This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
One of the best ways to get leads on the Internet is by getting a product
mention or a free link on another website. Effective online marketing is
all about putting your product or service in front of potential customers at
the exact time that they are looking for it. This technique is known as
“pinpoint marketing”. Pinpoint marketing is much different than
advertising on radio or television, which are known as “interruptive
marketing” techniques. Interruptive marketing costs a lot more than
pinpoint marketing and is less effective for the simple reason that you’re
attempting to put your product out there in front of everybody instead of
pinpointing those potential customers who want to find out more about
you and your business.
Pinpoint Marketing: Pinpoint marketing is the process of sending the
right message at the right time so that it produces actual results. For
example, if you’re at a ball game and are eating a bag of popcorn. Just
when you take a handful of popcorn the Coca-Cola logo appears on the
big screen. The next you thing you know you’re looking for the first
vendor who can sell you a can of Coke. However, if an advertisement
for a new car appears on the big screen while you’re watching the game
and eating popcorn, you’re less likely to be interested since it’s not
something you’re looking for at that moment. Interruptive marketing
isn’t really targeted because it’s not something that you are actively
looking for. People who use the Internet are usually looking for a
solution to a problem. When you put your product in front of them at the
right time you’ve reached a potential customer.
Day-part Marketing: The placement and timing of ads on the Internet
has become so important to online marketing that some companies, such
as Yahoo!, are selling advertisements in “day-part”. Day-part is
something that has always been done in television advertising. Day-part
marketing works like this – specifying at which time of the day certain
ads are viewed so that you can effectively target your customers.
Embedded Marketing Messages: These days, more people than ever are
using the Internet to research a product before they buy. As well, most
Internet users are becoming more serious about the amount of time that
they spend online. Studies show that users are spending less time on the
web and that the time they do spend surfing is focused and deliberate.
Many users bookmark their favorite websites so that they can access
information fast and easily. When people want a solution to a certain
problem, such as a health issue or taking a vacation, they often look
online for the answers. This is why it’s important for you to put your
product or service right in front of them whenever you can.
One of the main problems with online marketing is establishing
credibility with your customers. Since there are so many Internet scams
out there people are wary of whom they do business with and even more
cautious of companies they are unfamiliar with. As a small business you
need to gain credibility on the Internet by making your logo and
company name a familiar item to Internet users. One way that you can
achieve this credibility is by setting up a shopping cart on Yahoo! You’ll
not only have access to the technology of shopping carts you’ll also find
yourself affiliated with a familiar and successful online company. This
gives customers the confidence needed to do business with you. When a
customer buys something from your online Yahoo! Store they become
more familiar with the name of your company and will be more likely to
buy from you directly at your website the next time around.
Get your Content to Other Websites: Another way that you can build
credibility online is to swap content. If you can position an article that
includes a link to your website on another website that is at the top of the
field of your industry you increase your chances of credibility. This then
increases your sales potential. But just how do you get web editors to
take any notice of your company? In chapter 3 you learned the value of
web content for companies of all sizes. You also learned how expensive
it can be to purchase web content. The bottom line is that more
companies are willing to trade a free mention on your website for a good
article. This way the content provider gets targeted and free advertising
for their product or service, and the company that is posting the article
(and the link) can feature content that is informative and valuable.
You can get some great leads by writing articles. When a potential
customer reads your article you establish yourself as an expert in your
field. When the customer links over to your website you have a very
good lead that can generate sales.
People who use the Internet want results that are immediate. They know
exactly what they are looking for so your advertising message needs to
be appropriate, concise, and to the point. You need to think about what
kind of people will be accessing the website where you plan to post your
Swapping Advertising: A great way to get your product information out
to people is by using links, banner ads, coupons, and swapping articles.
If you’re in the home renovation business you can trade articles with
other businesses such as painters and electricians. In fact, you can trade
articles with anyone in your chosen industry that isn’t in direct
competition with you. Extra content on your website will give you more
credibility while having your articles on other websites will lend your
company a position of authority.
Word of Mouth Marketing
The second most common way that people find new websites is word of
mouth. Search engines are the number one way. Word of mouth can be
generated from message board postings by virtual strangers or by e-
mailing friends. Effective word of mouth is known as “viral marketing”
and is one of the biggest success stories on the Internet.
Viral marketing works in much the same way urban legends and funny
jokes on the Internet work as they are forwarded all around the world.
Viral marketing takes advantage of the socialization needs of society. No
matter how small the social network starts out as, effective viral
marketing can turn a small unknown company into one that is known
everywhere in the online world. Some of the biggest companies on the
Internet rely on viral marketing to stay successful. You can set up an
effective e-mail marketing strategy without a big budget or a lot of
technology. All you need to do is set up an e-mail signature that has a
marketing message within it. This marketing message will be attached to
any e-mail that your company sends. Messages are easily set up through
Outlook and other e-mail programs.
You can take the concept of e-mail messages one step further by
attaching your marketing message to all mail that is outgoing. This is
done through a simple process known as “mail rerouting”. When you use
this process you can track the results as well as know for sure that every
outgoing message will look and feel the same no matter whether you or
your employees send the mail.
Something for Free: Everyone wants to get something that is free. When
you offer something that is free the word will spread very quickly. And
free offers will bring traffic to your website. However, most small online
businesses can’t afford to give away much for free. What you can do is
become creative and offer a free product for the first 20 people who buy
another product from your website. This can be as simple as movie
Message Boards and Chatrooms: Message boards and chatrooms are
great places for word of mouth and viral marketing to flourish. This is
particularly true for those people who are 25 years of age and younger.
In chatrooms people share ideas and concepts and this can lead to some
great leads for your business.
E-mail makes it easy for people to share ideas and concepts with others
anywhere in the world. If you can attach your marketing message to
these infectious e-mails you’ll be able to create a buzz and stir about your
product or service. When potential customers recognize your logo or
company name you’re on your way to gaining trust, credibility, and the
close of a sale.
Domain Names: One last thing to remember when you’re trying to
spread information about your company is the effectiveness of a
memorable domain name. You want to pick a domain name that is easy
to remember, easy to spell, and that relates to what you’re selling. When
people easily find your website you’ll want to make sure that your home
page content is dynamic so they keep returning.
Chapter Five: E-mail Marketing
As the Internet has grown, e-mail marketing has become one of the most
efficient and cost effective tools for online marketing. E-mail marketing
drastically affects businesses whether they are B2B or B2C (business to
business/business to consumer). Marketing through e-mail increases
your brand loyalty and increases your customer service through the eyes
of your customers. When permission based e-mail marketing is done
right it can be more effective than any other type of online marketing
strategy. The thing to keep in mind is that no one single component of
online marketing can stand on its own. For instance, an e-mail newsletter
needs to have a great website to back it up as well as interest in your
business to build your e-mail list in the first place.
The number one activity online is e-mail. This is why e-mail can be used
as a great online marketing tool. Many Internet users say that they would
rather get marketing messages in their e-mail than be bothered by sales
phone calls at home.
Permission Based E-mail
One important key to an effective e-mail marketing strategy is to only
focus on permission based mail. This means that customers need to
choose to receive mail from you. This is known as “opt in”.
You should never rent or buy an e-mail list since this is considered to be
spam. No matter what the owner of the e-mail list will tell you, the
majority of the addresses on the list did not opt in to receive e-mail or to
have their personal information sold to you. When you send e-mail to
people who don’t want it you’re sending spam. Spam will give your
company image a cheap look and take away any trust that customers
have in you. You want leads that are quality and not quantity and this
means building your own e-mail list. You’ll find that the final results
will be tremendous to you and your business.
E-mail marketing should be considered an extension of the customer
service that you provide. You want to be able to communicate with your
customers at every point in the sales process. When you give your
customers what they ask for, without abusing any permission, you
establish the base for a relationship that is founded on respect and leads
to long term customer loyalty.
Build your E-mail List
It takes time to build an e-mail list but once you do you’ll have the names
of people who are genuinely interested in what you’re selling. The one
thing you need to remember is not to abuse a person’s trust once they
give you their private information and e-mail address. Let your
customers know that you value their trust and will respect their privacy.
promise not to sell information to other businesses or vendors. You can
go so far as to let your customers know what you’ll be e-mailing them
and how often they can expect it. Always provide people with the option
to remove themselves from your e-mail list. This promotes customer
If you take part in joint promotion and/or co-branding with another
online company make sure that you don’t trade e-mail lists. What you
can do is include information about that company in the newsletter you
send to your customers. All e-mail should come only from you. You’ll
lose your customer’s trust if they think you’ve sold their personal
information to another business. And this means that they will disregard
any future communication with you and your business.
To get people to join your e-mail list don’t ask them for much more than
a few bits of information at a time. You need to gain their trust before
asking for too much information. You can start out by asking for their
name and e-mail address. Your future marketing promotions will help
you fill in other information such as age and demographics. It will take
time to get a clear idea of who your best customers are and what they
want to get out of your website and e-mail newsletter.
If customers have trust in your business it won’t be hard to get an e-mail
list together. Gaining trust is as easy as holding a contest, offering
discounts or coupons, regularly changing your website content, or
providing informative newsletters.
Should you have on offline store, a great way to gather e-mail addresses
is by asking people to give you their business card if they want to win a
free lunch. Other offline methods of gathering e-mail addresses include
networking events and trade shows. A good rule of thumb is: if
someone gives you their business card that has their e-mail address on it
you can safely assume that it’s okay to send them an e-mail at least once.
If they don’t respond back you should then assume that they are not
interested. Take these non-respondents off your e-mail list.
Goal Oriented Marketing: After you’ve created your e-mail list it’s time
to develop an e-mail marketing plan. Determine what your business goal
is and how you plan to achieve this goal: through (1) repeat customers?
(2) more leads? (3) e-mail marketing? You want to define your goals as
well as you can so that you can keep track of the process.
If you’re going to send a newsletter via e-mail you need to provide
incentives for people to want to stay on your e-mail list.
Ideas for Content: You don’t always have to offer discounts or a free
product as incentives to customers. The content of your newsletter can
also be a good incentive. Good newsletter content includes:
•Customer submitted success stories.
•Information from experts in your industry.
•A section for questions and answers.
•News and/or statistics about your industry.
•Feedback from customers.
•Tips about your products or services.
Your newsletter shouldn’t include information such as “about you”, your
company history, or your company news. This type of information is
only valuable for investors. The bottom line is that your customers don’t
really care about what is happening in your business. They only want to
know what you can do for them. Good newsletter content is anything
that catches the interest of your customers. A newsletter, just like your
home page, has only a few seconds to attract the attention of your
customer before they decide to delete it. Your newsletter should
immediately let your customer know what you can do for them, how
you’re going to do it, and why they should do business with you.
Newsletters are a great way to promote your business but make sure that
you take into consideration the content, the length, and the frequency of
Keep it Short: Your newsletter should be concise, short, and get to the
point. It should be no more than 1000 words and deal with no more than
five different products or services at one time. People don’t like to read
Newsletters that deal with too many departments are more difficult for
you to update. This could be a roadblock to you sending out newsletters
on a regular basis while at the same time providing new and fresh
content. If there is too much information in the first e-mail your
customers won’t want to click through to your website. And a no-click
means you have no way to keep track of the success or failure of your e-
mail marketing strategy.
The main difference between online marketing and traditional marketing
is that online methods allow you to track what is happening. If the e-
mails you send out don’t encourage customers to click to your website
you won’t know what is working and what isn’t.
Frequency and Timing: You need to determine when and how often
you’re going to send out e-mail newsletters. You don’t want to send e-
mails out too often as this will overwhelm your customers. At the same
time, you don’t want to wait too long between e-mails or your customers
will start to forget who you are. Timing and consistency will vary
depending on what type of business you have. If you’re not sure when
and how often to send your newsletters, just ask. Whenever someone
joins your e-mail list ask them how often they would like to receive an e-
mail from you. Another way to track frequency and timing is by sending
out e-mails at different times during the week. Then keep track of which
days have more viewings of your e-mail and your website to determine
what day is the better one for sending out your newsletter.
List Hosting Services
You can build, send, and keep track of your e-mail marketing campaign
by using an e-mail hosting program. Using an e-mail program is an
important method of effective online marketing. An e-mail hosting
service takes away some of the work of manually adding and deleting
addresses from your database. These services also have the ability to test
your newsletters before you send them out. There are multiple templates
for you to choose from which means that you won’t have to learn how to
use html in order to send a newsletter that is professional looking. If you
decide to use a template make sure that it matches the look and feel of
your company brand and website. Consistency is the key to effective
E-mail list hosting services allow you to track and manage your e-mail
marketing campaign. You have the ability to receive reports that have
precise details about which links and graphics your customers have
clicked on. This information lets you change the content of your
newsletter when you know what it is that your customers most want to
read and see. As you start to send out more newsletters you’ll get a
better feel for what it is that your customers want. This is why you want
the content of your newsletters to be flexible.
You should create newsletter content that is somewhat based on the
profiles of the customers you’re trying to reach. The majority of e-mail
list services will allow you to set up your subscription pages so that your
customers can indicate what they want to receive from your company.
When you can identify the audience that you’re writing for you can
modify your newsletter so that you include the right kinds of promotions
and product information.
If your newsletter contains something of value, such as travel
information, your customers are more likely to forward the e-mail on to
friends and family. When you establish yourself as an expert in your
industry, by giving your customers the information they want to see, you
build credibility and trust.
Always keep in mind that no matter how great your newsletter content is,
there is no guarantee that people will read it. One way that you can make
sure your newsletter isn’t deleted before being read is by have a great
Great Subject Lines
Many newsletters and business offers are never read by Internet users for
the simple reason that the e-mail didn’t have an effective subject line. A
subject line may only be a few words but these few words are very
As more and more e-mails fill our in-boxes it’s more important than ever
to have a subject line that catches our attention. The subject line is one
of the most important aspects of your e-mail marketing campaign
because it’s what creates a first impression for your business. With just a
few words you can encourage someone to read your newsletter or you
can cause them to delete your e-mail without another glance.
Here are some simple rules for creating a great subject line:
•Keep the subject line direct and short. Subject lines should never
be more than ten words long. In fact, five words or less is the
perfect length. Most e-mail browsers won’t let users see more than
five or six words so a longer subject line will be truncated and not
seen by the user. Use strong and descriptive words rather than
fluffy adjectives such as “very”.
•Emphasize the benefits to the reader. You want to make it as easy
as possible for your customers to know precisely why they will
benefit from reading your newsletter. This can be as simple as a
“reward” for just opening the e-mail. A reward can be information
or a discount coupon. You want to use catch phrases such as “save
money” and “save time” to get a reader’s immediate attention.
The key is to entice your customers to want to read more and open
•Ask questions. When you ask a question in the subject line you
cause a reader to become curious and want to know more. As
well, when you ask a question the e-mail sounds more like it’s
coming from a colleague rather than just a business and will more
likely be opened and read.
•Personal subject lines. One big mistake that screams “spam” is
sending your e-mail to “undisclosed recipients”. Make sure to
always use your company name or real name as the sender. Try to
put the recipients name in the subject line if there is room as well
as insert it into the greeting of the e-mail.
•Take advantage of holidays and current events. If there is an
upcoming holiday, such as Christmas, you can tie it up with your
e-mail subject line. For example, “Save time on your Christmas
•Avoid using the word “free”. Hard sales phrases, such as “free”
and “limited offer”, are often filtered out by e-mail services since
they are a clear indication of spam. As well, try to avoid using
hype which includes explanation marks or all capital letters.
Chapter Six: Build a Community Online
Over 93% of Internet users take part in some type of online community.
But just why are online communities such a draw for so many people?
•Online communities are much like a virtual café, bar, or other
gathering place for people to get together with people with similar
•Online communities are a great place to learn something new.
•Online communities are where people can be anonymous and
share their problems and fears.
•Online communities allow people to talk with people of the same
mind so that they can confirm their beliefs.
•Online communities allow people who are facing a hardship to feel
Online Community Defined: An online community can be accessed
anywhere at any time. Some of the components of an online community
include chatrooms, message boards, newsletters, event calendars, and
anything else that lets an Internet user interact with others who are
Why should you be concerned about online communities for your online
marketing strategy? Customers who take part in an online community
are a good target for your sales because they have a high affinity for
loyalty to your product when they are participating in an online
community. When you have a strong and solid online customer
community you know that you’ve built a loyal following for your
company and the products or services you sell. Your loyal customers
will spread news of your company through word of mouth and this will
further increase your sales.
Message Boards: It will be to your benefit to provide your customers
with a message board on your website. You can break your message
board up into categories for your different products or services and
encourage your customers to share their ideas and opinions with others.
This is the first step towards building an online community. Customers
will answer each others questions and this will save you some money on
the cost of customer care. You just need to make sure that you moderate
the message board on a regular basis so that your customers are getting
Message boards also give you some great feedback about the products or
services you’re selling. Honest feedback from customers lets you better
take care of their needs. You also get to learn a lot more about your
customers and what it is that they want from your business.
Message boards are an important part of your website and your online
community. You can develop a message board without spending a lot of
time and money. Begin by asking your website hosting company if they
can provide you with a message board template that you can include in
the hosting package. Otherwise look on the Internet for a message board
that is free. Choose a message board that fits the look and feel of your
website so that you’re maintaining consistency.
Message Board Content: A successful online community isn’t just a
common message board. The content on your website will play a big
part in the quality of your online community. The more professional your
website content is the better the quality of the message board. Always
keep in mind that it’s content that attracts readers and should be your
major concern when it comes to your decision to develop an online
You’ll find that fresh content ideas will start to flow when you have an
online community. You’ll know exactly what your customers are
looking for and just how you can provide that for them. Active message
boards are a cost efficient way for you to provide great customer service.
Message Board Calendar: Calendars are a vital part of the online
community because they allow people to meet offline. Even if your
company doesn’t have any offline events, a calendar will let you post
valuable industry information. For example, if your company sells
stationary you could list the dates when you’ll be attending trade fairs in
the search for new products for your customers. This type of information
lets customers know that your website and business content is ever
Contests: Contests are a great way to get customers excited about your
company and your website. Ask customers to share a story about how
your product or service has benefited them. When the contest is over you
can post these stories, along with the names of the winners, on your
website. This marketing technique provides you with customer
testimonials and is also a good way for you to see what your customers
are interested in.
Maintaining an Online Community: It can take a lot of work to maintain
your online community. You’ll need to invest a certain amount of time
and effort if you want the benefits of an online community to come your
way. Make sure that all of your staff is involved in the maintenance of
the community and that they know the importance of responding
immediately to posts from your customers. When your online
community is in its beginning stages you might have to plant some of
your own questions, answers, and comments to the message board. Once
traffic to your online community builds it will start to flow on its own
and will require less maintenance.
Other Online Communities and Ad Space: If you don’t think that you
have the time and manpower to maintain an online community you might
want to consider buying ad space on a community that is already
established and which has a high profile on the Internet. The online
community should have some connection with the types of products or
services that you’re selling.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?