I am constantly amazed by the number of people I meet on the web who have absolutely no marketing strategy whatsoever behind their site or online marketing.
I am even more amazed by the number of people who believe all they have to do is buy a domain, slap a few HTML pages together and place them on a web host somewhere. Then they expect everything else to just happen because their site or business is on the web!
It very rarely happens that way.
Creating an online business takes some planning and strategy if you want your site or business to succeed. You must have a plan of action, but most of all, you must have some fundamental marketing strategies behind your online site.
Now, I am speaking from experience here, because I also stumbled around on the web for 2 or 3 years like the people I described above. I foolishly thought just because I had a web site, I could do business on the web.
Well, not very much happened. I received very little traffic and very few sales. My site was going nowhere fast.
Fortunately, the theme I chose for my first site was Internet Marketing! I spent those first years studying all the online marketing material and information I could get my hands on. I gradually learned what to do and what not to do when it came to marketing online.
Mostly, I stumbled across some great Internet marketers like Marlon Sanders, Neil Shearing, Ken Evoy… true pioneers of online marketing. By studying those first class marketers and their marketing techniques I learned how it was all done.
Over time, I learned how to become very analytical with my sites and marketing. I started to create marketing strategies and put them into practice with my sites. This was all new to me because I have a background in education rather than marketing.
Now, I would like to share with you some of these marketing strategies and practices – just things I do and things I put into place which enable me to receive a modest but very comfortable online income.
So here are some things you can try:
1. Know Your Market Or Audience
First and foremost, you must know your market. Know who you will be targeting with your marketing? Know who will be buying your products or the affiliate products that you’re promoting on the web?
I keep my eyes open for hot trends or products which everyone is buying. You can use programs like Google Trends to see which products are becoming hot. For example, in electronics, which products are on everyone’s wish list? Is it laptops, PCs or netbooks? Are people buying smart phones, PDAs, Blu-ray Players or E-readers?
Just find out what products are hot? Find what products are being searched for in the search engines… do a check to see how many searches are made each month for your chosen product? Use WordTracker, or a free online site such as Seobook to see what products people are searching for on the web.
If there is a large demand/audience/market for your product or subject area, then you have a better chance of succeeding online. It is a simple marketing strategy that many first time marketers ignore – please don’t. So choose your products to match the demand that is out there for them.
2. Buying Mindset
One of the key elements to selling stuff online is finding people at the exact moment they are ready to buy. What some marketers refer to as a “Buying Mindset”. You find people who have their minds set on buying something when they reach your site.
This is much easier than you think!
A simple way I found to do this is to create sites which target keywords related to buying… such as gifts, coupons, bargains, deals and so on. For example, a site on wedding gifts will obviously attract customers who are interested in buying wedding gifts.
To give you a concrete example from my own site, I have a section on “Corporate Business Gifts” which offers special deals/coupons on corporate business gifts… someone searching for that phrase is more likely to purchase a gift. Just simple reasoning, but it works wonders for selling stuff online.
In the Info-Product market, many Gurus create a “Buying Mindset” by offering special bonuses and discounts if someone buys from their links. Another simple way to boost your sales.
3. Target Special Holidays
Along the same lines, I like targeting times when people feel obligated to buy. Using special holidays like Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day… in your marketing can be very effective.
There are occasions such as anniversaries, birthdays, weddings, graduations… when people feel they must buy something for a loved one or special friend. Targeting those occasions with your marketing can be extremely effective… people are looking for a birthday gift, a graduation gift or a wedding gift – you simply help them find what they’re looking for.
On one of my sites, I target the “Back To School” market which has proven very lucrative since I market high-ticket affiliate items such as laptops, PCs and netbooks.
4. Place All Your Emphasis On Supplying Information
The majority of people searching on the web are looking for information – first and foremost – even those who are ready to buy. They want information on the subject or product they’re searching for on the web. It should be your marketing strategy to give them this information.
All of my sites are based on supplying information to my visitors.
If you give solid information they will be pleased and take note of your site and a few will buy the products you recommend, but the information must come first.
Even popular selling sites like Amazon give loads of consumer information and feedback while selling their products on the web. Consumers want information on the products they’re buying. Supply this information and you will sell more products.
5. Target Long Tail Keyword Phrases In Your SEO
If you’re selling stuff on the web, it is extremely important that you have a SEO marketing strategy. You must use the search engines to bring in those quality visitors and potential customers to your site. You must rank high in the search engines for your chosen keywords.
I have found SEO is not easy but it is also not that hard to do. In order to rank high you must be persistent, have a six month or yearly plan… work at it over time, even years to build up your rankings. Most webmasters won’t have the patience or resources to stick to a long-term strategy for months, even years before they start ranking for popular, well-searched for keywords.
However, there’s another quicker and faster way to get quality traffic from the search engines. Instead of targeting highly competitive popular keywords, you target longer keyword phrases that have little competition. For example, someone searching for a particular brand and model is more likely to buy then someone searching for a general topic. Someone searching for “cars” compared to someone searching for “2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT” – the last phrase will have very few searches but it can produce more targeted buyers.
6. Build Lists of Interested Buyers
One of my most effective marketing strategies is building simple lists of people who want to receive further information on the subject or product they’re considering buying. The web is a very temporary process since most people spend less than a few seconds on most sites. So it is important that you try and get them to opt-in to your mailing list, join your Twitter account or Facebook group… and so on.
You must build lists of people who are interested in finding out more about your subject or product. This way you will have repeat visitors to your site and you will get the opportunity to sell to them again and again. If you build a trusting relationship with these contacts, they will respect your opinions and suggestions.
List building can have a very positive effect on your sales numbers so it is one marketing strategy you should definitely try if you’re not already using lists.
7. Sell Things You Can ONLY Buy Online
This marketing strategy is so simple – it’s almost laughable. But I quickly found selling stuff that can only be bought online do much better than selling stuff that can be bought at your local Walmart. If buyers can only find it online, then you will have a much better chance of selling it to them.
Therefore, marketing unique products or specialty items, which are only available online can prove very lucrative. This is a very simple marketing strategy but also a very effective one. Just try it.
There are no doubt, countless other marketing strategies you can use. But using some or all of the ones listed above will help increase your online sales. Again, just try them and see for yourself.