Internet Marketing - Online Advice
When the Internet boom of the late 1990s ended in 2000 it forced businesses to look more carefully and prudently at Internet marketing. Without a good marketing plan, money and time can be wasted.
So how should you use the Internet? Should it be to raise the profile of your business, and to communicate your brand ideals to the online community? Should you use the Internet as simply another medium on which to advertise? Or should you start to use your website as act a point of sale for your goods?
At a very basic level, it's important to consider the Internet as a telephone directory -it's rare that a basic listing stands out, but it's important to be there. You are, after all, advertising your product in an environment where people are actually looking for information (rather than on TV or radio, where this the temptation to flick stations is all too strong). This means that even a company that makes fruit juice - an impulse-buy grocery product that you wouldn't usually need to buy online -- is unlikely to need a major online presence to sell its good to individual customers, but may want to advertise its wares to wholesalers and those after industry information. At the other end of the scale, the electronics wholesaler is likely to want a major online presence and e-commerce shopping cart software to sell its wares over the website directly to customers.
You then need to consider your unique selling point - what makes your product different compared to what is offered by your competitors? - and to communicate the benefits if this product (in other words, not just the details of the product itself) to your potential customers. Remember, you sometimes have just a few seconds to communicate the virtues of your site to a casual websurfer, so use those seconds wisely.
Types of Internet marketing include search engine optimization, direct marketing (via email outs to customers), client building and the building of brand awareness and reputation. And remember that once you start promoting online, update your site regularly and keep the incentives rolling: gathering new customers is one thing; making sure they return is quite another.
Whichever type of internet marketing you decide to use, be sure to thoroughly research your market base and take time constructing your plan.