Online Direct Marketing
Online direct marketing is a key e-commerce feature for any business hoping to increase sales by having a Web presence. However, just having a website is not enough. Unless you have a highly efficient form of search engine optimization, or the backing of a global brand, you can't expect customers to just stumble on your website - you've got to drive people there.
This is where your online direct marketing comes in. E-commerce has seen double digit growth in the last few years and online sales have now topped the $100 billion mark. To get a slice of the action you've got to get people visiting your site. By using the methods outlined below you can up the traffic to your website and start increasing sales.
Opt-in email marketing is one of the fastest growing areas of direct marketing and one of the most successful. By keeping in touch with your customers you can alert them to special offers, sales, and products they may have a special interest in. By piquing this interest or selling them an irresistible offer you'll direct traffic right to your site. You'll find more on email marketing solutions here .
Positioning banner ads on sites other than your own can be good for visibility but not necessarily have a great return on investment. Generally banner ads offer a worse return than a traditional direct mail campaign and a worse click through rate (CTR) than text links. Although they're easy to place and may make customers more brand aware they're not the most successful method of driving traffic to your site.
Pay per click (PCC) ads
Targeted online advertising such as that available through pay per click affiliate programs can seem an attractive proposition, but it's generally expensive to run. It's easy to succumb to an expensive bidding war on a popular keyword and still not reach the top of the listings or to opt for the highest click through rate and not see these visitors translate into purchasing customers. If you're planning a PPC campaign, look for more unusual keywords and always check the conversion rate as well as the click through rate. For more on using affiliates see our page on website marketing .
Search engine optimization (SEO)
By optimizing your website for the right keywords, ensuring you have unique content and keeping page sizes small (ideally less than 20k), you should be able to climb the rankings in the largest search engines. Having a high natural ranking in Google, Yahoo or MSN is the best possible way of driving traffic to your site. For more on SEO see our search engine marketing tips page.
Sponsored search results
If you can't optimize your site so that it ranks naturally you can bid for a placement in the sponsored search results. These results appear at the top or side of the results page in search engines, are an impressive tool in driving traffic to your site and a simple and unobtrusive form of online direct marketing.