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Online and Social Media Marketing

Over the last few decades, the Internet fundamentally changed businesses and media as we knew them in the past.  It used to be that large organizations were required for broadcasting (e.g. TV, radio, etc.), publishing (e.g. newspapers, magazines, etc.), and selling good or services.  Smaller organization were able to provide media, products and services, but had to work harder to compete with the larger businesses.

The Internet and Web have leveled the playing field for all products, media, and service providers.  It is easier now to publish or broadcast your own content (e.g. ebooks, music, opinions, etc.) then its ever been.  As digital publishing has evolved, so has advertising your content so that others will consume it, whether you're giving it away for free (or with advertising), or selling it at a price.

Marketing Fundamentals
There are fundamental market rules that never change no matter the platform (e.g. TV, radio, Internet, etc.).  The first of these marketing fundamentals is the branding of your products or content, the second is understanding the target market (e.g. men, women, adults, children, etc.) for your merchandise. The final fundamental is repetition, expect to run your ad campaigns several times.

Think of your favorite brands you keep going back to them because you trust them.  Branding is all about trust, we go back to specific brands because we believe in it.  For example some popular brands are, Apple, McDonalds, Canon, etc..  You want your products to have that brand loyalty so that people will keep coming back to you for more of what you're selling. 

In order to brand your products, you need to do three things:
  • Capture the buyer's attention
  • Keep the buyer's attention
  • Make a lasting impression
Building your brand requires advertising, and two of the most important considerations in this area are who is your target market, and where can they be reached? For example women in most relationships can make the majority of purchasing decisions.  So if this was your target market, then you would want to advertise in a place where you can reach the largest population of the people you're trying to market to, such as a web site that caters its content toward women.

After you define your brand, and create an advertising campaign, you can't just promote your products or services once and expect to see results.  Some studies have shown that the average consumer will ignore two out of three of your ads, and will require nine exposures before remembering your business or its products.  This means that you will have to run your ads several dozen times before you may see some results.

Internet Marketing
As stated at the beginning of this article, the Web has fundamentally changed publishing and distribution of content, products and services.  Having a web site is not enough to drive traffic to it.  You need to actively make sure that potential consumers and find you, and can keep coming back. 

The purpose of this article is touch on some of the basics that you will need to get started promoting your presence online.  It will be up to you decide how you utilize the available mediums that are best suited to your business and its products.
  • Web site: A great looking site with an easy to remember URL, will be the foundation of your web presence.
    • Tip: Embed related keywords to your products or services (without using any keyword stuffing techniques).
      • By add "tags" is possible to include related keywords for products or content. This can help increase search engine relevance of your content. (more information Wikipedia).
    • Tip: Use descriptive <TITLE> and <META> tags in your HTML, that contain relevant keywords.
    • Tip: Keep your content "fresh", update on regular basis.  Search engine can give a higher relevance to content that is changing on re
  • Search Engines (such as Google, Bing, Yahoo): Generally will probably bring you most of your traffic, depending on your market strategy.  Although, you will be at the mercy of your placement in the search results.  General rule is the lower your placement, the lower your traffic will be.
    • Tip: You need high quality links from other site.  Generally the quality of the link is directly proportional to the popularity of the web sites that is linking to you.
      • For example: If a site like CNN.com points to you, it has greater relevance then link from a blog post.
    • For more idea, check out the following Google article on what is appropriate and inappropriate.
Social Network Marketing
Social networking sites are all the rage of Internet marketing, but effectively using this tool can be tricky.  The reason why, is that you have give people a reason to join your social networking site to associate themselves with your brand, products or services. Then after they join, you have to leverage these relationships to drive traffic back to your main web site or the consumption or your product, content, or services.  For example, you can list promotions or news that are only available via these sites.

Social media marketing center around efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages the readers to share it with their social networks. Ideally you want your message spreads from user to user and hope that it resonates with the reader because it is coming from a trusted source, not from the company itself.

If you're looking for ideas for the most effective ways to leverage this technology for your business, analyze how your competition is using these social networking sites.  Look at what they're right and wrong, then try to figure out a way of doing it better.
  • Twitter
    • Tweet about new products, services or content that you're providing
    • Tweet out alerts to content that you have generated or promotion that your running
  • Facebook
    • Create public Facebook group that people want to join.
    • Post updates about new products, services and content that you produced or are marketing.
    • Interact with your visitors, request feedback from them.
Other popular and relevant forms of Internet marketing:
  • Email Newsletter
    • Offer unique content that people will want that is related to industry or market that you're serving.
    • Create content around the products or services you provide that people will want to read.
    • Offer special promotions to the people who are signed up for your newsletter.
    • Never spam, and always offer a way for someone to opt-out of receiving your emails.
  • Blogs
    • Offer unique content that people or opinions that people want to read related to industry or market that you're serving.
    • Include audio and video content from podcasts that you create.
    • Offer an RSS feed of updates
  • Mobile Phone Application
    • Depending on the products, services, or content that you're distributing, you might be able to drive more sales or visitors with a custom mobile phone application.
    • Popular platforms: Apple iPhone (iOS), Google's Android (Linux) and Microsoft Windows Phone
  • Banner Ads
    • Its always helpful to monetize your content by displaying banner ads, check out programs like Google's AdSense.
    • Use banner ads to drive visitors to your web site, check out programs like Google's AdWords
  • Podcast (video or audio)
    • Create a video or audio podcast, talk about trends in your industry or give your opinions about what is happening, provide value to your content and promote what you're selling.
    • Post your postcasts on your blog, and web site, make sure you link to them in your RSS feeds and newsletters.
  • Offer a Free eBook or valuable content.
    • It helps give visitors something free (e.g. free ebook, marketing data, etc.) that they can't get elsewhere to get them to visit your site. Hopefully they will stay and check out what you're offering, and get them to return later.  The content has to have value, or people will not take advantage of your offer.
  • RSS feeds
    • If you regularly update your site or blog, make sure that you have RSS feeds to that content so that visitors can keep up with those updates.
    • For more information about RSS feeds check out the following article.
  • Press Release
    • Consider creating a press release for events and product releases.
    • For more information about Press Releases check out the following article.
  • Business Cards and Letterhead
    • Create business cards and letterhead with your company's contact information, make sure to include your web site's URL.
  • Signature Lines
    • Create an email signature line with your company's contact information, make sure to include your web site's URL.
Web Site Analytics
If you're not tracking how people are using your site, you're missing out on valuable information.  Web site analytics can tell you how many people are visiting your site, where your traffic is coming from, what is the most popular content, and a great deal more. 

If you need a place to get started check out Google Analytics.  For more information about Web site analytics check out the following article.

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