Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Step-by-step Guide to Online Marketing

As companies seek to find more effective, and less expensive, marketing methods, online marketing stands to see the biggest increase. Businesses already spend more on online marketing than they do on Radio and is set to surpass magazines by 2010 (ZenithOptmedia, 2007). However, you can do many things to make sure your website is not lost in the clutter. Below are the top actions your business can take to increase your website exposure and increase your ROI.

1) Maintain and improve your website

Unless your business has an endless marketing budget then you need to rely on your website’s quality to drive traffic to your site. This is the basic of search engine optimization (SEO). A high-quality website doesn’t just mean something that looks pretty. It means that you have text that engages the reader, contains your keywords, and can be found by Google and other search engines. Simply put, your website needs to be designed to current industry standards with special attention to the basics like page titles, meta descriptions, accessibility, and navigation.

2) Build web presence

Once your website has the basics down you can concentrate on promoting it. Depending on your product you may want to utilize viral media sources like YouTube, MySpace or Twitter. These can be great for B2C type product lines if used in conjunction with directory placements, online press releases, online trade publications, forums and article submissions. The key is to get as many quality links to your website as possible; this will increase your search rankings. The higher your rankings are, the more traffic you will get.

3) PPC advertising

There are several PayPerClick options to choose from. The largest network consists of Google AdWords. You may have noticed these ads when you search for a product on Google and there are “sponsored links.” Adverisers pay to see their advertisement there when you search for certain keywords. This can be a very effective method to drive traffic to your website.

Note: PPC advertising is getting more expensive because of the dramatic increase in competition over the years. This could also reduce the effectiveness of your campaign if it is not monitored closely.

4) eNewsletters

Sending out eNewsletters can be a very effective way of staying in front of leads and existing clients. There are a couple of basic guidelines when sending an eNewsletter.

  • a) Frequency – Choose a frequency that makes sense. If you email them too much it will reduce the effectiveness of all the newsletters

  • b) Content – Don’t send a newsletter for the sake of doing it. Provide your mailing list with something of interest and they will thank you for it.

  • c) Unsubscribe – Make sure your newsletter has an Unsubscribe option. It will help you maintain an email list that is of the highest quality and reduce bad feedback.

  • d) Compatibility—There are countless email programs. You need to make sure that your eNewsletter looks acceptable in the major ones like Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo.

5) Campaign evaluation

One of the most important part of making an online marketing campaign is measuring its results. Keeping track of keyword rankings, incoming leads, new website traffic, and sales are among the most important indicators to a successful campaign. Since online media is usually fast moving and contains many traceable activities you should be able to track the success of your campaign with much greater detail than any other media.

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