Having just begun to make use of online marketing in our very own service and also attempting to unite all the different components to deliver a set of preferred results, we have uncovered it is not a basic task. We have created a massive amount of on-line material from sites, blog site sites, micro-blogging, as well as social media sites network involvement. And it is a big but, how do you convert all this activity (or lack of it) into a coherent message that brings visitors to your target online content and transcends to registrations and/ or sales?
To be sincere we have actually been cheerfully producing web content, accounts on twitter, Facebook web pages, blogs and also regularly uploading however without paying specific focus to the message or the direction. This has actually been a mindful selection on our part as we were not prepared to sign up with whatever up yet, so we just started by increasing our online profile up until we were readied to go. I believe this is just one of the big difficulties for the majority of people entering Web marketing at any type of degree is … why am I doing this? Why am I publishing content onto Blog sites, twittering, when no person is going to anyhow? I'm not reading my various other 1000 followers tweets, so I make certain they are not reading mine! , if I'm the only one ready what I'm writing I 'd sooner not bother!! 2 Post a day, why? of what? What am I mosting likely to state? What difference will it make?
We anticipate those new to Internet Marketing to blindly approve that 'you must obtain a blog site, you must utilize Twitter and join Facebook … trust me … you will certainly see the advantage, in the future every little thing will be much clearer …'.
Here then is the problem … of course registering to these services, Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Linked in or any other social networks system is not in itself going to make any kind of difference to a company. Just the same as publishing some brochures for a mailshot and leaving them in the garage, or going to networking meetings and not speaking with anybody, these won't make much effect either.
The facts are that Web marketing is a complex service. It carries out the functions of structure person's profiles and reputation, Brand name awareness and also product/ service sales via one medium. Each of these areas requires various strategies, strategies and services online, however you can't set about this in a half baked, passive fashion. Internet Marketing has the ability to transform businesses, enable small companies to compete with the 'big boys' and build new enterprises from nothing but not by making one blog post a week, the odd twitter tweet now and then and complaining that sales haven't increased!
So what is the fact? The fact is this, that Online marketing gives the capability to get to 100,000's of people as well as quickly, however it will not occur without initiative … A LOT OF IT!
Many Local business's are possessed independently, extremely usually by the entrepreneur that located a niche, designed a brand-new product or made use of a chance. These people are commonly technical people as well as deal with the old 'Banquet and also Famine' syndrome that discovers haven in Micro and also small businesses. When we're in Sales mode we are exceptionally hectic, when servicing customers, leads dry up … then we're discovered hounding for business once again which occurs, at some point, months after we required it.
Currently normal entrepreneur don't consider themselves as sales individuals and also will readily admit they don't like this part of the business as well as yet without it the business can not survive. I have actually listened to lots of an entrepreneur admit they are not sales individuals, 'I'm essentially too honest to be a sales individual' as if a sales person's function was to somehow encourage someone to acquire a product they don't need as well as do not want. Well, allow us currently different Advertising from Sales.
Marketing is motivating people to consider your services and products … visitors if you like, whereas Sales is the matching of the clients requirements to your offerings. At no factor in this is there any kind of persuasion or manipulation … much better still, a lot of this sales process can be automated with Online marketing. Marketing needs a target market to market too … sales needs us to provide information, validate our offering and also offer an approach to engage with us.
If we apply this to offline marketing, most of the hard work in sending out a mailshot was creating a quality list of people in the first place … our target audience! If we are to engage the services of a Direct Marketing company for a telephone campaign … at some point before this a list must be found, either from an existing database or bought from an organisation specialising in such Lists, the higher the quality the better.
So let us now see what relevance our Online – Internet Marketing activities have in identifying a target market. Consider Facebook, Linked-in, Twitter, Blog subscribers and Registrations for an ezine or other regular communication … what are these?
They are lists of course! lists of people who in some way have connected with you and are probably comfortable to receive correspondence from you or your business. Herein lies the secret then behind why we should bother at all to seek people out, be and follow followed. List building … and the good news is that it can be quite good fun too!
Now in our business we have 5 main products offerings … some of these products have an overlapping potential audience, others do not. It may be necessary therefore to have multiple accounts for Twitter and/ or a separate Facebook page for the different audience. Already you can see that if we are to manage, maintain and post for each product on a regular basis (desirable) then this is a substantial amount of work.
One of the difficulties that some of my colleagues have with building a large list of followers or friends is, 'How can you possibly keep in touch with all these people?, I struggle to stay in touch with my immediate relatives' and for sure, personally corresponding with 60,000 people is not viable … but this is not the point.
These social sites represent a massive network of interconnected people, you are not necessarily communicating on a 1-2-1 basis (although you can do this) but rather are broadcasting what you want to say to everyone who is connected and often to their immediate connections as well!! Suddenly we have the ability to get a message to a very large audience with a single post.
Our role is to provide the information (post), that is it … Now there is a magic number in marketing and sales this is 3%. Taking these numbers if we tweeted with a follower list of 30,000 then we could expect around 900 visits. We have absolutely no idea which ones will click the link … or tell a friend or retweet, however the figures can be quite staggering … Imagine if you worked with other 'Big List' owners and offered a percentage to tweet to their lists … and you did this 3 times per day … the number of visits could become very large.
The lists provide us with a 'potential market' for our products and the purpose of this article is not to go into the detailed techniques for building lists, only that it should be very high up on the list of priorities. So how much time, money and effort should be put into this exercise?
The answer to this question depends on the nature of a business, the ideal customer profile and many other factors, clearly a restaurant has a different set of requirements to someone selling a digital product (such as an ebook) globally. The first thing is to decide an Internet Marketing strategy which is complimentary to the business, once this is defined then the activities required become much clearer.
Once the basic Architecture of the marketing is defined then comes the work and the Investment. If I look at our business as an example, we have invested in three key areas, Colateral, Services and people. Lets look at what is involved in each of these -:.
We have 5 blogs, 6 websites (some complex, some a single page), 7 Twitter accounts, Facebook (4 Business Pages), Linked-In, Ecademy, Hub Pages, StumbleUpon, Squidoo and other online social networking accounts, all these had to be set up, populated, and now managed on an ongoing basis. This is not something which can be done in 20 minutes per day. We have to work all of these resources on a regular basis to keep ourselves in the 'Public eye'.
We have invested in 1 full time person, plus both myself and another member of staff allocate 3 or 4 hours per day to Internet Marketing activities. Staff require training to use the tools that enable us to work our internet marketing, including analyze results.
We utilise a number of 'helper' services which are online and rented monthly, these include subscriptions to some Business Networks, Shopping cart and checkout services, Databases that contain sign-ups for ezines and regular communication, Membership platforms, Blogging services and many many more. None of these services are hugely expensive month on month but vital to continue our Online Marketing activities.
Business Internet Marketing – Taking an offline business and using Internet Marketing techniques to increase sales utilises many of the techniques and tools that conventional Internet Marketing has developed and built over the past 8-10 years. We have all heard the stories of individuals with no overheads generating large monthly incomes without setting foot outside their door, but Internet Marketing is moving into a new phase, one where Offline Businesses will seek to engage the Internet to work for them.
I speak with many Micro and Small businesses on a regular basis and most are oblivious to Internet Marketing and what it could do for them, whether this is because no one has yet bothered to show them, or there is a fear and reluctance to dance with the unknown, or a bit of both perhaps. One thing is for sure, Business Internet Marketing will be deployed by every business over the coming 10-20 years and it is set to be one of the largest markets worldwide.
As we saw with offline marketing in the past where we had PR, Advertising and Marketing agencies, so we shall see the emergence of similar businesses offering Business Internet Marketing services. Traditional companies in this marketing space will need to evolve and offer a completely new range of services The print industry went through a similar metamorphosis some years back, when pre-press production moved entirely to computers and revolutionized the marketplace.
As the Internet Marketing industry matures and the 'Get Rich Quick' mentality fades, successful Internet Marketers will bring a wealth of experience and begin to offer professional Business Internet Marketing solutions to Small and Medium sized businesses. Not shackled with the conventional trappings of offices the Business Internet Marketers will manage a network of global outsourced resources to deliver high quality, low cost Internet Market solutions. The services will include the whole range of activities from setting up infrastructure services such as Blogs or Shopping carts to transactional activities such as managing Twitter accounts, searching and posting tweets, finding/ posting suitable blog posts, even sending and writing articles email campaigns.
Without doubt we are on the edge of yet another evolution with the Internet. Some larger companies, such as IBM and Dell have already woken up to the power of using the Internet and Social networking to engage with a global audience, small businesses have been busy surviving the recession … but as the recovery gathers pace, I am sure that Business Internet Marketing will become an attractive proposition for many.
Chris Ogle is Managing Director of Internet Power Systems Ltd. and is author of his best selling book, In 2 The Clouds. Chris has lived in Watford, England for the majority of his life and is a keen Table Tennis player.
In a career spanning 30 years in the computer industry Chris has worked with 000's of businesses from small Micro companies through to large multinationals such as Laing O'Rourke. With the exposure to such a diverse range of businesses and their operating processes coupled with his technical background Chris was well placed to design and create one of the first completely web based business platforms for SME's.
Internet marketing draws together all the creative and technical aspects of the Internet, which include design, development, advertising and sales, and the techniques used in Internet marketing include search engine marketing, email marketing, affiliate marketing, online advertising and more recently, social media marketing methods as employed in blog marketing, and viral marketing.
Internet marketing is the process of building, promoting a business and growing individual or organization through any online activity including websites, blog sites, article marketing, press releases, online market research, email marketing, and online advertising. Internet marketing and offline marketing will both have an important part to play in the future of any business, assuming it is not purely Internet based.
Since the Internet can be regarded as a 'free for all' activity center where information is shared freely with all interested parties, the cost involved in the overall Internet marketing strategy is relatively low. Apart from the obvious expenditure incurred in operating a web site, a large proportion of the budgets set aside for Internet marketing will typically be swallowed up by resources and services offering expertise in the various marketing techniques that fall under the Internet marketing umbrella. Either way, the overall cost of Internet marketing is much lower than the cost of a similar offline campaign.
Work From Any Location.
All activities that fall under the Internet marketing banner can easily be organized from a laptop computer. Most communications are made using online contact forms, email or instant messenger, and payments for items such as web site hosting, internet marketing software tools and resource fees can all be paid online using a credit card.
The Level Playing Field.
Unlike offline commerce, the use of Internet marketing techniques now make it possible for a sole or individual trader to compete with the larger organizations in his online business. It's true that a larger company whose name was on everyone's lips would have Design agency a head start in the marketing of their web site, and a larger presence in the search engine pages, beyond that the doors are opened and it's quite common to see a smaller commercial outfit riding higher than their much larger competition in search engine results. Yes the online advertising budgets would be much bigger for the national companies, but there are many Internet marketing techniques and resources available to the solo marketers that would help them to stay in touch. There are literally hundreds of new Internet millionaires developed on a daily basis.
There are also many niche areas with good benefits derived from Internet marketing, but generally the process is attractive all round as a method of promoting any business, personal or recreational projects across the Internet. Internet Marketing is where the future lies for businesses large and small. The Internet has arrived and no-one can deny it!