Post a new topic
    9 Replies Latest reply on Jul 11, 2008 2:51 AM by Lighthouse24

    Internet Marketing for the Rest of Us

    rontowns25 Adventurer
      Anybody who wants to design
      their future as a small business owner has got to be wired in. We are a
      technology-based society, and we are continuously moving toward a much more
      technology-based world. The internet is simply a business tool. It can be used
      very, very effectively as a big part of the marketing strategy.


      Internet marketing is an
      incredible opportunity for us to create awareness of the services and products
      we offer. To be successful, of course, we need to know how to create that
      awareness. The good news is that you can do that without being an "internet
      marketing person." You can use all kinds of internet marketing strategies to
      generate traffic and convert that traffic, and do it in ways that serve the
      human bond you need to create with the people that you serve. A key ingredient
      for success is having the right web site format.


      When deciding on the right
      format for your online marketing, keep in mind that the most basic, most
      important element of any website is to get a visitor's email address. If you
      have a website that doesn't allow the visitor to give you their email address
      and minimal information (opt-ins) in exchange for something, the website is
      virtually useless. Whatever format you use, have at least one way that people
      can sign up for something with their email address: a newsletter, a special
      report, a blog, whatever makes sense for you.


      In the internet marketing
      world a lot of people use a long sales letter as a home page. Long sales
      letters are typically good at selling products if the copy is well-written. But
      a lot of offline businesses might not like the idea of a long sales page
      letter, so there are other formats to consider that will work. Certainly a
      brochure style-something similar to a printed brochure. If you're going to do a
      brochure type website, combine it with one of the other formats so that you can
      capture opt-ins.


      You might want to consider
      an assessment as your home page. Something that engages the visitor in some
      way. Or a testimonial homepage format might be right. With this format, your
      entire homepage is comprised of testimonials from the people you serve. It's
      very, very simple, but it gives you an opportunity to let other people talk
      about you.

      Another homepage format is
      the content generator. For example, somebody goes to your site and the first
      thing they see is a picture of you, maybe an audio, and a big textbox with a
      question above it that says something like, "What is your most pressing
      problem? Enter it here and we may answer it our next newsletter." This combines
      your newsletter offer with the opportunity to ask that question.


      The content generator format
      does two things besides creating an immediate connection with your potential
      client and getting their email address. It gives you direct marketing research;
      you know what your market is really going through because they're telling you
      exactly what they need. All of your follow up content, your newsletter content,
      your blogging content (if you're blogging), can be based on the information
      that your clients and potential clients are delivering to you.


      These basic formats can be
      combined and modified to suit your business and the personality of your market.
      Finding the right website format will certainly increase the results you see
      from online marketing efforts-in more ways than one.

      Go here for more helpful information:
        • Re: Internet Marketing for the Rest of Us
          AATravel Newbie
          Thank you for your information. It was very helpful.

          • Re: Internet Marketing for the Rest of Us
            Lighthouse24 Ranger

            Thanks for posting these tips. The one thing I'd question or disagree with is:

            "If you have a website that doesn't allow the visitor to give you their email address and minimal information (opt-ins) in exchange for something, the website is virtually useless."

            That seems a lot like saying that "if you have a bottle in your refrigerator that doesn't contain beer, the bottle is virtually useless." Beer is a very good thing. It's not the only thing, however. Business websites serve a lot of other useful (and often enterprise-critical) functions.
              • Re: Internet Marketing for the Rest of Us
                djcmilton Newbie
                Hello lighthouse24! If the main intent of a website is to inform, then what you say is true. however, if the intent of a website is to genersate residual income, then you need a way to retrieve basic info from those who visit the website in order to build a list of potential costumers, otherwise, your website is uselless.
                  • Re: Internet Marketing for the Rest of Us
                    Lighthouse24 Ranger
                    djcmilton, I agree with that -- a beer bottle should have beer in it. My only disagreement was with the statement ". . . a website that doesn't allow the visitor to give you their email address . . . is virtually useless."
                      • Re: Internet Marketing for the Rest of Us
                        rontowns25 Adventurer
                        Websites serve a couple different purposes, or rather, could serve different purposes, depending on your business. Generally speaking, websites are vehicles for communication; communication of a message, an idea, a product/service, etc.

                        Its important to understand what the goal of your site is. Is the goal to market a message in order to sell a product online? Are you merely trying to inform people about something; a fact, an opinion, etc? Are you trying to acquire contact information so that you can use this for marketing purposes?

                        My opinion is that every site, no matter what you do, should offer the user the opportunity to submit contact information, like an email address. Having their email address allows you the opporutnity to connect with them, in the form of a newsletter, update, message, etc. This could potentially build somebody's interest in what you are doing - and its FREE! Also, offer your email address in case they need to contact you!

                          • Re: Internet Marketing for the Rest of Us
                            Lighthouse24 Ranger

                            I agree that it's important to understand what the goal of the site is. That was my point exactly. Communication with prospective customers is a relatively small part of the overall business operation. The majority of business websites are designed to facilitate communication with someone else entirely -- vendors, suppliers, financers, regulatory entities, virtual teams, or the business's own employees and their dependents, for example. Most are not even viewable by customers or the general public. (sources: Harvard Business School Press, Direct Marketing Association)

                            So I just can't agree that all those sites are "virtually useless," nor that paying a website management firm or IT staff to add the capability to collect contact info via all of them would make sense. For most business websites, the goal is to provide the visitor with what he or she needs as quickly, easily, and accurately as possible. It's not to build a mailing list. Certainly, that function has its place in a business endeavor -- I'm just saying that I don't believe that place is EVERY place.
                    • Re: Internet Marketing for the Rest of Us
                      Iwrite Pioneer
                      I think we need to look at the web like the larger companies do - use the homepage to make a connection, to deliver a compelling message or strongly communicate a product benefit. Stop thinking of a website as something flat and start thinking of it as your own, private TV channel. Those ads that you can't afford to run in the big magazines or on TV you can do on your website.

                      The internet levels the playing field - just because you are small doesn't mean you have to look like you are. Infuse some creativity into your homepages.

                      Engage and entertain your customers as you educate them about your business or product. I agree that capturing emails is not always the most important thing. I think what is a real advantage is the amount of time a person spends on your website. The longer they stay, the more they are exposed to your message, the better they get to know your company, the more likely they are to like your product and the more they tend to buy.

                      On the web, you are only small if you choose to be small.
                      • Re: Internet Marketing for the Rest of Us
                        djcmilton Newbie
                        Hello! your information is very informative and encouraging. I need you to do me a huge favor. Take a look at my home page and tell me what you` think. What would you change or do differently? I would certainly apreciate the help.