Strategic Internet Marketing
Developing Effective Internet Marketing Strategies for Your Business
Finding the Right Internet Marketing Mix
How much of your marketing strategy should be handled online, which Internet marketing elements you use, and the importance you should give to your website, depends on the nature of your business, your budget, and, to some extent, your personal traits. All of these considerations are part of strategic Internet marketing decisions that help develop Internet marketing strategies for a business.
Using Offline Elements with Internet Marketing Strategies
Unless you transact business only online, for example if you are an eBay reseller, you will probably want to include some traditional offline marketing elements in your overall marketing strategy in addition to the elements in your Internet strategy in your marketing mix. Even those who conduct business only online might consider placing traditional ads in newspapers or magazines to bring prospects to their website to transact business online. Perfect examples of including offline elements as part of Internet marketing strategies are Expedia, Travelocity and Monster.com. While they are online businesses, they invest heavily in traditional advertising, including radio and TV advertising, to draw traffic to their sites where the actual business is conducted.
Develop Internet Marketing Strategies You Like
If you have a personal distaste for "spam", which most of us do, you may not want to include email marketing in your strategic Internet marketing plan. However, email marketing doesn't have to mean just sending out unsolicited messages to every email address you can gather. If you include a visitor registration form on your website, for example, or if you exhibit at trade shows, you have the vehicles needed to collect email addresses of interested prospects. You might consider creating a newsletter and sending it to these prospects on a regular basis as part of your strategic Internet marketing plan. Or, you might just set up a schedule where you periodically send an email to your interested prospects to see how they're doing, if you can be of assistance to them, or if their needs have changed since you last talked. So even if you don't incorporate email marketing into your Internet marketing strategy, per se, you are still using email as a tool to promote your business.
Your Budget and Your Internet Marketing Strategy
Of course, your budget will also determine the components you use in any of the Internet marketing strategies you might develop. A website will require you to choose a domain name and register it and to purchase web hosting services for your website. Both items are deeply discounted, in fact I recently saw an offer for domain name registration for only $1.99 per year - provided you also purchase other services, like hosting, which is now also available for less than $10 per month.
Once that's done, you'll need a design and content for your website, which you'll either need to provide yourself or pay to have a web content professional and/or web designer handle it for you.
Once your content and design are in place, you'll want your site to be found, so you'll want to learn about search engine optimization (SEO), which is an important part of strategic Internet marketing, whether you
Ideally, if you pay to have web content written for you, that content should be optimized for search engines when it's written. Likewise, you or your web designer should know something about SEO because how your site is designed can enhance or limit your site traffic, and in the vast majority of cases, SEO should be a significant part of your Internet marketing strategy. In both cases, you may pay a bit more, but you'll save time in the long run.
Once your website is up and running, you'll either need to maintain it yourself or outsource the duties to an independent Webmaster to do it for you.
Pay-per-click advertising (PPC), like Google AdWords can be easy on your budget because you can specify how much you're willing to pay when someone clicks your ad and how much you're willing to pay per day. You can also specify whether you want to include your ad only on search pages or on other websites related to your keywords. You can set geographic and time of the day restrictions on when and where your ads run. Plus, PPC ads are fairly easy to activate and suspend whenever you need to do so, they're easy to update and they provide near real time tracking benefits you won't get with most other elements in your Internet marketing strategy. You can also use images and/or videos with PPC advertising, which may be more cost effective than placing banner ads on other websites.
On the other side of the coin, you can use pay per click ads to make money with your website, through programs like Google AdSense, Yahoo Publisher or Microsoft AdCenter.
Tracking the Results of Internet Marketing Strategies
Let's face it: the average home business operator is not awash in cash. If you're going to be spending money on strategic Internet marketing initiatives, you'll need to track how effective they are. As you do so, you'll discover which Internet marketing strategies work for your business and which do not. And, you can learn from the mistakes you make in your Internet advertising campaign to improve your skills and enhance your success. Knowing what's worth spending money on and what isn't is very helpful in developing Internet marketing strategies as your business matures.
Strategic Internet Marketing Needs to be Flexible
Keep in mind, in most cases, patience is a true virtue when it comes to tracking the success of a strategic Internet marketing campaign. Search engines aren't likely to find you overnight and your strategies may not generate revenues right away.
Because you'll have literally millions of competitors who are also engaging in strategic Internet marketing, it will behoove you to keep on your toes and be ready to make necessary adjustments in your Internet marketing strategies when appropriate. However, some knowledge, some capable assistance, and a well-managed strategic Internet marketing plan can increase your chances for success.
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