Is Internet Marketing For You?

Marketing through the Internet is not only convenient, but efficient. With just the right Internet connection and a lot of marketing know-how, you can get your message out to the right people much faster than you would had you used conventional, offline means of marketing. However, if you want to do Internet marketing well, there are a lot of things that you will need to remember before you begin, and while you do it. Here are a few tips that will allow you to make the most out of your Internet marketing stint.Internet marketing is not all about selling, but convincing people first. True, your end result should be the sale of a product, but the tendency of a lot of people is to focus on the selling, and not on the customer. Remember, if you really want to sell in the long run, you need to convince your customer first that he or she needs the product. In other words, your customers don’t care about what you can sell them, not until they know that you care about them first.Let this mindset drive you. If you think about who your customers are and what exactly it is they want, then you can design your marketing schemes better. For one, you can better gauge how many messages on your product or service you can send out in a certain period of time, and to whom. You will know where your customers hang out, and most of all, instead of bombarding them with messages on how cool your product is or what a good deal your service is, you can listen to them first and see what it is they really want.Do not make a shot in the dark. The tendency of a lot of desperate Internet marketers is to post in all forums, send messages to thousands of people whom they do not know, and simply spam mailboxes and even blog comments boards with messages. This is inconvenient, not to mention annoying. Not only will you waste your time as an Internet marketer on these shots in the dark, you will not get any customers either – and you may end up losing them due to your tarnished, spam-associated reputation.Instead of random posting, know your market first, and then start posting where your target market is, whether it be a forum, mailing list, message board, or blog comments section. You need to target your market directly, so don’t spread yourself too thin.Avoid a hard selling image. Another mistake that a lot of desperate Internet marketers make is to go into sales talk immediately, and to push their case further until a customer caves in. Avoid this and start by talking like a person to your target market: how would you like to be spoken with, and what words or questions would endear you to a would-be friend? Talk to your target market, speak with it, and don’t talk down to people. In this way, you do not become a salesperson, but a friend who understand, and therefore knows what friends what and need.These are only a few tips that you may want to remember as you go off and start with your Internet marketing. For more information, do a lot of research online, or talk to friends or family who have already engaged in Internet marketing. With a lot of research, and a lot of work on your part in maintaining your composure and watching your behavior, you can make a lot of money through Internet marketing.

What Recent Holiday Retailer Traffic Tells Us About Affiliate Marketing

For anyone marketing online, it probably comes as no surprise that 2013 was another banner year when it came to holiday retail spending/buying on the web. The major leading digital business analytics firm comScore reports that between November 1st and December 31st – over $46.5 billion was spent by online shoppers. They also reported the two busiest days were Cyber Monday and the day following it, with a total of $3.15 billion spent.

For those like me who are heavily into affiliate marketing, this is one of the best times to rack up sales and earn commissions. Shoppers are simply in the right mindset to buy, and more of them are now purchasing their items and gifts online. Affiliate marketers have to take advantage of this “feeding frenzy” and get their sites or affiliate links to the forefront with extra advertising, more content creation and timely posts.

Like past years, this is the time to do that extra advertising and increase your spending. This year I did a press release each day via PRWeb during the weeks around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I have always found it beneficial to create content that’s directly related to these shopping days, heavily promoting any discount coupons and deals from the companies which I promote with my sites. This also creates links/rankings for vital keywords in Google News and Yahoo News around those special holiday shopping events.

However, I just don’t concentrate on the search engines, I also increased my Facebook ads and Tweets to make sure I was receiving traffic from social media sites. Just like other online marketers, Google’s Panda and Penguin updates have taught me never to rely solely on just search engine traffic, it can all disappear in the blink of an eye.

That said, it should come as no surprise to anyone that 40% of traffic to retailers this holiday season, came from search engines according to Experian, a marketing services company. Apparently this traffic was down by 13% from last year, perhaps because many shoppers are using Google paid product ads to find the items they want. One also has to factor in the growing influence of social networking platforms and forums on the delivery of online traffic.

Affiliate marketers must also take advantage of these social networks with branded Twitter feeds and at least a Facebook Fan page. Highly targeted ads on Facebook can pay off, and many marketers are reporting good results. For me personally, I didn’t find my FB ads as effective at driving large amounts of traffic as press releases or even the search engines – at least not directly from Facebook but I have seen an increase in direct traffic to my site. This kind of traffic is really hard to judge, but it’s probably coming from more exposure of my brand on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Done properly, one’s social media’s fan/follower/subscriber base should be a year round marketing project, building up loyal fans with relevant posts and informative content. After all, during this holiday season, one report shows a 39% jump in traffic coming from these upstream social networks and anyone doing affiliate marketing online can’t ignore these numbers. On Facebook especially, what has really worked well for me is offering handy free guides/videos to get potential buyers onto my lists and into my marketing funnels. Since everything is based on the “sharing” of content, this content can’t be too commercial, or it will turn people off instead of on to your brand.

Experian also reports that discount coupons are losing favor with the buying public, but I would have to disagree with their findings. Then again, I am a little biased because I have effectively used discount coupons in my affiliate marketing for over 10 years. During the peak holiday shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, my promoted companies offer some of the best deals of the year and this is reflected in higher sales. Potential customers are also looking for the best deals at this time, and the affiliate marketer must take advantage.

While all this marketing may make you feel like a used car dealer wannabe, I have always thought of this as a “win-win” situation where the customer gets a great deal and the affiliate earns a small commission. From the beginning, I have always put the emphasis on providing valuable content first and the coupons/discounts as a follow-up or a bonus. If you’re an affiliate marketer and you’re not offering a coupon or discount – just keep in mind, many shoppers (online and off) are postponing their holiday buying until they see these great deals and what discounts each merchant is offering.

If you’re not gearing your online marketing to these special discounts, you may be leaving a lot of sales on the table or for other marketers to acquire. During the holiday shopping season, I simply make sure my subscribers/followers/fans know about these great bargains and we both walk away smiling. And as the above statistics show, more and more customers are turning to online retailers to get the items and gifts they want for the holidays. Affiliate marketers must simply follow the money if they want to survive in this very competitive game.

So You Think You Know Email Marketing?

Email Marketing can be the most powerful advertising and marketing tool out there. It is quick, efficient and cost effective, if done in the right way. If done properly, you can cut costs by saving on postage, advertising and so on. You can also evade the stress of whether or not users will come across your ad or content and actually connect with you. Email marketing allows you to directly connect with online users in many ways shape and forms.

There are many types of email marketing, the two main types being Opt-in Marketing and Third Party Marketing

Opt In marketing may take longer to achieve results, but it is well worth the wait. Customer lists are created organically through subscriptions and comment card and will result in your list being honest and useable. Your audience in this instance will want to hear from you and will interact more frequently with your content and business.

Third Party Marketing can be considered a little more tricky and unreliable. Third Party Marketing is when you purchase email lists from third parties. There are a number of factors that will affect the results of such a campaign, including the quality of the list you purchase and the users connection with your product or service.

Once you have figured out what marketing type you wish to go with, you must start looking at the key elements of your strategy.

1.) PLAN

Start from the bottom and work your way up. Make your plan and highlight in it:

Budget
Demographics
Geographical locations
When it comes to email marketing there is no ‘one size fits all’ and you must be clear from the beginning where exactly you want to take your campaign and how you wish to run it. Take into consideration what type of emails you wish to send, where you will send them and when they will be sent. Do you wish to start by simply advertising? Offering information about a specific service or product? Or, do you wish to begin by getting down to the ‘nitty gritty’ and sending out those greatly appreciated and received promotional codes?

2.) CONTENT

It goes without saying that in order to grab the readers attention, our content must be interesting and engaging. It must be relevant, informative and of the highest quality. Getting it just right is what is needed here, writing too much or too little can be dangerous and fatal to your campaign. Give your email a clear heading, make it stand out from the others and ensure that the content itself does not bombard or starve the user.

3.) DESIGN

When coming up with a design for your email, it is vital that you are aware of the common traps that most fall into. Creating the perfect design for your email marketing campaigns does not mean including as many eye-catching and colourful banners and pictures as possible, it is about being clear and concise! Many forget that most email users are using their mobiles and that the layout and design of an email is displayed completely different on a mobile than a desktop. Another thing that you must pay attention to is the use of images. Images are not automatically displayed on an email, therefore it is of utmost importance that we do not rely merely on images to engage the reader and call them to action. The images that we use must simply add to the content that we have added textually. Last but not least, the most important part of our design is the call to action. Where we will place our call to action will be the difference between our emails having the effect we desire, or completely flopping. The call to action should be placed at the top of the email or somewhere where is it clearly visible and must draw the readers attention, this is after all the whole purpose of the email.

4.) CODE

It is advisable here to use HTML code. Many email services still do not support CSS layout and let’s face it, we do not want to run the risk of our emails becoming disabled when they reach the inbox. You may be using an email blast programme that allows you to simply input your text / content into their pre-designed and coded formats, or you may wish to pay for the extra service of a custom design. Either way, make sure you code your email in the correct and most user-friendly way.

5.) TESTING

It goes without saying that your email has to be tested before it is sent out, we can hardly send out thousands of emails without knowing how they will look and work first. You should always check the following most important parts:

Visual aspect – Look at your email through the end user’s eyes: How does it look? Is it what you expected? Is the layout clear? Can all banners and text be seen?
Headline – How does it look in your inbox? Does it stand out? Would you open it?
Content – Is your call to action where it’s supposed to be? Will it actually call people to action? Is your address and contact information visible? If someone wants to unsubscribe, can they clearly find the link to do so?
6.) KEYWORDS

Keywords can grab the attention of the reader, or they can get your email spammed. When writing, we automatically use some words without thinking, but when writing our subject line we must be careful not to use specific keywords that may be picked up as spam. The list of keywords that can trigger spam filters to spam our mail is unfortunately quite long, here are a few examples of words to avoid using:

As seen on
Guarantee
Buy Direct
Clearance
The spam filter will add up the amount of ‘spammy’ keywords you have used and then decide on whether your mail is spam or not, so choose your words wisely.