Internet Marketing Pt 1

The Internet is a great place to do business, whether you’re a retailer selling a particular line of products or a service provider making your living on the Internet. There is, however, one age-old problem with business that never seems to go away: people won’t buy what they don’t know about.

This is where Internet marketing comes in.

Internet marketing basically involves using various tools and services to let your business reach a wider base of potential customers. Good Internet marketing will bring in a significant number of clients, keep them interested and then make more than happy to purchase more of your products.

A not-so-good Internet marketing program, however, will be a complete waste of time and money. In the worst case scenario, you could even end up doing more harm than good to your business if the marketing strategy is poorly thought out.

Strangely enough, most people actually fail in their Internet marketing strategies not because they lack the knowledge or the technical capabilities to make good use of Internet Marketing.

SEO, HTML, opt-in lists, landing pages – all of this will not matter if the would-be marketer does not know how to actually succeed with the tools at his or her disposal.

Let me be clear: this article is not a technical manual on the finer points of Internet marketing. No tutorials, no tests, no benchmarks.

This article aims to supplement your technical know-how and give you an idea of what to do with your skill and knowledge. It will allow you to channel your efforts and create far-reaching plans.

In short, this article will teach you how to be successful in your first year in Internet marketing.

The Mindset of a Successful Internet Marketer

A successful marketer needs a vision to be able to succeed.

No, I am not talking about some grand, messianic vision or something. I am talking about a vision that will define where all the Internet marketing efforts will go to.

This vision will allow you to focus your efforts into something more productive, and will allow you to truly succeed in Internet marketing. But before you can define your vision, you must first assume the mindset of a successful marketer.

This mindset is in turn composed of different frames of thought. Here are some of the more important ones:

Honest and Sincere
The very first thing I have to tell you is that no truly successful Internet marketer is a sham and a fraud. The stereotype of the Internet marketer that sidelines as a ruthless vulture and snake-oil salesman is an image that is, sadly, more commonly adopted than I would like. But let me tell you that being a successful Internet marketer means being successful for the long run – and you cannot be successful in the long run if you start your career as a fraudster. The rewards from fraudulent sales or deceptive marketing strategies are immediate and attractive, but you cannot build a marketing empire with foundations laid on lies and deceptions. An Internet marketer with a name built upon reliable business and customer satisfaction will yield more rewards in the long run than an anonymous ghost who has to change names every now and then lest he/she face criminal charges.

Willing to Experiment
One of the marks of a successful Internet marketer is the willingness to try things out. Many would-be marketers spend months (even years) studying how to be effective in Internet marketing. This is all well and good, but all this will be for nothing if you are not willing to put your skills out on the open market where it will be actually tested under pressure. The truth of the matter is that there is not absolute recipe for success as an Internet marketer. You just have to grit your teeth and dive into the whole mess. You learn faster, and you will be able to find out what works and what does not in your particular line of work. Even your mistakes cannot be considered as failures if you learn from them and use that knowledge to better yourself.

Reflects and Learn From Mistakes
Just because an experiment of yours fails does not mean you should just up and forget it. The whole point of experimenting is to find out what works and what does not. If something you just implemented does not work, like a weak landing page or faulty search engine optimization, then you have to go back and trace where the mistake stemmed from. This is why it is absolutely essential that you reflect upon any problems you encounter in your Internet marketing campaign. What went wrong, how did it go wrong, how can I fix it and how can I improve on it? These four questions are staples when it comes to reflecting on and learning from any mistakes.

Seeks Excellence in All That Needs to Be Done
Good enough is a far cry for very good, even though both are “good” in a sense. Excellence is when you give your best to everything you do. This excellence is not optional if you want to be a successful Internet marketer. You don’t cut corners, you don’t do a sloppy job and you don’t say “this is good enough.” Excellence is basically about making sure that you do as good a job as you can. This pursuit of excellence will always drive you to find better and better ways of doing things, greatly increasing productivity and efficiency. Best of all, your customers will immediately recognize your this excellence and will be more willing to at least check out what you have to offer.

Sets Competitive Standards to Meet
There is another reason you need to seek excellence – the best and most threatening of your competitors also do the same. You must always understand what your competitors are up to. You have to know what they offer, how they do things, how they market themselves and even how successful they are. If excellence will push you further up in your marketing efforts, then your competition will define the bare minimum you need to work with. This is especially useful when you are new to Internet marketing. Your competitors will most likely have been around for quite a long time already and will have spent a significant amount of time and money to get where they are now. All you need to do is analyze how they do things and you will be able to benefit the most from your competitor’s existing practices.

Understands the Needs of the Customer
This is cliché, I know, but it is something so many new Internet marketers overlook that it is worth pointing out once again. All people have needs. If somebody comes along selling something that will satisfy my needs, then I will be more than happy to part with my hard-earned money. This simple fact underscores the importance of spending time, money and effort reaching out and understanding the needs of your target customer base. Many first-time Internet marketers also have this frame of thought where they believe that exploiting their customers and wringing money from them as quickly as possible is the only way to survive. This thinking cannot be more flawed. Any kind of business, Internet marketing included, will only survive if trust is built between customer and client.

Reaches Out and ‘Touches’ Customers
This is another cliché, yes, but it is nonetheless important: your customers must feel that you actually give a hoot about their satisfaction. I have come across so many marketing tactics that look and feel stale and too focused on selling a product. The marketers here have made a fatal mistake: they got too absorbed with exploiting the needs of the customer rather than connecting to these needs. You must always show that the products and services you offer are solutions to a problem, not just tools you use to squeeze money out from customers. It is also worth note that you should not try too hard to “sell” your product to a potential client. I have come across numerous sales pages with a ton of testimonies, videos, promos, guarantees and smiling faces all promising one thing or another. The marketers behind these pages were trying so hard to convince me to buy their products that I simply got turned off and left the page before even finding out what they wanted to sell to me.

Transparent About Everything
People will be more willing to buy a product if they know exactly what they are getting. Many marketers love to use fancy prose, grand promises and technical jargon to bedazzle potential customers. This isn’t such a bad thing in most cases, but all this grandstanding will be for nothing if the potential client does not understand what the heck they are looking at. Be as transparent as you can about what you sell and you will find customers much more willing to do business with you. This is especially important for product pricing and fees. You would be surprised at how many sales pages exist on the Internet that do not list the actual costs of purchasing a product or service. Lots of promises and lots of testimonies, yes, but the lack of information on something as basic as pricing is enough to turn most people away from the site.

Builds a Network of Partners
Internet marketing is not a one-man (or one-woman) job. You will need the help of a lot of people to make yourself truly successful in this field of work. Once you get down to the more complicated aspects of Internet marketing, you will inevitably find yourself working with a whole host of people: content creators, writers, shippers, reviewers, accountants, customer care etc. Everyone you meet is a potential partner, so always take the opportunity to create and expand your network whenever you can. Even fellow Internet marketers can prove to be useful partners. You could swap customers by selling products and services that complement the business of the other market. For example, marketer A sells fiction ebooks via Amazon while marketer B sells leather covers for the Amazon Kindle. Both marketers could work together to promote each other’s products; effectively sharing their customer base with each other.

Emotionally Balanced About the Business
Nobody is a heartless machine, but breaking down into an emotional wreck all the time can’t be good for business. A successful Internet marketer needs to be completely objective when it comes to making business decisions. Your personal life must not seep into your work, especially when your marketing efforts start to get distorted in the process. Beliefs, opinions, biases and even political affiliations must be kept separate from work, otherwise they could blind you from seeing things as they really are.

This also goes for the success and failure of your Internet marketing ventures. Internet marketing is a fast-moving world, which means things die off as quickly as they are born. Look long and hard at your marketing programs and be impartial about which ones are worth spending energy on and which ones need to be dropped.

Uses Money Productively and Efficiently
One of the more common problems with Internet marketers is that they do not know how to use their money wisely. Let’s say you have earned a cool thousand dollars in sales from your most successful marketing campaign. Bills and taxes are paid, and you still have $500 left over. What will you do with this money? Will you purchase educational materials, obtain marketing tools and hire people to handle the time-consuming tasks, or will you blow it all on a fancy tablet PC? Remember that the money you earn is not something you have to spend right away. It is a resource that you can use to make your marketing campaigns even more successful in the future. You could even use that money to save up for retirement or as a mortgage down payment. Whatever you decide to do, just make sure that you always ‘invest’ your money in something that will be truly beneficial to you.

Willing to Innovate and Create
There are a lot of marketing programs out there that can introduce you to the basics, but do not ever forget to be creative. There is often no need to reinvent the wheel, and there are plenty of instances where you can learn from the experiences of the successful (and not-so-successful) marketers out there. But you do have to remember that people are constantly learning and evolving as well. What might have worked two, three years ago will be done to death by now – especially considering the breakneck pace of evolution over the Internet. It is for this reason that a successful marketer is always willing to try out new things. These new things may not always be successful or turn a profit right away, but they will always impart valuable knowledge to the marketer at the end of the day. This is especially important when you consider the next frame of thought that is present in the mindset of successful Internet marketers.

‘Hungry’ for More and More Knowledge
The last but most certainly not the least of important mindsets of a successful Internet marketer is the ever-increasing desire to learn more about his or her business. You must never, ever stop thinking that you know enough to keep you on top of your business. The world of business is ever-evolving, with new players (and competitors) coming in with their innovative and creative methods. The last thing you want to do is to fall behind the competitive curve simply because you are not on top of the latest news and information regarding your business. It is for this reason that you must always be hungry to learn whatever you can about your business.

Talk to your customers. Know what makes them happy and what frustrates them.

Find out how you can be operate more effectively on a day-to-day basis.

Learn how to make more with less.

These are but a handful of areas that you can focus on.

Be hungry for knowledge, and you will be able to stay on top of the game at all times.

Can You Be Your Own Internet Marketing Specialist?

The role of an internet marketing specialist is to drive traffic
to a website and to assist with the improvement of conversion
rates – converting website visitors to buyers. Some individuals
are good at driving traffic and others are good at creating web
copy that closes sales. In order to be a full-service internet
marketing specialist, you really have to have the skill to do
both because enormous amounts of traffic doesn’t matter a bit if
that traffic does not result in revenue.

Even so, different people have different talents and one person’s
gifts may complement another’s. So, if you have strong skills in
one area and not the other, you may need to work with an internet
marketing specialist whose strengths compensate for your
weaknesses and vice versa. Sometimes an internet marketing team
achieves much more than any internet marketing specialist could
do alone.

Specific tasks that an internet marketing specialist or team of
internet marketers engage in to accomplish the two main purposes
of internet marketing – driving traffic and closing sales –
include:

1. Brainstorming

2. Market research

3. Identification of target markets and niche markets

4. Competitor analysis

5. Development of products and services

6. Creation of a unique selling proposition

7. Keyword research

8. Identification, analysis and selection of marketing

channels

9. Budgeting

10. Strategic planning and setting of milestones

11. Creation of marketing materials including sales copy

12. Website development

13. Administration of the internet marketing plan

14. Analysis of the effectiveness of the marketing program

15. Continual strengthening and improvement of the marketing

plan and marketing program

Effectively addressing all of these tasks that are necessary for
productive internet marketing really requires quite a vast skill
set. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses in various areas of
internet marketing. It is ideal if you have an internet marketing
team made up of individuals that are internet marketing
specialists in all of these areas; however, reality is not always
ideal. Because it is rare for any one individual to be strong in
each of these areas most people need professional assistance from
an internet marketing specialist with one or more of the internet
marketing tasks.

If you work with an internet marketing specialist or a team of
internet marketers, it is vital that everyone on the team
communicates clearly and effectively. With clear communication
the results from specific internet marketing tasks can be
integrated to create a strong, effective internet marketing
program that produces significant results in regard to driving
traffic and generating revenues.

In order to determine whether or not you are capable of being
your own internet marketing expert rather than contracting your
internet marketing tasks to an internet marketing specialist or
an internet marketing firm, do an honest analysis of your skills
as they relate to the fifteen internet marketing tasks mentioned
previously. In reviewing them, you are sure to find some that you
feel confident about and some that cause uncertainty. If you are
not comfortable with your own internet marketing knowledge and
skills, you may choose to hire an internet marketing specialist
to complete the tasks you are uneasy about, or you may choose to
pursue training or education to enhance your knowledge of
internet marketing and strengthen your own skills.

With desire, drive, time and perseverance, just about anyone can
become an internet marketing specialist. To be an effective
internet marketing specialist you must be willing to learn from
others as well as learning from your own mistakes. As you gain
experience in internet marketing, you will naturally develop
expertise and as time marches on you will undoubtedly feel more
comfortable with tasks that seem complex at first and you will
definitely gain self-confidence as you experience the positive
effects of your internet marketing efforts.

Marketing Communications Help You Achieve Your Business Goals

As a career field, marketing has a number of specialized functions. Marketing communications is just one of those specialties and focuses primarily on targeting a particular audience and making them as aware as possible of your product or message. A communications specialist can help you gain the attention of the right fraction of the population in order to increase your sales or other business success measures.

Designing your communications to fully achieve your goals is more challenging than it may immediately appear. After all, those communications can take on a wide variety of forms. Creating communications that are uniquely appropriate for each target audience and the media in which it is delivered is just one challenge. Ensuring that all of those various marketing messages mesh well with one another is also important.

Achieving the right mix of marketing media and still maintaining a comprehensive and cohesive marketing communications program can be extremely difficult, especially if you’re running a small to medium size business in which you and your employees where several hats.

Without a dedicated marketing communications specialist, you may be missing out on a great deal of potential business. Your reputation may not be out there, or if it is out there in the market, it may not be the reputation that you really want.

Achieving your business goals requires dedicated time and effort, including a lot of research, strategizing, and creative thinking in terms of your marketing ventures. A marketing specialist can help you bring your business up to speed with the competition by making your overall company’s communications as professional, attractive and goal driven as possible.

They can also help you eventually blow the competition out of the water by designing a marketing communications program that beats out all of your competitors’ schemes. By developing a program that is more comprehensive, better designed and extremely recognizable, a specialist can elevate your company’s brand identity to a new level.

The manner in which you approach different forms of marketing related communications varies depend upon a number of factors. The market segment you’re trying to reach is one. The avenue by which the message is delivered is another.

For example, a marketing related email newsletter is going to require a very different approach than would a clickable ad strategically placed on an industry website. The style and theme of both should communicate the overall character and motto of your business while still being uniquely appropriate for the venue in which the marketing materials appear. Finding that balance can be extremely difficult but a marketing communications specialist can greatly assist you in your efforts.

Developing A New Marketing Communications Plan For Small And Midsized Companies

As you begin, or refine, your marketing and marketing communications planning for the coming year, you’re probably a little uneasy about whether you’re maximizing your strategy, budget, plan, executions and measurement. Whether you’re a B2C, B2B or nonprofit marketer, it might help to know you’re not alone. It’s always a challenge to develop these plans, but especially now.

In fact, 93 percent of Chief Marketing Officers say they’re under more pressure to deliver significant ROI, while only eight percent say they can determine ROI for their social media efforts.

Marketing And Marketing Communications Challenges
Our continued unsettled economic and political landscape and changing demographic patterns, coupled with the explosion of new communications tactics, along with a plain lack of trust between buyers and sellers, has led to the increasing levels of uncertainty that we all feel. In developing new plans and strategies, this translates into a host of considerations:

  • Expenditures for major media (as led by television, yes television) and marketing services (as led by sales promotion) in the U.S. are projected to total an all-time high of $406 billion in 2015. That’s a staggering $1,262 per person (Zenith Optimedia)! Beyond the dollars, that’s a lot of clutter and competition.
  • Conversely, median household income declined 8.7 percent between 1999 and 2013 to $51,939 (Census Bureau Current Population Survey). During this time, most buyers have learned how to spend their hard earned dollars more cautiously.
  • The two largest and most important age cohorts are very different. Millennials are more willing to buy lesser known brands, don’t see ownership per se as an aspiration, and are cash strapped. On the other hand, the brand loyal Boomers will account for about 70 percent of U.S. disposable income in 2017 (Quirk’s Market Research).
  • No one expected the efficiency and simplicity of emails to reach today’s volume, as businesses now spend nearly one-third of their work week managing them (McKeney & Company). Maybe declaring an email holiday is in order.

And, if you’re unsure or apprehensive about next year, perhaps your customers and prospects are too.

Improving Marketing And Marketing Communications ROI
So what can be done to develop a better overall program? I believe there are important steps you should consider for improving ROI.

1. You really need to know what your customers and prospects want and need, how they perceive your product or service, and how your brand stacks up to completion. Avoid corporate myths and mere opinion, and employ market research to focus your planning.

2. Be sure to understand the full demographic scope of your customers and prospects today and how they will change in the future. Consider the continuing dramatic growth of the Asian and Hispanic populations and include them in your planning.

3. Make sure your employees, reps and distributors completely understand, believe and can articulate your brand promise. Encouraging them to be dedicated brand ambassadors can dramatically increase your brand’s awareness and positive reputation.

4. Go out of your way to be media neutral. With so many new tactics to explore, make sure that, when you compare traditional and new media, you know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness. For example, a recent Gallup study among 18,000 consumers reported that 62 percent said social media had “no influence at all on their buying decision”.

5. Sharpen and integrate your messaging across media through a marketing communications audit. Before committing your already stretched revenues, conduct an audit to help determine the strengths and weaknesses of your program as a whole, as well as how each individual communications tactic and message does or does not meet your objectives.

Done properly, these actions will help you develop a more knowledgeable, coordinated, focused and profitable roadmap for next year’s journey. But how do you actually begin that journey?

Marketing Communications Consultants Add Value
No one doubts that smart, dedicated people have been involved in developing your current marketing communications strategy, budget and plan. But, if you’re like most small and midsized companies, your people are probably stretched to the limit, and/or simply may not possess the background to oversee this process in the most knowledgeable way.

Because of this many companies have partnered with established, senior level consultants, to help develop, refine and, if appropriate, implement the program. If you consider this option, make sure the consultant has extensive experiences across disciplines, as well as a variety of industries and brands, so he or she won’t be trapped by the “this is the way we’ve always done it” mentality. You want an apolitical team, with a willingness to “tell it like it is”. Fresh eyes can be a major asset to your profitable growth.

In today’s challenging environment, a focus on upfront planning can go a long way toward improving your marketing communications ROI.