So is Internet Marketing Right for You?
The answer is yes, since people are increasingly turning to the Internet for advice before a product purchase. Internet marketing ensures that they will find you when are ready to make a purchase. But the amount and type of Internet marketing you engage in depends on the nature of your business.
Products with Long Evaluation Cycles
If you carry business-to-business or business-to-consumer products or services, you require the following components of Internet Marketing:
- Website - A website is the basic ingredient from which you move to higher levels of Internet Marketing. Pay attention to clarity, simplicity and flow of the website.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - A website without SEO is like a postal address without a directory listing. People would not know that your site exists and hence won't be able to find it. The way to let them know is to opt for SEO to make it appear in Google search results, particularly the top 10 results when potential customers search with the relevant key words. You may even decide to have pay-per-click campaigns and banner advertising for greater reach.
- Email Marketing - This is the online version of direct print marketing. Reaching directly into the audience' inboxes, it is an essential part of internet marketing and costs little more than the cost of buying an email list if you don't have one.
- Social Media - People don't decide to buy a product based only on what they see on your website. They read articles from the online media, blogs from experts and analysts; they turn to forums and discussion groups; potential buyers are on twitter, Facebook and other social media. You need to reach out to these elements of Internet Marketing and engage with the audience, contribute your advice, making yourself visible to the audience.
- Thought Leadership - If yours is a business in which thought leadership counts, maintain a blog, write articles and create white papers. You need to market them through book marking, cross linking with other bloggers and ensure that the white papers are listed on vertical-specific white paper sites.
- Website & SEO - Even fast moving goods to which customers don't pay attention in the short-term need a website and SEO. In addition, these businesses can reach out to users by addressing the problems they face. This is why when we search for Head & Shoulders, Google throws up well over 5 million results. From shampoos, tooth pastes, detergent powders to toilet cleaners, people surf to find information about how to do things better or find a solution to a problem.
- Building a Community - You build a relation with potential customers by offering advice and solutions to their problems. You can create or join a community and ask for their suggestions in building or enhancing the product. In the process, you engage potential customers, loyalty rises and a brand is built.
- Cross Marketing - You could cross link with online gaming, music-video downloads, or other sites relevant to your business, offering free samples. That's online cross marketing.
- Twitter-Facebook Promotions - You may want to publish promotions and offers over social media networks like Twitter, Facebook.
You may be a small business catering completely to the local market and believe that you don't need Internet Marketing. Many potential customers may not know that you exist. They may be new or may not have purchased your products yet. When they search for vendors or outlets in the locality for your particular service, you would want to be seen in their search results. All it takes is a website and listings in the yellow pages and local directories.