by Marnie Ochs-Raleigh
So you’ve created the latest, greatest, gotta have it product, and now you are trying to market it. Great! And you realize just how large of a customer base the Internet can provide, with total online retail sales in the US estimated at around $400 billion. But where do you start? Who do you talk to? What tools do you use?
What Is Internet Marketing
Internet Marketing is communicating to customers a company’s message, culture, image, and products. Who you are will inform how you present yourself, so if your company want to have a better image online, you need to create it, or, let it develop naturally if it’s already well established. Like all marketing, it is focused on conducting research and selling goods and services but in a digital space. Time also plays into this aspect – how much time do you have verses how large is your marketing budget?
What’s new with Internet marketing? Internet marketing is remarkably different than traditional marketing, but rooted in similar ideas. Traditionally you would market a product or a business using newspapers, yellow pages, flyers and circulators, or just strong word of mouth grassroots campaigns. On the Internet, these marketing techniques have been replaced with search engines, social media, ads, and “word of type”. The more creative and viral your message is, the better chance you have your marketing efforts will pay off.
Let Others Work For You
Is your product similar to other’s products? One of the best ways to market something new is to research how similar products have been marketed on the Internet. Let your competitors do the heavy lifting! Often others have done the trial and error to discover what brings in customers and what doesn’t; a thorough Google search will save you hours and dollars in marketing fees.
Word of Type
Are you on the Internet and have the time to engage in social media? Twitter and Facebook are great tools to use to draw customers and potential clients in with discussion about the features and strengths of your product. Talk about your product. Search for others who need it. Mention it’s applications with people, and listen to them respond. But be careful to follow the rules of social media: discussion about the weaknesses and cons of your product will occur as well. The open communication of Twitter and Facebook is what makes them such great marketing tools. Also, no one wants to listen to a soapbox speech in social media; they are here to discuss, not be sold to.
It’s A Google World
Have a budget for marketing? A paid service, Google Adwords allows you to run search relevant text and picture ads to the sides of every Google search. Google provides a wealth of information regarding how many people see your ads, what the click through rates are to your website or product, as well as offering suggestions on how to improve your ads for the greatest impact.
Talk About Your Product
Have a website? Whether or not you have a website dedicated to your product, it costs nothing except time to set up a blog or WordPress account to talk about your product. And that time you invested in the blog will be paid back to you through the material you create. Try doing a series of blog posts on the exceptional features of your product! If you do the work on the blog, you’ve essentially just created a whole new marketing package that can be shared with customers both online and in printed form. Plus, a blog will allow new customers to come and discuss your product, creating great word of mouth and “word of type” connections.
Online Retail Sales Companies
Where are you selling your product online? Is your product being sold on Amazon, Ebay, or other online venues? Check to see what people are saying about you and your product, and respond to them, addressing their concerns and thanking them for their praises! Find out wherever your product is and be involved in the discussion. But be careful not to do draconian damage control: let their grievances remain, and discuss with them. Don’t try to force someone to be silent.
Different Strategies for Different People
Are you taking different buying demographics into account? Men and women shop differently and look for different features. At minimum it’s probably wise to have up to five different marketing campaigns going at once, divided between generic, men, women, young, and old consumers. Leverage the strengths of your product toward each group. Rarely is there anything that is one-size fits all.
Talk About Everything…Except Your Product
Are you too focused? This is one of the hardest Internet marketing concepts for traditional marketers to grasp, but on the Internet, sometimes it’s best to not talk about yourself or your product. But how will that help me sell my product? By talking around your product. If you establish yourself as an expert in your field and show you care about all the many facets of your industry instead of just about yourself and your products, people will begin to listen and trust you more as a reliable source. One of the best ways to do this is to take the time to write articles and other news items that can be shared on various platforms such as Digg and Delicious.
Find What’s Best for You
These were just a few techniques Internet marketers are using to drum up excitement and support for their brand; there are many more. Most marketing can be done with just simple time commitment and little financial revenue; however, stronger results can always be bought. Search the Internet. Start looking around and listening to others. Establish a comprehensive strategy that meshes with what you are doing offline. And then engage.
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