Added by on 2012-09-21

In the “old” days, marketing was simple. It usually consisted of a combination of ads, flyers, brochures and mail-outs. Now the electronic world has come to your door.

Your first task is to reassess your current marketing strategies. Take a mental step back, consider your business as a whole, and decide what you aim to achieve. Work out how you want your online site to interact with your offline business, and then consider how you can reflect this in your existing advertising and marketing efforts.

For example, if you are creating your Web site purely as an information tool for customers, you should include your Web address, and e-mail details, on all your existing ads. You should also add a note to say that more information can be found on your Web site.

If you are creating your site so that customers are able to buy online, enter orders, credit card or payment details, you can add this information to your existing promotional materials. Perhaps an extra message can be inserted to say that details of your complete range can be found on your Web site, and orders can be placed online or in store, if preferred.

Advertising your Web site

It is important that every aspect of your advertising and promotion for your offline premises, includes your online details, such as all your advertisements, flyers and mail-outs. For example, EBC makes sure every piece of information which leaves the building, including ads, brochures, flyers, newsletters and e-mail, include its Web address, www.ebc.com.au.

All your company letterheads, business cards, complimentary slips, statements, invoices, and any other forms of stationery should also carry your online information. Your staff should be encouraged to point out these details to customers, and preferably have a flyer to hand out highlighting your online business.

If you use a recorded message when customers call you outside of business hours, make sure the message says customers should visit your Web site for information or to order products.

You can also attract customers to your Web site through traditional advertising mediums and methods. Consider, for instance, an advertising promotion which offers free gifts or prizes to people who log onto your Web site, post a comment, or provide you with their e-mail address.

Coupons could be printed from your Web site and brought into your store to gain a discount on certain items. Likewise, code words or numbers can be placed in the local papers, which discount certain products when ordered online.

You should also encourage your existing customers to use your online site, in addition to your premises. A good way of doing this is giving each customer a number and then tell them that each week/month a number will be posted on the Web site and if that is their number, they could win a prize by calling the store.

You will find, however, that the majority of your new customers will come to you through the Web itself. Consequently, you will have to use the Internet to attract these customers. This is where e-marketing strategies will help you.

What is e-marketing?

Promoting your Web site over the Internet calls for a revamp of your current marketing approach. Apart from traditional marketing methods, you now need to know how to use electronic means to market your online business. This is called e-marketing.

Key e-marketing tools are:

Search engines

Affiliate programs

Banner advertising

E-mail promotions.

All these are distinctly different to anything you would have encountered in conventional marketing. The whole purpose of e-marketing is to promote your site online and to make it easy for potential customers to find you amongst the millions of Web sites on the Internet.

One of the real benefits of e-marketing, as opposed to traditional marketing, is that results are virtually instantaneous. In traditional marketing you have to go through a “trial and test” period to work out what aspects of your marketing works and what doesn’t. This can sometimes take months, and it can be costly to continue with a particular marketing strategy that isn’t effective.

E-marketing, on the other hand, allows you to assess reaction to your strategies immediately, and take any appropriate measures. For example, Web analysis tools allow you to track, at any given time, what visitors are coming to your site and from where.

Making sure your site is “found”

In order for your Web site to be found, vital marketing tools you must take advantage of are search engines. For instance, you can quickly assess the effectiveness of your chosen search engine merely by monitoring the number of visitors who come to your site through that search engine.

If you find more people are coming through one particular search engine, you know you need to make sure your site continues to rank highly with this search engine. It also means that you should check the other search engines to see what you can do to better your ranking.

Additionally, a simple Internet search for your Web site will reveal if your search engine submission has worked.

In addition to search engines, you can use a number of different tools and links, such as affiliate programs and banner ads, to help your site make money and attract visitors. If these tools and links are used correctly, you have the dual benefit of increasing your online traffic and simultaneously increasing your revenue.

Analysis of the traffic to your Web site will also reveal if you are attracting extra visitors. At the same time, it will highlight which links and affiliate programs are proving popular.

This information, together with your sales data, will quickly show whether your Web site is working effectively, and raising revenue. This will allow you to assess your e-marketing strategy and steer your business to success.

How to track the effectiveness of your e-marketing

You can determine how effective your site is with statistical information about the traffic generated from your Web site. With this information you can work out the effectiveness of your various marketing strategies, as well as the success of your Web site as a whole. Moreover, if you know that your site is proving popular, you can decide when best to expand your site or take it to the next level.

There are various ways of analysing the traffic on your site, but it can be difficult to obtain the most useful information. For example, it is possible for your Web server to provide you with information about the number of visits to your site each day.

However, these figures need close analysis to determine whether these visits are from people, or from search engine spiders or other automated clients as they crawl around the Web. “Non-human” visitors can account for up to a third of your Web site traffic – which can markedly affect your statistics!

Ideally, accurate traffic statistics show:

How people arrived at your site

If they came through your advertising or by links

What search engines provided you with the most traffic

How visitors moved around your site and what pages were most popular

How many were repeat customers.

Good tracking programs will do this for you, as well as provide a breakdown or analysis of what these statistics reveal. If you have had your Web site created for you, a good traffic analysis package can be included as part of the service.

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