Internet marketing is perhaps the most important aspect of business website management. So what is internet marketing, and how do you get started?
The design of a professional website interface, programming code and informative content to assist potential and existing customers of your business is an important step in moving your business online, but it's a small part of the process of online marketing. Your website is an important marketing and sales tool, and is often the place that your internet marketing activities are designed to direct people.
Internet marketing is the ongoing process of promoting your business, and includes pre-defined objectives such as increasing brand awareness, advertising, promotion and customer relationship management. Common methods of internet marketing to promote goods and services include email marketing, affiliate marketing, search engine marketing, blogi and article marketing, interactive advertising, membership and loyalty program marketing, and reseller marketing.
Internet marketing requires the detailed analysis of your business' long term needs and objectives, and the creation of a marketing plan to accomplish them. Your website's design should support and complement these objectives, and ensure that your ultimate sales objectives are facilitated.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Create an online marketing plan
- Start a newsletter
- Create an affiliate program
- Optimise your website for search engines
- Start an online blog
- Write articles
- Provide useful information and tools on your website
- Provide "link bait"
- Provide community-targeted services and facilities on your website, and allow people to register on your website to join the community
- Start a loyalty program
- Create a reseller program
- Start a pay-per-click program
- Advertise your online services offline
- Create a viral marketing campaign
- Use online gift and discount vouchers to drive customers to your website
- Measure your results and reinvest in successful undertakings
Internet marketing should never be seen only as a subset of your business' marketing mix. Your business website is such an important part of your business that it should be entirely indivisible from it. As such, all marketing undertaken to accomplish your business promotional objectives should encompass a route through your website in addition to any other first contact points to your business.
Likewise, any services you provide offline should be available online either supporting your core goods and services, or better still, as your core means of accessing your goods and services. By leveraging the ease-of-use, accessibility and ubiquitousness of the internet medium, you will soon be on the fast track to a well-oiled online marketing machine.