Tag Archives: online marketing

Is Your Marketing Plan Ready for an Update?

This is a time when you reflect on the effectiveness of your business marketing programs. You will be planning to improve performance of some marketing programs, discontinue some, and try others for the first time.

Each Marketing Plan is Unique

For those writing a marketing plan for the first time, it is important to know that there is no “magic formula” to an effective marketing plan. Formats and procedures vary widely, and your marketing plan will be one-of-a-kind.

Your company, customers, competitors, and suppliers interact to create a unique and ever-changing business environment. Because of this, your marketing plan should also be unique and frequently changing. What worked wonderfully for one company may be a dismal failure for you. What worked yesterday for you may not be the thing for you to do today. By thinking of your plan as a unique and perpetual work in progress, you can be better prepared to change direction when the business environment changes.

A Plan Makes a Profitable Difference

Ultimately, your marketing plan is a compass by which you navigate your day-to-day business. As opportunities arise or your business environment changes, the objective and strategies in your marketing plan will point you toward the best action. Without a marketing plan, you are guessing what might be best for your business. And don’t forget to address your Web site in the marketing plan. Without a marketing plan your Web site may be a drain on your finances rather than a business builder.

Also, understand you do not need a marketing degree and a lot of experience to update or create a marketing plan for your business. Once you have a structure to follow, the rest is a matter of rolling up your sleeves and getting it done. There is no single approach to developing a marketing plan. There is a wide selection of books, toolkits, and software to help you through the planning process. Some approaches require a great deal of time and others are “quick and dirty.” All can be applied to your business as a whole, an individual product, or your Web site.

So, in all the hustle and bustle of everyday business activities, don’t forget to take the time to update an existing marketing plan or write a new one. Your future profits depend on it!

Tips and Tricks To Getting Top Money for your Domain Names

Would you like to be that lucky person who sells their domain for thousands or even a million dollars? It IS possible to find quality domains and resell them for huge amounts of money. The time is ripe for acquiring top domains and selling them. Now that the Internet Boom is behind us, valuable names expire everyday. The best way to find these domains is to use services on the Internet such as DomainsBot to weed out the bad names. Or just check out Hot Lists on sites like Namewinner or Pool.

So what makes a “good” domain name? Usually short, single word domains and 2-3 letter .coms, .nets, and .orgs are the best. The more specific the better. These can be hard to come by but when you find them, you can almost guarantee that you can make good money from them.  Here are your basic options for selling your domain name in a nutshell:

1. Sell it on Ebay

This is the easiest and quickest way to sell your domain name. There are several tricks to landing a good sale at Ebay. One is, start your price low. People want a bargain. Once you have received an initial bid, it will draw peoples attention to your name and create more bids. You may want to set a reserve price if you want to make sure you get X amount of dollars. When selling your domain on Ebay, make sure your domain name is in the title of the description. Also, include an appraisal to show to possible buyers the value of the domain. Keep your description short, clean, and really emphasize how important and rare your domain is. For example, if your domain is 3 letters and ends in “I”, stress how most 3 letter domains that are highly valuable end in “I” because it usually stands for “Incorporated”. If it ends in “E” it could stand for “Enterprise”. A little bit of marketing savvy can go a long way. I once sold the domain 0pp.com for over $200. It even has a number in it making it worth very little. But I emphasize its possible uses and potential. Also, spend the extra $1 for the Bold Listing and make sure your auction ends on a Sunday afternoon or evening. This is when most people are browsing Ebay. It will make a big difference.

2. Sell it on Domain Sites

The only sites you should even consider putting your name up for sale is on ebay.com, Afternic, or Sedo. These are the most popular and where some huge sales have taken place. The only downside is that there are high numbers of domains already for sale and usually the site will get a commission of something around 10%. There also may be a small fee to join. Appraisal Blast charges a minimal fee but no commission. Your domain will get more exposure there just because there aren’t hundreds of domains for sale. You may also have luck selling it on forums such as DomainState. The prices of sales there seem to be lower.

3. Contact Large Businesses with Deep Pockets

This approach takes some time and patience. Let’s say you have acquired a great domain name that would work great for any business in the field of the stock market. You may want to locate some of the bigger sites or businesses and make an offer to sell your domain name. Make sure the name you own doens’t have any elements that are already trademarked because you may be forced to give up the name. You may want to go on the Internet and look up current websites that deal with stocks and find ones that don’t have the greatest domain names. Make offers to these sites stating how your domain is much better and will HELP them. If you get a company to bite, the rewards are usually very generous!

In summary, selling domains for high amounts of cash depends on two key elements. First you must have a quality domain, one that doesn’t have numbers or isn’t too long. It must be clear and easily recognizable. “.com” is the best, but even domains such as the “.us” are gaining popularity. The second key is Marketing, Marketing, Marketing! I can’t stress that enough. You have to create a good reason for someone to buy your domain. How can THEY benefit from it. When these two steps are fulfilled, a sale is almost guaranteed!

Six Ways To Create a Keyword-Rich Domain Name

An effective domain name can help to brand your site. It can also communicate to your customers the types of products you sell online. An easy to remember domain that describes your services should be the goal of every site owner. Here are some techniques that you can use to create the best domain name for your company.

Describe your products or services
One way to come up with an effective domain name is to describe your product or services. Write down every word or phrase that comes to mind when you think of your product or service. The easiest way is to keep writing for two to five minutes without stopping. It’s a creative writing technique that can yield a huge cache of keywords that you can plug into any registration application until you find a domain name that fits. This technique is effective, quick and free.

English has a large vocabulary list
The English language has one of the largest vocabulary lists in the world. If you can’t find a way to describe a product or service, take a break, come back in a few minutes and try again. Try to see how many different ways you can say the same thing. You already have access to the vocabulary list and ideally you will know your product or service better than anyone else. Pretend that you’re describing it to a friend and in a few minutes you will have a long list of words that you can use as your domain name.

Most short words are taken
Yes, many of the shorter words such as “men”, “women” and “book” are taken. In today’s marketplace, you can’t rely on such generic terms to bring in traffic. An effective, memorable domain name must go beyond being a novelty to being an asset that helps customers remember your site and your product. Try putting two or three words together. This will make it easier for them to come back to your site and make a purchase.

Brainstorm your way to a great domain name
Brainstorming is the only way to get a good domain name. Whether you write, use a name generation software, a dictionary or try random words, it’s your creative approach that will give you quality results in less time.

Here are 4 easy domain name generation ideas:
1. Write about the product(s) that you plan to sell
2. Write about the topic or theme of your site
3. Write about the type of customers you want to visit your site
4. Start with one word descriptions and then add secondary words until your get an effective word or phrase that you register as your domain name.

Check out your competitor’s websites.
Are they using words that fall into a specific category like product names, rhyming words, or names of cities? These can all give you clues about what types of words and descriptions that make the best domain names for your type of service. It can also give you some clues into what works best with customers and search engines. In this case, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you just tweak it a bit to get better results.

You’ll also have words for your Search Engine Marketing Campaign
The cool thing about this technique is that it will also help you to generate a list of words that you can use later on as part of your search engine optimization campaign. Whether you plan to do this on your own or through a Pay-Per-Click service, you will be ahead of the game with a long list of keywords to choose from.

How To Become An Expert In Your Niche Business

What is a niche business? A niche business is one that caters to the common needs and interests of a focused group of people. For instance, people who play golf forms a niche market and people who are golf instructors form an even tighter and smaller niche.

The advantage of going niche is that you can become a specialist in that chosen market. Instead of knowing a bit of everything, you concentrate your efforts on the one area.

Becoming an expert in your niche does not happen overnight. It takes time, skills, dedication and money to build up your knowledge.

Here are 7 great ways to become an expert in your niche business:

1. First and foremost, you must have a strong interest when selecting your niche. If you are going to spend a lot of time researching on this area, a strong interest will help sustain your efforts and keep you going.

2. Read aplenty and stay current! Surf the internet for industry news and related fields to your niche. Go to the bookstores and the library. Subscribe to newsletters or ezines of your competitors.

3. Attend workshops and learn from the super experts. Learn also in related topics so that you can expand on your knowledge base.

4. Test out tools, resources, software or just about anything that can be used for your particular niche. For instance, if you are a florist selling exotic flowers, knowing what is the best way to take care of the delicate blooms will help make you an expert!

5. Hang out in forums where your target market is likely to be. This is an excellent way to get to know what are the common problems and obstacles faced by your prospects. Make sure that you find out the answers or solutions to these problems so that you can post your comment and findings. Some forums even allow you to insert a link back to your website.

6. Use branding for higher perceived value: Buy and register your name as the domain name.  Brand names are built gradually overtime. So set aside time each week devoted to promoting your brand name. This could be giving free advice, lectures and giving press releases.

7. Have an opinion. People like to look up to experts who articulate their views. You are likely to be a winner if you can also justify your opinion with facts.

To Increase Your Advertising Effectiveness – Stop Selling!

How many times have you heard the old adage, “The customer doesn’t want a drill, he wants a hole in his wall”? While I may disagree with parts of that phrase, one thing is for sure… if you want to increase your advertising effectiveness, you have to stop selling what YOU want the customer to buy and start solving his problems.

What exactly does that mean? For starters, it means finding out who your customers are and what challenges they face. It also means that your ad copy, your tag line, your Web site design, your brochure, your customer service plan and your support need to all work in concert to provide the solutions to those challenges.

The most effective advertising pieces don’t sell… they fulfill. They don’t talk about the company… they talk about the customer. They don’t push price… they provide solutions.

When you focus on the customer in your advertising copy, when you get inside the mind of your customer and speak to their emotional needs, you will see greater results.

Here are 7 tips for creating copy that does not sell… but provides a solution.

1. Talk TO the customer, not ABOUT the company. Yes, you have to mention your company name so they’ll know who you are. But the majority of your copy should speak to the customer and his/her needs. Not: “ABC Web Site Designers has been in business for 13 years. We do great work. Our clients think this or that. We provide design, java and cgi. Our customer service can’t be beat. ABC is the best and you should use us.”

2. Use “you” and “your” and write as if only one person were reading your ad or site. Make your copy personal.

3. Get Real! Use real-life examples in your copy. Reach your customers on their level by identifying with them. Instead of something like, “You can get more organized and stay that way” say “You’ll be able to find your keys in 5 minutes or less and never again wonder if you or your spouse is supposed to pick up the kids today.”

4. Get emotional! Most buying decisions are emotional. Your ad copy should be, too! Bring out their frustration, their anger, their greed. Whatever the situation calls for, use those emotions in your copy. Example: “After you throw the plunger across the room and SCREAM… call ABC Plumbing.”

5. Benefits, benefits, benefits. I know you’ve heard it 1,000 times, but you simply must fill your copy with benefits. Always answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”

6. Show them they’ll get results. Tell your customers what life will be like AFTER your product or service solves all their problems. By showing them that they will get their desired end result, you make a very persuasive argument for your product.

7. Be their friend. Let your copy portray you as “easy-to-like”. Show your customer that you’re their friend who is willing and able to help instead of just another business who wants them to buy.

When you put the focus on the people with the money… the people who keep your business up and going, you can work wonders with your copy. You’ll see your sales improve if you just quit selling!

Sex in Advertising: Does it Sell?

We’re surrounded by advertisements that desperately compete for our attention. Everywhere we look, we find ourselves inevitably drawn to images of scantily clad attractive men and women that are supposed to somehow inspire us to purchase products they endorse. Sure, this attention-getting strategy is popular. But, is it effective?

Sex appeal can increase the effectiveness of an ad or commercial because it attracts the customer’s attention. It’s human nature to be curious about sex. A pair of long legs on a billboard is more likely to catch (and hold) a guy’s attention than a puppy, regardless of how cute it may be. Even women are drawn to them, perhaps with the desire of having goddess-like legs.

However, misuse of sex appeal can be costly. Many campaigns deemed offensive have started brand boycotts that affect sales and damage brand reputation. Abercrombie & Fitch has been involved in several scandals, the latest from their most recent catalog entitled “XXX Wet, Hot Summer Fun.” On April 18, 2002, only a week after the catalog hit the stores, the Illinois State Senate passed a resolution condemning A&F’s advertising tactics. This resolution, backed by several nonprofit organizations, suggests citizens and shareholders boycott Abercrombie’s products and to take a stand against the company’s marketing strategies. Although sexy images in catalogs are not at all uncommon, “XXX Wet, Hot Summer Fun” featured naked boys and girls frolicking in natural settings. Not quite appropriate for an apparel catalog targeted at teenagers.

Sex in advertising has stirred controversy for many years, an advertiser must be careful when incorporating it in a campaign. Great advertisers consider not only the attention-getting power of an advertisement or commercial, but also what kind of emotional response it provokes in customers. Studies show that the attractiveness of the endorsing model provokes positive responses. Nudity and graphic erotic content, while still increasing consumer’s attention, doesn’t really generate positive feelings among viewers. In other words, advertisers must be careful to avoid the “cheap shot,” which may negatively affect a brand’s image.

To avoid that, the sexual content in advertising must be appropriate to the product category and have a proper underlying message. In 2000, Heineken launched the “It’s All About the Beer” campaign. One spot, called “The Premature Pour,” shows a beautiful seductive woman pouring Heineken into a glass. When a guy across the bar responds by pouring his own, he nervously pours too fast and spills foam all over the table and himself. The sexual content is implicit, yet direct. The sexual reference in this and other spots in the campaign worked, causing sales to rise 13% in the first two quarters of 2002. However, Steve Davis (VP of marketing in Heineken USA), claims that, “Provocative is a very good place to be, as long as we’re not inflammatory. But the spots also work for a different reason. From the tag line to the plot, they are about a desire for Heineken. Our ads make the beer the hero.”

Sex sells, yes, but only when used “in good taste.” As marketers we must think not only in getting customers’ attention for the short term, but also in building a brand reputation that will yield long-term results.

Market Your Dream Online: Internet Advertising Advice

You need to be advertising and marketing your home-based business, but what does it all mean? You need customers. You need sales! But where do you start?

  • FFA Pages
  • Banners
  • Traffic Exchange Programs
  • Reciprocal Linking

These are just some of the ways for your home-based business to be advertising and marketing online (meaning on the Internet). But, what do they mean?

FFA Pages — You submit your site to a FFA page (or network of pages) and agree to get one E-mail from every other website that is listed there. Definitely not a good idea (see our Advertising/Marketing page for more details).

Banners – These are ads shown at the top (usually) of many webpages and they sometimes rotate to show a different ad each time the page is loaded.

Traffic Exchange Programs – You submit your ad to be shown to other members of the program when they load the program start page.

Reciprocal Linking – You place a link to someone’s website on your site and they place a link to your website on theirs.

Other Internet Marketing Suggestions

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Keywords are placed throughout your website’s pages to tell the search engines what your page is about. Keywords are simply words (or combinations of words) that describe your business.

Content is king. Provide good content (basically, articles about your area of expertise) about your subject and sprinkle the keywords (and combos) through the page. This basic strategy will get you a higher ranking with the search engines and many more customers because you’re giving them something that they need — information!

PPC (Pay Per Click) Advertising – Instead of submitting your pages for inclusion in the search engine’s database, you bid on the keyword(s) that relate to your website. You can find out in advance what other sites have bid for a particular keyword and then decide if you want to outbid the number one spot or maybe bid a little less and get the number two, three, or four spot (or lower if the keyword is expensive).

Ezines/Newsletters – These are delivered through E-mail and can be either plain text or HTML with full graphics. Although they can sometimes be expensive, you can get free ads by writing articles about your subject area and contribute them to the ezines. Why would you want to give them away? Because you can put in a “Resource Box” at the end of each article. At the very least this box will contain your name, website address, and a brief one or two line “bio” about you (some ezines allow more room). See, free online advertising for your home-based business!

How Web 2.0 Social Networking Websites Generate Web Traffic Part-1

Link recognition/popularity is one of the algorithms that search engines with regard to the position of your page. Mainly popular site is more than just the search engine outcome /results. Linking is the new name in the paper. Link your connected or related lenses to each other. This is a good procedure or practice as it is well-known to be a good building traffic tip.

LinkedIn works on the rule of six degrees of separation. Therefore once you have linked to a trusted colleague, you are able to notice or see who they know. Linking off to blogs and articles is usually the way to say more. Link or connect to your content contextually on other peoples sites

My Space can be dipped in and out of. Socializing after school happens on Bebo. (one of the worlds most popular social networking sites) My Space is an exhilarating online community somewhere members can meet new friends, reconnect with old friends, network or even discover or find prospective passionate partners. There are some MySpace members who join the community simply for the capability to continue in touch with their old friends and are not looking to make new friends.

My Space is one other bigger social networking site with over 70 million visitors and 9 million members. With such a huge prospective market for you online business, you can not afford to keep out MySpace from your market plans. My Space is amusing when people start to add or contribute more content. You can encourage and persuade them to do the same.

Building a group of people around your blog will increased and enhance your traffic, but how do you start? The boilerplate response to building traffic is always? SEO, social networking sites, and commenting on blogs? Build links to your site. This is the most important and significant factor when trying to rank well in google for your chosen keywords. Build a mailing list and use templates. Whether you want others to link to you, vote for your articles or answer a question, emailing others to ask them a favor is time-consuming yet rewarding.

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How to Find a Good Pay Per Click Marketing Company

The introduction of pay per click in 2002 made a whole new setup in online advertising and paved the way towards a more appealing and more effective way of gaining customers online. Because of this, pay per click marketing became popular and people who are claiming to be experts on the trade have appeared everywhere on the internet with promises to provide the best strategies and success for your business.

All these companies offer the results that businesses want to hear. Unfortunately, many businessmen who sell online are not really familiar with technical processes and jargons and they end up not meeting their expectations.

Below you will find several tips in what to look for from these supposedly experts in the pay per click industry.

Expertise in Search Engine Optimization

The success of pay per click marketing relies heavily on an expert knowledge of search engine optimization or SEO. Thus, a pay per click expert should also be an expert in SEO.

The basics of pay per click marketing is giving your site the target traffic it needs, or making your site visible to the largest possible number of online users who are possibly interested in your business. This will increase your market and provide you the highest possible sales for your products or services.

One important consideration in advertising online is to advertise on websites that have high rankings in search engines. These are websites that appear at the top of the lists when certain keywords are typed in the search box. The target is to advertise on these types of sites that are relevant to your business.

Marketing Management Campaign Strategies

Because the online world is quick changing, make sure you are getting a pay per click management company with strategies that can easily adjust to the quick changing nature of the online world.

Alternative solutions should also be readily available once problems may arise. These companies should also be able to offer a good connection between you and the websites that will host your online ad.

Your campaign for advertising should be maximized based on strategy and not on random results.

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Google Adwords The Easy Way – Top Five Tips

For those unfamiliar with the medium, creating and maintaining an Adwords campaign may seem a daunting task. In reality, however, the process doesn’t have to be anxiety inducing. Those who aren not getting the results they need from traditional marketing tactics should not be afraid to venture into the realm of marketing online with Google Adwords.

Online marketing gurus like Perry Marshall have already laid the groundwork for meeting your marketing goals with Google Adwords, and achieving this success is much easier than you probably think. As a matter of fact, you can skip all the books and seminars you thought you’d have to spend days or even weeks reading and attending, and simply follow the step by step method described below.

Here are just five steps for creating a winning Google Adwords strategy:

1. Make use of keyword suggestion tools. On the Internet, there are a great many tools available that can help you choose the right keywords for your Adwords ads. Perry Marshall suggests Wordtracker’s Keyword Universe, or another keyword suggestion tool that will generate useful keywords and related keywords.

2. Know what your competition is doing at all times. In the marketing world, keeping up with the Joneses is more then important – it’s essential to success. That’s why you would be remiss not to take advantage of the online resources that can let you in on which keywords your peers in your market are bidding on, and how much they’re willing to spend in order to secure them. Www.spyfu.com is one great site to visit for marketers seeking this sort of information.

3. Use text effectively. An Adwords ad contains only a very limited amount of text, and so it stands to reason that you will want to use the allotted space as efficiently as possible. The two key lines at your disposal should address the benefits of what you are selling first off, with remaining space listing or two important features.

4. Aim for page one, even on a low budget. Many people cut their bid prices instead of lowering their budget amount – big mistake. Cutting your budget means you may not even appear on the first page of sponsored search results if your price is too low; you’ll be much better off lowering your bid price when possible so you can still appear on the first page of listings on every search for that keyword.

5. Run more than one ad. In the opinion of Adwords pioneer Perry Marshall, split testing is a crucial way to ensure that your ad campaign is as successful as possible. Far better than just running a single ad and taking a wild guess as to whether or not it is performing as well as it could be is to run another similar ad concurrently with your first. The results from a similar but not identical ad simultaneously run with your first will give you more useful information about what really works.

At the end of the day, there really isn’t anything difficult about achieving results with your Google Adwords campaigns. You simply need to take the right approach from the start, and that means listening to pros like Perry Marshall who have already blazed trails to success. get results immediately.

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