By Jason | Contact Me
Internet marketing has a tendency to bewilder those who are new to the subject. With so many different tactics and strategies (banners, search engines, e-mail auto-responders, social media, media buying, etc.) the most common question online marketing novices have is “where do I even start?” Without a firm grasp of the fundamentals it may seem that all of these things are equally important or effective, but that is usually not the case. Far more intelligent than attempting to utilize every trick or fad you know of is taking a focused approach and building a sound marketing system from the ground up.
Following are ten action steps you can take on the road to online marketing success:
Define Your USP
The first step to marketing online successfully is not writing an ad or buying traffic. Rather, it is defining your unique selling proposition. Think of your company’s USP as the heart and soul of your online marketing campaigns. Marketing consultant Jay Abraham defines it as follows:
“A USP is that distinct and appealing idea that sets you and your business, or practice, favorably apart from every other generic competitor.”
Without a unique selling proposition, you are powerless to rationally decide what message your online marketing expresses. How can you choose what to say in an ad, for instance, if you do not have a powerful, set-in-stone image of what your company is all about – and why people should care? Few (if anyone) will want to “fill out your free quote form”, for instance, without compelling reasons why you’re the company to go to.
Examples of Good USPs:
FedEx: “Federal Express: When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
Domino’s Pizza: ”Pizza delivered hot in 30 minutes or it’s free.”
Who Are You Targeting?
With your USP established, it is now time to identify which online prospects you are targeting. It is here that your online marketing strategy will need to fork to go along one path or another, depending on the types of people you are after. Are people proactively searching for what you sell? Can you use the free Google Keyword Tool and find keywords relating to your products or services? If so, your online marketing strategy should probably involve pay-per-click (PPC), otherwise known as search engine marketing. Using PPC, you can display text-based advertisements to people while they are in the act of seeking out what you sell.
On the other hand, if you are selling something that people do not look for by name (perhaps a totally new product that people don’t even know they need), media buying could be a smarter strategy. Media buying refers to buying banners, pop-up advertisements or space in e-mail newsletters. Using this approach, you can display graphic or text ads in places that your ideal customers are most likely to see them.
Sign Up For Accounts With Ad Networks
Now that you know roughly where you’ll get the most bang for your marketing buck, it’s time to sign up for accounts with the appropriate ad networks. PPC advertising requires creating accounts with each of the major search engines you want to advertise on. The sign-up links are located below:
- Google AdWords Signup
- Yahoo! Search Marketing Signup
- Bing AdCenter Signup
Each search engine will ask that you connect your account with a major credit or debit card in order to fill up your advertising budget. You will also be given a statistics panel that lets you create ads, view how many times they’ve been shown and clicked, raise or lower the amount of money you’re spending and more.
Create Advertisments Expressing Your USP
If you’re puzzled that we’ve waited until step four to discuss creating actual ads, don’t be – it’s no accident. Nothing is easier than sitting down in front of your laptop and writing ad text into Google AdWords. But unless the content of your ads is powerful and evocative to the types of people you need to reach, it won’t produce a dime in sales.
Whether writing PPC ads or designing your purchased banners, always ask yourself “what would my ideal prospect, seeing this ad, need to see in order to move forward?” Do not attempt to close the sale in your ad – it is usually asking too much. Instead, devote your ads to getting people to click – then, close the sale on your webpage, where you have infinitely more space to work with.
Tracking is one of the most important (and poorly executed) components of successful Internet marketing. As the old saying goes, “if you’re not tracking, you’re packing.” In other words, you need to be fully aware at all times of whether your ads are actually producing a response. Simply running a few PPC ads on Google, crossing your fingers and hoping for the best (which is what many marketers do) will not suffice.
The same applies to media buying and banner ads. An easy way to get started with tracking is to set up a Statcounter account. Putting Statcounter code on your website enables you (the website owner) to see detailed logs of all your visitors, including how they got there. Besides telling you which search engine or webpage visitors came from, Statcounter also reveals the time of day they came, what state they live in, and a bevy of other useful data.