Top 7 Tips To Internet Marketing
By Craig Lock
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A successful online business isn't built overnight; but is the result of many late nights. If anyone says that they can teach you to make a substantial amount of money without hard work, realize they are talking through "a hole in the head and are out of their trees."
After three and a bit years doing it, here are seven tips you should consider when setting out to conduct business online:
- Understand that technology should help you achieve your business and personal goals.
It is merely a tool to move you forward with your vision: a "means to an end" to HELP and enable you, rather than being an end in itself (or perhaps even be a disabler to "non-technos" like me). So make modern technology work to its highest potential for you and your business. Spend time learning about various computer programs and applications (hard though it may be for the "technically challenged"). Then, "use it repeatedly, so you don't lose it!" Accept that the vast majority of www. users are not "technofreaks" (like my associate Bill) and have great difficulty learning new computer procedures. Well, I certainly do (just ask Bill). However, by making a conscious effort and with discipline and effort the habit ingrained makes it easier and easier, as your confidence grows in leaps and bounds.
- Don't take the competition for granted...and don't "knock" them.
Never ever! Yes, even you "slick" Americans and we "little country colonial hicks on the other side of the world." Accept that no business can be the best in every facet. The convergence of computer, media, entertainment and communications means the underlying structures of the computer world will change rapidly and soon...or so my "technogeek" associate, Bill (not Gates) says. The TV/computer/music center is not far away, I hear.
The Net is a worldwide marketplace, so don't be too zenophobic (now that's a really big word that I tried very hard to bring in). I think many Americans (and New Zealanders too) think that theirs is the only country on earth in which to trade and the center of the world...and we're nearly falling off the bottom near Antarctica! However, we can all compete fairly ("fairly") against the competition by transcending international boundaries on a "global level playing field" whereby even the "little guys" can take on the big corporations around the world (except for their massive marketing budgets, of course!). It may mean adjusting your marketing efforts to take into account some cultural differences (like my rather weird sense of humor or different spelling -- although it's the same English language). Here in "Sleepy Hollow" (with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country) in little New Zealand near the bottom of the world, we sell our various products around the globe in response to customer needs.
- Consolidate your business by focusing on what you do best.
Don't try to be "all things" to your customer or try to offer too many products. Concentrate on perfecting and marketing your "best sellers" in your CORE business activities. That is the area which produces the most profitable results for your organization. (remember the "80-20 rule" -- 20% of your activities produces 80% of your results/profit and vice versa!). For us it's creative writing courses.
Now for one rather philosophical...
- Honor your parents, your teachers, your communities and especially your family.
Family is most precious of all, and strong and stable family units make for a strong and stable country. Parenting, I believe, is the most noble occupation of all and parents want their children to be safe online, so supervise them closely. Teach them responsibility in Internet usage so they don't push your telephone bill sky high (as my dear boys do -- but then that's the price of having and educating children -- a tax on sex!). Teach your children well (as Simon and Garfunkel used to sing so melodiously) and wisely. Let them learn that the Net is a great EDUCATION tool for the present and the future and they could be learning "practical skills on the job" and preparing for a future technological career.
- Do not send spam (sending mass amounts of unsolicited email) -- under any circumstances. You are likely to be cut off by your server. I find it rather irritating receiving spam and simply delete all unsolicited email selling products and services...and wouldn't you do likewise because it just clutters up your mailbox?
- Do not launch your product before the market is ready for it.
Test the market first by doing a survey. Ask yourself: Is there a NEED for my particular product? In what way is it distinctive (and superior) to the competition (worldwide, remember!)? Have all your systems in place to market it...then always remember, all products have a definite life cycle and some are relatively short.
- Take the business of Internet marketing seriously.
The world online population is exploding daily and exponentially (big word, but what does it mean?). I'm not sure how many people are online worldwide, but think it may be in the order of 150-200 million at present and increasing daily. In addition, I "guess" there are a similar number of Web sites (and many, many more pages) "out there in cyberspace." So the competition is pretty stiff! As the "cyber-revolution" gathers momentum, imagine if everyone is online one day? Impossible perhaps, but who knows! What will that do for your business and you? An unlimited target market for your PRODUCTS, if you are still going strong by then. VERY EXCITING!
- Have an effective Web presence.
Your site should explain immediately what the visitor will get for their time online. If it is not clear WHY they should stay, they'll leave before they try to find out. Therefore make your site as interesting and informative as you can. I've seen many sites where I don't know the Webmaster's objective or his/her purpose. Are they purely for information or trying to sell something? Make sure your site loads quickly because people soon get tired of waiting in today's fast/instant (coffee) world.
- Always remember MARKETING YOUR PRODUCT EFFECTIVELY is the key to the success of your business.
If you don't get adequate results, you'll soon be out of business as recurring bills in the post-box without income to pay them soon take all the fun out of your venture into "cyber" self-employment.
Don't forget to use traditional methods of marketing to promote your business, as in advertising (radio, newspapers, brochures, and the most effective of all, word of mouth in your local community). The two strategies (both online and off), I believe, work best together in your marketing plan. I plan to do more offline advertising by allocating a portion of revenue to marketing as it comes in.
Even if you have the greatest product in the world, you will never sell anything if you don't tell people about it. It's like having a billboard in the middle of a forest or a desert. An example: Just because you have a phone number in the phone book doesn't mean that a stranger will call you. So it is absolutely vital that you advertise effectively to bring people to your site; because without advertising, there will be no TRAFFIC and without prospects there will be NO SALES. And without sales there will soon be no business!
- Use the Internet to build a better world.
We are at the forefront of one of the most innovative and far-reaching inventions in human history. The Net is the most cost-efficient, INSTANTANEOUS, EXCITING and effective way of marketing products and services around the globe through modern telecommunications. We live in one of the most exciting times in human history; so exploit the AMAZING POWER of the Internet to reach hundreds of thousands of people and perhaps even millions around the world. Use your creative energies and imagination to the fullest by thinking of new ideas of how to market your particular products. I keep a notebook by my bedside and leave to my creative subconscious mind just before I go to sleep.
I believe INTERNET MARKETING is the KEY to Internet success, especially if you have a limited marketing budget, like us. I allocate at least two hours a day purely to Internet marketing, through submitting my articles on numerous subjects to various ezines and publishing resources. I find it by far the most effective way of free advertising to get traffic (=SALES). Always remember to have a resource box at the end of each article together with your Web site address. Carefully monitor what's working for you and what's not on a regular basis. REVIEW YOUR STRATEGIES REGULARLY. FOCUS ON WHAT ACTIONS GET THE BEST RESULTS.
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Article Submitted On: July 13, 2000