http://www.businesswire.com). Most small stores would work well with PR Newswire.A release will cost anywhere from $400 to $1,000, depending on the distribution reachand total number of words. For smaller merchants trying to reach a specific audience,each wire service offers a variety of special media targets by industry and sector, aswell as geographical regions like Northeast or Southwest. Both services also output toGoogle and Yahoo!’s news services, so you might pop up on general news sites as wellwhen people search them and include wires in their searches. A smaller but cheaper PROMOTING YOUR ONLINE STORE 9
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO MARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESS service is Internet Wire (http://www.marketwire.com), which charges less but reaches fewer outlets. Many of Internet Wire’s outlets are smaller, Web-based news efforts. Your final two options for press releases are to fax them or to send them in the regular mail. Both of these are good ways to reach small community publications, as well as some magazines that may not be as time-sensitive about publishing news. Interviews Interviews are another good way to garner publicity. To obtain an interview, send a short note to the relevant outlet presenting yourself as a potentially interesting interviewee. Suggest a topic that you can discuss, and provide your contact information. Don’t ever request interviews from major media; you’re not going to get them. Local weeklies might be a bit better, but with fan sites and niche Web communities, you can definitely get away with a direct suggestion to be interviewed. Sometimes you can even write your own interview of 8 to 10 questions on a topic, and send it to very small, individually run sites, and they’ll run it as is. Letters to the Editor You may be able to gain publicity by writing letters to the editor. If you see any story that you can comment on after the fact with your expertise as a storeowner, then sit down and write a short letter, including your name and link in the signature. Here is an example: Dear Editor, Your recent story on great ideas for home decorating failed to mention the importance of good lighting. I have found more often than not that a few improvements in lighting, which many people can easily afford, will improve the look of a room profoundly. People looking for more information on lighting a room can find some great resources at LightingMagazine.com, a free resource on the Web. Gordon Summers LightWorks.com Letters to the editor will be hit-or-miss, especially given that your “letters” will be thinly veiled commercials. However, for a few minutes of work, you might just land a published letter. Radio As with print media, you can pitch yourself to radio shows for interviews. The trick is to spend the time finding radio shows that might be interested in you. Major radio shows probably won’t be, but there are hundreds of community and college radio stations with shows on a wide range of topics. Most of them run at odd hours and on weekends, outside of prime time and drive time. If you can email the host or the producer, you might be able to snag an interview. Pitch them an interesting topic, such as hot sellers or advice to people shopping for10 PROMOTING YOUR ONLINE STORE
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO ISPEEDWAY GUIDE TOMARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESSthe wares you sell. Sometimes these are call-in shows, and the radio station will loveit if you can provide a product or two to give away to listeners. Listenership for theseprograms is usually small, but it’s still great publicity. Sometimes, if you ask, the radiostation will even send you an .MP3 of your interview that you can post on your site forpeople to listen to.Here are a few tips for doing radio interviews: • Never do an interview via cell phone or cordless phone. You can’t risk losing the connection, static, or cross-interference with another call. Use a landline, regular phone. • Stand up when you do the interview. You’ll have more energy and better vocals. • Keep your answers short. Give the host time to ask more questions. • Stay on the line until you’re absolutely sure the host has switched you off. • Lock the kids, pets, and other noise outside of the room! • Don’t be too commercial. Good hosts will set you up with questions to promote your site, such as “Tell us about your Web site,” and they’ll pitch your store’s URL for you. If they haven’t, just work in something simple with the URL toward the end, such as “Thanks for having me on. People can find me on the Web at…” • If you have call-waiting, call the station yourself; don’t have them call you. Deactivate call-waiting by hitting *70 before dialing the station’s number. • Lots of stations would rather have you in-studio. If the station is close by, offer to do the interview in person. You can usually get more airtime this way, too. • Check in the day before to make sure it’s all still a go. Be ready up to 20 minutes ahead of time. • Spend a few minutes afterwards critiquing yourself. Think about how you could have answered the questions more quickly and better, and file it all away for next time. • When you’re through, immediately sit down and write a thank-you note to the host and/or producer. PROMOTING YOUR ONLINE STORE 11
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO MARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESS ETIQUETTE Obtaining publicity requires a certain level of etiquette, some of which we’ve already covered, but it’s important to offer a few more pieces of advice: • Don’t constantly send the same press release to the same reporter or Web site. • Make sure that press contacts have an easy way to remove themselves from your distribution list. • Don’t ask a reporter to see a story before it is printed. • Never assume you’re going to be quoted; focus first on helping the reporter. • If corrections are needed, send a note to the reporter first (not the editor), and be courteous. NON-MEDIA PUBLICITY TRICKS Aside from pursuing search engines, links, and mass media, there is a final category of publicity moves that you can make. The following are tricks more than anything, but are well worth putting into your traffic-building arsenal. Mailing Lists One of the most important publicity initiatives you can undertake is the building of your own mailing list. There are two types of mailing lists. The first is an email distribution list. This allows you to email all the people who have previously given you their email addresses in order to be informed about special events and the like. The second type of mailing list is a more robust form that captures all mailing information, both electronic and otherwise. Although email is certainly cheaper than mailing out letters or postcards, sometimes receiving a color postcard or a catalog in the mail can have a higher impact than an email. This means you’ll want to capture both email and mailing address information. Most of the time, you’ll capture this level of information through orders. You also could create a contact form on your site that includes this information. TrafficBuilder offers an email marketing service. With this service, you add the names you’ve collected from your store to a list. Next, you can create special newsletters, announcements, and other content, and then send it to everyone on the list. The system does much of the work, and tracks and processes un-subscribes and bad email addresses that no longer work properly. It’s also recommended that you put your collected customer data in a program like ACT! (http://www.act.com), which lets you manage customer records. This allows you to do things like distinguish customers who’ve ordered before from those who have just left an email when visiting. With this sort of differential data, you can target emails to unique groups. Other types of targeting might be to people who’ve ordered several times (i.e., your most loyal customers) and people who’ve ordered less frequently but in12 PROMOTING YOUR ONLINE STORE
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO ISPEEDWAY GUIDE TOMARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESSbig amounts (i.e., the big spenders). All of this data can be compiled with a little workand good record keeping.Typically, you will want to conduct mailings about once a month. More frequency thanthat should only be done when you’ve got the type of store that features a constantstream of new products, like a record store or toy store. During run-ups to big eventslike Christmas, you might send out mailings with more frequency.eBay and Amazon LeadsDepending on what you sell, adding a few products for sale on eBay and Amazoncould potentially bring in new customers who troll those sites looking for products.You can include your domain as the seller of record, and put your store name into thedescriptions posted with the products. Not only will this result in some sales, but it alsowill drive traffic to the larger product listings and selections that are featured on yourofficial store site.PROMOTING YOUR PRODUCTSMuch of what has been discussed so far is promoting your store and yourself. Forthose of you selling products that you produce yourself, it is equally or more importantto obtain publicity for the products themselves. This can also be important for retailerswho are selling unique products that might be rare, such as imported stationery orfabrics.The best way to get product-specific publicity is to put together tip sheets on theproducts with good-quality photos. A tip sheet should include the suggested retailprice, important basic data on the product, its suggested users and uses, what makes itunique compared with similar products, and where to buy the product. Product photosshould be very high resolution (3 mega-pixel or better), so that they can be properlyreproduced for magazines and newspapers. Be sure to indicate whether the productis available only via your store, or if it’s available elsewhere as well; if you’re the officialdistributor for the product within a certain region, say so.Send this information in a package, or “press kit,” to various media outlets that covernew products in the categories you sell. You can also offer to send products forreview purposes to key media if requested. Depending on the cost of the product, youcan even send the entire product in an unsolicited manner. Usually a mix of the twomethods is best. Send the product outright to key outlets and reviewers that you know,and send just information and a request form for review products to the rest.Product reviews usually require some level of follow-up. A simple email a few weekslater can sometimes improve your chances of having the reviewers feature yourproduct. However, not everyone is going to like or want to review the products. Don’tdemand reviews and don’t badger reviewers. Focus on new product announcementsfirst and then reviews. You sometimes can obtain two news items this way: oneannouncing the product’s existence, and a second later on that is an explicit review. PROMOTING YOUR ONLINE STORE 13
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO MARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESS SPREAD THE NEWS ON YOUR SITE Always remember to post the good publicity that you receive on your site. People who visit your store will read quotes and other media tidbits that you’ve received and learn more about you, which undoubtedly builds more familiarity and trust, which in turn improves the likelihood that they will shop with you. However, one mistake you should avoid is reproducing copyrighted materials on your site. Just because you were featured on the cover page of your local newspaper does not give you the right to republish the page on your site. Similarly, just because your product was reviewed in Wired magazine does not give you the right to reproduce that review in its entirety on your site. To take advantage of the good publicity without violating the copyright rules of the publications giving you coverage, do the following: • Ask permission to reprint first; you might just get it without a hitch. • Reprint a small excerpt of a sentence or two. • Scan and reduce the story in the publication to an unreadable but visible form on your site if you can’t link to it. This might show the entire page, the headline, some graphics, and the logo of the publication, but the core text would be too small to read. • Link to the article on the Web if it’s available. • Purchase reprint rights if you feel it’s useful to have a perfect representation. FREE PUBLICITY WORKS WONDERS In the end, it’s important to remember that free publicity isn’t really free. It takes a lot of time to get your free publicity strategy into place and to maintain it. The payoff comes when you achieve a hit or links that drive traffic and then sales to your site. Obtaining publicity can also be tedious and labor-intensive. If you commit an hour or more to it each day, especially during slow times, it will begin to pay off. The key is patience and persistence. For every fifty people who ignore your solicitations, perhaps one will take an interest in you and your products – but it only takes one good public mention to drive hundreds of people to your site. Advertising your store is not as easy as promoting it because, unlike promotion, it’s hard to advertise without expending some funds. However, advertising can be extremely important to the long-term growth of your store. The key to advertising an online store is understanding why you’re advertising, and then determining how to ease your way into it and maximize results so that you’re not overspending. Many early Web stores ended up spending millions of dollars on advertising, and the customers weren’t ready yet, so the stores overspent, all in the name of cornering some market before someone else did. It worked for very few, and the rest ended up giving us the so-called “dot-com bubble” when the whole industry collapsed as the investment money dried up.14 PROMOTING YOUR ONLINE STORE
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO ISPEEDWAY GUIDE TOMARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESSSECTION 2ADVERTISINGThe most important lesson in this Section will be to use advertising, but to use itrealistically, to expect realistic results, and to measure the results as closely as you canso that you can adjust as necessary to achieve your personal best results.WHY ADVERTISE?The first question to ask is: Why advertise at all? It’s a good question because smallstores won’t have big budgets for advertising (we’ll assume that you have some budget,though). You may wonder, when there are so many actions you can take to obtain freepublicity for your store, whether those are better options. Frankly, they are – to a point.The truth is that smart storeowners spend more time working on free publicity effortsthan on advertising. It’s easier to invest 20 hours and $0 than it is to invest 2 hoursand $2,000. However, at some point, you can expect the free publicity route to do twothings. First, it will hopefully start to provide some real income, income that you can useto invest in other activities. Second, it will hit some level of diminishing returns. You’llalways be able to find ways to obtain free publicity, but in general you’ll find it takesless time to find a few new sites to get links from, and there are only so many times thatthe local business pages will feature you, or Time magazine will put you on its cover(you never know!). That means that your need for advertising will increase as an outletto look for more customers.THE ADVERTISING MODELBefore you can begin to formulate some basic decisions about advertising, youneed to consider the model that drives advertising. John Wanamaker, the famousearly American department store merchant, once said, “Half the money I spend onadvertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” That one sentence sumsup advertising better than anything said since.The paradox of Wanamaker’s quote aside, there is an advertising model, although tosome extent it reinforces Wanamaker’s statement. The payoff from advertising is spreadout over a long time and usually in a diffused manner. That’s because it’s likely that thesales you get from advertising will result in less overall profits (or even revenue) thanwhat you spent on advertising in the first place. However, if some of those buyers arerepeat customers, over time the advertising can pay off. And therein lies the rub: If youoverspend too much, you won’t stay in business long enough for the residual force ofthe advertising formula to pay off. ADVERTISING 15
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO MARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESS Consider an example. Say you spend $2,500 to place an ad for your custom doll business in a niche magazine that covers dolls. It’s a nice ad, perhaps expensive, but it’s the best doll magazine in the country, and all the enthusiasts read it. The result is that for a few weeks thereafter, you rack up $1,000 in sales, making $300 in profits. So, you spent $2,500 and you made $300. Keep that up, and you’ll be out of business in no time. However, imagine five years later that a few of those first customers have become regular buyers and spent another $3,000 in your store, earning you $1,000 more in profits. Now you spent $2,500 and earned back $1,300; that’s a bit better. What’s more, those customers (unbeknownst to you) told their friends and fellow doll collectors about your store, and that brought in even more revenue to the point where you broke even (if you were able to track things so perfectly over time). That is how advertising really works to your benefit. Based on the scenario above, we can see that there are three key questions that advertisers must ask: (1) What can we do to narrow the time it takes for a full return? (2) How do we factor critical repeat buyers into our plans? (3) How can we measure things better so that we can see where the best bang for the buck really is? Advertising Math If we turned the advertising model into mathematical formulas, the result would look like these two equations: Total Revenues from an Ad = Initial Customer Visits * Average Order + (Repeat Customer Visits * Average Order) + Residual Word of Mouth Generated Total Return on Advertising = Total Revenues from Ad * Profit Percentage/Total Amount Spenton Advertising The keys to these formulas are three variables: average order size, repeat customers gained, and your baseline profit percentage. If your average order size multiplied by your baseline profit percentage is a lot of money, then you might be able to get away with fewer initial and repeat customers to achieve an acceptable return on your advertising investment. If your repeat customers are low, or slow (think computers, furniture, or cars), then you can’t depend as much on the immediate effect of residual advertising, so you might need to focus more on advertising that drives initial sales. This is why big-ticket items usually emphasize sales and rebates in their advertising, because the sellers know that the return has to be more immediate. If your order sizes are low but your product lends itself to a lot of repeat buyers (think books or video games), then you can focus on an advertising model that puts more emphasis on a return from repeat customers over time. Using these calculations, you can begin to figure out a rough idea of what it costs you16 ADVERTISING
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO ISPEEDWAY GUIDE TOMARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESSto acquire a single new customer. Then, for each new customer, you need to decidewhat is the immediate and the expected lifetime profit potential of that customer. Forexample, imagine a store that spends $5,000 on advertising and generates 100 newcustomers as a result. The average initial order is $45, and you make $15 from eachorder. The result is that each new customer costs $50 to acquire. Because you earn$15 on each order, you need the average customer to order three more times to makea profit on each new customer acquisition. If you don’t think this formula is acceptableto your business, you can begin to refine your efforts a bit. Clearly, if you can’t get threemore orders per customer, then you need to work on two things: (1) get the averagecost per new customer down, and (2) get the average profit per customer up. If youcan’t do either, then you need to slow down your spending on advertising so that youcan conserve funds and grow more slowly, letting the residual effect of advertisingcatch up.This is what makes advertising both an art and a science. It’s an art because creativityin advertising can greatly help with its success. It’s a science because once you startto get some rough results from it, you can begin to tweak your strategy based on cold,hard, mathematical numbers. One great aspect of online stores and online advertisingis that it’s easy to get your hands on a lot of data to help you track your advertisingresults.WHAT TO ADVERTISEYou can advertise two things: your store itself or the specific products you sell. Eitherway, you want the same result: traffic into your store as a result of the message youpresent to customers. Determining your message is where you can get into endlessstrategizing. It might involve expressing a certain feature (e.g., “We’ll match any price!”),or a certain event (e.g., “Our annual inventory clearance sale!”), or a certain emotionand value system (e.g., “Brand names you love with the service you deserve for yourbusy life”) that you think will motivate people to act upon the ad. When determiningwhat to advertise, decide whether to emphasize something about the store or a productit sells, with a message that prompts customers to take action.WHEN TO ADVERTISEYour first instinct might be to send out a blast of advertising to coincide with the launchof your store. However, you may want to wait a while to make sure that everythingworks well and that you’ve completed the first round of linking, search enginesubmission, and cost-free promotion to get things started. Small business ownerswould probably do best by initiating their advertising campaigns after free media effortswane. If your cash flow is surviving (or even thriving) with current customer numbers,take your time before ratcheting things up to the next level.The other aspect of when to advertise is seasonal timing. Advertising clearly picks upbased on seasonal issues. If you sell holiday ornaments, you’re not really doing muchin March or April. Maybe you have a July inventory sale and an after-holiday blowout, ADVERTISING 17
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO MARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESS but the bulk of your advertising should be close to (and before) the holidays, when people have decorating on their minds. Kids’ clothing stores always buy advertising around back-to-school time and with the change of seasons. The basic rule of thumb, though, is that the fourth quarter of the year is critical to many retailers. Thus, the bulk of advertising funds is spent then. Your own model, along with experience with your market, will help you to figure out these types of specific seasonal issues. HOW TO ADVERTISE Here, we are talking about the advertising process. The basic process of advertising takes several forms. One is to hire a firm and let them do all the work, formulating and producing your entire advertising campaign and buying your ad space. Most small stores don’t work this way, but larger ones certainly do. The second process is to hire a design firm to do the creative work, but you do the ad space buying. The third process is to do it all yourself. No matter which way you do it, you need to combine some creative aspects with media buying. Buying media is not that difficult. Many Internet sites let you purchase ad space automatically over the Web using a credit card, and even has direct access to some of those outlets from within TrafficBuilder. Smaller offline media outlets like local weeklies will also accept credit cards. Others, like newspapers and magazines, accept checks. To purchase advertising, you usually just call the advertising sales departments, which are listed prominently within a print publication or on the Web sites that most publications have. The ad people will work with you and discuss what they think might work best. This can sometimes be a hard- sell process. You will usually receive a discount for buying ads in multiple issues of a newspaper or magazine, but don’t be afraid to purchase a single ad to test the waters. Be aware it’s common for smaller advertisers to end up with their ads in a less prominent space. Some outlets will also provide a combined discount if you purchase names from their mailing list with an ad. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t expect a huge response to a single ad. WHERE TO ADVERTISE The where part of advertising breaks into two clear categories: offline and online. Offline advertising includes the traditional outlets of mass/local media and direct media (direct mail). Online advertising includes an array of relatively new, Internet-specific ways to advertise, such as paid search engine listings, banner ads, and affiliate programs. Only you can determine the most effective places for advertising your store, but in most cases a combination of offline and online advertising is the best way to reach the most potential customers.18 ADVERTISING
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO ISPEEDWAY GUIDE TOMARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESSOffline Mass and Local Media OutletsThe amount of offline media in this world is staggering. Everywhere you look, there is amagazine covering some niche subject. There are hundreds of daily newspapers, andmore community-style newspapers than there are communities. To decide where youwant to advertise, it is useful to understand all the basic offline media outlets and howthey work.NewspapersThere are several types of newspapers. At the top of the chain are major dailynewspapers. Below them are smaller alternative papers and community weeklies. Mostmajor universities have student-run papers as well. The biggest universities have dailies,but most are weeklies.Newspapers offer a few options to stores. First, many have special sections that youcan target interests by, and of course there is the geographic targeting they offer.Depending on what you sell, the classified sections can be useful as well. Newspaperreaders tend to be affluent, educated, and older, and they regularly turn to thenewspaper to learn about sales.The weeklies are probably a better stop for some stores; you get better rates, andyou can target weeklies that hit various demographics based on their editorialbent. The best way to purchase ads for weekly newspaper outlets is via advertisingnetworks, which will run a single ad across the country among all their participatingnewspapers. Many college newspapers also utilize ad syndicates. Despite the fact thatmany students spend their days studying or playing video games, a statistic releasedby college newspaper advocates stated that 62% of students read their collegenewspaper.MagazinesMagazines allow you to target niche interests. Because of this advantage, magazinescan charge high rates for every 1,000 readers. The result, if you’re careful, isadvertisements in magazines that will put you front and center in your target market’sview. Although magazine ads are expensive, most magazines have sections that allowfor relatively less expensive ads toward the back of the magazine. These ads are usuallythe size of a business card or even smaller. Even though it might seem like you couldget lost in the crowd, these ads can be beneficial and you can get a decent return fromthem over time.NewslettersNewsletters are more difficult to find because they don’t usually sell on newsstands,but they can be useful outlets for small stores because newsletters hit the “nichiest”of readers. The best place to find newsletters is on the Web, because most haveaccompanying Web sites. Some are electronic only, but many well-run newsletters stillprint and mail copies to their subscribers. To advertise, you’ll need to contact the editor ADVERTISING 19
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO MARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESS or publisher. For those that accept advertising, prices will range from really cheap to as much as $500 to $1,000 per issue. Radio Let’s face it: Advertising on TV is going to be impossible for most small businesses. Sure, you might be able to afford some cable ads at 1 a.m. or in local markets, but the fact is that advertising on TV is a quick way to waste money. Radio advertising, on the other hand, is much cheaper and might actually be useful, depending on your store’s theme. With radio, you get more precise audience demographics and geography. More importantly, many people listen to the radio while at work, which for many people is the only place that they have access to the Internet. Cable TV If and when some Internet stores begin to advertise on television, they will probably begin on cable. Cable provides a better method than regular TV of matching special interest advertisements with related programming. For example, a sporting goods store could advertise on ESPN, and a record store might choose MTV. As online competition increases and markets mature, cable will become a viable outlet and will signal the ascent toward national television advertising. Offline Direct Media (Direct Mail) Direct mail, although often overlooked, is a great way to advertise a product or service. The catalog industry is the most obvious user of direct mail. Because Web stores are closer in style and workings to catalogs than to bricks-and-mortar retail stores, direct mail can be a good advertising outlet. There are several different types of direct mail. The easiest to use are postcards, which contain some basic message such as announcing a sale or highlighting the store’s theme or particular products. Another type of direct mail is a letter, which rigorously explains a particular product or service and tries to push people toward an action. Letters work well for services or fundraising, but not very well for much else. Finally, there are circulars, catalogs, and brochures. Some Web outlets, like Amazon, have used these with some success, essentially mimicking popular mail-order stores or large stores that push Sunday circulars through newspapers. A good offline catalog can be useful, but it is very expensive to print and develop such a product. Assuming you’ve got a good idea of what you want to mail, where will you get the names for your mailing list? There are several options. Besides using the names you’ve acquired from previous leads and orders, the most popular process for getting names is to purchase a list from a list broker. List brokers such as CMGI Direct have myriad names available, categorized by occupation, interest area, and other demographic/ psychographic attributes. Also, many magazines will sell you their subscriber lists for20 ADVERTISING
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO ISPEEDWAY GUIDE TOMARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESSone-time use. Most lists are sold by number of uses. Be careful about using a list morethan once; most are seeded with names that allow the broker or magazine to find out ifyou used the list more times than you paid for. You are allowed, however, to capture anynames that later order or otherwise share their names with you for further information.Another form of list broker will sell you “current resident” households by ZIP+4 codesaround the country. Targeting can be done simply by selecting very affluent ZIP codes(90210 anyone?) or specific geographic ZIP codes. Most direct mail houses that offerZIP+4 targeting can work to skew a mailing toward those ZIP codes that best match aparticular profile you want.You can handle direct mailings yourself or leave it to a direct mailing house. If you’reconducting a large mailing of 2,000 or more pieces, it’s best to use a direct mailinghouse unless you have a lot of free time, energy, or people power. A mailing house willtake your files, organize them into a presorted mailing, use their own postage system,and mail everything out in one fell swoop. Many also have printing capabilities or dealswith local printers to handle your printing once you provide artwork and a list of names.You should check pricing carefully among several vendors, and should include a fewnames of friends and employees on the mailing list to spot-check the mailing house’sefforts.Online AdvertisingAdvertising on the Internet, as with advertising offline, offers a variety of different outletswith each offering some strengths and some weaknesses. In the early days of theInternet, banner ads were the most popular form of advertising. Today, however, paidsearch engine listings are quickly becoming the dominant form.Paid Search Engine Listings (Pay-Per-Click Marketing)In recent years, the concept of paid listings has taken off like a rocket. This advertisingvehicle, which was made popular by GoTo.com and Google, works a lot like the YellowPages. Everyone receives a free single listing, but some businesses might want tostand out from the crowd. To do that, they buy space in the Yellow Pages to get noticedmore and to say more than the other guys. Paid search engine listings work in the samemanner. Search engines like Google still do their basic work finding sites and pagesand serving them up to users. No one can pay to change the main listing work of thesearch engine; that you have to earn other ways. However, Google and other searchengines do offer special parts of their site as paid real estate. These listings are clearlydesignated as sponsored links and usually appear down the side of the page in smallboxes like classified ads.What makes sponsored links so great is that you only pay for a click-through, not animpression. In earlier Web times, everyone sold impressions. However, click-throughrates were so small that businesses, especially smaller ones, needed a paymentmethod based on click-throughs, because they really couldn’t afford to pay forthousands of meaningless impressions. This isn’t to say that impression-based Webads don’t still get bought; lots of great consumer brands and other sites can benefit justfrom the impact of showing a banner. However, for people selling products (especiallyniche products), click-throughs provide a better economic model. ADVERTISING 21
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO MARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESS Several sponsored link systems exist on the Web, but the two biggest and most popular are Google’s AdWords service and Yahoo!’s Overture division. (Overture was a separate company that Yahoo! acquired in 2003.) These systems sell sponsored listings not only on their own sites, but also across other content sites. Google, for example, serves ads through the New York Times Web site. These are called content ads. Instead of determining ad content based on the key words a user puts into a search, the service dynamically reads the content of a page or accepts variables from a Web site it is sending ads to, and serves up ads relevant to the content. For example, if the Times has an article on Ireland, the Google AdWords system might send it ads related to traveling in Ireland. Again, as an advertiser through the Google AdWords network, you pay only when someone sees and clicks on your ad. Everything else is free. TIP: It’s a good idea to view other ads for key words you want to buy. Take note of what they say and look like, so that you can adjust your look and wording appropriately. Banner Ads Until paid placement search ads became popular, the banner ad ruled the day. Banners are still extremely popular and remain a top choice for many advertisers. While paid search placement requires little skill beyond wordsmithing, the banner ad requires that you create something that is graphical in nature and usually animated to some extent. As Web technology has improved, it is now common to see banner-sized Flash/Shockwave ads. Other new options include ads containing HTML forms with drop-down lists or image maps that allow users to select a specific part of an ad to trigger a response. This style of ad can be effective for merchants who want to list all of their departments or a variety of items in an advertisement. Creating these ads is not as easy as it looks. We suggest that you inquire about our custom design service. Alternatively, you can hire an ad-banner design firm, which you can find on the Web, or a local advertising/desktop design firm to create a few banners for you. It should cost several hundred dollars to get two or three standard banners and a couple of buttons. With those banners in hand, you can begin to look for a few places to purchase advertising space. TIP: In Section 1, we told you to build a list of sites for a linking campaign. You should go through that same list to find good candidates for static sponsorship. As you visit each site, make a note of what you would pay for a banner ad on various pages on their site. Then, after you achieve link placements, you can go back to the best/most receptive ones and pitch them some sponsorship ads. You also can combine this with affiliate status, where you pay a static sponsorship fee plus a bounty for each sale or new customer.22 ADVERTISING
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO ISPEEDWAY GUIDE TOMARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESSAffiliate NetworksAn affiliate network is a form of paid advertising, although it is structured quitedifferently from other forms. With affiliate networks, Web stores pay affiliate siteseach time a link from an affiliate site to the Web store generates a shopper who buyssomething. Some networks pay a single bounty (a fee paid to a referring affiliate site);others pay a percentage of sales. When an affiliate site reaches a certain level ofcommissions, then the Web store sends the site a check. Typically, Web stores paybetween 5% and 15% of sales, and pay out quarterly whenever an affiliate site hits$25 or more in commissions. Amazon.com is credited with starting the affiliate networkconcept when it launched its highly successful Amazon.com Affiliates System. Otherstores immediately copied the clever concept, and several services sprung up to helpstores run their own networks.Up until now, small Web stores haven’t had much luck with affiliate networks, mainlybecause it’s difficult to create the networks, and many sites aren’t sure that they cansend enough traffic to smaller niche Web stores to generate enough commissions.Smaller Web stores have also found it difficult to generate a system to track everything.In response to those problems, created AffiliateBuilder, an optional upgradeyou can order that will make it much easier for you to launch and manage an affiliatenetwork. Given that smaller stores have had trouble establishing successful affiliatenetworks, what can you do to improve the value of this service that offers?Here are some tips: • Pay a bounty for each new customer, not a percentage of sales. A straight-up bounty of $10 to $15 may work better than a complicated percentage of sales for some smaller Web stores working with smaller affiliate sites. You could pay even more if your estimates of revenue-per-customer are high enough. This is especially useful if your average sale is under $50 and you have decent repeat business. • Work hard to build your affiliate network site by site. Smaller Web stores need to aggressively push their affiliate networks. Potential affiliate sites are not trying to find you; instead, you need to work to find them, evangelize your store and affiliate program, and hopefully sign up people that way. • Be proactive. Structure special deals when it makes sense. Identify a few opportunities for affiliate program deals and develop those with sites. For example, go to a site that has a newsletter, and pitch them the idea of placing a link in their next newsletter that is pre-set as an affiliate link to your site. Tell them that you’ll pay $X for each sale. For sites that aren’t selling many ads, a deal presented to them on a platter like this may just work for you. Look on their site for other pages that you might suggest affiliate links to, and provide this insight as part of your sales pitch. • Pay out thresholds lower than $25 to get things going. Lots of big stores have high thresholds before the first payment. By lowering your threshold to $10, you might get a few more sites to take the plunge. ADVERTISING 23
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO MARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESS • Don’t bother with bigger sites. Big sites want big advertising dollars, and are probably not worth targeting for affiliate programs. • Stay away from free home page sites. Free home page sites like GeoCities, Tripod, and Angelfire tend not to allow their users to create affiliate links to Web stores that haven’t struck a big deal with the service itself. • Help potential affiliate sites build pages with links on them. Coding pages for use on another site can help you sell your affiliate program. For example, if you sell fishing equipment, you might create a four- to five-page mini-affiliate store, complete with the motif and other information for a particular affiliate site that you want to get on board. One of the big impediments for many sites thinking about participating in affiliate programs is generation of content. By doing the legwork for them, you might have more success signing up sites. • Develop other content that sites can use to help their affiliate efforts. Helping a site with content is another good way to get them to sign on. This could be a Top 10 List, or it could be some reviews of products – all linked to your store. • Look for sites with good regular email newsletters. Some of the best opportunities lie in the newsletters that sites send to their members who left an email when they once visited. Signing up sites with newsletters means getting a chance to work with them on embedding links in their next newsletter. A site that’s willing to put in the work required to produce a newsletter is probably a well-run site. • Promote your affiliate program. There are several sites where you can list your affiliate program and receive some promotion for it. These sites include www.affiliateguide.com, www.affiliateinformer.com, and www.refer-it.com. TIP: One problem with affiliate programs is that if you pay an individual more than $600 in a given tax year, you are required to issue a 1099 statement of miscellaneous income with the IRS. Thus, it is critical that you keep very good records on your affiliates. First, encourage site operators to get paid as a business rather than as an individual. Second, when someone breaks $500 per year in affiliate sales, send him a note requiring him to provide a social security or tax ID number before he can get any further funds released to him. Keep these records handy, and turn them over to your accountants so that they can issue the proper 1099s to your affiliates. Let people know that you will be issuing a 1099. In order to avoid being liable for the taxes yourself, you must issue 1099s before the end of January in the year following the year during which you paid someone. As a rule, do not offer anyone tax advice about their 1099s or how they’re taxed; refer them to their accountant.24 ADVERTISING
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO ISPEEDWAY GUIDE TOMARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESSOnline Yellow PagesOne final form of online advertising worth mentioning is the online Yellow Pages. As inthe real world, people often utilize the Yellow Pages when they’re seeking a businessthat provides a particular product or service. Listing your store in the online YellowPages is relatively inexpensive, and doing so provides yet another place where potentialcustomers can find you.TrafficBuilder makes it a cinch to submit yourbusiness to the online Yellow Pages (not to mention search engines and pay-per-clickadvertising networks).THE KEYS TO ADVERTISING: CONSISTENCY AND SUSTAINABILITYRetailing, both online and offline, is a crowded area, and a good advertising campaigncan help you separate yourself from the pack. Although we’ve spun a cautionary taleabout advertising, the fact is that you can find ways to spend $100 here and $300 thereto good effect. Think about how much that puts you ahead of other small stores thatdon’t take the plunge at all (or do, but do it the wrong way).Now it’s time for the final lesson on advertising: Once you get going, keep it going,and once you find a formula that works for you, don’t abandon it. Consistency andsustainability are the keys to advertising. Sure, you can raise or lower the amount youspend – you can even “go dark” for a while and conserve your resources – but don’tthink that you can stop putting yourself out there. This is because there is anotherknown law of advertising: Many people don’t respond to the first message. They don’tsee it, or they see it but don’t act on it, and so on. Eventually they might see it again,and then again, or notice it a year or two later, and say, “You know, I better checkthat out today.” And voila – that new customer places an order. The residual effect ofadvertising takes on another form with a successful plan and a sustainable store asmore and more people finally act on a message they’ve seen a few times before. ADVERTISING 25
    • THE #1 GUIDE TO MARKETING YOUR INTERNET BUSINESS NOTES26 ADVERTISING