When is Internet Marketing Worthwhile? In general the answer to this question is always but the answer is much more involved. Sure Internet marketing is worthwhile but as with any type of marketing it is only worthwhile if it is done well. For example you can spend thousands of dollars on a television marketing campaign but if no one sees your commercials or your commercials do not reach your target audience and generate sales, the advertising was not worthwhile. So perhaps a more appropriate answer to this question would be that Internet marketing is worthwhile when it works. This is a rather vague statement but this article will investigate the issue further and explain how you can make Internet marketing work for your business. One of the most basic principles of marketing is to make sure you reach your target audience. This is so important because your target audience is the people who are most likely going to be interested in purchasing your products or services. It is much easier to sell your products or services to those who already have an interest in the products and services you have to offer than it is to convince those who are not interested in your products or services at all. As an example consider a business who sells fishing rods. You will want to market your products to those who enjoy fishing either competitively or as a leisure activity because among this audience you are likely to find people who may be interested in purchasing a new fishing rod. It would make sense to place an advertisement for your business on a website selling bait and tackle or a website which organizes fishing trips in exotic locations. Conversely it would not make sense to place your advertisement on a website selling telescopes because you are not likely to reach a large target audience here. There may be some stargazers with an interest in fishing but your advertising dollars and efforts would be better spent placing advertisements with websites more closely related to your business. Another factor to consider when purchasing advertising space on another Internet website is traffic the amount of traffic the other website receives. This is significant because you want to place your advertisement on a website which is closely related to your own and likely to attract a similar audience but you also want your advertisement to receive a large amount of attention. For this reason it is important for your advertisement to appear on a website which receives a great amount of traffic each month. This will help to ensure your business is getting a great deal of exposure through this advertising. When it comes to Internet advertising, there is a fine line between great advertising and spam. Some business owners get carried away trying to get as much exposure as possible and can sometimes go overboard and wind up being considered spam. Internet users who see your advertisement in a couple of key locations will likely notice the advertisement and may be compelled to visit your website immediately or may keep your website in mind for future use. However, Internet users who see your advertisement everywhere they look are likely to view your advertisement as spam. This can be harmful because they are not likely to visit your website because they expect it to not be worthwhile. In any Internet marketing campaign it is important to carefully monitor the results of your marketing efforts and make changes to your campaign as necessary. This is important because you want to make sure your marketing efforts are paying off and the best way to do this is to evaluate the results of your advertising carefully. One way to do this is to place specially coding in each one of your advertisements so you will know which advertisements are generating business for you and which ones are not. You can use this information to decide whether you should modify the ineffective website or stop running these advertisements. If you decide to modify them you will want to continue to monitor the results to determine whether or not the changes made the advertisements more effective. Are You Already Marketing On The Internet? Take a moment to think about how you would really answer this question. If given enough thought just about any business owner who utilizes the Internet for any purpose will likely find that whether or not they intentionally organized an Internet marketing campaign, they may already be marketing their products and services on the Internet. This article will examine some subtle ways business owners may already be marketing their business on the Internet. Do you have a website for your business? Business owners who answer yes to this question are already marketing their products or services online just by virtue of the fact that they have a website online. Having a live website means there is the potential for curious Internet users to access your website. You may not be actively promoting your website but you may still find that your website generates interest in your products despite the lack of promotional endeavors; this is a form of passive marketing. Do you participate in message boards and include a link to your website in your signature? Again business owners who answer yes to this question are already marketing their website online. Savvy business owners realize the importance of participation in industry related message boards to create an interest in their products and services, establish themselves as knowledgeable about the industry and offer a link to their own website even if it is in the signature line of their posts. However, even business owners who do not realize this may already be inadvertently enjoying the benefits of Internet marketing which result from message board participation just by doing something they enjoy and may be doing as a form of leisure activity. Do you include keywords which are relevant to your business in the content of your website? Business owners who answer yes to this question are also already marketing on the Internet by optimizing their website for these keywords. These search engine optimization (SEO) affects the websites whether or not they were even aware of the concept of keyword density and how it can help to SEO a website. Business owners will likely use certain words often depending on the type of products and services they offer just because it is natural and logical to do so. This tendency, however, can result in search engines boosting your website rankings for these particular keywords. The concept of SEO is much more involved and complex than simply using keywords frequently but business owners can gain some benefit just by naturally applying relevant keywords to their website. Do you solicit feedback from your customers online? This is yet another example of how business owners may be accidentally marketing their business on the Internet. Most business owners realize the importance of soliciting feedback from customers for business purposes and business owners who offer products online might solicit feedback in the form of online surveys. Although the business owners may be doing this simply for a business purpose the fact that it is done online makes it fall into the category of Internet marketing. We have already discussed several ways in which business owners may already be marketing online but what about business owners who want to have an increased online presence? Business owners who may already be marketing online accidentally may wish to launch a full scale Internet marketing campaign. The best way to do this is to hire a consultant with experience in Internet marketing to assist you in creating a campaign which is effective for your target audience. Will Internet Marketing Work for Your Business? This is an extremely difficult question to answer because there are so many complex factors involved. Specifically they techniques you employ in your Internet marketing campaign as well as the execution of these techniques can determine whether or not Internet marketing will work for your business. Additionally, the likelihood of your target audience using the Internet and responding to your marketing efforts should also be considered into the equation. This article will outline the potential for success in an Internet marketing campaign. Before making the decision to embark on an Internet marketing campaign you should carefully consider your target audience. The Internet is used widely around the world but whether or not members of your target audience are likely to utilize the Internet to research or purchase the products or services you sell is not guaranteed. This is significant because investing a great deal of time, effort and money into Internet marketing when your target audience is not likely to respond to these efforts is not worthwhile. Conducting market research can do a great deal to help you determine whether or not you should invest in an Internet marketing campaign for your business. This step is very important because it will give you a good indication of whether or not you should even begin marketing your business on the Internet. Hiring a firm specializing in market research is recommended because they can conduct this research quickly and efficiently and will likely gain a great deal of valuable information as a result of their research efforts. If they determine your business can benefit from an Internet marketing campaign, it is time to start thinking about how you want to advertise your business online. Again, seeking the help of professionals can be an extremely worthwhile investment. If you are not well versed in the industry of Internet marketing, hiring a firm with a great deal of expertise in this industry can be very helpful. They can assist you by consulting with you to determine which marketing strategies will be most effective, designing advertisements for your campaign, helping you to orchestrate your Internet marketing campaign and evaluating the results of marketing efforts to determine which strategies are working and which are not. The potential for success with an Internet marketing campaign is virtually limitless. The success you enjoy is only limited by your ability to promote your products and services and execute effective marketing strategies. Some of the marketing strategies you may wish to employ may include optimizing your website for relevant search terms, placing links to your website judiciously on the Internet, writing and publishing e-newsletters and utilizing affiliates to promote your website. Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important aspects of any Internet marketing campaign. SEO is so important because it dictates the ranking of your website on popular search engines. Internet users value these results and are not likely to seek out websites which do not rank well with search engines. Conversely, high ranking websites can enjoy a great deal of increased website traffic as a result of these rankings. Inbound links to your website are also important in Internet marketing. Inbound links are links on other websites which direct users to your website. These links are important in an Internet marketing campaign. First of all many search engines factor inbound links into their ranking algorithms which means inbound links can result in higher search engines rankings. Also, these links can be used directly by website users to access your website. This means you can gain traffic directly from these links. Another way to enjoy a successful Internet marketing campaign is to orchestrate an affiliate marketing campaign. Affiliates are essentially website owners who place a banner ad on their website to direct traffic to your website. Typically, affiliates are only compensated when the advertisement on their website produces a desired effect such as enticing the users to click through the advertisement, resulting in a sale or resulting in another action such as filling out a survey or registering with your website. Affiliate marketing can not only be highly effective but it is also cost effective because you only pay the affiliates when they produce results. Why Internet Marketing Does Not Work Without SEO Search engine optimization (SEO) should be considered a critical element of any Internet marketing strategy. This is important because there is so much which can be gained from SEO in terms of Internet marketing and advertising. Failure to optimize your website for search engines can result in a considerable loss in terms of free advertising which is essentially gained from ranking well with search engines. This article will provide insight into what SEO is and will explain why Internet marketing requires at least some degree of SEO. SEO optimization is a strategy in which a website is designed to obtain favorable search engine rankings from popular search engines. This may be achieved in a variety of different ways and optimal SEO strategies combine a variety of different strategies to complete one well orchestrated SEO campaign. There are several elements to consider when attempting to optimize your website for search engines. This may include keyword density, prominence, META tags, titles and inbound links. Keyword density is one of the most common SEO strategies and essentially involves using relevant keywords often in the content of a website to demonstrate the relevance of these keywords to the website. This is important because search engines are likely to reward websites with optimal keyword densities with favorable search engine rankings in an effort to provide Internet users with the most relevant websites for particular search terms. The prominence of keywords should also be considered. This includes how close the keywords are placed to the beginning of the website. The common mistake with this strategy is to believe the first opportunity to incorporate keywords is in the first line of visible text on the webpage. This is not true because search engines crawl the code of a website as opposed to the visible content on the website. This means there are multiple opportunities to incorporate relevant keywords long before the actual visible content on the website. This might include the code for the title as well as the META tags. Business owners who realize the potential for incorporating keyword into the code gain an advantage over competitors who only incorporate keywords into the content on their website. Another area of concern which is very important for those who are interested in SEO is inbound links. Inbound links are essentially links which reside on other websites and direct traffic to your website. These links are considered important because many search engines place a value on inbound links because they are essentially an example of one website recommending another website. However, when obtaining inbound links it is important to do so from other websites which rank well with search engines because many search engines consider the rank of the original website when determining the value of the inbound link. Now that we have briefly explained some of the main concept of SEO, we will illustrate why it is important to optimize your website in the first place. SEO is so important because most Internet users highly value the results of search engines and are likely to only visit to ranking websites when they search for a particular keyword. Internet users trust search engines to serve the most relevant content first and are therefore not likely to visit websites which do not fall on the first or second page of search results. This means websites which rank well essentially are receiving a great deal of free advertising from search engines that place their website in a key position. Website owners who do not invest time into optimizing their websites miss out on a great deal of potential web traffic. The Importance of SEO in Internet Marketing If you are already running an Internet marketing campaign or are about to embark on an Internet marketing campaign, one concept you cannot afford to skimp on is search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is one of the most popular buzz words in Internet marketing but unfortunately most Internet marketers simply do not know enough about SEO to make this strategy work for them. Even those who are knowledgeable about SEO may have difficulty executing their SEO strategies to produce the desired affect. Advertising is a very important part of running any type of business. You need to advertise to reach new customers and market your products or services. Whether you run your business online or not you probably already realize how important it is to advertise but if you are running your business online you should understand there is a great deal of free advertising available in the form of optimal search engine rankings. Well known search engines such as Google rank websites according to complex algorithms which are designed to determine which websites are most relevant for particular search terms. Therefore taking the time and effort to optimize your website for relevant search terms may result in you being rewarded with high search engine rankings for these terms. This is important because most Internet users rely heavily on these rankings. It is not uncommon for Internet users to only review the first few results when they search for a particular term. This means if your website ranks high enough to appear on the first page of the search results you will likely enjoy increased website traffic. However, if your website doesn't make it to the first page or even the second page, it is unlikely you will receive a great deal of website traffic from visitors who use search engines. Now that you understand why search engine rankings are so important you might wonder how to achieve these rankings. The easiest way to optimize your website is to hire a SEO specialist to do the work for you. The world of SEO is complex and continually evolving making it difficult for most business owners who do not specialize in SEO to keep up with the changes in the industry. Therefore, business owners who attempt to optimize their website by themselves may have difficulty keeping up with competitors who hire a SEO consultant to optimize their website. The algorithms used by search engines can be rather complex and include a number of different factors. Some of the common factors in the equation include keyword density, META tags, titles, inbound links, website traffic and content. Keyword density refers to the number of times a particular keyword is used in the content of your website. The theory behind this concept is that website which use a keyword often are likely extremely relevant to that keyword, however, overuse of that keyword may result in penalties to the website if the search engine deemed the keywords are not being used appropriately. META tags are pieces of HTML code which some search engines use in evaluating the content of a website. Placing keywords in these tags can be beneficial in some search engines. However, care should be taken to avoid placing irrelevant keywords in these tags as this may result in your website being penalized. Inbound links are also used by some search engines to rank websites. Inbound links refer to links on other websites which point to your website. In evaluating the worth of these inbound links, some search engines consider the rank of the website providing the link to your website. This means you should ensure the website providing inbound links to your website are high ranking websites to receive the most benefit from these links. Finally, the content on your website can do a great deal to bolster your search engine rankings. Most SEO firms retain a staff of writers who are skilled at providing quality content which is also optimized for relevant keywords. If you hire a SEO firm who does not providing copywriting services you should invest in hiring a professional writer yourself. This will help to ensure the copy on your website is not only valuable to your visitors but also considered valuable to search engines. Using Your Content for Internet Marketing If you are currently marketing your business online and have not put a great deal of thought into the content on your website, you may be making an incredibly costly mistake. The content on your website is invaluable for a number of reasons. First of all it gives visitors to your website their first impression of your business and the products and services you offer. Additionally, well written content can be instrumental in selling your products and services to your potential customers. Finally, the content on your website can influence the size of the target audience you are able to reach by helping to improve your search engine rankings. With your content capable of doing so much, it is clear you should be hiring a professional content writer to assist you writing the copy for your website. This article will delve deeper into the importance of providing accurate, concise and informative content on your website when you are marketing online. One of the most basic reasons why the quality of the content on your website is so important is because visitors to your website will likely form their initial opinions of your website based on the content on your website. If the copy is poorly written, does not hold the visitors attention and does not promote your products and services well visitors are likely to exit your website without making a purchase. Conversely, if the copy on your website is well written, engages the reader and promotes the products and services you offer the visitor is more likely to investigate the website further to learn more about the products and services and may make a purchase. The content of your website will be one of the aspects of the website which is first noticed by visitors so it is important for this content to be well written. Well written sales copy can also be very persuasive and may compel visitors to the website to purchase the products or services offered on the website. This is important especially if the main purpose of the website is to sell the products or services. The sales copy should accurately describe the products or services offered, stress the importance of these products and services and compel the visitor to make a purchase. All of this should be done without appearing to be blatantly advertising the products and services. Writing this type of copy can be quite complicated and typically requires hiring a sales copywriter who is experienced and skilled at writing this type of informative and persuasive content. Sales copy written by an amateur or an inexperienced writer will not likely be as effective as copy written by a professional with a great deal of experience in Internet marketing. Finally the content on your website is very important because it can greatly influence your search engine rankings. This is critical because high search engine rankings help your business to reach a considerably larger audience. Internet users are typically looking for information quickly and want immediate results to their inquiries. Search engines understand this profile and write complicated algorithms which help them to supply the most relevant websites when a user searches for a particular word or phrase. This is important to business owners because Internet users realize the value of search engines and are likely to only visit websites which rank well in the search engines. This includes websites which rank on the first page or two of search results. Your business might sell football jerseys and you may have a well designed website, a superior inventory and excellent prices but if your website does not rank well in search engines you are missing out on a great deal of free advertising. If your website lands on the third page or lower most visitors who search for relevant terms will not likely visit your website because they will have found what they were looking for on earlier pages. This is where the content on your website becomes important. Websites containing content which has been optimized for particular keywords will likely rank well with search engines. Hiring a writer skilled in writing optimized content can help to improve your search engine rankings so you can reach more potential customers. Using Online Courses for Internet Marketing Online courses, or email courses are becoming an increasingly popular way for savvy Internet marketers to promote their products and services. Online courses or email courses essentially include short online presentations or emails which include insightful information on a particular niche subject. These courses are usually offered in multiple, short segments to keep the students interested in the topic. This type of advertising serves a useful purpose and many of the participants do not even realize they are being subjected to a marketing campaign. This article will discuss creating and distributing an online or email course for the purposes of advertising your business. The creation of an online course of an email course should begin with a solid idea for a series of educational articles which pertain to your business and will be of interest to your potential customers. Educational email courses can sometimes be sold for profit themselves but if you are interested in using the courses as marketing tools you will most likely be offering these courses free of charge in an effort to entice potential customers to purchase your products or services. Determining the topic of your courses is very important because it can dictate the success of your marketing effort. Consider an online retailer of running shoes. This business owner may want to develop a series of email courses on subjects such as training for a marathon, preventing injuries, increasing speed and running for fun. Each of these courses may contain a few segments which offer different perspectives on the subject. These courses are ideal for this business because they are subjects which are likely to be of interest to the customers of the business. Likewise a real estate agent may opt to offer email courses on subjects such as understanding mortgage options, finding a lender or house hunting. Again these are all subjects which are likely to be of interest to the real estate agents clients. The distribution list for your online or email courses should mostly include members of your target audience. This can be achieved by either offering the course as a download online where only interested Internet users will partake in the course or only emailing the course to recipients who have specifically expressed an interest in receiving more information about your products and services and have submitted their email address for this purpose. Once you decide on a subject for your online or email course, seek out a qualified writer to create the content for your online or email course. This will help to give your copy a more professional appearance. The writer can assist you by creating copy which is informative and useful to your readers but is also well written, clear, concise and easy to understand. If your niche topic is highly specialized you might have to provide the writer with product information as well as research materials to ensure the content is informative and accurate. Additionally, you should review the content once it is completed to verify the accuracy. When distributing your email course or launching your online course, it is helpful to request feedback from the users as the conclusion of the course. This is completely voluntary but when users respond they can provide you with useful feedback which will be extremely helpful if you intend to launch a similar marketing campaign in the future. Using Message Boards for Internet Marketing Internet marketing is a very wide term which can be used to encompass a variety of marketing techniques which are used online. Banner advertisements, website promotion, search engine optimization, email marketing and affiliate marketing all fall under the umbrella of the term Internet marketing but there is even more to Internet marketing than those concepts. Promoting your website or business on message boards can also be considered to be Internet marketing. In fact this is one of the simplest and least expensive Internet marketing options available. This article will examine how savvy business owners can use Internet message boards wisely. It will also explain how message boards can be misused and rendered ineffective as well. Message boards are essentially online meeting places. In general most message boards are focused on a particular niche subject and encourage those who share an interest in this particular subject to get together to discuss relevant issues, ask questions, provide advice and even just socialize. Message boards can focus on any subject imaginable they may focus on a particular baseball team or just the sport of baseball in general. Message boards can focus on subjects such as politics, television shows, bands, current events, jobs, hobbies or any subject imaginable. Savvy Internet marketers can take advantage of these message boards to reach a target audience without investing a great deal of money. Consider a business in which the focus of the business is to assist people in finding jobs which offer telecommute options. The concept of working from home is becoming increasingly popular and there are many websites which focus on this subject. Likewise there are also many message boards devoted to the topic of working from home. Here those with an interest in the subject meet to discuss issues such as finding employment where working from home is an option, working around the schedule of your children, setting up a home office, dealing with friends or family members who don't respect your working hours and paying taxes on freelance assignments. A business owner who actively participates in this message board can take the opportunity to post a link to his website when it is relevant and offers something of value to the conversation. This is worthwhile because the message board features a high concentration of your target audience members. When using message boards to promote your business, it is important to ensure you are following the rules associated with the message boards. Message boards may have restrictions regarding the posting of links and failure to abide by these restrictions may result in you being banned from the message board. For this reason it is important for anyone who is interested in using message boards for promotion of their business to carefully read the user agreement to ensure they are not violating any of the rules. It is also important to simply use common sense when promoting your business on a message board. Just because the rules do not restrict posting links, does not mean you should spam the board with your link. Take care to only include y our link when it is relevant. This will prevent message board users from assuming your link is just worthless spam. Finally, when using message boards to promote your business it is important to be courteous to other message board users and to keep all posts professional. This is important because you and your business are much more likely to be taken seriously if you act professionally and responsibly. You should maintain this degree of professionalism even in posts which do not include your business link. This is important because other message board participants will remember you by your user name and will not be likely to take you seriously if you have previously made posts which were offensive, mean spirited or inaccurate. For this reason it is important to act as a representative from your company at all times. Using Affiliate Marketing To Promote Your Business Even if you are already using the Internet to market your business, you should consider adding affiliate marketing to you Internet marketing campaign. Affiliate marketing, when done right, can yield a great deal of positive results for your business. Furthermore, even when affiliate marketing is not done right, it will not likely be financially detrimental to the business. This is because affiliate marketing is essentially an advertising program in which you only pay the affiliates when their marketing efforts yield financial results for your business. This article will take a look at affiliate marketing and explain how it works and how you can maximize the benefits of affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing essentially involves having website owners, known as affiliates, post advertisements for your website on their own website. You can lear more about affiliate marketig by checking out the Internet marketing blog at www.jeremyburns.com for weekly updates. Affiliate advertisements encourage visitors to click on the link and visit your website. The advertisements are specially coded to allow you to determine how many visitors enter your website through this advertisement. Unlike other types of Internet advertising where the business owner pays for the opportunity to place the advertisement on the website, an affiliate program does not work this way. Instead the affiliate is paid when the advertisement yields a desired result. Affiliate advertisement can work on a pay per impression, pay per click, pay per lead or pay per sale basis. Pay per impression means the affiliate earns a profit each time the affiliate advertisement is served. This means for each unique visitor who views the advertisement the affiliate is given a predetermined amount of money. This amount will depend on a number of factors and will be agreed upon by the business owner and the affiliate before the advertisements begin appearing on the affiliate's website. Pay per click programs reward the affiliate each time a visit clicks through the advertisement. Pay per lead programs reward the affiliate when a visitor not only clicks on the advertisement but also performs a desired action such as filling out a survey or registering with the website. Pay per sale programs reward the affiliate each time a visitor clicks through the advertisement on the affiliate's website and also makes a purchase during this visit. The compensation plans associated with affiliate programs are so desirable because the business owner can have a number of affiliates and they only have to pay these affiliates if the advertising on the affiliate's website is effective. Affiliate marketing does not always work. When seeking out affiliates it is important to look for a number of different factors. An affiliate with a great deal of experience, a website with high traffic and a proven track record for producing positive results will likely be a good choice for an affiliate marketing program. These affiliates rely on their advertising knowledge to promote the businesses and do not necessarily have to understand the business they are promoting. Another excellent choice for affiliate marketing is to select another business that is closely related to your own business but does not compete with your business. This is a good idea because they may share your target audience and their website visitors will also likely be interested in visiting your website as well. For example if you sell running shoes you may wish to run an affiliate marketing campaign on a website that promotes road races such as marathons, half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks. This website does not directly compete with your business but they are likely to attract an audience that would be interested in and have a need for your products or services. Deciding whether or not to implement an affiliate marketing campaign is easy. As we previously mentioned there is very little risk in this type of campaign so it is worthwhile in just about any situation. A more important decision to make is how you plan to compensate your affiliates. The compensation for pay per impression programs is typically pretty low because your business is not necessarily generating a sale from each impression. Conversely, pay per sale programs usually compensates the affiliate better because the business does directly generate a profit from the advertising on the affiliate's website. This amount may a flat fee or a percentage of the sale depending on the affiliate agreement. Using a Website to Market Your Business There are many different ways to advertise your business on the Internet. Placing banner ads, orchestrating an email marketing campaign and tactfully mentioning your business on industry related forums and message boards are just a few of the popular options for Internet marketing. Another Internet marketing strategy involves creating and advertising a website to promote your business. You can use your website in a number of ways. Some of these ways include providing more information about your business and the products or services you offer, letting potential customers know how to reach you and even selling your products and services via the website. This article will highlight the advantages of using a website to market your business and will outline some of the ways the website can be useful. One great advantage to using a website to market your business on the Internet is that you can place descriptions and photos of the products or services your business offers. This is important because many consumers use the Internet when researching products and services. Having an online presence gives your business an advantage over the competition because consumers are much more likely to select your products or services over the products and services offered by your competitors who do not advertise online. Another advantage to marketing your business on a website is you can use the website to not only market but also sell your products directly. Again this can give you an edge over the direct competition. Consumers who use the Internet to research products and services are often very anxious to make their purchases and they would be more inclined to select a retailer or service providers who offer the opportunity to purchase products or services online over a retailer or service provider who only allows for purchase in a store or via phone. Still another advantage to using a website to market your business is the ability to reach a large, worldwide audience. The Internet essentially knows no boundaries and advertising on a website means the business owner can reach competitors around the world instead of being limited to their general location. Advertising via other medium such as television, radio and the print media is somewhat limited and may only reach potential customers in a relatively small geographic area. Another advantage to using a website to market your business is the Internet is available 24 hours a day around the world. This essentially offers you a storefront which is open 24 hours a day. While your competitors may be limited to their regular business hours, your website will enable you to reach your customers at any hour of the day. This is especially important for reaching potential customers in other time zones and for reach customers in your own area who are simply too busy to shop for products or services like the ones you offer during regular business hours. Many potential customers work long hours and appreciate the ability to research and shop online after hours. One final advantage to using a website to market your business is you can actually generate a profit from your website in other ways than through sales to customers. You can also use your website to generate income by selling advertising space to other business owners who are marketing their own products and services on the Internet. However, care should be taken when advertising on your website. First of all you should not sell advertising space to direct competitors. This is important because this may cause you to lose potential business if potential customers opt to purchase product or services from competitors who advertise on your website. An ideal advertiser is one who offers products and services which do not directly compete with your own products or services but would be of interest to your potential customers. You should also take care not to place too many advertisements on your website. This is important because too many advertisements may detract from your business and may cause you to lose potential customers. Tracking the Results of Internet Marketing As with any marketing campaign you may run to assist your business, it is important to track the results of your Internet marketing campaign. This should be done on a continual basis so you can ensure the strategies you are utilizing are working. It can also help you to determine when a strategy is not working so you do not continue to invest time and money on a strategy which is not beneficial to your business. This article will discuss some of the options for tracking the results of your Internet marketing campaign. Business owners who use banner ads have a simple way to track whether or not their banner ads are effective. This is possible because they can place code in the banner ad which will supply them with feedback each time a user clicks on the banner ad. This information is transmitted to the business owner so he can evaluate which of his banner ads are generating the most interest. If the business owner is currently using two different styles of banner ads on comparable websites he can use this information to determine which design is most effective. This is important because if one style is significantly more effective than the other it might be worthwhile to convert all of the banner ads to this style or to make changes which will make the two different styles more similar. If the business owner is using the same banner ad on a number of different websites, the feedback can help him determine which websites are generating the most traffic for him. If he determines some websites are not generating a great deal of traffic it makes sense to discontinue the banner ads on these websites as they are not cost effective. Business owners who utilize affiliate marketing during their Internet marketing campaign may also be interested in tracking the results of their affiliates. This is necessary because affiliates are often paid according to the results they generate but it is also useful for determining which affiliates are most successful. This information can be useful if different ads are running on different affiliate websites because it can be an indication of which websites are most effective. Tracking the results of affiliate marketing is similar to tracking the results of banner ads. You can place code in the ads which appear on the affiliate's website to provide you with feedback each time a user clicks on the ad. Another way to evaluate the results of an Internet marketing campaign is to simply closely monitor your own website traffic and sales. This is especially important when it is done in consideration with the type of marketing you are currently running. For example if you launch a new banner ad campaign with ads appearing on numerous high profile websites concurrently, you may notice an almost immediate increase in website traffic and sales. This information most likely indicates the banner ads are successful. However, the problem with using this type of evaluation is it does not pinpoint successes or failures. If you launch your banner ad on five different websites at once you may notice an immediate increase in traffic and sales but will not be aware which websites are the most effective. For example, your advertisement may be running on five different websites but only one of these websites may be attracting attention for your business. Similarly if you are running several different styles of ads, some styles may attract more attention than others but you will not be able to differentiate simply by evaluating your website traffic and sales. The other four may only be generating minimal interest in your products or services. If you wish to use this method for evaluating the feedback on your Internet marketing efforts, it is worthwhile to only make one change at a time so you can more accurately determine what is working and what is not. Alternatively you can ask customers to fill out a survey stating where they saw your advertisement so you can solicit feedback on your marketing efforts. The Fine Line between Internet Marketing and Spam Savvy business owners who take advantage of Internet marketing realize there is a fine line between marketing and spam and orchestrate their marketing campaigns to gain the maximum amount of exposure without running the risk of being viewed as spam. The definition of spam is open to interpretation but most people agree on the fact that spam is equivalent to junk mail you receive at your residence. In general spam is unsolicited emails which are part of an advertising campaign. The term spam can also apply to message board postings which are posted solely for advertising purposes. This article will examine the differences between effective Internet marketing and spam. First we will consider the use of message boards for the purpose of Internet marketing. Message boards are essentially online meetings places for Internet users who share a particular interest to exchange idea, ask or answer questions or just socialize. These message boards allow users to register and post messages. Most message boards have asset of guidelines which the users must follow when making posts. These guidelines may vary widely with some being very strict about acceptable content and others not being nearly as strict. It is important to follow these guidelines because failure to do so may result in the moderators deleting your account and other members not paying much attention to your posts. Message boards are ideal for Internet marketing because they can provide a business owner with access to a specialized target audience. If you are in the business for finding jobs for employees who wish to telecommute, you might join a message board dedicated to working from home to find members who may be interested in your products. Here you may learn a great deal about the concerns of your target audience. You can also take the opportunity to post links to your website when appropriate and in accordance with the message board guidelines. This is considered to be smart Internet marketing. However, if you opt to respond to each and every post with a link to your website even when it is not relevant and do not offer comments of value to other members, they are likely to view your posts as spam. This can be damaging because these members may opt to avoid your website even if they have a need for your services. E-newsletters and email advertising are one area of Internet marketing which is most likely to be viewed as spam if not done properly. Most Internet users to not appreciate unsolicited emails especially when these emails do not pertain to a subject that interests them. This is often the case when business owners buy email lists and send their advertisements to everyone on the list. This is not effective because you are not likely to reach a large population of your target audience. Additionally, recipients of the email may block your email address so future communications are automatically sent to a spam folder. Some recipients may even report you to their Internet service provider who may investigate the claim that you are a spammer. A better way to approach the concept of email marketing is to only send e-newsletters and advertisements to past customers who have specifically asked to receive such emails and potential customers who have requested additional information.
Starting an Affiliate Marketing Campaign Some business owners opt to start an affiliate marketing campaign as part of their overall marketing strategy. In most cases the affiliate marketing campaign is only a small portion of the overall marketing strategy but there are some business owners who opt to rely exclusively on this type of marketing. The main purpose of doing this is to save money while still achieving valuable advertising. However, once a business becomes more successful they should consider being more proactive and combining affiliate marketing with other types of Internet marketing such as placing banner ads and orchestrating an email marketing campaign. This article will take a look at what affiliate marketing is and will provide insight into why this is popular and how it can be used effectively. An affiliate marketing campaign is essentially a situation where other website owners place ads for your business on their websites. These website owners are known as affiliates. It is important to understand how this type of marketing works. In general the affiliates are given code for your banner ad to place on their website and given the freedom to promote their own website as they see fit. In promoting their website they are also attracting attention to your website because of the banner ad directing visitors to your own website. One of the most appealing elements of affiliate marketing is the affiliate is only compensated when he produces a desired result. This means the business owner is not obligated to pay the affiliate unless the affiliate is successful. Success may be defined as generating traffic to the website, resulting in a sale or even resulting in the Internet user registering on your website or filling out a survey. The compensation for affiliates is generally based on cost per click, cost per lead or cost per sale. Cost per click and cost per lead are usually paid in terms of a flat fee which is awarded to the affiliate each time an Internet user either simply clicks through the banner ad on his website or performs a specific action after clicking through the ad. Cost per sale may result in the affiliate being awarded a flat fee or a percentage of the sale depending on the agreement between the business owner and the affiliate. The most effective use of affiliate marketing is to actively seek out affiliates with a proven track record of promoting the businesses which they support. Most affiliate programs are open to anyone with a website and it is not necessarily damaging to allow those who are not particularly knowledgeable about marketing to run your banner ad but it is far more worthwhile to seek out affiliates who are quite adept and generating website traffic to their own website. This is important because the more visitors they receive each month the more likely your website it to receive interest from visitors who click on the affiliates banner ad. Another aspect of affiliate marketing which can contribute to success or failure is the design of your banner ads. It is important to remember affiliate marketing is viewed the same way other types of marketing are viewed and care should be taken to create banner ads which will be appealing to your target audience. This means everything from the colors of your ad to the size and style of the font should be carefully considered to create an appealing advertisement. Placing Banner Ads Placing banner ads can be a highly effective way to market your business on the Internet. Banner ads are essentially advertisements which appear on a website, usually in the form of a combination of graphics and text, to encourage Internet users to click through these advertisements to your website. The most common form of banner ads is an advertisement which appears on the top of a website and spans the width of the webpage. These advertisements derived their name from the similarity to a banner but technically banner ads can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. This article will take a look at the effectiveness of banner as well as methods for placing these banner ads. Banner ads can be highly effective if used properly. However, placing your banner ad all over the Internet with very little consideration to whether or not the location is likely to be beneficial to your business is not a good idea and can be a tremendous waste of money as well as other resources such as time and effort. Therefore business owners who are considering using banner ads to promote their business should spend some time to learn how to use banner ads effectively and to find ideal location for placing their banner ads. The most ideal location for a banner ad is prominently displayed on a website which receives a great deal of website traffic and also complements your products and services well without providing direct competition for your products or services. As an example consider a business owner who specializes in selling athletic shoes specifically for runners. Buying banner ad space on a website which offers advice on training for running events and provides information on upcoming races would be an excellent idea. This website attracts visitors who have an interest in running and are likely to purchase athletic shoes but does not sell running shoes directly. This means the website attracts members of your target audience but does not compete for your business. In addition to purchasing banner ad space, some business owners opt to join banner ad exchange groups. This is an alternative in which the business owner does not pay for their banner ad to be placed on another website but in exchange they agree to post one or more advertisements on their own website. This is a very affordable option for placing banner ads but it is not always the best strategy. This is because the business owner often has little input into where their banner ad appears and has limited input into the banner ads which appear on his website in return. In most cases, business owners have the ability to decline to host advertisements which they deem to be offensive but cannot specifically choose the banner ads they must post. Finally, when posting banner ads, business owners should be aware of the effectiveness of the ads they place. They may choose to post different designs for their banner ad on different websites but they should monitor the results of their advertising to determine if one style is more effective than another. This information can be very important. If one style is enjoying a great deal of success while the other style is not, the business owner may wish to use the more successful style for all of their banner ads or to redesign the less successful style to make it more appealing to Internet users. Participating In Banner Exchanges Business owners who want to take advantage of Internet marketing strategies such as banner ads but are on a limited budget may find banner exchanges to be quite useful. The ideal use of banner ads would include placing your banner ad on a website which receives a great deal of traffic and attracts an audience who will likely be interested in your products or services. Additionally, this website should not directly compete for your business. This scenario may be difficult to find and even when a business owner is able to find this type of situation, purchasing advertisement space may be expensive especially if it is a highly competitive niche. These business owners may find banner exchanges to be an affordable alternative. The most appealing factor of banner ad exchanges is the cost effectiveness of these situations. Most banner ad exchange groups are free to participants. Unlike placing a banner ad independently, there is no financial cost for the appearance of the banner ad on another website but the business owner does have an obligation to fulfill. Most banner ad exchanges will find another website to post your advertisement without charging a fee but they will require you to post at least one banner ad, and sometimes more, on your website in exchange for having your banner ad displayed on another website. Many banner ad exchanges will work to attempt to match your banner ad to a relevant website but this is not always possible and your banner ad may wind up on a website which is not relevant to your products or services. This will likely mean that the banner ads will generate very little interest in your products and services. Similarly the advertisements you are asked to post may not complement your website well. You will likely have the opportunity to reject advertisements in particular categories you find to be offensive but will have little control beyond that to moderate the banner ads on your website. Another very affordable option for placing your banner ads on the Internet may include starting an affiliate marketing campaign. This is an Internet marketing campaign in which website owners, or affiliates, post your banner ad on their website and attempt to promote your products and services for you. The banner ads typically include graphics and text which entice Internet users to click through the ad to your website and also include embedded code which provides you with feedback detailing which affiliates generated the website traffic. This information is necessary because affiliates are typically not paid unless they achieve a desired result such as enticing Internet users to click through the banner ad or make a purchase. The affiliates are typically compensated either on a cost per click basis or a cost per sale basis. Cost per click means the affiliate receives a predetermined amount of money each time a user clicks on the ad. Cost per sale means the affiliate receives either a flat fee or a percentage of the sale for each sale generated by the affiliate. Affiliates may also be paid on a cost per lead basis which means they are compensated when a user performs a specific action such as registering with a website or filling out a survey. Most people favor affiliate programs because it is a cost effective way to place your banner ads online and because they only have to pay affiliates who are successful. Marketing Your Business Online If you are not already marketing your business online, it is time to start. Although there are a few exceptions, just about every business can benefit from online marketing. There are just so many advantages to this type of marketing. First of all, it is extremely affordable to market your business online. Other advantages to marketing your business online include the ability to reach a large target audience, the ability to reach potential customers all over the world and the ability to customize the marketing for different sectors of the target audience. The affordability of Internet marketing is one of many reasons why many business owners are turning to the Internet for advertising. Advertising online is incredibly affordable especially when you consider how many potential customers a business owner can reach with an online marketing campaign. Most methods of online advertising are quite affordable and some of them do not have any direct costs. For example, you may choose to market your business online by participating in industry forums and posting links to your website whenever it is appropriate to do so. In this case the cost of creating and maintaining the website is insignificant in comparison to the number of potential clients you could reach through online marketing. Additionally, the costs associated with posting links to your website are incidental. You could consider the cost of having access to the Internet as part of the cost but you most likely require Internet access for other reasons as well so it is completely worthwhile. Reaching a large target audience is another very worthwhile reason for marketing your business online. You may have spent a great deal of time and energy doing market research and determine who your target audience is. You may have also spent a great deal of time trying to figure out the best way to reach this audience. This is a very sound marketing principle but as it applies to marketing on local television, radio and print media it only allows you to reach a limited audience. However, when you take your marketing to the Internet you automatically drastically increase your potential target audience because you now have the ability to reach members of your target audience around the world. This ability to reach customers around the world is another major advantage to marketing your business online. Regardless of where you live and operate your business, you have the ability to reach those who have an interest in the products you sell or the services you provide no matter where they live. This makes it possible for you to do business with customers around the world. Likewise the fact that the Internet is available 24 hours a day is also very beneficial to those who choose to market their products or services online. Shopping for products and services in person can be very difficult especially for individuals who work long hours or those who work unusual hours. These working conditions make it difficult for these individuals to do business and make purchases of products and services they need during regular business hours. However, business owners who have an online presence are much more convenient because unlike stores and calling centers, the website never closes. This convenience gives potential customers the ability to view products and services, compare these products and service to the ones offered by competitors and make a purchase at any hour of any day. If you are a business owner who is reading this article and you do not already have a strong online presence, you need to immediately start learning more about the world of Internet marketing. This is so important because if your competitors are marketing online, you may find they are gaining a steady advantage and are becoming more appealing to potential customers. Before too many of your potential customers become loyal customers of the competition it is time to start figuring out how you can market your business online and keep up with the competition. Learning about Internet Marketing Internet marketing is not overly complicated but it is also not a process in which anyone can excel without making attempts to learn more about the subject. Business owners who do not know a great deal about Internet marketing but who wish to implement Internet marketing into their overall marketing strategy should carefully study the basic principles of Internet marketing before launching their online marketing campaign. Fortunately for these business owners there are a variety of options for learning about Internet marketing. These options may include online research, reading published books and studying successful Internet marketing campaigns. Researching Internet marketing online is one method which can be used for learning more about this topic. This type of research can be very informative and can provide the business owner with a great deal of advice and other information. However, it can also provide the business owner with a great deal of misinformation. When researching any subject online it is very important to note that not all of the information available online is accurate. This may be due to a variety of factors including content which is written by those who do not have a great deal of knowledge about the subject matter as well as content which was written years ago and is outdated. This can be frustrating but fortunately business owners can still learn from the Internet. This just means they should be more cautious about accepting information as being accurate and may wish to verify the information they obtain before implementing an Internet marketing strategy. Published books are another valuable resource for learning more about Internet marketing. There are a variety of books available which focus on this subject and provide a wealth of useful information. When selecting a book for use as research material it is important to seek out a book which received independent reviews which were positive. It is also important to seek out books which were published recently. This is important because the Internet marketing industry is evolving continuously and a book that was published only a few years ago may be outdated and may lack information on some of the new developments in the industry. The appeal of using published books to learn about Internet marketing is you can keep the books on hand for easy reference when you launch your Internet marketing campaign. Finally business owners can learn a great deal about Internet marketing simply by studying successful Internet marketing campaigns. Try the Internet marketing blog at www.jeremyburns.com/blog for some great starter tipe. If your business offers products and services in a particular niche consider entering relevant terms in popular search engines and studying the websites of some of the highest ranking businesses. This can provide you with a great deal of insight into what these business owners are doing which may be contributing to their success. Examining everything from their website design to their search engine optimization strategies and even the content on their website can help you to determine why they are more successful than you. You should also consider how they are marketing their website which may include banner ads, affiliate marketing programs or other types of advertising. Armed with this information you can take the opportunity to implement changes to your own website and marketing strategy which may help you to gain a greater degree of success. Care should be taken to not copy anything directly from your competitors but to rather try to emulate their degree of success in your own way. Know Your Audience When Marketing Online Internet marketing is quickly becoming one of the most popular advertising options available. The Internet reaches a worldwide audience and is available 24 hours a day. For this reason more and more potential customers are turning to the Internet for a variety of reasons including researching products and services and making purchases. As more and more consumers turn to the Internet for these reasons, it is important for businesses to establish an online presence. This is so important because failure to do so may result in their competitors gaining an edge over them in competing for sales. While it is important for business to begin Internet marketing campaigns it is also important for these same businesses to realize basic advertising principles still exist and they cannot neglect these principles. Most importantly those who advertise online have to be aware of who their target audience is and how to reach this audience. As with any marketing campaign, business owners should do some market research before they launch their Internet marketing campaign. Ideally this will involve hiring a research consultant with a great deal of experience in conducting and evaluating this type of market research. The results of this research should determine the basic demographical information for the target audience. The results should also include information on how to reach this target audience. A business that cannot afford to hire a consultant to conduct this market research should still make an effort to obtain this information on their own. This can be done through informal polls of current clients. This information may not be as comprehensive as the information obtained in a more formal study but it can still provide a great deal of insight into the best way to reach the target audience. Once this information is obtained, it is important to tailor the Internet marketing campaign to appeal to the target audience. There are a number of different variables which can be modified to ensure the right message is reaching the right people in a manner they can understand and in which they can relate. Some of the ways in which your Internet marketing campaign can be tailored in this way include the aesthetics of your website or advertisements, the wording of your copy and the use of more advanced design features such as audio and visual or interactive tools. The aesthetic appeal of a website can greatly contribute to how the website is viewed by the members of the target audience. A website which is designed to attract the attention of an older generation with more conservative tastes should include muted colors, clean design and conservative graphics. This will help to ensure the target audience enjoys the website. Conversely if you are looking to appeal to a younger audience with more liberal viewpoints you might chose to design the website with bold colors, eye catching graphics and creative design features. The copy you include on your website should also take your target audience into consideration. Consider the examples of a conservative and a liberal audience listed above to create a better understanding of how the copy on your website can appeal to the target audience. When marketing to a more conservative audience, the copy should be tailored to use formal language and use facts to back up viewpoints. However, when you are marketing to a more liberal audience or a younger audience you can consider using less formal language which is likely to appeal to the target audience. You can also focus more on emotion to express viewpoints. Finally, when a website is created for the purposes of Internet marketing it is important for the design of the website to appeal to the target audience. You may wish to include audio and video clips on your website but these clips should appeal to the target audience. For example if your website sells skateboards you might consider incorporating audio clips from punk rock bands as opposed to country music bands. There may be some skateboarders who enjoy country music but in general punk rock music more closely represents the skating culture. Keeping these details in mind is very important for Internet marketing. Is Internet Marketing Working For You? Determining whether or not your Internet marketing campaign is working for you is a very important part of the advertising process. This is so important because while there is a great deal of Internet marketing which can be done without a great deal of expense, other types of Internet marketing do have financial costs associated with them. Also, in both cases there is a time and energy burden to orchestrating the Internet marketing. For all of these reasons it is important for business owners to continuously evaluate their marketing techniques and strategies to determine what is working and what is not. This will help the business owner to focus his efforts on marketing strategies which are providing positive results as opposed to those which are either not providing results or are only providing lackluster results. This article will examine a few different marketing strategies as well as how business owners can evaluate the effectiveness of these strategies. Affiliate marketing is certainly one of the most cost effective Internet marketing strategies available. This marketing strategy involves having other website owners known as affiliates post an advertisement on their websites to direct Internet traffic to your website. This marketing strategy is cost effective because in most cases the affiliate is only paid when he produces a desired result such as enticing an Internet user to click through the advertisement or to purchase a product or service once they click through the ad. While the business owner is only paying for the advertisement when it produces a desired effect, it is still worthwhile to evaluate the effectiveness of these ads to determine whether or not they are working well. Fortunately affiliate marketing ads have a natural feedback mechanism which makes it easy to evaluate how well the ad is working. This feedback is provided in the form of code imbedded in the advertisement which specifies which affiliate generated the website visitors. This information is provided for the purposes of issuing payment to the affiliate but it can also provide the business owner with useful information on which affiliate ads are the most effective. This information is especially useful when the affiliates are posting different ads. The business owner may conclude the ads posted by the more successful affiliates are more appealing to potential customers and may opt to use this style of ad for all of their affiliates. Business owners who use Internet marketing strategies such as posting on message boards to promote their business might want to consider asking customers to complete a short survey when making a purchase. This survey can include useful demographic information which is always helpful for marketing as well as information regarding where the customer learned of the products or services you offer. Including the message board web address as one of the responses will give you a good indication of whether or not the message boards are helping to drive customers to your website. You may also have some unofficial feedback in terms of the response to your postings on the message board. If the general consensus is in support of your posts, you may infer you are generating some interest in your business or website through this tactic. Finally, an Internet marketing strategy can be evaluated by studying website traffic results as well as sales receipts. Anytime you implement a new Internet marketing strategy or technique it is worthwhile to study your website traffic reports and sales receipts carefully to determine whether or not there is a spike in either traffic or sales immediately after the marketing effort. For example, if you send out an e-newsletter to those who have requested additional information about your products or services, you may notice there is an increase in traffic or sales soon afterwards. This is a good indication the e-newsletter was well received and effective. However, if there is not a marked increase in traffic or sales subsequent to the e-newsletter it indicates the marketing effort was not effective. Internet Marketing with an E Newsletter One very popular Internet marketing strategy is to publish and distribute an e-newsletter on a regular basis. E-newsletters are essentially emails which may contain content, graphics, links and subtle forms of advertising. In general e-newsletters should be informative in nature and useful to the recipient but should also serve some type of marketing purpose as well. This article will examine e-newsletters and explain how they can be used effectively as a marketing strategy. The first item to consider when attempting using an e-newsletter as a marketing strategy is the distribution list for the e-newsletter. This is very important because you want to ensure you are distributing your e-newsletter to recipients who will be interested in your products and services and will likely view the e-newsletter as worthwhile instead of viewing it as spam. Using deceptive tactics to harvest email addresses and sending out your e-newsletters blindly to a large audience is not a good marketing strategy. This strategy is not worthwhile for a couple of reasons. Most importantly this type of strategy does not help you to reach your target audience. You may reach some members of your target audience by accident but are not likely to reach a large population of this intended audience. Additionally, sending your e-newsletter unsolicited to a large audience with no interest in your products and services will likely result in your e-newsletter being viewed as spam. This can have more serious consequences than simply being a wasted effort. Specifically, recipients of your e-newsletter may block your email address or even report you to their Internet service provider as a spammer. This can have damaging consequences such as loss of business or even harsher penalties. A better way to establish a distribution list for your e-newsletter is to set up a forum for interested potential customers to register to receive additional information from you. This could include registering with your website online and requesting to be added to your email distribution list or providing an email address and requesting additional information in some other manner. Sending your e-newsletter to recipients who have specifically requested more information is a good idea because these Internet users are already interested in your products and are likely to appreciate the e-newsletter instead of viewing it as spam. The content of your e-newsletter should be considered next. This may include the actual copy contained within the e-newsletter as well as graphics, links and advertisements. Keeping direct advertising to a minimum is ideal but it is acceptable to use soft advertising techniques to promote your products or services. The copy in your e-newsletter should insightful information which will be useful to your readers. You may wish to include objective articles, product reviews or shorter articles containing useful tips. Links to your own website or to other websites which might be of use to your target audience can also be included. These links may come in the form of direct advertisements or the links may be embedded in the copy of the e-newsletter when appropriate. If you plan to utilize an e-newsletter to promote your products or services, you should consider hiring an experienced writer to create the content for your website. This will help to ensure you are providing your readers with top quality content. Likewise if you intend to include graphics you should have a graphic designer assist you to ensure your e-newsletter looks professionally put together. Internet Marketing the Easy Way Just like there are no magic weight loss cures or ways to earn money from home without a great deal of effort, there is no one simple solution to guarantee Internet marketing success. However, Internet marketing is not overly complicated and many business owners can enjoy at least some degree of Internet marketing success with only limited knowledge about the industry. This article will discuss some of the simplest Internet marketing strategies business owners can implement to promote their business online. Participation in industry related message boards is one of the easiest ways a business owner can use the Internet as a promotional tool. Message boards are websites which provide a forum for Internet users who share a common interest to share information related to this subject or just socialize. Business owners may opt to join message boards which closely relate to their industry or the products or services they offer. This is important because doing this gives the business owners access to a group of Internet users who fall into the target audience for his products or services. It also gives the business owner the opportunity to promote his own website. Many message boards allow users to place a link to their own website in their signature. Business owners who do this and also contribute useful commentary on the message boards may attract potential customers via the link they place in their signature. Additionally, some message boards may even allow users to post links in the body of the message. This gives the business owner the opportunity to offer his link in response to questions and comments when doing so is relevant and offers something of value to the online conversation. However, care should be taken to carefully review the terms of service and all guidelines on the message board before posting links to ensure this is not a violation of the policies of the message board. Failure to adhere to message board policies may result in removal from the message board or the posts being viewed as spam by other users. Another simple, but effective, Internet marketing strategy is to hire a consulting firm with search engine optimization (SEO) experience to assist you in achieving high search engine rankings. While the concept of SEO can be rather complex and understanding the most effective strategies and how to properly implement them may take years of experience as well as continual education, the ability to hire a qualified SEO firm is as simple as knowing how to interview candidates and select the most qualified one. Handling your own SEO efforts can be rather difficult but hiring another firm to take care of this for you is not only easy but it can have a significant impact on your website traffic because high search engine rankings typically translate to improved web traffic. This is because Internet users trust search engines to serve the most relevant websites first and typically only visit the best ranking websites when they search for a particular term. Similarly another simple way to enjoy Internet marketing success is to hire a consulting firm to plan and execute your Internet marketing strategy. Just like SEO, Internet marketing is essentially a full time job. Business owners may have a great deal of difficulty trying to run their business and organize their Internet marketing. Outsourcing this work eases the burden on the business manager and will likely produce more favorable results. Internet Marketing for Beginners Internet marketing for beginners is somewhat of an oxymoron. This is because while in theory the concepts behind Internet marketing might be quite simple, executing effective strategies can be extremely difficult. This can even be tough for those who are quite experienced in the world of Internet marketing. With this in mind, this article will attempt to explain the concept of Internet marketing for beginners and will outline some basic strategies which can help a business owner to launch his own Internet marketing campaign. We will cover concepts such as creating a website, placing banner ads, sending out e-newsletters, orchestrating an email marketing campaign and optimizing your website for search engines. One of the most basic steps for starting an Internet marketing campaign is to create a website. If you don't have a website or have a poorly designed website you should consider creating or re-designing a website to adequately market your products. If you do not have experience in web design, there are a number of software packages which make it simple for those with no design experience to create a functional website. However, hiring a web designer is worthwhile because he can work to create a website which is attractive, functional and suitable to your products and series. He can also help you include more advanced features on your website. Banner ads are another popular option for advertising your business on the Internet. Banner ads are advertisements which typically appear along the top of a website but it may also include smaller ads in other locations. Banner ads typically include graphics and text which entice Internet users to click on the advertisement. Once a user clicks on the ad, they are directed to your website. This type of advertising can be very effective when care is taken to place the advertisements on high traffic websites which attract an audience who may have an interest in your products. Sending out e-newsletters can also be a part of an effective Internet marketing strategy. E-newsletters are essentially emails which may contain a variety of information including informative articles, useful quizzes, relevant advertising or any other information which is deemed worthwhile for the recipients of the e-newsletter. The importance of these newsletters is that they can be used as marketing tools which are not viewed by the recipients as an advertisement. One way to do this is to incorporate links or other soft sale approaches into the copy of the e-newsletters. However, care should be taken to keep these references minimal so the e-newsletter is not viewed as spam. Email marketing campaigns can be another successful aspect of an Internet marketing campaign. Email marketing essentially involves sending out emails to a group of individuals who may be interested in your products and services. Care should be taken in sending out these emails to avoid sending emails which are unsolicited and will be viewed as spam. One way to do this is to only send out the emails to users who have requested inclusion on an email mailing list. Another way to do this is to provide value in the emails as opposed to just including advertisements. This can be done by offering relevant advice in your emails and other useful information which may be of interest to the recipients of the email. Finally, optimizing your website for search engines is a critical aspect of an Internet marketing campaign. Search engines rank websites according to quality and relevance for particular search terms. Many Internet users appreciate the effort by search engines and use these search engines to find the best websites on a particular subject. This means the Internet users are likely to only visit websites which rank well with search engines. Therefore if your website is not high ranking, you are not likely to generate a great deal of traffic from Internet users who use search engines to find relevant websites. Top ranking websites are likely to obtain the most traffic from search engines and all websites falling on the first page of the search engine results will likely enjoy some degree of success in improving their traffic. Hiring a Consultant for Internet Marketing If you are considering jumping into the world of Internet marketing but do not have experience in this type of marketing, it is definitely worthwhile to consider hiring a consultant to assist you in your advertising endeavor. This is important because they can do a great deal to assist you in ensuring that the marketing effort is a success. You may pay more for their services than you would to handle the Internet marketing on your own but the results you gain from the effort will likely be significantly higher. Hiring a consultant to assist you in your Internet marketing campaign is even a worthwhile endeavor if you have some experience in Internet marketing but are competing in a competitive niche and need some additional assistance to help you rise above the competition. The key to hiring a consultant to assist in an Internet marketing campaign is to hire the right consultant. You will find there are many different options available to you as Internet marketing has become a huge industry. However, not all consultants are created equal. You may find that some consultants can create significantly better results than other consultants. There are, however, a few characteristics to look for when seeking a qualified consultant in the Internet marketing industry. Surprisingly cost is not one of the most important considerations. Experience and past performance are much more important. You can compare costs among consultants who are similarly qualified but using cost as a primary source of evaluation is not recommended. Experience is very important when it comes to selecting a consultant to assist you in an Internet marketing campaign. Experience is critical because consultants who have a great deal of experience also have a great deal of understanding of which techniques work best and which techniques are not as effective. This can save you a great deal of time and money as there will likely not be as much experimentation necessary as there would be with a less experienced consultant. More experienced consultants will also likely be better skilled at dealing with clients and will likely answer your questions more quickly and keep you better informed about the progress of your Internet marketing campaign. All of this is important because you will likely be very interested in receiving progress reports and staying up to date on everything that is going on with your Internet marketing campaign. Seeking out a consultant in the Internet marketing industry with an excellent past record of performance is also very important. This is so important because consultants who have had a great deal of success in the past will likely have a great deal of success while assisting you as well. Past performance is considered to be one of the best indications of future performance. This does not mean that new consultants are necessarily going to perform poorly but there is some risk involved in selecting a consultant who does not have a great deal of experience or who has not performed well in the past. You can feel much more confident putting your Internet marketing campaign in the hands of a consultant who typically generates the type of results you are looking for in your own Internet marketing campaign. Once you have evaluated consultants on the basis of experience and past performance, it is time to start considering price. Considering price early in the process of seeking a consultant may cause you to be influenced by price over performance. Some consultants may be incredibly affordable but if they are not capable of producing the desired results, it may end up being a complete waste of money. However, once you have narrowed your list of potential consultants down to a few qualified candidates, it is definitely time to start comparing prices. Once you are confident each of the candidates on your list is well qualified, choosing the least expensive candidate is worthwhile. However it is important to note all of the fees involved to ensure you are making an accurate cost comparison. Evaluating the Response to Your Internet Marketing Starting an Internet marketing campaign is only the first step in the battle. Sure it is a good idea to start an Internet marketing campaign if members of your target audience are likely to use the Internet to research or purchase the products you sell or the services you offer but these marketing efforts may turn out to be a complete waste of time if you are not diligent about evaluating the response to your Internet marketing. This means each time you implement a change to your marketing strategy; you should evaluate the results of the change to determine whether or not it generated a greater profit for you. This is important because it can help you determine what is working and what is not working for you. Evaluating the response of your Internet marketing can be done in a number of different ways. Customer surveys and embedded HTML code are two of the most popular methods of evaluating the effectiveness of an Internet marketing campaign. Customer surveys can be as simple or as complex as you like depending on the amount of feedback you would like to receive. However, one of the most effective ways to find out how well your different marketing tactics are working is to include a question asking the consumer where they first learned about your products or services. This is important because if you find a great deal of your customers are learning about your products or services through a particular venue, it is a good indication this method of advertising is working quite well for you. Embedding code into your advertisements for the purpose of receiving feedback is also a popular method of evaluating the response to your Internet marketing strategies. Advertisements can be coded so the business owner receives feedback each time an Internet user clicks through a particular advertisement. This is useful for letting the business owner know which of his advertisements are attracting the most attention. If the business owner is using two different designs for his advertisements he may discover one design is attracting more attention than others and may make the decision to convert all of the advertisements to a more effective style. Similarly a business owner who is running the same advertisement on several different websites may discover he is receiving more traffic from one website than others. He may also discover some websites are not attracting much attention at all. This would give the business owner an indication of which advertisements to cancel and which ones to keep running. Finally, the response to an Internet marketing campaign can be evaluated by carefully reviewing website traffic statistics after implementing changes to the marketing strategy. This information is useful because an unusual spike in the amount of website traffic immediately after implementing a stage of the marketing campaign can provide positive feedback that the change was well received by potential customers. While this method of evaluating the response to an Internet marketing campaign can be effective it is important to note implementing multiple changes at once will make it difficult to determine which changes were the most effective. Therefore if you plan to use website traffic as feedback for how well your marketing strategy is working it is important to only implement one major change at a time so they can each be evaluated separately. Creating Email Lists for Marketing Campaigns If you plan to do some Internet marketing to promote your business endeavor, you should seriously consider email marketing as at least one tier of your Internet marketing campaign. Many business owners shy away from email marketing because they believe all email marketing campaigns are purely spam. However, this is not true and not partaking in this type of marketing can cause your business to lose out on a great deal of business. By not appealing to potential customers via email, your business may lose a great deal of business to competitors who are using email marketing campaigns to reach customers around the world. However, the first step of an email marketing campaign should be creating an email distribution list. This article will discuss some popular options for doing this and should help to the reader to learn more about what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to email marketing. Once you have made the decision to start using email marketing to promote your business you are likely facing the dilemma of compiling an email distribution list. This is essentially a list of email addresses to which you will email your advertising and promotional materials. One common way to gain a list of email addresses is to purchase a list from distributors. However, this method is not very effective at all and we do not recommend it. The problem with purchasing an email list if you have no way of knowing whether or not the members of the list would have any interest at all in your products or services. This is very important because while you want to reach a large audience with your email marketing you also want this audience to be members of your overall target audience. When you purchase an email list you may be sending your email messages to some users who might be interested but this is largely coincidental and is not likely to be well received because the message was not solicited. Internet users are very quick to delete materials they believe to be spam without even opening or reading the emails. In fact some Internet service providers include spam filters which may automatically delete your emails if your messages are deemed to be spam. These filters run complex algorithms on the subject heading and content of the message to determine whether or not it is spam and are quite adept at weeding out spam. Therefore you run the risk of having your email marketing effort turn out to be a complete waste if the majority of recipients never even read or receive the message. A far better way to create an email distribution list for your email marketing campaign is to ask current customers as well as interested potential customers to register with your website to receive additional information and periodic updates about your products and services as well as other information which might be of interest to them. This provides you with a database of email addresses from current customers as well as potential customers who have a genuine interest in your products and services and who are interested in learning more about these products and services. Once you have a list of interested customers or potential customers you can send emails or create e-newsletter for distribution to the members of your email list. These documents should contain a wealth of valuable information as well as a soft sell pitch for your products and services. This information will be valued by the readers and may help to persuade them to try your products and services. You might also want to include useful links to either your website as well as other websites which may be of interest to your readers. Your content should also contain a portion which urges the reader to take a specific action such as making a purchase or at least investigating a product further.
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