Read Microsoft Word - Onlinemarketing.doc text version

ONLINE MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING

Welcome

Welcome "Online Marketing on a Shoestring" students. Our goal in this course: Practical ­ not theoretical ­ techniques you can use to grow your online visibility. Please feel free to refer back to this document regularly online. It will be a living, breathing document that is updated from time to time. My contact information is at the end of this document. Wishing you much success online, Anita Campbell, Instructor

Overview

This course covers a wide range of online marketing techniques. We will focus on those you can do yourself. Emphasis will be on pointing you to free resources. The techniques in this course can be put to use in a wide range of businesses, for many different purposes: B-to-B (business to business) sales, consumer sales, sales of products, sales of services, writers marketing books, musicians and artists marketing their work, consultants trying to establish expert status. This document is organized in these sections: Make versus Buy considerations Getting Organized Marketing Strategies (6 general categories) : 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Building a Community Online Public Relations Search Engine Marketing Email Marketing & Autoresponders Advertising & Affiliate Programs Social Media Marketing & Optimization

Appendix: Sample Shoestring Marketing Plan

University of Akron March 2008

Instructor: Anita Campbell Page 1

ONLINE MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING

Make versus Buy

The tradeoff in today's world is time versus money. The low cost of technology and the easyto-use tools available today make it possible to do just about anything online yourself, at either no cost or low cost. But watch out. You could easily end up doing everything on your own, and have no time to run your own business or do anything else in your job. Remember this consideration in everything you do:

"To thine own self be true"

Ask yourself: Are you capable of doing the task yourself? Is it something you like to do yourself? Do you have time to do it yourself?

Seriously evaluate when it makes sense to hire something out. Even Web design firms outsource portions of projects these days. New outsourcing websites make it easy for non-technical people to get small projects done. Skilled workers bid on your projects. They are rated by past performance. Payment is escrowed until the work is complete. Remember these two websites when you decide to buy rather than build: Elance: http://www.elance.com ­ Copywriting, logos and images in addition to Web design. Rent-a-Coder: http://www.rentacoder.com - Great for software and Web development projects. For those who want a hybrid solution, where you can do things on your own but with extra help and guided tools, try Yahoo Small Business. The site offers affordable plans that let you build your own website, set up a blog and even promote your site: http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/ Or try Microsoft Office Live Small Business, which lets you register a domain name and built a template-based website for free: http://officelive.com

University of Akron March 2008

Instructor: Anita Campbell Page 2

ONLINE MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING

Getting Organized

First things first. Make sure you are ready to promote your business online. Outfit your office and yourself for online effectiveness. Skills Know a little HTML. Either take a basic Web design course. Or, if you are self-taught, then keep a cheat sheet handy showing the main HTML codes: http://www.webmonkey.com/webmonkey/reference/html_cheatsheet/ Know how to manipulate digital photographs and images. At a minimum you need to be able to crop and size photos and other images. Know a few snazzy tricks. This site offers examples and snippets of code to help you create interesting text tricks, boxes and borders: http://www.mandarindesign.com/

Basic Tools and Gear Get yourself good basic hardware ­ it makes all the difference. You will need a good recent computer. Minimum of Pentium 3 and 40 Gigabyte hard drive. Windows or Apple. Prices of hardware are coming down all the time. A broadband connection will make your life a whole lot better. A dial-up connection holds you back and takes up too much of your time ... waiting. Speakers with your computer are a must these days for audio and video. Sound is an increasing part of today's online world. Also, an inexpensive, plug-in microphone that you can buy at CompUSA is helpful, because it allows you to speak over instant messenger programs and voice-over-the-Internet (VOIP) telecommunications. A microphone is especially helpful if you plan to record podcasts. Software and Web-based tools "Web 2.0" is a term you hear frequently these days referring to all the new Web services available online. Countless people have taken a crack at defining Web 2.0, but the important thing for you to remember is that it is synonymous with free or inexpensive.

University of Akron March 2008

Instructor: Anita Campbell Page 3

ONLINE MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING

Remember that with "free" there is sometimes a different kind of price to pay. The following software and tools are sometimes offered in a free version accompanied by ads, and an inexpensive upgraded version, either without ads or offering more features and functionality. Explore Google. It is more than a search engine and offers lots of free features that will help you online: http://www.google.com/intl/en/options/ Download the Google toolbar. For instance, it helps you do spell checking of forms online. It helps you search for words on a page via the highlight tool. http://toolbar.google.com/?promo=mor-tb-en Microsoft Office will make your life easier, including Microsoft Publisher for preparing nice looking marketing documents and website elements ­ although freeware / shareware substitutes exist and can be found online. Creating PDF documents figures into many online strategies today. Sales of information products are booming online. This free software lets you create PDFs: www.pdf995.com. An easy-to-use FTP client helps when you load images and files on the Web regularly. Consider this freeware tool: FTP Commander www.internet-soft.com A source of inexpensive photos and images is useful to give some pizzazz to your Web pages. The free clip art that is available in Microsoft Word / Office is one of the easiest to use. For professional photographs, you can purchase photographs for $1.00 each at http://www.istockphoto.com (you buy a package of credits for $10 and you can use them individually as you need them). Photo and image manipulation software is critical: o IrfanView (www.irfanview.com) is a graphics editor useful for cropping and resizing digital photos and creating slideshows. The GIMP (www.gimp.org) is a fuller-featured program to compose graphics from scratch or do advanced retouching.

o

PayPal account: http://paypal.com. Sign up for a PayPal account for buying things such as software online without the insecurity of using a credit card at unknown places. Also, you can sell items on your website or blog using a PayPal shopping cart. If you need other free or dirt cheap software, search online before you buy. Be careful not to download just anything you stumble across on an unknown web page, as you may be downloading spyware, viruses and other harmful malware. Always go to a reputable download site: www.download.com and www.tucows.com

University of Akron March 2008

Instructor: Anita Campbell Page 4

ONLINE MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING

Marketing Strategies

Today on the Web, most businesses operating on a shoestring follow some combination of these six (6) basic marketing strategies:

1. Building a Community Online

Develop a community ... a regular following. You community is where your pool of buyers comes from. By widening your community, you widen your number of potential buyers. To develop a community, you need a website and/or blog, and you must give people a reason to come to your site and be part of your community ­ and come back. To keep them coming back, give must give them something to: o Read ­ written content: blogs, free articles, archived newsletters, downloadable whitepapers, presentations Listen to ­ clickable welcome message, podcasts Watch ­ photos, video, PowerPoint presentations Do ­ interactive items: commenting, polls, quizzes, visitor maps, webinars, sign up for a newsletter, blogrolls to explore Profit from ­ coupons, discounts, contests, drawings, package deals, free stuff

o o o

o

Good content is often at the heart of this strategy. But content is a draw, not an end in and of itself. The audience is the first goal. Monetizing it is the second goal. Content is the hook you use to get the audience and keep it coming back. Blogs are great for creating a vibrant thriving site and developing community: o Advantages of blogs: they give your business a "human" voice; encourage participation and engagement by your customers and readers; are easy and convenient to update; are inexpensive to set up and operate; are search engine friendly; and automatically generate RSS feeds which allow your site to be found in RSS search engines and to be indexed almost instantly. Disadvantages of blogs: not everyone is comfortable writing a blog; blogs may not be appropriate for every business, especially where confidentiality is crucial; they take a time commitment, with at least twice a month updating a minimum.

o

University of Akron March 2008

Instructor: Anita Campbell Page 5

ONLINE MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING

The price of blogs is right: o Free, hosted options are fast to get started: Blogger (www.blogger.com) and WordPress hosted version (www.wordpress.com). Upgraded versions that offer more flexibility will cost something, but are still affordable for small businesses. WordPress's non-hosted version is free except for setup and hosting charges (www.wordpress.org). TypePad is a hosted option that starts at $5 per month: (www.typepad.com). Movable Type is another popular option (www.movabletype.com). Yahoo Small Business has a special plan where it will set up a WordPress or MovableType blog and host it for around $12.00 per month. http://sbs.smallbusiness.yahoo.com/webhosting/hostingfeatures.php

o

o

For more resources on blogs, visit this Blogging Resource page: http://www.smallbiztrends.com/blogging. It contains links to helpful readings and tools for blogs and RSS feeds. Word of mouth ­ The bigger a community you build, and the better the experience they have at your site, the more people will talk about your business. They will spread the word, and get others to visit your website and seek out your company or your products. Other people (and their websites) become evangelists for your business. Information product sales are booming right now. A community of loyal followers will welcome sales of information products in the form of downloadable eBooks (PDF documents). This strategy works especially well for B-to-B sales, but can also work for consumers. Follow a "free sample" strategy for information product sales. Community Do's Do update your website regularly ­ especially the home page. Tip: display an RSS feed of headlines from your blog or from a relevant news source on your home page. It will update automatically and give you fresh content on that page regularly without having to change it. Do personalize your website and/or blog by including background information about your company and the people there. Head shots of key people helps. The About section of most websites is one of the most popular pages. Do consider a blog, because of its superior options for easily updating content, and the ability for readers to leave comments. Link your website and your blog together. The blog should be part of the website's navigation, and vice versa. Some small businesses and professionals are skipping a website altogether and going straight to a blog to which they tack on extra pages to describe their products and services.

University of Akron March 2008

Instructor: Anita Campbell Page 6

ONLINE MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING

Do try to get an easy-to-remember domain name for your website and blog, rather than a long one. Dot com URLs are superior ­ extensions such as .biz, .tv, and .us can trip up customers. They may automatically type ".com" without thinking about it. Do invest time learning how to write good copy for your website and email communications. A good free learning resource is the site of master copywriter Bob Bly, containing free articles and his blog: http://www.bly.com. Do observe other websites to trigger ideas, but remember not to violate copyrights by copying word for word, or using other sites' images. Do print your website address on every appropriate printed form and marketing material in your business. Business cards, letterhead, invoices, brochures. Do create a standard email signature, with your contact details. Include a link to your website and blog. People will click on those links. Do adopt a "free sample" strategy for selling products and services. Give something away in order to entice people to buy, especially if it is a digital product which involves no incremental cost to give it away. Give a substantive, high quality free sample, then sell other related products or services. Do check out this resources for what should be in your website -- download the free eBook from Entrepreneur magazine called "Build a Website that Sells": http://officeliveoffers.com/ebook/MS2eBook.pdf Do track traffic to your website. Track the number of visitors and where they come from. Tracking helps you understand what you are doing right ­ and could do better ­ with your site. A number of free traffic tracking tools are available: o Sitemeter (www.sitemeter.com) and Statcounter (http://www.statcounter.com) are two popular ones. You have to insert a little piece of code into your Website or blog template. They also offer upgraded versions for a monthly fee. For analyzing traffic once it gets to your site (e.g., to see if readers are abandoning certain pages, or how well certain pages are converting visitors to sign up for your mailing list or click on your shopping cart), try Google Analytics. Not too long ago Google Analytics was called Urchin and cost $495, but became free once Google bought it. It takes a little work to set it up for maximum results, but the results are worth it: http://www.google.com/analytics

o

Community Don'ts Don't try to do too much with your website. Too many choices will drive visitors to inaction. Concentrate on one or two features most likely to help you achieve your sales objectives. (This is why you need a Marketing Plan. See the sample Shoestring

University of Akron March 2008

Instructor: Anita Campbell Page 7

ONLINE MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING

Marketing Plan at the end of this document for a breathtakingly simple format for outlining your Marketing approach.) Don't use white text on dark backgrounds for large reading areas, unless it is an art website. It provides insufficient contrast for the human eye to read easily. Don't forget to place your most important messages "above the fold." Don't despair if you have a website already but it is too difficult to update or you don't know how. Edit.com can give you the ability to make changes to your website without having to use a program like Dreamweaver or Front Page: www.edit.com. Starts at $150. Don't apologize for your website. Today's world is one in which average citizens and even kids have their own websites or blogs, and no one looks askance if a site seems a little amateurish. If it doesn't look the way you want it, fix it. And be proud.

University of Akron March 2008

Instructor: Anita Campbell Page 8

ONLINE MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING

2. Public Relations

PR trumps advertising today for low-cost marketing. For B-to-B sales and consumer sales, public relations can be very effective. For purposes of this document, the term "PR" is being used in a broad sense, to refer to any kind of publicity, buzz, word of mouth, media coverage or other mentions. Creating buzz: You must have something buzzworthy if you want people to talk about your business or your products or you as an expert professional. If you do not have anything, create something. All you need is one thing to get people talking. o o Consumer products are easier to develop buzz around B-to-B products can be more challenging, although not impossible.

Press releases: Many people today question the usefulness of press releases for purposes of getting press coverage. Today press releases have become an online visibility play. They are widely acknowledged as an effective strategy for getting higher visibility online in Google News and other places. Free press release sites are a key part of this strategy. Here are some popular free press release sites: http://www.prweb.com http://www.prleap.com http://mashable.com/2007/10/20/press-releases/ (list of 20 press release sites) Some free press release services have upgrade features, where you can pay a reasonable fee for more visibility. Article submissions: Writing articles and submitting them to free ezine aggregation sites is popular. At the end of the article you include an "author's block" with a short statement about the author and a link to the author's website. Webmasters may use the article in their websites, ezines or newsletters free of charge, on condition that thee keep the author's block intact. When the article is published, it means free publicity for the writer and usually a link back to the author's website. Here is a page listing over 100 free article submission sites: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art12838.asp UPDATE: While submitting articles to free ezine aggregation sites used to be a hot strategy, that seems to have been overtaken by writing guest posts at popular blogs. PR Do's Do publish your full name and include a photo on your website. People respond to people ­ not faceless, impersonal websites. It makes a difference, even to reporters. Pay attention to your About Us page.

University of Akron March 2008

Instructor: Anita Campbell Page 9

ONLINE MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING

Do make yourself readily available to the press. Publish contact details on your website, including a phone number where you can be reached by journalists on deadline. Do make it easy for a reporter to quote you, by (1) responding quickly, (2) offering one or two quotable sound bites, and (3) sticking to a well organized message that does not ramble. If you have the luxury of advance notice before talking with a reporter, jot down a couple of key points you want to make. Repeat those points ­ reporters are busy and may miss the point you are trying to make if it is too subtle. And get your most important point out early ­ you don't know how much time you will have in the interview. At the end ask if he or she would "not mind" mentioning your Website URL in the article ­ most will accommodate. Do remember that reporters read blogs. They find experts to interview from blogs. They hunt for little known news or trends to write about. Do set a goal to submit free ezine articles or guest blog posts, perhaps once a month or every two months. Do repurpose content. Use content you have created, in multiple ways, to get more mileage out of it. You can use blog posts as the source of your newsletter articles. However, avoid publishing exactly the same thing on multiple Web pages, as Google does not recognize duplicate content. Do try to develop at least one viral or buzz-creating technique ­ something that others will pass around so that another person wants it and is willing to visit the site to get it. It can be as simple as an intriguing graphic that you make available for people to display. Or it can be a fun, interactive tool. Widgets are a particularly hot strategy at present. PR Don'ts Don't ignore bloggers and podcasters who cover your industry. They often do email interviews or record podcast interviews. These can make effective "media mentions" on the News section of your website, and can lead to further media coverage. In fact, popular bloggers will drive more traffic to your website than many magazines or newspapers. Don't hesitate to issue press releases (or "news" releases) to media contacts if you truly have news. Develop a list of industry and local media contacts to send releases to. Online visibility from press releases does not always have to be the end game. Don't forget to optimize your press releases for industry keywords, so that the press release will be do better in search engine rankings. Rule of thumb: place one keyword or keyphrase in your press release title and repeat the same keyword or keyphrase twice in the body of the release.

University of Akron March 2008

Instructor: Anita Campbell Page 10

ONLINE MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING

3. Search Engine Marketing

A hugely important strategy for online marketing is to develop visibility in the search engines. Search engine marketing ­ meaning, you are marketing using primarily the power of the search engines to get customers, prospects and website visitors to find you online. Definitions: o SEO ­ search engine optimization. This is the work done to a website to help it rank better. Organic listings ­ The regular (non-paid) search results that show up when you do a search in Google, MSN or some other search engine. Results are listed in order of the pages the search engines think are important. Pay-per-click (PPC) ­ Sponsored ads that appear above or to the right of organic listings. They usually are marked "Sponsored Links." Spider ­ Computer programs that search engines send out to websites to collect information on them. Examples: Googlebot, Inktomi Slurp, Mozilla. Index ­ A huge list of web pages that a search engine has on file. Once the spider or bot visits your site, your pages get added to the index.

o

o

o

o

To optimize your site for the search engines, actually the basic techniques are reasonably straightforward. You need text with keywords, clean code, and inbound links to your site. Jennifer Laycock, Editor of Search Engine Guide, sums it up this way. She says, search engines want a site that's: o o o clearly about a topic (includes keywords); easy to read (plenty of clean coded text); and other people value (because they link to it).

She says those "three things are the foundation of good search engine optimization." Try to build incoming links to your website, but focus on quality not quantity. Try to get links from relevant websites and websites that are themselves reliable. It does not help you to get links from link farms. Inbound links to your site from highly weighted pages convey more importance to your page. Use the Google toolbar to see PageRank on other sites.

University of Akron March 2008

Instructor: Anita Campbell Page 11

ONLINE MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING

Remember this mantra: give in order to receive. The more you link out to other relevant sites (not indiscriminately but to relevant sites), the more likely other webmasters and site owners are to link back to you. This works especially well with blogs. It is one of the reasons blogs maintain blogrolls (lists of links to other sites) ­ to accommodate those who link to them. Asking for a link is like creating a relationship. Try to develop a little bit of a relationship online before asking for a link. Email the webmaster or blogger telling him or her how much you enjoyed a recent article on their site, or how you share an interest of theirs, or some similar type of communication. Remember, you attract more bees with honey than with vinegar. Oh, and make sure you have first linked to them, before you ask. Expect to invest one-half hour to one hour developing an online relationship first before asking for a link. That's the going rate. For an in-depth example of how to carry out some of the major search engine marketing strategies today, with lots of detailed and specific tactics, download the free eBook: www.30DaysBook.com. It is based on a 30-day series of articles about building an online business at zero cost, and making it profitable in 30 days.

Search Marketing Do's Do focus on creating "link bait." Link bait is something that makes other websites want to link to yours or your blog: great articles, free tools, product reviews, top ten lists, etc. Do be original and creative. People will come back to your site and link to it because they are interested. Do consider hiring a stay-at-home mom for $20 an hour to build links for your site. $200 a month could be effective. But be careful who you pick and monitor their work. Do some brainstorming to create a list of keywords relevant to your business. Do test your keyword choices at www.WordTracker.com to see if people really are searching by those keywords, and to generate alternate suggestions. You can buy a one-day subscription for about $8 currently. Do use your keywords in the text in your website, especially in section titles. However, using too many different keywords on a single page can "confuse" the search engines, because they can't tell what is important and what is not important. Rule of thumb: use one keyword or keyphrase per title or section heading, and then use the same keyword or keyphrase twice in the body of the content on that page. Do use keywords in anchor text, especially with internal links to your own pages. When asking others to link to your site, ask them also to use your designated anchor text.

University of Akron March 2008

Instructor: Anita Campbell Page 12

ONLINE MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING

Search engines read anchor text as having extra weight and significance and the hyperlinked text will associate the linked page to that particular text, in the search engine's eyes. Anchor text is the text that has a hyperlink embedded underneath it: This is anchor text. Do make it a point to read up on search engine marketing. A little knowledge will pay you back handsomely. It is a highly technical and constantly evolving area. Some good sources of information are: o Search Engine Guide (www.searchengineguide.com) is the easiest for nontechnical people to follow. It is designed for small business owners. Two others a little more technical are Search Engine Watch (www.searchenginewatch.com) and Search Engine Journal (www.searchenginejournal.com).

o

Search Marketing Don'ts Don't bother with those paid search engine submission services. You do not have to submit; the standard search engines will find you. Don't worry about meta tags, but do make sure you have title tags in your website code containing keywords for each of your pages. Title tags are located in the "Head" area of your code in your site and appear at the very top of the browser bar when you are viewing that page. Try to have different titles for each page in your website. Don't put text in your site in the same color as the background (called "hidden text"). Search engines consider this spamming. Don't resort to tricks to increase search engine findability. Instead, focus on good content and create a website that serves your business purposes. If you do a good job with this, the rankings tend to follow.

University of Akron March 2008

Instructor: Anita Campbell Page 13

ONLINE MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING

4. Email Marketing & Autoresponders

Email marketing on the Web is about using email to reach customers and prospects to sell products or services. Your "house" email list is gold. The more names on it, the bigger the pool you have that you can market and sell to. Response rates to offers in email messages tend to be much higher than responses to the same offer on a website. Your email list is an important complement to your community strategy (#1 above). You can use your list to remind your community regularly that you are still around and "pull" them back in. You can use email to update your community about new events, features and products. Don't try to manage an email list and do mailings manually on your own. This is one time it pays to spend money. Email marketing has become a technical area ­ inadvertently you could violate the Can-Spam law that went into effect in 2004. And once your list starts getting going, it will eat up a lot of your time on routine administrative functions that should be automated for efficiency's sake. Instead, sign up with a commercial email marketing service to manage subscriptions and help compose HTML emails. Most if not all of the commercial services are set up to comply with legal requirements. There are lots of email marketing services catering to small businesses. Most offer templates for composing pleasing HTML (graphical) messages; automatic management of your subscriber database, including handling of double-opt-in subscriptions and unsubscribe requests ; whitelist mailing status with major ISPs so that your messages have a better chance of getting through and are not blocked as spam; and autoresponder automatic messaging features. Prices start around $10/month, depending on the size of your list. Here are some options: o o o o o Vertical Response: http://www.verticalresponse.com Constant Contact: http://search.constantcontact.com Lyris: http://www.lyris.com CoolerEmail: http://www.cooleremail.com Note: You can also organize a direct email outreach around a Yahoo Group list. Yahoo Groups are free, but inelegant and they give you less control. Laurel Delaney's BorderBuster newsletter is one example of a successful and large Yahoo Group newsletter used to market information products and consulting services. You can find information about the newsletter here: http://borderbuster.blogspot.com.

University of Akron March 2008

Instructor: Anita Campbell Page 14

ONLINE MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING

Autoresponders: Autoresponders are automated email messages that are triggered to go out when an event takes place or on a pre-determined schedule. o Website owners use autoresponders to send automatic responses when someone fills out an online contact form or signs up for something. That way the person receives an instant response. For instance, if someone signs up for your newsletter, you can send one autoresponder message welcoming your new subscriber and showing them what you have to offer. Website owners also use autoresponders for cross-selling products. For example, say you sell one information product online. You could send a series of 3 follow-up autoresponder emails over a period of the next 30 days, providing additional resources and offers each time. You can use your commercial emailing program to send scheduled autoresponder messages. However, if you plan to be creative with autoresponders, it is best to purchase a stand alone autoresponder program. Once that comes highly recommended is Aweber: http://www.aweber.com/?202089

o

o

Email Do's Do start your list ­ if you are starting from ground zero ­ with close colleagues and contacts you have met personally. The business card rule is what most people follow. If you have a recent business card from someone, most people will add them to start their initial list, since it is generally assumed that anyone who has given their business card wants to receive business communications. If this makes you uncomfortable, send an "inoculation" email first, saying "May I add you to my mailing list?" or "I've put you on my mailing list so that we can stay in touch ­ please add me to yours too", and then gauge the reaction. Do put your email signup box prominently on your website and blog. Even include a link to your signup in your email signature block. Do require visitors to sign up for your mailing list in order to receive free downloads such as whitepapers on your site. Many websites offer a "free eBook" as an enticement for signing up to a newsletter. B-to-B websites in particular should offer at least one free download that requires signing up, because business customers tend to value information. Do make regular contact with subscribers ­ at least quarterly but preferably monthly. Do include interesting content and helpful resources in your newsletters or communications. Do familiarize yourself with the Can-Spam law requirements. Find out more about the law here: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/canspam.htm

University of Akron March 2008

Instructor: Anita Campbell Page 15

ONLINE MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING

Do issue simple yet pleasing HTML newsletters and communications ­ better yet use a service that automatically detects the reader's settings and issues either text or graphical versions. Do track open rates and click-through rates. Experiment with written copy, delivery days/times, subject lines, and other variables and ADJUST, ADJUST, ADJUST. Best days of the week and times for mailing are mid-day and towards the end of the week (Tuesday through Thursday for most target markets). Do post a copy of each newsletter online for better search engine juice, as a teaser to get new subscribers, and as another way for people to read your newsletter since not all email clients display all messages properly. Do include a "Forward to a Friend" viral marketing feature in each newsletter or communication, to grow your list.

Email Don'ts Don't harvest email addresses from other websites and add them to your list without permission. Don't focus just on YOU, but rather on your readers and what they might like to receive. Don't make every communication a sales pitch. Don't wait too long before making contact with your new subscribers. Use autoresponder email to communicate immediately with subscribers ­ highest interest is in first 30 days after subscribing, and after the first 60 days interest tends to drop off precipitously. Don't email too frequently ­ you drive readers to unsubscribe. Don't go crazy with autoresponders. Just because you can send out a series of 12 messages automatically doesn't mean you should. Don't forget to double check the subject line for typos before hitting the "send" button. Don't send emails without using your service's spam filter checker first, to make sure your message gets through filters. Certain words trigger spam filters. Trigger words include phrases often associated with hard-sell pitches or scams: "free offer", "special offer," "home business opportunity," "cash bonus," "you've won!" and similar phrases. Don't forget to clean your list from time to time, to remove invalid email addresses and ones where your message has bounced several times in a row.

University of Akron March 2008

Instructor: Anita Campbell Page 16

ONLINE MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING

5. Advertising & Affiliate Programs

Attract customers through online advertising, especially pay-per-click advertising. Pay-per-click is really the only advertising game in town for small businesses on a budget. Pay-per-click ads are the paid ads you see on the right side or sometimes at the top when you search in the search engines ­ so called because you pay for them "by the click." You also can purchase pay-per-click ads and have them displayed on websites other than search engine pages (referred to as pay-per-click ads for content). Pay-per-click can bring fast traffic ­ almost within minutes you can start to get traffic. Two popular places to purchase pay-per-click ads are: o o Google AdWords: http://adwords.google.com Yahoo Search Marketing: http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com/index.php

With pay per click advertising, you must first set up an account at Google or Yahoo, above. It is all handled online. You input a credit card or bank account number to pay for your ads. Then you can start setting up campaigns by bidding on keywords or keyphrases. You bid a maximum of so many cents per click that you are willing to pay to rank higher in the search results for certain keywords. With pay-per-click you craft small text ads. An advantage these kinds of ads have over banner ads is that you do not need to go the expense of having creative prepared (i.e., graphical banners or buttons). You simply compose the ad text right on the screen. You can also adjust the text at any time, to experiment for better results. You can have multiple ads saying multiple messages at the same time. Pay-per-click is much more flexible in this way than banner advertising. Pay-per-click advertising can be more expensive when compared with other marketing methods. However, it is possible for a small business to do a meaningful pay-per-click campaign for say, $300 $500 per month (the cost of PPC ads has been rising over the past 18 months). You establish a maximum monthly budget and the system will not exceed your budget. Also, you can temporarily pause or stop your campaign at any time. Affiliate programs: o Affiliate programs are another way to "advertise" your products, using other sites or "affiliates" to sell your product for you. You first establish an affiliate program. Other sites then sign up as affiliates. Your affiliates advertise your

University of Akron March 2008

Instructor: Anita Campbell Page 17

ONLINE MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING

product for sale on their websites. They send interested traffic over to your site, with a tracking code embedded in the link so that they can get credit for the sale. If a sale results, they get paid an affiliate commission by you. o Many site owners consider affiliate sales an advertising tactic, and one that is risk free, because they are not paying the affiliate site anything unless and until a sale in made. Yet their product is getting visibility just like an ad would bring. Commercial services exist that help you set up your affiliate program, handle all aspects of your affiliate program, including the tracking mechanisms and payments. These include ShareASale (http://shareasale.com), and ClickBank (http://clickbank.com) for digital products.

o

Advertising Do's Do focus on how many clicks are converting to sales, not just the raw number of click throughs. Do track which keywords you bid on brought in the most sales, most cost-effectively. Do track how much each customer or sale cost you in pay-per-click charges. It's the cost per sale, not cost per click, that really matters. Do focus on specific 4- to 7-word keyphrases if you want to convert interested buyers. When bidding on keywords, go for specific phrases people search for after they have done their initial research and are primed to buy, or when have a clear idea of what they want ­ not for broad and general phrases they search on when they are in research mode. Example: "small business" is an extremely broad, early stage research keyword. "Small business lenders" or "free small business newsletter" or "consultants for small business strategy" are phrases a user searches when he is very specific on what he is looking for and closer to buying stage. Do write your ad text using very specific keyword search terms, too. Try to avoid having the title of your text ad be a generic term or your company name. Write the ad according to what you think the searcher is searching for. You want the searcher to see an ad that reads like what he or she is looking for. Do experiment with different ad text. Have at least 3 differently worded ads going, and then evaluate the click-through percentages. Drop the ad text that is not successful for you, and experiment with other ad text in its place. Do make ads link directly to the page where the item can be purchased, rather than to your home page, whenever possible. Consider using landing pages (i.e., a special page set up to appeal specifically to those reaching your site after searching for a specific term or looking for the specific item you advertised). Think of landing pages as online sales clerks, who direct a shopper to the proper place in the store and explain some of

University of Akron March 2008

Instructor: Anita Campbell Page 18

ONLINE MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING

the product features and benefits. That way the visitor doesn't wander around your site lost and get frustrated and leave without buying. Do recognize that pay-per-click ads can take considerable monitoring and sophisticated analytical tools like Google Analytics to be able to understand which keywords are yielding the best results. Do take advantage of 3 free Google tools (all can be found within your Google AdWords account at http://adwords.google.com: Google Optimizer allows you to experiment with page variations, wording variations and other page variants in A/B tests. Conversion tracker lets you track your PPC Google AdWords ad results to see which ones result in conversion to sales, subscriptions or whatever else you consider a conversion. Google Analytics enables you to track onsite traffic to see visitor traffic patterns and even a kind of map of most-clicked links. Do consider a heat map if you want to visualize where visitors are clicking on your site. If you are willing to pay a monthly fee, try Crazy Egg: http://crazyegg.com Advertising Don'ts Don't get discouraged if the ads initially are not converting traffic into sales. Just analyze the keywords more deeply and make adjustments. Experiment and test. Don't limit yourself to bidding on highly competitive keywords. The more generic and more popular the keyword, the more expensive it will be. And the less likely it will be to convert the visitor to a sale.

University of Akron March 2008

Instructor: Anita Campbell Page 19

ONLINE MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING

6. Social Media Marketing and Optimization

The new kid on the block that is building steam is social media marketing, which uses social networking sites to market your business. Techniques here include Identity management using sites such as www.LinkedIn.com and www.facebook.com Bookmarking services such as http://del.icio.us and http://furl.com Interaction and connection based sites such as www.myspace.com, www.facebook.com, and www.jumpup.com. Content sharing sites such a www.Flickr.com, www.youtube.com, www.scribd.com. Voting sites such as www.Digg.com, www.reddit.com and www.stumbleupon.com Twitter.com to communicate in short bursts -- an instant-messenger like stream of short comments, but going to a public "steam" For more of social media marketing, go to www.socialmediadaily.com

* * * * *

Please see the attached sample Shoestring Marketing Plan which may be helpful to plan out and budget for the approaches covered above.

Instructor Contact Information: Anita Campbell 330.242.1893 [email protected] www.smallbiztrends.com

© 2007, Anita Campbell

University of Akron March 2008

Instructor: Anita Campbell Page 20

ONLINE MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING

Shoestring Online Marketing Plan ­ Sample Outline

[If you do not have a marketing plan, this is a quick and simple outline to get you started.]

Objectives

List up to 3 objectives you want your online presence to achieve. [Hint: Focus on what you want to achieve in sales or revenue, either directly or indirectly. Be practical. Try not to get hung up on theory or differences in terminology such as "objectives," "strategies" or "tactics".] Examples of objectives: · · · · · Sell more copies of my hard copy book, raising royalties by 15%. Increase eCommerce sales of my products by 20%. Establish national recognition as an expert in my field. Obtain 4 speaking engagements per year (2 of them paid). Increase sales of digital and other forms of content (PDFs, eBooks, CDs, training courses) to $1,000 per month.

Tactics

Tactics are the actions ­ the building blocks ­ to achieve your sales objectives. Choose tactics as appropriate from these categories: Community building - Websites and blogs Search engine marketing PR and Article Submissions Direct email marketing and email newsletter Online advertising

University of Akron March 2008

Instructor: Anita Campbell Page 21

ONLINE MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING

Sample: Shoestring Online Marketing Plan for XYZ Consulting Objective #1: Increase sales of digital and other forms of content (PDFs, eBooks, CDs, training courses) to $1,000 per month.

Tactic Start a blog and start building a loyal community; place ads for my products strategically on blog pages. Create an email mailing list and starting collecting more names, to get to 1500 names by year end. Begin publishing a monthly email newsletter and promote my eBooks in each newsletter Set up a landing page for each individual product and then create a pay-per-click ad program driving visitors to the landing pages Etc.

Budget $10/month $100 $20/month $300/month

Target Date April 10, 2008 April 20, 2008 May 2008 June 2008 ­ October 2008

Objective #2: ___________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

Tactic

Budget

Target Date

University of Akron March 2008

Instructor: Anita Campbell Page 22

Information

Microsoft Word - Onlinemarketing.doc

22 pages

Find more like this

Report File (DMCA)

Our content is added by our users. We aim to remove reported files within 1 working day. Please use this link to notify us:

Report this file as copyright or inappropriate

1247616


You might also be interested in

BETA
Kaleidoscope Community Education Schedule Spring 2008
Microsoft Word - Online Revised _Bridges_ 3.doc