10 Quick and Simple online Marketing Tips

Without an effective Internet marketing strategy, no online business can succeed. The definition of marketing is anything you do to get or keep a customer. These 10 Internet marketing tips will help you to get customers as well as keep them!

  1. Mailing List
    Give customers a reason to come back again and again by building a mailing list and keeping in touch. (Both electronic mail and regular postal)
  2. Create a Newsletter
    Using your Mailing list a newsletter and email marketing is key in keeping in touch with the customers you’ve manage to get in your store or on your website. It takes a lot of work to gain a customer. Why let them leave without offering a way to stay in contact?
  3. Submit Your Site
    Many new website owners submit their site to the major search engines and then sit back and wait for customers to come. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Those same website owners often overlook all the other directories available.
    Look for specialized link directories and niche sites to submit your business information and website. Not only will these directories help increase your link popularity, but they can drive highly targeted traffic to your retail store.
  4. Get Referrals
    Word of mouth is the least expensive and most effective way to get new business. You can double or even triple your profits by getting your past customers to refer their friends to you. This is a powerful tool for Internet marketing! Tell everyone that you know that you have a website. It is your ONLINE brochure and speaks for you when you are not available.
  5. Join Social Networking
    Social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn may or may not help you sell your products but if that’s where your customers hang out, maybe you should too. The blogs on these sites can help retailers keep in touch with shoppers, make announcements or feature new merchandise and promotions.
  6. Grab Local Listings
    Google, Yahoo, Superpages, Gumtree and other directories and search engines are creating tools for local shoppers to find your business, provide maps of location, hours of operation and even coupons. Many of these listings are free with upgrade options for a fee.
  7. Give Something Away
    Shoppers love to get something for nothing! Retailers know this and have used freebies and giveaways as marketing tools for decades. Pens with the business name on them at the checkout counter and shopping bags with store logo are so commonplace in a retail store that we may not even see them as marketing items. Unfortunately, these items can actually become quite costly.
    Not all giveaways must be expensive. A big advantage of marketing a website is the opportunity to easily and quickly offer contests, coupon codes, product samples and even valuable content as promotional giveaways. So use your Mailing list that you have gathered and email everyone telling them that the first 5 to respond will receive a free item!
  8. Print business cards
    Print at least 1,000 business cards… Have them professionally printed on good quality stock. The product’s name (or logo) and perhaps a slogan (one or two descriptive words) should be the focus. Then your name, web site, email, and telephone number should be sufficient. Give your card to customers, suppliers, and anyone else that has a connection to your product… You never know where your best leads will come from.
  9. Invest in a Paid Search (Pay-Per-Click) Campaign
    When you pay for traffic (visitors) that click on your advertisements that are being advertised on search engines, this is called pay-per-click or search engine advertising. Paid search allows you to quickly leverage search engine traffic by bidding for keywords that are related to the products or services that you promote and sell on your website. Paid search advertising is particularly beneficial to companies who are not yet well ranked on search engines through natural search.
  10. Create a Company Blog
    In the past, corporates have focused marketing and communications efforts on becoming faceless. This has changed significantly. Where the online consumer has become very much in control, companies will no longer be able to connect with their customers in a meaningful and emotional way without having a personality. More and more companies are starting to realize the significance of establishing a company personality and we are starting to see more Corporate Blogs coming alive. Business Blogging will continue to become more lucrative as more and more people look to new media such as Blogs and social websites for insight. A blog can be added quickly and easily to any existing website. These are just a few things you can do to market your website and bring more traffic to your site.

Simple Branding Tips

All big companies understand the importance of branding. They understand how your logo should be on EVERYTHING. From something as simple as a business card to the extravagance of a Billboard.
The more people see your logo and name the more they will associate with you and remember who you are.

However the smaller business cannot always afford to pay the money needed to put their logo and name on everything out there. And in the beginning this is when they need the brand follow-thru more than ever.

I have compiled a few simple actions that you can take even if on a tight budget:-

Logo
Logo design can be quite expensive but a logo is ESSENTIAL if you are wanting to brand your business.
Your Logo should be:-

  • Simple and easily recognisable from all angles.(You should be able to recognise it in a simple glance)
  • Clean clear lines and easy to read font.
  • Should be appropriate to your Business.
  • It should be easily transferred to all mediums of advertising ie, print, stamp, web, clothing.
  • It should look good in Black and White as well as colour.

Tag Line
Slogan, Tag Line, Memory Hooks.. call it what you like, it is a powerful tool that every business needs.Wish that when someone needed a service that you were the one that came to mind? A tagline helps people to remember who you are and what you do.
Here are some examples on clever taglines:-

  • “We check your shorts” for an electrician (humor)
  • “We´re dyeing to save you money” for a company who dyes carpet (humor)
  • Bob Howe the mortgage lender says “Know Howe to get your next loan” (pun)
  • “When things go blurry, don´t stop to ´ponda´ stumble to 17th Street and see Dr. Honda” – for an optometrist (poem/rhyme )
  • “When cops are in the foyer, call Marchese, your friendly lawyer.” (poem/ryhme)
  • “When you´re in commotion, who you gonna call? Law in motion!” – for a paralegal firm (lyric piracy /parody)
  • “A business without a sign is a sign of no business” (the old Double Reverse)

Using your Logo and Tagline you will then carry them through all aspects of your Company Image.

Must have´s are:-

Business Cards – Print a generic card if you are on a tight budget so that all employees and business team members can use the one template. Hand out your card to EVERYONE. The only way to build expozure is to be as visible as possible. And so the Business Brand will grow…

Email Stationary – Most businesses send out hundreds if not thousands of emails a week. Why not Brand it? Every email leaving your business should carry your Logo, tagline and contact details. It is your Virtual Footprint in the sand. Dont allow this very important aspect be overlooked.

Website – Carry your Brand forward in a digital form. What better way to interact with the world than a digital brochure of your business? You can tell people who you are, what you do, how they can contact your business and how you can help them. When they type your business service in a search engine, will they find you or your competitor?

BulkMail – Using your existing client base, why not send a newsletter to all your clients informing them of a new product available or any other current promotions? It is one of the most inexpensive forms of advertising currently available out there and you will be able to redirect them to your Website where they can order or view other products/services available.

Office Stationary – InterOffice memo´s, Client correspondence, Company brochures, Even Policy documents should carry your Logo,Tagline and Business name.

Promotions / GiveAways – I know this is almost a given but I have seen many companies give away items without even putting their name on the card. If you are on a tight budget, rather give a company voucher for an inhouse product than buy a bottle of Wine as a gift.

Just a few simple ideas to get you started. If you have any questions please feel free to drop me an email or leave a comment. I always welcome feedback!

What is…

A DOMAIN NAME??
Your web address, eg: www.businessname.co.za. The choice of domain name is a major consideration when doing business online, and it is often one of the first issues to be addressed. While a good domain name wont guarantee success in the online market, it can have a positive(or a negative) impact on almost every aspect of online business. A “good” domain is one that is easy to remember and easy to recite. Consider purchasing variations of your domain name what are phonetically similar and allow for common misspellings.

WHO IS??
A utility that returns ownership information about second level domains. Who is includes the name and address of the registrant, administrative contact, creation date, expiration date, and domain servers.

HOSTING??
Also known as Web site hosting, Web hosting, and Webhosting is the business of housing, serving, and maintaining files for one or more Web sites. Once your website is completed the site must be placed on a web server (a computer which is permanently connected to the Internet). This means that your site can be accessed anywhere around the world at any time.

VIRAL MARKETING??
A marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message (usually by email or forwarding of a website link). If a large percentage of recipients forward something to a large number of the friends, the overall growth snowballs very quickly. The use of humour, gimmicks or incentives can have an impact on pass-along.

SEO
Search Engine Optimization – the use of various techniques to improve a web site’s ranking in the search engines. Creating and improving a website so that it will rank high in the search engines and help potential customers or clients find the website.

CMS
Software that enables you to add and/or manipulate content on a website. The content can be anything from images, text and video,etc and can be managed easily keeping content on a website updated.

Reasons Why You Need a Website

Everyone should have a website. Why should you or your business be any different? There may be some businesses that feel that a website may hold no value to them but I disagree completely.

A website is at the very least your 24 Hour,7 Day a week, Always open online Business Brochure. And if used and implemented correctly from the beginning it will can be a very effective sales channel and marketing tool. Here are a few reasons why a website can be a powerful tool for you and your business.

Branding
Your Business name is as important as your business itself. Then why do so many people use generic *free Mail services for their business? If you are serious about your business then why not represent it in the manner it deserves?
Yourname@yourbusiness.co.za – Advertisng your Business
Yourbusiness@gmail.com – Advertising for Gmail.
By registering your business name online you are leaving your footprint in the online world. Your business becomes alive and ultimately searchable by anyone in the world.

Cost Effective
Utilizing the Internet for your business is very inexpensive. Hosting starts from as little as R3 per day and this normally includes both hosting of your DOMAIN NAME, WEBSITE and EMAIL accounts. You can start off with just using electronic mail (e-mail) as a way to communicate with existing customers and new ones.

E-Mail
Fast, and simple communication with anyone around the world with a simple click of button. An email can be used for all your correspondence with clients. And while you’re at it, you can “attach” other documents to your e-mail. For example, you can send an updated proposal to your representative across the country – quickly and at no cost.

Customer Support
Provide personalized support for your customers with answers to common questions; assistance on specific products or services, provide a variety of ways in which you can be contacted. Do all this without answering a phone or hiring additional staff.

Always Available
This sounds bad but in reality it’s a big plus. With e-mail, people can contact you anytime it is convenient for them. You can respond anytime that’s convenient for you. When you have a website, potential customers can find out about your products and services 24 hours a day. Isn’t this much better than getting a call at 2:00 AM from a potential customer in a time zone that’s 6 hours ahead of yours?

Capture the International Market
Why restrict your market to the “English-speaking” world? Translate your website into a number of languages and offer a choice to users when they come to your home page to further increase your exposure.

Constant Updates
Whenever you produce new product catalogues, brochures and other sales material it can run into the tens of thousands of Rands, however online updating is fairly inexpensive and easy. This can be done by a professional or using a CMS panel such as *NetConsole which will allow you the client to just log on and update when needed.
So as you can see, a website is a valuable asset to ANY business out there. So why not give your business an online presence today?

What is Social Media?

Wikipedia explains it as follows
“Social media is content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. At its most basic sense, social media is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content. It’s a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologues (one to many) into dialogues (many to many) and is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers.”

It is very simply put information that is exchanged between everyday people using Social Media Networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Blogs , Lindin etc.

Because this information is sent using social networks it can spread like wildfire as opposed to the conventional means of media (magazines, newspapers, company newsletters). People are more inclined to listen to the experiences of a family member than a promise for a car dealer. For instance if John’s Aunt tells him of the amazing hand brake U-Turn she can do with her new Daihatsu Charade, John will most likely want to take one for a testdrive for himself even though he saw a billboard advert that claimed that the New Golf can do an awesome handbrake U-Turn.

The only thing to remember though is that it is Consumer-Generated-Media and should be treated as such.

Here is a list broken down between Pure Social and Business Social to help you make a choice regarding Social Networks:-

Primarily Business Social

  1. Twitter
  2. LinkedIn
  3. Zorpia
  4. StartupNation
  5. Entrepreneur Connect
  6. Biznik

Primarily Personal Social

  1. Facebook
  2. MySpace
  3. Twitter
  4. Tagged
  5. BeBo

And dont forget about FlickR and Posterous for all your Photo Sharing !!

AS you can see there are a great many social networks out there. Choosing the right one for you will take some time in the beginning but can be very rewarding for you and your business.

You may find trying to keep tabs on all these sites a little daunting but you can sign up on sites such as FriendFeed as a management tool.

So, the question remains…
“Is it a viable form of marketing your business?”
This is tough to answer because of the amount of variables involved. What I can say however is that the best marketing done via Social Networks is done incidentally as opposed to aggressively.
And at the very least it is a very useful key to a wealth of information.

You have a Website – What Now?

You made the leap. You have firmly placed both feet and an elbow into the online world and got yourself a brand new website for your business.

But now what?

It´s got some cool graphics and pertinent information about your company and maybe even a shopping cart. The copy has been spellchecked and your MetaTags are 100% relevant..

But it just isn´t doing what you wanted/expected it to do.

Take a step back. Look at your website and ask yourself, was it designed with your needs in mind?

The biggest problem is that the majority of the sites that are developed are done without a clear goal in mind.

So what is the goal of your website?

Here are some examples of site objectives:-

  • To inform?
  • To build a community?
  • To gain valuable market research?
  • To reduce support and customer service costs?
  • To reach a broad audience with a message?
  • To find sales leads?
  • To conduct e-commerce?
  • To gain advertising revenue?
  • To brand your company?
  • To build trust?
  • To reduce printing and mailing costs?

Identify your target audience

It´s time to think like your target audience. What do they want to see? What information do they need? Why are they even visiting your site? If you can´t get into their mindset, organize an informal focus group and ask them what they want. It´s that easy! Let them poke around your current site and give you feedback. Usability issues can be identified during this process as well.

Once you have what is you want your website to do and who your target market is, it is far easier to attain the goal you desire. Discuss these goals with your WebDeveloper and he will advise you on the way forward and what will be best to attain those goals.

Remember, the web is not just a marketing tool – it´s a business tool as well. While it is perfectly okay to have an Online Presence that simply contains contact information, why settle for that when your site can do so much more? Once you start thinking about it, it´s easy to get excited about the potential for your site.

The most important thing is that when you build a great site that keeps your end user in mind, it will be easier to get good links, good rankings and all around good results. The benefits will far exceed your expectations, and best of all, you won´t be as dependent on search engine rankings to meet your goals.