Building a revenue-producing online brand takes an investment in time, resources and viable partnerships! There is no shortcut to success - it takes plain old blood, sweat and tears! If you listen to the Charlatans and digital snake oil types, you'd think fortunes were being made by simply launching a web site and using a free search engine submission service! This is far from the truth!
We tell clients it's a rapidly maturing marketplace, millions are being invested in marketing daily, and they will have at least 3-4 entrenched competitors, so they should use targeted interactive campaigns to reach customers who can respond immediately to their message.
Want to learn how an interactive marketing company builds a campaign? Here are ten short steps we recommend to our clients:
1) Identify clearly defined goals for an interactive marketing campaign - whether it's signups, traffic, brand awareness, downloads, registrations, online e-commerce sales, etc.
2) Analyze your competitors carefully – what appears to be working for them what isn't - leverage their investment in marketing resources. But, be aware they are doing the same; so trademark your core brand (company name, taglines, etc.) and secondary brands (product names, unique processes, etc.).
3) Utilize Search Engines and Directories to bring highly qualified traffic to your web site. Be prepared to invest 3-6 months in this process to achieve page 1-3 listings in the top ten SEs. Carefully develop content, keywords, targeted doorway pages and a submission process that involves manual submissions to the top SEs - this is where 85% of quality traffic originates.
We have a list of 170 commercial directory sites and typically charge our clients $1-3K (USD) to submit them to this list but we give the list out freely, if you want a copy simply subscribe to our "Canine Online" monthly newsletter and let us know you want our directory list. This is our plug for "permission based marketing."
4) Develop a "net buzz" using Newsgroups by announcing your company, new products or services or some type of a limited offer to this influential group of "early adopters." We don't advocate spam of any type - so manually submit your post to each Newsgroup, indicate it is a commercial announcement, carefully monitor the Newsgroups and respond back to people's comments and remove any Newsgroup from your list that indicates they aren't interested in your solicitations.
5) Utilize banner advertising to develop brand and lead generation - it works well if you have the right content – and make intelligent media buys! We use multiple sources to purchase media, enabling us to purchase banner ad space that is typically 50-75% less expensive than what we would get buying space directly from a top tier site or portal. Also, look into your vertical market and find second-tier sites that have a decent amount of traffic but typically charge a lower rate.
6) Deploy a customer direct opt-in e-mail campaign that incorporates a message and a unique offer that has real value and meaning to a specific segment of your market. Track the results by working with your interactive agency by doing an initial test with multiple messages / offers to a small portion of your list; then select the message / offer with the best return to use for the majority of the campaign.
7) Create, deploy and manage a web site with hard-hitting content that matches your overall marketing processes. People tend to read differently on the web; they don't want long paragraphs with lots of text, they want information that is presented in digestible chunks - build short/concise paragraphs with 2-3 sentences only, with a liberal amount of white space in-between. And, give them content that speaks to them - what you do, how you do it, what it costs (or not) and how to contact you!
8) Build online brands that inculcate permission based marketing - meaning, you want to build a long-term relationship with your clients by providing knowledge that is useful. Then ask them if you can continue to market to them by having them sign up for a newsletter, web cast, chat room or whatever process you want to build to establish rapport and dialogue.
9) Build speed into all of your marketing and ebiz processes - don't get hung up in the details! It is far better to get to market with a few flaws in your marketing than not at all or much later with perfection – the tide is rising and the market is maturing, so get your boat in the water!
10) Reference your established customers in all processes - there is so much hype in business today to overcome. Use your established customers as a touchstone in all marketing. It really works – we all want to purchase products and services used by our peers!
These steps will help YOU build a a revenue-producing online brand!