Before we start, here is a disclaimer – This article is for people who are just getting started online. Internet veterans may find it too interesting.
Internet is growing in India quite rapidly – Thousands of businesses are coming online on daily basis. However, many of them come online with very high hopes of getting constant stream of traffic to their website. However, most of them get discouraged seeing that no one visits their sites other than their family and friends. I regularly get asked from internet newbies that “How do I drive traffic to my website” or “how do I market my business online”. Like offline, even in online world you have to market & advertise your website / online business.
Again, many perceive Internet advertising to be an overnight tool to get big. But Internet marketing is no genie. Choosing the right online promotion tools to get your business noticed is a herculean task which can involve a long gestation period. Depending on various factors such as your marketing budget, time restraints, finding your target audience, benchmarking against your competitor’s promotional strategies and so on, you will need to carefully pick your internet marketing tools and options. Let’s get an overview!
Search Engine Optimization
Don’t simply rely on the fact that your business will get noticed online by potential customers who accidently bump into your brand name in ads when they are browsing. Majority of users use search engines to directly find what they’re looking for. According to one estimate, over 90% of visits to most websites is through search engines.
In such cases, you are competing with millions of other websites and webpages offering similar services or products. Increase the chances of your website to appear on the first few pages of Google by optimizing & building excellent content around your product niche. Spent time reading online the basics of Search Engine Optimization.
Experts say that if your link appears beyond the second page of Google, you’ve potentially lost your customer. Warning: This is a feat that requires unparalleled persistence. Don’t expect your business to get noticed with SEO overnight. It takes loads on patience & effort to rank well in search engines.
Online display Ads
When we’re in the shoes of a lay person browsing the internet, we don’t bother to really observe the various kinds of ads that we are consciously or subconsciously consuming. But go to the opposite side of the fence as a marketer and you’ll see the world of online ads come alive.
There are thousands of niche segments within banner ads, direct targeting in gadget and mobile ads, location targeted and generated ads, back linking, social media ads, contextual ads, printable coupon ads, video ads, in-content placement ads etc. that you can choose depending on your business requirements. Don’t fall for the pay-per-click model lure straight away. First decide which medium of paid advertising suits your product and services. Again, spend time reading on Internet about various kinds of advertising!
Just about every internet savvy person is jumping onto the bandwagon of being involved in Affiliate marketing with the likes of Ebay, Amazon, Clickbank, Commission Junction and thousands of other popular affiliate programs. Affiliate marketing essentially involves a business / merchant paying or rewarding one or more affiliates (website or publishing platforms) that bring in visitors and eventual buyers for them by promoting, reviewing or placing their products and services on their platforms.
In return, the affiliates get a percentage of the advertising revenue depending on the number of visitors and converted buyers for their merchants. Affiliate marketing has become a great way for small business owners and individuals to earn money and a great medium for advertisers and marketers to get a vast amount of low cost exposure. To get your business noticed online, take advantage of millions of Internet users waiting to promote your product or service.
Social media and Forums
Using social media as an internet advertising tool to get your business noticed online will involve creative and engaging content generation. Get more user following for your brand name by updating interesting feeds about a new launch, a product trivia or new offers on your services.
You can even choose to create a buzz around your business by publishing content related to your product – not something that necessarily sells your product each time. For example, if your business is a restaurant, you may want to invite users to upload innovative recipes and award the best recipe with a free meal coupon. Niche forums too are a great way of subtle marketing in the guise of expert advice, guest articles, stubs and link placements.
Metric tools may not be direct marketing platforms, but they will give you guidance and direction on your promotional and internet marketing strategy. Metric tools will also tell you if your business is getting noticed or not. You can use Google’s Adword Conversion tracking tool to get insights on the conversion rates of your visitors, track leads, new sign ups, page views, measure the success of a particular campaign and much more.
Use Google’s Keyword tool to use optimized keywords, match keyword type, search competition on that keyword and so on. To test the effectiveness of your website, get comprehensive reports on the quality of content and images you have used, the conversion rate your website is enabling etc. through Google’s website optimizer. These are standard Google products. You can choose from a million other similar products available online.