Section Two: Fundamental Tools All Internet Marketers Must Have
As your studies will reveal, there are some basic tools that will become essential components in the efforts of any successful Internet marketing plan. Laying this solid foundation means you do not necessarily have to reinvent the wheel with each new campaign, although you should always be prepared to tweak things a bit to fit the needs of the product or service that you want to market.
Here are some things to put in place in order to do a great job with your marketing plans.
First, you need to get a web site. Period. No discussions or prevarication allowed. The simple fact of the matter is that people trust entities that they perceive as being “real” businesses. You may be creating your marketing empire from the garage or a spare bedroom, but if you have a real web site that people can visit, bookmark, and share with their friends and family, you will have the look and feel of an established business.
Freelance writers are an excellent example of this sort of thing. While some well paying markets are always looking for new writers, they tend to gravitate toward writers that have a web site, complete with writing samples, contact information, and content that indicates that a true business is working there, not just a sideline or a hobby.
The same is true with marketing. Sure, you can post ads all over the place, but if there is nothing that builds up confidence in the permanency of your business, all those efforts will yield little or no return.
The good news is that web sites are relatively inexpensive these days, and many vendors will even have online tools that will help you create a nice looking site. They supply the outlines, color schemes, and the basic layout. You supply the content and the images and graphics. It is possible to have your web site up and running over a weekend, making it possible to you to use this as a basic part of your marketing plan.
One of the first issues to address in creating a web site is your domain name. One of the most common mistakes people make is try to be quirky or cute with the name. Forget quirky and cute, unless you can combine those qualities with a domain name that is short and easy to remember. Keep in mind that the longer your domain name happens to be, the harder it will be for people to remember it.
Sure, they can always bookmark your domain name in their Favorites, but what good does that do when they are casually talking with a friend about your site? Whether we like to admit it or not, the golden time for word of mouth to occur is during that personal encounter. If the domain name can be rattled off with ease, chances are much better that a new prospect will be directed to your site.
The simple fact is that many people may promise to send a link to someone later, but it gets lost in the shuffle of daily life. Make things easier for you and for people interested in your site. Employ the old Toastmasters counsel of KISS (keep it simple stupid). Life will be better for everyone involved.
Next, give the structure of your domain name a great deal of consideration. Are there ways to incorporate keywords in the domain name that will be easy to remember? For example, if you plan on creating a web site that is devoted to the marketing of your own line of greeting cards, try to work in “greeting” or “cards” into the domain name. Keep in mind that the name of your company may or may not be the best choice for the domain name.
While we all like to see our names pop up when we look around the Internet, your focus is on the products you have to market, not on the wonderful name you have chosen for your business. If it seems that creating an easy to remember domain name that calls to attention to your products and services will mean forgoing the use of your company name in the URL, then bite the bullet and go ahead. Keep in mind you can put your company name in all sorts of places on the actual web site.
This helps accomplish two things. First, visitors will associate the URL with the types of products you are marketing. This is always a plus, as it makes it much easier for the consumer to remember and pass on your information to other people.
Second, it helps to make it much easier for your target audience to find your web site during engine searches. The more pointed and focused your domain name happens to be, the more effective this particular marketing tool will become in your quest for success.
Another important aspect is making the best use of your title tag on the front page of your web site. One fatal mistake that is often made is using this space to do a welcome message for the site.
While it may fit in nicely with greeting people as they come into your home, it is completely unnecessary on your web site. The presumption is that anyone who visits the site is welcome, so there is no need to waste space stating the obvious.
Instead, use that space as a means of spelling out in common terms that you have to offer. Keep in mind that we live in a society where people want instant gratification. That means you probably only have five to ten seconds to compel your visitor to stick around and read a little more.
Use that title tag to entice people to your site, and you will probably find that you show up higher on many search engines, as well as make better use of the space on your web pages.
While it is always nice when customers come to you, the fact is you will starve if you take the attitude that your wonderful web site is going to have people lining up to order whatever you are marketing. If the right people don’t know your web site exists, it will take forever for you to build up a steady clientele. Among the tools that will help you be a success is finding out where to market to your potential customer base.
Over the years, a number of resources have been made available to Internet marketers for use in marketing campaigns. One of the most common is the email list. Approach this type of resource with a great deal of caution. The fact is that far too often, these ready to use lists are not qualified.
A qualified email list will only include email addresses that have opted to be a part of the listing, and want to receive emails that have to do with certain products and services.
Far too often, lists are sold that include nothing more than a bunch of email addresses that were harvested off the World Wide Web. Using an unqualified list results in the creation of what is known as spam, or unsolicited emails. No responsible Internet marketer uses unqualified contact lists.
An unqualified list can hurt you in two ways. First, you have to pay good money for that list. If you purchase a list of ten thousand email addresses, and all but a hundred of them come back as undeliverable, you have effectively wasted resources that could have been used to better advantage.
An even more severe consequence of utilization of an unqualified email list is that your emails actually do get through to consumers, who get bent out of shape because they did not want the email in the first place. In a short time, you may find your company name or URL showing up on consumer driven spam reporting web sites, which will provide the type of publicity that you do not want to get.
If you must use email as part of your marketing scheme, then make sure the list is qualified. However, don’t expect grand results. That same qualified email list that you just purchased was probably sold to five other people within three seconds of your purchase.