Your Total, Effective Online Marketing PlanWritten by David Gikandi
Everyone is looking for that magic formula that will propel his or her web site to phenomenal success. Sooner or later, most people give up their search for this mythical online marketing secret and accept a mediocre level of online business performance that they know deep in their hearts is not what it should be. But a few people discover secret. As you now will.
The secret is that there is no super-duper secret method of marketing that will get you all success you dreamt of. But there is a formula which when done in totality, without taking any shortcuts, will multiply your online business success many times over whatever it is now. The ingredients of that formula consist of very basic and low-cost tasks that I am sure you have heard of before but ignored or applied partially, as most people do. The 'secret' is that you have to apply all methods correctly and in totality. And you should spend 80% of your daily work time doing this (or get someone to spend 80% of their time doing this for you). This article might disappoint you initially because it pretty much talks about what you have heard before, but please read through it and you will be glad you did. It shows you right way to use that 'old' knowledge for great results. These results may not instantaneously come crashing through in a few short days, but they will solidly build over a few weeks and months to create a large stable and permanent success base.
Before we look at methods, let us briefly take a look at some items or tools you need to gather for use. You need a collection of:
1. Signature files - these are simple text files, electronic equivalent of your business card and should be no longer than 8 lines long. They carry your contact details and a quick intro to your business. Make a few different ones and append one at end of your outgoing emails and postings. You can also use them to track source of inquiries resulting from your postings and emails. 2. Blurbs - short one-paragraph text pieces about your business or related topic that you can post or paste to emails when required. 3. Reports - these are longer version of blurbs, detailing your business or any other related topic. Post these to selected places on Internet and provide them whenever required. 4. Newsletters - for a wide variety of reasons, it is very important that you start your own newsletter and work at getting subscriptions. There is a lot of information on internet about how you can start, grow and manage a newsletter so I wont get into it. The only idea I would like to give you is this: actively ask your current subscribers to forward your newsletter to their friends. Offer a free gift that has true value to those who forward newsletter to 20 friends. That will get you amazing growth in newsletter subscriptions and sales! You can start one free at www.listbot.com. 5. Banners - make sure you have professional quality banners of different sizes. My favorite place to get custom professional banners at an affordable price is www.buyabanner.com. 6. Press Releases - create professional press releases for everything about your web site, from new product announcements to site changes. Post them in appropriate places on Internet and to press release services. 7. FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions files. Create a few of these about your industry or any other related topic. Make them in a question-and-answer format and post them in appropriate newsgroups and email them when necessary. They should not be blatant advertising of your products but they should have your signature file at bottom and maybe a 'Created By...' line at top to get you recognition. A well done FAQ can find itself copied all over web and referred to by thousands! 8. Autoresponders - if appropriate for your business, it can be a great idea to get a powerful autoresponder that will be able to read incoming email and automatically and instantly send out information files and answers that are appropriate to query. That way you can manage thousands of email inquiries on time without any effort. Find one at www.web-source.net/links/. 9. Articles - write a few good articles every so often that are related to your industry. Contribute these for free publication in various ezines and web sites (make a list of a few hundred sites and newsletters that can take your article). This is one of most effective tools in your arsenal as it reaches thousands at one go, grabbing their attention for extended periods of time. The article should not be blatantly marketing your business, but at end of it you should have your signature.
Now let us look at methods that build success. Basically it works this way: apply above tools to each of these methods frequently, daily where possible. It's that simple, but remember key point here - frequently, all methods, daily where possible. All statistics below are taken from GVU WWW User Survey of October 1998 (http://www.gvu.gatech.edu/user_surveys/).
Incoming links 88.3% of people find new sites through links on other sites. The smart way to approach this is to start a good affiliate program that pays a commission to people linking to your site for sales, leads or clicks. I highly recommend that you get any of these three affiliate program management companies to run yours: LinkShare.com, BeFree.com or CommissionJunction.com. These are leading ones, with Link Share being biggest and most well known and CJ being most affordable but significantly smaller. The advantage of going with Link Share, for example, is that your total affiliate program will be run by them including check writing and reporting. You will get immediate exposure to over 1 million affiliates who use them, many of them immediately starting to promote you, and people will believe in your affiliate program because of reputation Link Share carries. So with your affiliate program in place you can now contact webmasters and site owners of heavily trafficked sites in your industry - resource sites, sites selling complimentary products, directories, newsletters, clients, even competitors - you would be surprised at what you can get! Offer them a special affiliate commission package (with Link Share you can customize your commission rates). Give them banners and promotional text. Maybe even offer a small discount to their clients - that will help them promote your products. Make a contact list of as many sites as you can daily and contact them and follow them up until you get deal done. Start with a few hundred. All they would have to do is recommend your products or site to their customer base by placing your links, banners and reviews on their site and newsletter or mailing list. It is a very easy job for them, but one that will earn them a guaranteed commission of 10 - 20% through an affiliate program that they can trust. Considering that some sites have mailing or customer lists in tens or hundreds of thousands, plus online visitors, this will work very well. Again, use your tools here to maximum effect.
Online Sales Psychology That WorksWritten by David Gikandi
So you have a web site. No matter what it is all about, it was built for use by people. The good news for you today is that people, no matter how complicated they may all seem, run on a common psychological framework. They use this framework to do just about everything, including use and buy from your web site. Let us look at seven standard psychological phenomena that work beautifully when it comes to online sales. Learn and apply these and your online success will definitely soar.
Give free stuff Eventually you must ask for sale (yes, you must clearly ask your client to buy, but only at right time). But until point where all your prospects emotional and logical requirements have been fulfilled, you must look like a free information service or at least provide useful information along way even in your product information sheets. Give people free and useful information and let that lead subtly but persistently to sale.
By way, a good reason to offer something free and useful is that it allows you to be a part of your prospects life. Once you have entered their life, you will be more readily accepted and can then work up to sale.
Listening to authority We all know it - people listen unquestioningly to authoritative figures. If you hold anyone in high regard, you will usually listen to and do as they say. Like your doctor or lawyer. These people can tell you to do what most people can't and you will almost always do it without questioning it.
This means that your site should have someone or some organization of recognized authority in that field saying something positive about your product or service. It doesn't have to be famous people, just authority heads. For example, a travel service can have a review by some magazines and a vitamin store can have some comments from some doctors.
Conforming to groups Peoples' judgement is highly influenced and dependent on collective judgement of groups. What this means is that you will often make judgements that you believe are entirely your own but in reality they are based on what other people are doing. For example, you may go out and decide to buy something or take a trip somewhere but that decision is most likely highly influenced by your observing or reading about or hearing about other people doing exact same thing. And you will often avoid things that most other people avoid.
What this means is that you should have as many features within your site as possible that allow users to contribute to, feel and be influenced by group opinions. For example, you must have testimonials. Depending on your site, other things you should consider adding are voting, forums, statistics and surveys. All these allow users to contribute to group thought and be influenced by it.