Tag Archives: Internet Marketing

I Built It And They Didn’t Come

Many fledgling Web authors are discouraged when they discover that few people are visiting their new site. But, the reality of the Internet, with its millions upon millions of Websites, is how can anybody find you even if they wanted to. Building an audience for your Web product is a complex marketing and communications task…the good news is that you aren’t the first to try to solve it.

Over the short life of the Internet many ways to generate visitor traffic have been tried. Some succeed, some have gone by the wayside, but there is currently a large arsenal of markeing options to choose from. Here’s just few that we use regularly:

Social Media

This is a hot subject now because it is so pervasive. Everyone knows about established channels like Twitter and Facebook and most regular Internet users maintain their own accounts in both. To reach this large portion of the market you have to get involved and open accounts and pages for your business ventures. There are many ways to build a following and lure people to your site, but the best is simply to put out interesting and useable information on a regular basis.

Tchotchkes (CHACH-keys)

One of the original marketing concepts and still one of the best is to simply imprint your URL on novel little dohickies and give them away to people you think would make a reasonably good prostpect. Every trade show is infested with these little items, and since all you are attempting to do is reinforce your brand and get them to visit your site, your logo and URL is all you need to print on your little “bribe.” There are new items created daily, but some of the old tried-and-true tchotchkes, like pens, sticky pads and keychains, still get snapped up. My current favorite is minature solar-powered LED flashlight key chain. And, after your expensive magazine ad is dead and buried my keychains will still be out there creating an impression.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

The big search engines like Yahoo and Google let your buy key words. You literally bid your way up when it comes to “sponsored” results. When the Internet searcher types in “real estate in (your city)” wouldn’t it be nice (if you’re a realtor) to be on the first page? This isn’t cheap, but built in analytical tracking software let’s you figure out if it’s paying off, and it can be very precisely targeted for select demographics and geographical areas.

Social medias like Facebook also sell little targed ads that pull people to your pages. When you have your social media humming along why not invite the rest of the world?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

This is the “organic’ way to slug your way up the search engine results and requires a more sophisticated knowledge about how these systems work. The short take is that certain modifications to your code and content make it more likely that search engine “agents,” the spiders and crawlers that sniff around on all Internet content, will like what they see. This goes beyond simple meta tags and other obvious strategies.

For instance, content volume for images is far smaller than that of regular HTML pages, so search engines can “find” and list images faster and rate them higher than regular Web content. So, if you name your images properly and embed the right tags and links you can get noticed quick.

Banners

One of the “grand daddies” of online advertising, banners have gone through many pricing and popularity ups and downs. The trick here is to do something that really triggers the “interactive” instinct. Rember, if they don’t click it you don’t get a hit. Remember the old Flash putting game banner…or the ubiquitous  “hit the monkey?”  Who could resist those little gems.

The other part of buying banners intelligently is to pay for “click throughs” not impressions, and placing them in a quality environment where you will get a reasonable match to your targeted customer profile.

Viral Articles

You are currently reading a viral article.

By writing original, informative content for your blogs and social media you are creating “sticky” value. People like good information and will pass it along, stick in directories and tweet it to their friends. This is the “viral” part…you want the Internet to do the work and should design your content to be virus friendly.

CMS (content management systems) like WordPress have a lot of built in pass-around value, but you can go futher and subscribe to syndication networks and hypercharge your distribution. Articles with the proper tagging embed in the search engines and continue to pop up in related word searches and kick back to your parent Web site.”

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What Level of Internet Involvement Is Right?

Sunset Beach Colonys Website featured a successful real-time real estate auction.

The Internet is the most cost-efficient information medium that has ever existed.  Every business enterprise, no matter how humble, has the opportunity to reach an international market of billions.  But, what are realistic expectations, and what level of investment in time and money makes sense for you?

An interactive Website that R Strategic designed several years ago featured an online auction that helped to sell-out a large oceanfront project in 24 hours. Bidders from throughout the world raised the overall selling price of the development by several million dollars over the estimate. That’s an invest that really paid off.

I think there’s four levels of internet deployment, from simple to complex, with progressively more commitment and money required with each progressively larger upgrade.

Informational

This is the most common form of Website.  It is basically an  static, electronic brochure, with information about your product or service and how to contact you.  It is what the yellow pages used to be, with the one caveat that you might be harder to find unless you work at it.

Interactive

This level invites your site visitor to interact and exchange information. By providing your site visitor with a dynamic experience with constantly refreshed information and features you invite repeat visits. If you can get a casual visitor to give you their email address or other contact informatioin they just became a valid sales lead.  The data these interactions generate becomes the “product” of your Web investment.

Transactional

The final step in online customer/client cultivation is providing the secure environment (and comfort level) to perform an actual transaction.  This requires not only creating an atmosphere of trust, but also the actual e-commerce applications to perform the mechanics of credit card (or pay pall) transactions.  This step also means that your backend IT operations should grow to perform order processing, fulfilmentt and customer relationship management functionality.

Systemic

This level is where the Internet itself becomes the primary focus of your business model.  Most or all of your business is marketed,  prospected, transacted and serviced on the Web.  You have a small or non-existent “bricks & mortar” presence.  In addition, your organization is also administrated via company internet communications procedures.  Your sales force and mangement are all administrated via Web networks.  When this model works you are on your way to becoming the next Amazon or Ebay.

None of these different levels of Internet business will succeed, however, if people don’t know they exist. Promoting your Website is the single most critical factor for developing a winning Web presence.

Next: I Built It And They Didn’t Come

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