by Jeffrey Spencer
Unsure about all the different tools and techniques that are available to you for building your business on the Internet? Here we review 15 marketing ideas ... both on and offline ideas for beginner to advanced marketers.
If you ask experienced online marketers, they will tell you that successful Internet marketing demands the use of many marketing tools - not just a Web site!
1. Classified Ads:
Place ads for your catalogs, products, etc. There are thousands of places to do this such as Prodigy, CompuServe, America Online, Web site Malls, Newsgroups, E-mail Newsletters, and more. On the Internet, it helps to offer something FREE in your ad like a catalog, report or a newsletter to get your prospects attention. Since the Internet is a communications medium - and full of free information - users have come to expect freebies.
2. Web Site Storefront:
The World Wide Web is the graphical, multimedia part of the Internet that has been drawing much hype by the press. A Web site is essential if you want to build a successful, credible business on the Internet. Owning a Web site says you are serious and on the cutting edge. Plus, your customers can get information about your business 24 hours a day at their convenience. Smart!
3. Newsgroup/Usenet Postings:
This technique is better for those who have been using the Internet for a while. Newsgroups are discussion groups and mailing lists on the Internet. To participate in a Newsgroup, you must subscribe first. There are estimated to be over 15,000 different Newsgroups, each with its own culture and rules. Before doing any marketing on a Newsgroup make sure they allow advertising messages by checking the FAQs (frequently asked questions). If so, offer something FREE like a catalog, report, press release, etc. and tell them how to get it ... now.
If the discussion group does not allow ads, actively participate in discussions to get the word out who you are. Make comments to other people's post. Offer to help people or tell them about something that would benefit them. It's similar to "networking" in the real world, except you do it online.
4. E-mail Marketing:
Building a targeted, customer e-mail database is probably the most effective marketing tool on the Internet in my opinion. You know all the catalogs and offers you get everyday in your mailbox? Well, you can do the same thing by e-mail. Build a house list of your customers e-mail addresses.
What can you do by e-mail? Send hundreds, even thousands of messages to customers in minutes at virtually no expense. Send a newsletter. A press release about a new product. An announcement about new changes to your Web site. The list goes on. However, do not venture into sending unsolicited e-mail (messages sent without consent). This is only for very advanced marketers who understand the consequences of such activity. Focus on people that have done business with you, asked to be on your mailing list such as from your Web site, or responded to one of your ads.
5. "Signature" Tag:
What is a "signature"? This is a canned message that you tag at the end of every outgoing e-mail you send. It basically says who you are, what you do and how to contact you including name, address, phone number, e-mail address, Web site, and a quick marketing message. It's a subtle way to let people know about you and your business. It's also accepted to use "signatures" in Newsgroup postings.
6. Press Releases:
Press releases that you print offline in newspapers and magazines can also be posted in classifieds online, Web magazines, Newsgroups and archives.
7. Web Site URL/E-mail Tags:
Increase your awareness and online traffic by posting the above information on all pieces of information that leave your office in print or online. This includes ads, envelopes, e-mail, letterheads, flyers, shipping labels - you name it!!
8. Publishing Articles:
Get FREE publicity by offering to publish articles on other people's Web sites, newsletters, and magazines (on and offline). A great way to tell the world about who you are, what you do and how to contact you for FREE. It also establishes you as an "expert" in your field.
9. Leading Forum Discussions:
Conducting an online conference in a forum is a great way to boost your credibility and visibility with a receptive audience. The main conference rooms on America Online, CompuServe, and other online services are always booked with nationally-known movie or media stars, but special interest groups or forums are always looking for experts that can speak to their audiences. Why not you?
10. Banner Advertising:
These are colorful display ads that appear on Web sites and search engines. When they are "clicked," the user is linked directly to your Web site. Place ads on Web sites that target the same customers demographics that you do.
11. Reciprocal Web "Links":
Offer to put a link on your Web site in exchange for a link on someone else's Web site. Look for sites with similar customer demographics that do not compete directly with you.
These are the e-mail equivalent to fax-on-demand. Autoresponders automatically send a canned e-mail message (such as product information, sales letter, etc.) when they receive e-mail. These generally cost about $10 per month. Put autoresponders in your classified ads online, on your Web site, etc. to save you the hassle of manually sending information to prospects. You also receive a digest of all e-mail addresses that contacted your autoresponder. Save these for follow-up marketing.
13. Direct Mail Postcards:
Send inexpensive postcards to your house mailing list (or buy a targeted list) announcing your new Web site or exciting changes to it.
14. "Links" in Internet Malls:
Buy links for your Web site in aggressively promoted malls. You benefit from the combined traffic from many malls that way.
15. "Sub Dealer" Relationships:
Create tremendous cross-promotional leverage allowing other Web sites to broaden their product line with your products. If a sale is generated from their traffic, you agree to fulfill the order and pay the Web site owner a referral commission. See http://www.amazon.com for an example. Put these ideas to work ... and let me know how you make out.
Jeffrey Spencer is the publisher of the nationally recognized marketing newsletter "Internet Profits!" E-mail your name and postal address for a partial FREE sample and the special report "10 Practical Online Marketing Ideas!" to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. Join his "Weekly Success Tip" e-mail newsletter by sending e-mail to mailto:email@example.com or visiting: http://www.choicemall.com/successstyles.
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