Introduction to Online Marketing
The phrase online marketing, also described as internet marketing, describes the business eotrategies and marketing techniques that are utilized for a company’s overall marketing objectives. These strategies include the practical methods of analyzing the online market, performance testing, and promotional tools that will ultimately assist in the buying and selling of products and services online. The first step towards online marketing is to research and analyze your target audience in order to make an informed decision regarding the types of objectives and tactics needed for a successful online marketing campaign.
Market Research & Analysis
For any type of online marketing, it’s essential to know as much as possible about what your target market wants. An in-depth business strategy can be formulated by researching competitors’ websites, market research data, industry surveys, search engine usage, online feedback, and company reports. This information should be utilized as the foundation for a successful business strategy. The main areas of focus when gathering data are target market size, industry conversion rates, website traffic, distribution channels, purchase behavior, sales copy testing, price flexibility, regulatory/legal restrictions, and company product testing. One of the most reliable areas of market research and analysis is feedback from prospective customers which offers first-hand information versus the information collected from third party industry surveys which can be out of date and questionable. Some ways to collect prospective customer feedback when testing new product ideas are through online feedback surveys, free prize draws, free product samples, special offers attached to contact forms, newsletters, subscriptions, and competitions.
Setting Goals and Targets
If you don’t know where you want to go with your business plan, how can you determine what you need to get there? Without professional experience or reliable target market research, you’ll be unable to forecast your business’ online success. Focus on realistic goals for your online marketing strategies. For example, if your competitors’ websites analyses display the average product value, market size, and website traffic, you can make some realistic predictions assuming a top search engine ranking were to be achieved. On the same note, if you knew the average number of sales each affiliate could send your way, you could predict the number of affiliates needed and when they would be needed. You can also buy into a market quickly utilizing pay per click, or PPC, marketing which can test the return on investment in a short period of time. Using this method, you can test your investment through the use of varying sales copy, collecting and analyzing the results, and projecting future revenue. Another useful tactic you can use to determine sales profits is to download the company reports of the top three competitors in your target market and analyze their sales revenues; more often than not, you’ll see a similar sales turnover in all three that will indicate a certain ceiling in that particular market. It’s also important to understand your predicted conversion rates and average product margin associated with your product or service, because these are vital when forecasting revenue and sales targets within a business model spreadsheet.
Choosing a Business Model
After creating a quantifiable set of objectives, you can create a business model that will map out how your objectives will be achieved online. Websites can be categorized as utilizing one or a combination of the following business models: Dominating ‘Natural Organic’ Rankings, Selling Using an Affiliate Channel, and Advertising Driven Sales.
Dominating ‘Natural Organic’ Rankings
Simply put, organic rankings means getting to the top of a search engine’s results page. A high ranking is vital to a website’s success online because 80% of internet users don’t bother to look beyond the top three results out of thousands of websites. There’s no formula that will guarantee getting to the top of search engines, so be wary of companies that claim a method that will get your website there quickly. Look for those with experience and positive results instead of those who charge less and don’t have much experience. Search engine optimization, or SEO, encompasses strategies that affect how top rankings are achieved. SEO includes professional website design, affiliate marketing, pay per click (PPC) marketing, email marketing, social networking, blogs, newsletters, and all other common forms of advertising. The market competitiveness of any given search term, site content relevancy, and how old a website is are a few factors that affect the search engine result ranking for any given website.
Selling Using an Affiliate Channel
Sharing the profits of a sale with other websites can generate higher sales volume. Affiliate marketing is a well-established method of selling online, resulting in the high sales volumes with minimal sales effort. This business model relies on a good amount of available margin that can be divided between the website owner and its affiliate. Online affiliate tracking software is available to ensure affiliates are paid on time, sales are allocated fairly, and that new affiliates are recruited automatically. To understand whether or not this business model will be advantageous for your website, it’s essential to compare how much sales are generated utilizing affiliate marketing versus concentrating on direct selling.
Selling by Advertising
This business model relies solely on online advertising to drive up visitor traffic. Potential visitors can be enticed to visit a website through online ads, newspapers, or radio announcements. The sales copy and content should be compelling, including unique selling points targeting the consumers’ wants and needs. The global market for online advertising (mostly comprised of PPC) is a billion dollar industry expected to double over the next decade. Online advertising can provide a level playing field for those with smaller budgets. For web developers, the vast range of types of advertising available is equivalent to website visibility and dominancy. Some questions to consider for the web developer are: How much should I spend on advertising? In which area should I focus my budget? How do I calculate the return on investment?
The type of website can affect the type of business model preferred to achieve profit objectives. These include:
Brochure Only Site
Used to promote a company’s image. This is the most common type of website that’s static in nature and just provides information about a company or organization. The brochure only site is usually preferred by small businesses that can provide information about their products and services. For example in Glendale, CA, informative websites about wedding vendor services are very popular wherein the user can learn about a company and contact them.
An ecommerce website is used to buy and sell products and services. A successful ecommerce website should be able to provide its consumers with what they want quickly and securely, with clear shipping and customer service policies. The sales margin from these websites varies depending on the local geographic market and competitiveness in the economic market for the product or service offered.
A community network website consists of users sharing ideas and information. Popular examples of community networks are Facebook, Youtube, and Reddit. These websites are usually highly interactive for their users, including blogs, message boards, forums, discussion groups, file sharing, and emails. These websites are very popular within mobile technology communications, including tablets and mobile phones. The level of unique content and information is critical to the success of any community network website.
These websites contain a single point of contact for a website user who is interested in specific information. Portals may not necessarily own the products and services on the website, but provide added value services in order to resell or offer passive advertising to the site visitors. A good example of a portal website is Realtor.com, a site where property agents are charged to advertise their properties for sale. Search engines love portals because the content is so specific.
Online marketing has no wrong or right method. It consists of trial and error, research, observations and predictions. The type of online marketing you decide to utilize for your website’s success depends on the type of business and website you have, your goals and objectives for your business, as well as your budget. At Arpi Design studios in Glendale, CA, we consider all of these factors upon drawing up the perfect online marketing strategies specific to your business’s needs. Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our experienced web developers!