Best Online Marketing Techniques

I have been in internet marketing for over ten years and have seen marketing techniques come and go. Some are still around and some are new and innovative. Below you will find what I believe to be the best and most effective online marketing techniques.

Article Marketing – Article marketing was and is one of the most powerful online marketing methods available. Not only does it do wonders for you and your business, it is free as well!

Article marketing consists of writing helpful, informative, easy to understand articles that actually help your readers, not try to sell them something. Then you submit them to article banks, directories and ezine publishers. When your article runs in a popular ezine, it can do great things for your business. Writing articles is not as hard as you might think so give it a try. You will be delightfully surprised at how much it can affect your business.

Remember:

Don’t worry about fancy words. People are looking for help, not big words.

Advertise in your resource box, not your article.

Provide real, helpful info and resources, hot hype!

Write from the heart! Let your personality shine through in your articles.

Blogging – Blogging is a newer form of online marketing that just started becoming popular in the late 90’s. Blog is short for weblog and means an online publication in the form of a log or journal. Blogs can increase your customer base, your traffic and your search engine ranking, thus increasing your sales.

Blogging can be done for free through such sites as:
blogger.com
wordpress.com
and livejournal.com

Be sure and update your blog regularly; everyday would be best as people like fresh content, ideas and information.

Ezine Publishing – Ezine publishing has been around much longer than blogging and is far more effective, in my opinion. Your ezine needs to contain helpful resources and information, not just sales pitches. Develop a relationship with your readers. Let them know they can trust you and rely on you when they need your help.

Things to remember when putting together your ezine:

Keep it clean and easy to read.
Limit your advertising and be choosy.
Always provide quality content and information.
Add your personality so your readers can get to know you.
Always provide contact info and be accessible.
Be consistent; send your ezine regularly as scheduled.
Be sure and proofread before sending it out.

Online Networking – Online networking, as with offline networking, is very important to your business. This is when you connect with as many people as possible to learn more and share more about your business. Many leads can come from networking. There are several ways to do this online.

Email Discussion Groups: Go to yahoogroups.com and search for appropriate groups.

Message Boards: Be sure and follow the rules for posting and offer your help as much as possible.

Social Sites: Such as MySpace.com, Ryze, Merchant Circle, etc. These can be great ways to make more contacts and get leads.

Joint Ventures – This is when you enter into an agreement with another online marketer that will benefit both sides.

Examples of joint ventures:

Ezine Ad Swaps
eBook Ad Swaps
Subscription Page Ad Swaps
Affiliate Programs
Exchange Advertising for % of Sales

and the list goes on and on. Be creative and come up with new ways you and your associates can help each other.

Podcasting – Podcasting is using digital media files which are distributed all over the internet via syndication feeds. Podcasting is still a fairly new way of online marketing and has great potential. Podcasting can be powerful because it uses voice not written words to get the message across. Offer your articles, do voice interviews, offer a chapter in your ebook via podcast, etc. Again, use your imagination to create new ways to spread the word about your business.

Ezine Advertising – Advertising your business, product, service, etc. in quality ezines can be well worth the money spent. There are a few things you can to to help you choose which ezines to advertise in.

Do a search to find ezines that cater to your target market. For example: if you are advertising kids’ books, you don’t want to advertise in an ezine about cars.

Once you find several targeted ezines, subscribe to them so you can look them over and see if the publisher is reliable in sending them out. You can also look over the other ads and make sure the publisher is choosy in their advertising. You can possibly learn what the other readers think of the ezine as well.

Try contacting the publisher to see if they respond to your email. Ask about testimonials from other advertisers. Find out how many ads they run per issue and what the costs are.

You could also ask the publisher to do an ad swap to get an idea of what the response is like. Be choosy in your choices and always code your ads so you know which ezines actually deliver.

I hope this article has given you some insight as to how to market your home/online business. I use several of these methods (and should be using the rest) and know from experience that they work!

The possibilities with the internet are endless and we need to keep up with new and innovative ways of marketing ourselves and our business. And we need to keep using tried and true methods as well.

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Benefits Of Ezine Publishing

On the Internet, it is very possible to make money without selling any product. One way of doing so is through starting your own eZine, also known as an electronic newsletter.

In a nutshell, you send out your eZine issues on a periodical basis to your subscribers. The good part is that you have a flexible choice in automating the process of sending out your eZine issues for you or manually sending them on a periodical basis.

As an eZine publisher, not only can you easily achieve the benefits a conventional newsletter publisher enjoys without having to chop down several trees in the process, you can easily and conveniently spread your marketing influence and expertise to your base of subscribers from the shoes of an ordinary individual.

In other words, you do not have to invest in expensive printing equipment, brick and mortar business, and hiring staff just to run your own newsletter publication, resulting in a lot of time, money and effort saved.

Basically, all you need to start your own eZine are an auto responder and broadcast feature to go with, enabling you to reach out to your massive subscribers whom you can regard as your prospects, too.

All in all, if you do not have the commitments of creating your own product for sale, then publishing your own online newsletter can be one of the wisest decisions you will ever make, given the benefits of impressive marketing power and influence it can offer to you.

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Benefits Of Directory Submission

Internet users need a viable method of locating the sites related to their information needs. There are thousands of sites and many add to the volume every day. You could add latest content, improve the aesthetics of the site and make it more easily navigable. Yet, there is no way someone would find anything about your site unless you submit links to your site to web directories.

Directory submission is an important element of making your website more approachable on the Net. A directory is an Internet resource of related links that could have useful information for the user. Directories were in vogue long before search engines happened. Despite the preference for search engines, directories retain their popularity.

The main advantage of web directories is in providing good rankings on search engines. Out of the many parameters that search engines use to rank your site, links to the site are most relevant. Naturally, more the links, better the ranking.

The relationship between directory submission and search engine rankings is akin to a referral plan. The site with more referrals through links in several directories gets a higher rank. The crawling spider mechanism of the search engines is effective in locating the links for exact keywords related to a topic.

Search engines crawl through the links and add the site pages to their index. Therefore, your site is ranked automatically. For a new website, this could be an easier method of finding a place in the search engine listings. Registering with the search engines could be difficult and or expensive for a start up. But, getting noticed through directory submission is the ideal choice in such cases.

Directory submission is an ethical way of building the marketing plan for your website. Search engines have a serious view on the reciprocal links that is used as a fraudulent method of building link pages. On the other hand, one-way links into directories help search engines reach your pages quickly.

Another great factor in favor of submitting to directories is the specific target of keywords or phrases that can be achieved. Directories allow links to the site with keywords describing your site. Therefore, search engines rank the site higher than other for the given terms.

Cost wise too, directory submission is advantageous. Most directories are free to submit to. It therefore makes business sense to submit to as many directories as possible.

Whether you approach the directories yourself or use directory submission services, you need to keep a few points in mind:

1. Maintain quality content. Most directories have editorial discretion to reject content they feel objectionable, namely, child pornography, libel, infringing on intellectual property rights or abetting illegal activity.

2. Do not submit sites that contain overlapping or repetitive content under different URLs. Also do not provide links to sites that direct to another address.

3. Do not submit ‘Under construction’ sites.

A web directory is intended to be a library for the users. It is therefore the responsibility of the webmasters and developers to cooperate with the editors of directories so that the users get quality and reliable information.

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Beginning Steps To Marketing Success

Hello, I’m over here…
(Getting noticed on the web)


Getting noticed on the web is the holy grail of most webmasters and rightfully so. Not only can you turn visitors into dollars, if done properly, but it also gives a feeling of accomplishment. In all honesty getting people to your site is really not that difficult. There are probably 1,000 things that you can do to attract visitors. The real trick is making use of all of them. The mistake that a lot of people make is believing that there is one magical way, some mystical ritual that will invoke the visitor magnet spell.

Ok, so I’m being facetious but the reality is it does take work and diligence to make things happen. This is by no means a complete list, for a beginning webmaster or someone who is interested in becoming a webmaster, to follow. I am going to assume that an idea for a web site has already been decided upon.

1. The web site itself. This is a very important aspect of web marketing but I am focusing primarily on external web marketing. There are, however a few things that I want to cover here because I believe they are very important:

CONVENIENCE – This is a big one. People today are accustomed to getting things fast from drive thru pharmacies to high speed internet. Instant gratification has become the rule of the day. With this in mind, web pages should load quickly. Believe it or not a 4 second load time for a page is extremely slow today. When the page is loaded potential customers expect to find what they are looking for immediately. Your site should be very well laid out and everything should be easily and quickly navigated. The brick and mortar days of putting the most popular items in the back so customers have to walk through the whole store are not effective for online businesses. This strategy should be avoided at all costs. Some studies have shown that if customers do not find what they are looking for in the first 15 seconds they will move on.

2. The first steps in getting the word out. Visit the popular business directories. http://dir.yahoo.com/, http://sbd.bcentral.com/, http://yellowpages.aol.com/#,. There are hundreds more.

3. Search engine submittal. A lot of web sites offer this service for a fee. I personally have never found it worth it. I recommend doing this yourself. It is easy and does not take that long to do if you submit it to the top search engines.

4. Forums. Get to know your market. There really is no better research than visiting forums related to your market and reading. Find out what your customers concerns are. Keep reading until you feel comfortable enough to post. Don’t spam the forums and be sure to read the rules for posting. A lot of forums will allow you to leave a link and some will not. Either way make sure you respect the guidelines for posting. I did come across a trick for getting recognized by search engines. Most forums allow you an avatar. That is a picture that appears when you post. You can usually set that up in your preferences when you sign up at most any forums.

Typically it is a link to offsite where the picture is hosted. Make sure it is hosted from your web site and named after it. I made a bunch of avatars for a lot of friends and hosted them from my web site. To my surprise, it definitely caught the attention of the search engines. You goal here is to help not only advertise. After long enough you might just be the person everyone has questions for.

By starting with these four marketing strategies you can lay the foundation for a strong presence on the web. It will not happen over night but it will increase the popularity of your web site. Remember, web marketing is a cumulative proposition. The more marketing strategies you use the better.

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Banner Advertising: Is It Dead?

You have seen them all over the internet — blinking, flashing, animated and garish. You vow that you will not contribute to this internet graffiti. You feel smug with your decision because after all banner advertising is dead.

Wrong. Banner advertising is not dead — and in fact it is still an effective internet marketing tool. However banner advertising has evolved — or rather I should say successful banner advertising has evolved. Some of the horrible eye-damaging banner ads still exist but successful, knowledgable internet entrepreneurs have long abandoned those marketing efforts and instead concentrated on targeted, tasteful, and trim banner ads.

Banner ads have a bad reputation in part because of the proliferation of banner farms that killed all the banner swap programs (or at least made them completely ineffectual). Also we all have memories of those hideous banners flashing across the top of so many web sites.

Banners have come along way since then and a cleverly designed banner can be a real asset to any advertising campaign. Also don’t forget that you don’t have to use one of those big giant banners that span the width of the screen. You can use smaller simple ads that can fit easily into the sidebar or special box on a web site so they can suit the design and work more effectively.

It is also important that you pay close attention to what sites you will choose for displaying your banner. IE. A site about web development for your web hosting service ad or a site about parenting for your ad promoting your potty training book.

Many text link and pay per click advertising vendors also offer the option of banner ads. Similarly many ezine and newsletter publishers sell space on their sites.

And savvy internet marketers are taking them up on these advertising opportunities.

WHY USE BANNER ADVERTISING?

Consumer research historically shows that most people see an ad several times before they take action. Banners allow you to display your ad over a period of time, increasing the chances that a prospect will see your ad and remember it.

Your banner ad can be targeted to specific audiences and displayed on internet pages and sites matched to that specific audience.

People seeing your advertisement can instantly click through to your web site store to to learn more or to make a purchase on the spot.

You can track your results and make adjustments to your campaigns based on response. Analyzing your results can help you finetune your banner, landing page, or target audience to improve your response and sales.

Banner advertising is really a buyers market, as there is always more banner spaces available than advertisers need or want, which means you can find many bargains available.

IMPORTANT POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN PLANNING YOUR BANNER AD CAMPAIGN

There are several aspects to consider when planning out your banner advertising campaign.

The first consideration should be your ad graphic itself. These are usually animated GIF images but remember you want to attract customers — not simply attention — and remember the overall tone of your ad campaign when designing your graphic. Also keep in mind that many sites limit the file size of the graphic to somewhere between 12 and 16 KB.

Your banner can come in variety of sizes. The full banner size is 468 x 60 pixels. Some other standard banner sizes include:

Size(pixels).Type
468 x 60…..Full banner
234 x 60…..Half banner
392 x 72…..Full banner with vertical navigation bar
120 x 240….Vertical banner
125 x 125….Square button
120 x 90…..Button #1
120 x 60…..Button #2
88 x 31……Micro button

Your graphic will be hyperlinked to a target url of your choice so you may want to spend some time planning how you will track traffic and clicks. Some programs provide a tracking and statistics service for you but most individual sites can’t offer that information.

When selecting where to display your banner ad the first consideration should really be choosing a site offering information that appeals to your target audience. A high-traffic dating site isn’t going to be much good for advertising your maternity clothing line, for example.

Then you should look at traffic. When looking at site stats you want to make sure you focus on page views or page impressions rather than hits (which may count individually each graphic viewed). Depending on your banner and market you may be primarily concerned with unique page impressions.

Banner advertising is often sold by CPM (Cost Per Thousand displays, the Roman numeral “M” stands for one thousand). Many sites also offer a fixed rate price for a set period of time.

Many marketers do not concern themselves as much with click-through rates and instead see banner ads as “branding” tools. They create brand awareness and a brand image in the viewer’s mind. The hope is that when the viewer gets ready to make a purchase then your “brand” pops into their mind. Branding can also generate sales over the long-term. Branding is difficult to measure, but can be very powerful.

If you have a big advertising budget then you might want to consider an ad agency or media buyer. They can offer a lot of value for the dollar because they have the experience, knowledge, and contacts to make the most of your budget.

It is quite possible to be your own media buyer, if you are willing and able to handle the increased workload. The biggest difficulty is finding the right sites on which to advertise your product or service. Then after you find a site that might be a good match you need to negotiate the best possible deal. It is important you be as knowledgeable as possible as it is a buyer’s market and you don’t want to pay too much. Of course you also don’t want to alienate a web master whose site is a perfect match for you.

You also have the option to buy banner space on many search engines and directories. Often this option allows you to display your ad only to a targeted audience which can obviously increase your chances for a successful campaign but it can be a pricey option.

Banner ad networks are another targeted option that might be more affordable. Individual web site owners contract with a single company to serve their banner ads and handle ad sales for them. In turn, these networks divide their sites into categories and subcategories to allow advertisers to advertise on particular sites within the network that are the most highly targeted. They also offer very sophisticated tracking tools that give you lots of valuable information about who is visiting your site, and what actions they are taking.

Some networks offer pay-per-click advertising which only charges you when someone clicks on your banner and comes to your site. However, this approach is subject to fraud by unscrupulous site owners.

A pay-per-sale network, otherwise known as an affiliate program, only charges the advertiser when a purchase is actually made. The advertiser pays both the affiliate and the network but only when there is a sale. Of course the competition to attract quality affiliates is high so while this can be effective it shouldn’t be the only method of banner advertising you use.

And some final banner advertising tips:

* Keep your message brief, direct and simple.
* Attract more attention using words such as “free” and “now”.
* Put “click here” somewhere on the banner.
* Create different versions of the banner.
* Animate your banner but only if it improves it.
* Keep the file size as small as possible.

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