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 Basic Web Marketing Concepts
The Internet has the potential to become the most powerful marketing tool ever created. Never before has a marketing tool been able to project the influence of a company, organization, or an individual to an instant worldwide audience.

With that in mind, the purpose of this brief explanation about marketing on the Internet is by no means meant to be a complete source, rather it is to provide you with a basic understanding of how the Internet can be utilized to make your marketing efforts broader and more effective.

  1. Build A Strong, Presentable Image
  2. Use The Search Engines
  3. Participate In Link Exchanges
  4. Use Banner Exchanges And Banner Ads
  5. Offer Free Stuff
  6. Issue A Press Release
  7. Create A Newsletter
  8. Seek Feedback
  9. Mesh The Web With Everything Else You Do

1. Build A Strong, Presentable Image
Before you can hope to effectively begin to market your site, you must have something to market. This may sound like a "water is wet" statement, but think about it -- how many sites have you only been to once. The answer is likely a majority of them. Why? Because the web sites lack anything that would draw you back.

Almost all good web sites share four basic characteristics - content, consistent changes, value, and entertainment:

Content In grammar school your English teacher likely spoke about making sure each paragraph had a "main idea". To apply that same lesson here, what's the main idea of your web site? There must be some relevant content that visitors are searching for, that's why they came to your site in the first place. Be sure your visitors leave with what they came for - content.
Time for a little joke. What do you call a web site that never changes? Give up? A cobweb. Have you ever seen one of those before? Change in life is the thing that helps us grow, keeps us vibrant and forces us to reach new heights. This is no different on the Internet. Consistent change builds confidence with your visitors, because they will know there will always be something new to see.
Value What do you have to offer someone visiting your site? If you can't answer this question easily, it is unlikely that your visitors can answer this question either. You must offer visitors to your site something of value, whether it be information or a free offer. There must be something to draw visitors that is more precious than the time that they could have used to do other things.
Entertainment Why are so many people "channel changers"? In most cases it is because they are constantly searching for something better and more entertaining than what they are currently viewing. The Internet is the same - people go from site to site in search of the latest and greatest entertainment available. In other words, they are searching for fun. If you want to keep people coming back, offer them something that is new and more creative than other options every time they visit.

Your Internet site is the world's view into your company. The site should appropriately incorporate some form of the previously mentioned characteristics to build a strong, presentable image for your company.

2. Use The Search Engines
Now that you have something to market, the key comes in marketing it properly. The best place to start for most people is to publicize your site to the popular Search Engines. As soon as your site is online, be sure to utilize the listings that the search engines provide for drawing traffic to your site.

3. Participate In Link Exchanges
Find other sites that offer complementary products or services and agree to trade links. This process can be very effective in generating more traffic to both sites alike.

4. Use Banner Exchanges And Banner Ads
Be honest, how many of you have ever clicked on a witty banner advertising simply to find out more information. I think most of us know that banner advertising can be a powerful means for generating a considerable amount of traffic. Banner Exchange programs provide a great way to get free advertising on the Internet. For those looking for a more upscale approach, paid banners are available on many of the most popular sites on the Internet. The price varies, as do the results, but nevertheless, banners are here to stay and should be considered for marketing the Internet services you offer and your clients' sites.

5. Offer Free Stuff
Who doesn't like free stuff? That's an easy question to answer, because all of us have an innate desire to win something for free. Whether the desire comes from physiological childhood need or is simply the passing of the "free gene" from one generation to another - the point is we all want to win something for free.

Visitors to your site are the same, what do you have to offer them for free? The monetary value in many cases is unimportant, the true value is it's "free". When planned properly, your "free" prize can generate business for you in two ways. First, it can often draw more traffic to your site, traffic that brings along with it potential clients. Second, the prize itself can be a means of securing more business.

Let's look at the telephone long distance industry for an example. The big companies are battling it out, offering months of free service if you switch to their service. Why? Because if you stay for one month "free", you are more likely to stay and "pay" in the future. Now try to apply that same lesson to your Internet business. Make one lucky client, or make them all, a "winner" by offering them a free month of hosting service. Once the client is with you they are likely to remain with you. That brings in monthly residual income that you may not have received otherwise. Your investment will likely pay off very quickly, bringing with it a loyal client - after all, you gave them something free.

6. Issue A Press Release
Many Internet Marketers have enjoyed success using this good old fashioned technique for generating free publicity. By definition, a press release is for the purpose of announcing a "news event" that may be of interest to a specific group. A good press release will concentrate on being:

Brief usually no more than a page.
Content Rich must focus on a newsworthy event such as the launch or redesign of a new web site.
Targeted your press release should be sent to specific publications or groups who would find it relevant.
Factual press releases are for news, not hype. Although used for getting free press, it is not free advertising and should not be used that way.

7. Create A Newsletter
Distributing a free periodic newsletter distributed to subscribers is another way to market your services to others. Your newsletter could focus on topics such as HTML secrets, CGI programming, or any other subject you are a specialist in. Newsletters provide a means for building confidence in others about your expertise in a specific area. Likewise, that trust may eventually translate into your subscribers trusting you to provide them other Internet services.

8. Seek Feedback
Feedback, in the form of suggestions or criticism, can be very valuable for informing you of your web site's strengths and possible areas that may need improvement. This feedback can be invaluable in making a site better and more marketable in the future. Encourage feedback by providing a clear e-mail address where comments can be sent.

9. Mesh The Web With Everything Else You Do
The Internet is not intended nor will it ever completely replace traditional means of marketing that businesses use daily. The Internet is simply one more, albeit very powerful, tool that a company can use to supplement its marketing efforts.

In order to begin "meshing the web" with other, more traditional marketing efforts, a company should include its URL and e-mail address on all of its promotional materials. These addresses should be clearly placed on company letterhead, brochures, sales literature and even on your company's cars. The more places you advertise your web presence, the greater likelihood it will be used by potential clients to find you.

In many cases, Internet technology is making order processing and fulfillment quicker and more convenient for companies worldwide. Companies which fully implement Internet technology would be wise to encourage customers to use the technology by offering special incentives for doing so.

The End (?)
This brief explanation of online marketing is hopefully not an end for you, rather it is simply a beginning for understanding how online marketing may make your company more effective and successful on the Internet. Additional information about online marketing can be found online at many different sources. Simply use your favorite search engine to find additional information that will better help you with your marketing efforts.


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