Are You an Internet Marketing Genius?

Not many people are, so it shouldn’t be an embarrassment saying that you are not.

Internet marketing can be hard and even confusing. At least, it seems to be for the novice who just wants to get as many people as possible to see their website.

So what about internet marketing do most people find difficult?

Understanding how it has changed in the last decade. Traditional marketing used to be a relatively simple process. Maybe some mailers to people around town, a small space in the local Yellow pages, maybe even a spot on local radio. All of that has changed with the internet boom. Now you can market globally… if you understand how. Sure, it can make your business visible to a much larger audience, but how?

Making the best to use your time. Most small business people wear multiple hats. As a comparison, internet marketing is the cheap baseball cap compared to the expensive fedora of trying to manage the business. Internet marketing seems to take up way too much time for the tangible/measurable benefits it brings.

Spending the money. Marketing is just one of many costs, but because modern internet marketing is completed on so many fronts, it is difficult to know where the money is going. Keeping track of most expenses is easy because you have a direct relationship. But, marketing costs seem so ethereal.

Determining what is effective. In traditional marketing, you can do studies to determine exactly (or at least close to exactly) how effective your marketing dollars were. There was more of a direct link between marketing and sales. Now it is seems like it is very difficult to tell.
What is the answer to this dilemma? You know you have to market in order to be seen by as many people as possible.

So to get the most out of your marketing dollar, you can take one of two actions. Let’s look at them.

#1. Learn How to do Internet Marketing Yourself (effectively)

Computers are as necessary to business these days as buggy whips were at one time. Of course, the buggy whip manufacturers either adapted or they went the way of large wooden sailing ships. It is possible to find some of each in museums these days, but they aren’t in use anymore.

If you are hoping that the same happens to computers and the internet, you are probably also betting your business on a coin at the wishing well. Neither are a good bet.

So, computers are here to stay and you need to learn how to market using one. You know your business won’t grow itself, but learning a new task when your time is already precious is not efficient. But, internet marketing is necessary.

You could take one of the online courses, spend time just reading as much information as possible, or you could take the second alternative (at this point I am going to say that it is the better of the two).

#2. Outsource Your Internet Marketing

You have just reached a milestone and you want to show your employees how much you appreciate them. A party sounds like a good idea, something that they will remember for a long time. Something that will motivate them when they are doing their jobs tomorrow. What do you do?

Well, if you’re smart, you let an expert take over. You know what you’re good at and it isn’t planning parties (unless you’re an event planner or caterer, then think of a different example). You call the local Chucky Cheese (or other favorite venue) and let them do the planning.

Looking at this example, why would you then believe that you can be an effective internet marketer when it’s not your specialty?

Some would have you believe that internet marketing is as simple as putting up a Facebook page, sending out a few Tweets and writing something in your websites blog every two or three weeks. If that was true, why aren’t the orders flowing in?

Effective internet marketing is complex. You need to understand how to reach people using modern technologies and you need to understand the possible benefits of many different resources.

Why would you try to tackle such a complex system without some type of help? It would be insane.

Outsourcing works for companies in need of a service that is better done by someone else. For example, many small businesses turn to someone else for such services as human resources, payroll, web design and, yes, internet marketing. Because these are all specialized services, small business owners understand that they actually save money while outsourcing some aspects of their business.

Time is just too valuable!

You can find a company that specializes in internet marketing which could include handling your social media marketing, promoting your blog, etc. These companies have years of experience, keep up with changes that are always occurring in internet marketing and use proven marketing strategies to help their clients succeed.

In addition, just think of that extra time you would have on your hands if you didn’t have to do these tasks yourself and could concentrate on other important areas in your small business. Yes, it costs money to hire someone to handle your internet marketing, but remember… Time = Money.

Outsourcing may seem like something that large businesses can afford to do, but they have the money to have in-house departments. It pays for a small business to think creatively when they cannot afford to provide internet marketing services for themselves.

The original question was “Are you an internet marketing genius?” If not, then outsourcing your internet marketing chores may be the best way to go!

Why You Should Market Your Business Online

If you are not already marketing your business online, it is time to start doing so. Although there are a few exceptions, just about every business can benefit from online marketing. There are so many advantages to this type of marketing. First of all, marketing your business online is extremely affordable. Other advantages to marketing your business online include the ability to reach a large target audience, the ability to reach potential customers all over the world, and the ability to customize the marketing for different sectors of the target audience.

The affordability of Internet marketing is one of many reasons why business owners are turning to the Internet for advertising. Advertising online is incredibly affordable, especially when you consider how many potential customers a business owner can reach with an online marketing campaign. Most methods of online advertising are quite affordable and some of them do not have any direct costs. For example, you may choose to market your business online by participating in industry forums and posting links to your website whenever it is appropriate. In this case, the cost of creating and maintaining the website is insignificant compared with the number of potential clients you could reach through online marketing. Additionally, the costs associated with posting links to your website are incidental. You could consider the cost of having access to the Internet as part of the budget but you probably require Internet access for other reasons as well so it is completely worthwhile.

Reaching a large target audience is another very worthwhile reason for marketing your business online. You may have spent a great deal of time and energy doing market research and determining who your target audience is. You may have also spent a great deal of time trying to figure out the best way to reach this audience. This is a very sound marketing principle but as it applies to marketing on local television, radio, and print media, it only allows you to reach a limited audience. However, when you take your marketing to the Internet, you automatically increase your potential target audience tremendously because you now have the ability to reach members of your target audience around the world.

This ability to reach customers around the world is another major advantage to marketing your business online. Regardless of where you live and operate your business, you have the ability to reach those who have an interest in the products you sell or the services you provide no matter where they live. This makes it possible for you to do business with customers around the world.

Likewise, the fact that the Internet is available 24 hours a day is also very beneficial to those who choose to market their products or services online. Shopping for products and services in person can be very difficult, especially for individuals who work long hours or those who work unusual hours. These working conditions make it difficult for those individuals to do business and to purchase the products and services they need during regular business hours. However, business owners who have an online presence are much more convenient because, unlike stores and calling centers, the website never closes. This convenience gives potential customers the ability to view products and services, compare these products and service with the ones offered by competitors, and make a purchase at any hour of any day.

Learning about Internet Marketing
Internet marketing is not overly complicated but it is also not a process in which anyone can excel without making attempts to learn more about the subject. Business owners who do not know a great deal about Internet marketing but who wish to integrate Internet marketing into their overall marketing strategy should carefully study the basic principles of Internet marketing before launching their online marketing campaign. Fortunately for those business owners, there are a variety of options for learning about Internet marketing. Those options may include online research, reading published books, and studying successful Internet marketing campaigns.

Researching Internet marketing online is one method that can be used to learning more about this topic. This type of research can be very informative and can provide the business owner with a great deal of advice and other information. However, it can also provide the business owner with a great deal of misinformation. When researching any subject online, it is very important to note that not all of the information available online is accurate. This may be due to a variety of factors including content which is written by those who do not have a great deal of knowledge about the subject matter as well as content which was written years ago and is outdated. This can be frustrating but fortunately, business owners can still learn from the Internet. This just means they should be more cautious about accepting information as accurate and may wish to verify the information they obtain before implementing an Internet marketing strategy.

Published books are another valuable resource for learning more about Internet marketing. There are a variety of books available that focus on this subject and provide a wealth of useful information. When selecting a book for use as research material, it is important to choose a book that received positive independent reviews. It is also important to choose books that were published recently. This is important because the Internet marketing industry is evolving continually and a book that was published only a few years ago may be outdated and may lack information on some of the new developments in the industry. The appeal of using published books to learn about Internet marketing is that you can keep the books on hand for easy reference when you launch your Internet marketing campaign.

Finally, business owners can learn a great deal about Internet marketing simply by studying successful Internet marketing campaigns. If your business offers products and services in a particular niche, consider entering relevant terms into popular search engines and studying the websites of some of the highest ranking businesses. This can provide you with a great deal of insight into what these business owners are doing, which may be contributing to their success. Examining everything from their website design to their search engine optimization strategies and even the content on their website can help you to determine why they are more successful than you. You should also consider how they are marketing their website, which may include banner ads, affiliate marketing programs, or other types of advertising. Armed with this information, you can take the opportunity to implement changes to your own website and marketing strategy, which may help you to achieve a greater degree of success. Care should be taken to not copy anything directly from your competitors but rather to try to emulate their degree of success in your own way.

Conclusion
If you are a business owner who is reading this article and you do not already have a strong online presence, you need to immediately start learning more about the world of Internet marketing. This is so important because, if your competitors are marketing online, you may find that they are gaining a steady advantage and are becoming more appealing to potential customers. Before too many of your potential customers become loyal customers of the competition, it is time to start figuring out how you can market your business online and keep up with the competition.

We are pleased to provide you with the insightful comments contained herein. For a complimentary assessment of your online presence, let’s have coffee.

Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies. Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. He also reduced company travel and travel costs by introducing and implementing various collaboration technologies.

Direct Mail Postcards Work

Direct mail is the most powerful advertising medium available returning on average thirteen dollars for every dollar invested (Direct Marketing Association). It is an essential tool for every business, association, and non-profit. However, it can also be a waste of time and money if the campaign is not properly targeted and the proper direct mail package is not used.

Billions of dollars are spent each year on elaborate and expensive marketing campaigns. You probably know this from examining your own mailbox. However, much of this mail goes unopened. It is instantly tagged “junk mail” and filed accordingly – in the trash bin.

How do you cut through this clutter and compete without breaking the bank? Postcards are a powerful tool that can help you break-through to your best prospects. They are fast, they are inexpensive, and when used properly, they are extremely effective!

Here are some simple tips to make postcards work for you.

Target the right audience. The world’s best offer will produce zero results when directed to the wrong recipient. Understand who your best customers are. Understand what they have in common. Then use this profile to identify your best prospects. Zairmail provides an online tool for creating mailing lists based on demographic profiles.

Get right to the point. Have a simple and powerful offer. With just a glance, the recipient should be able tell if your offer is worth considering. Proposals that cut straight to the chase are always appreciated.

Make contact simple. Be clear about the action you are requesting. Do you want your customer to visit your store, send a donation, navigate to your Web site, or pass the message along to a friend? Ask for the response you want.

o Make sure your contact information really stands out. Use colors, fonts, and placement to make sure that this information is impossible to overlook.

o Open many channels of communication. Include your telephone number, Fax number, email address, Web site URL (as appropriate). Different recipients often prefer different methods of making contact. Allow your customers to reach you in the way that feels most comfortable for them.

o Reach out to your customer. Follow-up calls to recipients can often double response rates.
Make it memorable. Creative postcards get past gatekeepers and reach their mark. Great postcards also have staying power – sometimes they will end up on a refrigerator door or a bulletin board for years.

o Use a compelling headline that spells out the benefits you’re offering.

o Make the design look like something other than an ad. Make your postcard interesting, scenic, funny, or touching. Give your customers a reason to spend more time considering it.

- Put some useful information on your postcard. For example, if you are a computer repair person you can include a list of 10 basic computer maintenance tips; if you’re a landscaper you may want to tell recipients what they should have in their garden this time of year; if you’re a banker you may want to consider some saving or investment advice. These types of postcards are saved.

- Funny can work well – but make sure the joke isn’t on you. There is no point in making recipients chuckle if they don’t notice your message.

o Use every inch of space effectively. Distill your ideas to a core message and select a powerful image that supports it. Zairmail has pre-formatted templates online that can be used as a convenient starting point.

o Offer something of value for free (e.g. a helpful video, audiotape, or industry report). These types of offers get immediate attention. However, make sure that your giveaway is most valuable to those who are likely to be your customers.

Postcards offer businesses, associations, and non-profits the ability to scoot around competitive giants and put points on the board. When used correctly postcards can be the most powerful tool in your marketing toolbox.

Happy Selling!