Most Internet entrepreneurs concentrate too much on "getting the hits" and fail to look at the big picture. Marketing is the process of moving a product from the producer to the consumer. That includes research, development, promotion, advertising, sales, and delivery of the product.
In this article, we'll take a quick look at the entire marketing process, examining each of these steps briefly to get you headed down the right track. Of course, to be truly successful, you will need detailed and specific action plans designed to help your business grow. For now, simply realize that Internet marketing is not much different from marketing in the real world – it just evolves faster:
Research and Develop
Every successful product starts with an idea. That idea should be thoroughly researched before any action is taken. Before you choose a product/service to sell, you need to define your target market. Make sure you are using the right resources to advertise and promote your product to your target market.
For example, if you are a doctor promoting your electrolysis practice, it would not be practical to submit your ad to FFA link sites. However, if you sell shampoo that is guaranteed to grow hair overnight and you can ship your product anywhere in the world, you could make a fortune!
Your target market will also determine how you set up your Web site. In addition to basic design requirements such as fast loading pages and easy navigation, you need to consider how to get your visitors attention, persuade them to explore your site, and make a purchase or get them to willingly give you their e-mail address.
When you write your headlines and Web copy, think about the types of people that will be visiting your site. Consider their demographics – such as age, income level, and accessibility. Choose interactive software and free content that will benefit your visitors and allow you to follow up and make more sales.
Promote and Advertise
Promotion is the act of increasing the popularity of a product by publicizing and advertising. In other words, getting more traffic. Press releases, news articles, and advertisements for free content or services are all examples of product promotion.
Advertising is directly related to the product for sale. When you place a classified ad or submit to search engines and FFA link sites, consider your audience and include a headline that will tell your potential customer exactly how they will benefit by clicking on your link. Keep your ads short and concise. Make them curious and eager to learn more.
Sell and Deliver
Selling is the exchange of goods and services for money. The process of selling on the Internet is no different from the methods that have been used by successful salespeople for decades.
It is amazing to see so many Web sites that don't even use such common sales techniques as a limited time offer, a special promotion, or a two-for-one sale. When you enter a physical computer store, there are signs (and salespeople) everywhere that tell you which items are "hot" and which prices have been "slashed." But on the Internet, most Web sites just offer a convenient search engine and a shopping cart.
If you advertise a sale, it should be directly linked to the details of that sale to satisfy the needs of the customer. Have you ever clicked on a great offer that directed you to the front page of a Web site where you had to spend several minutes just to find the offer? When you walk into a car dealership, do you have to wait in line and then ask for someone to sell you a car?
Once a customer decides to purchase, the actual exchange can take place. This is a critical point in the sales process where all your work can be for none if you don't have a streamlined order taking system and the means for automatic delivery of the product.
That takes us back to Web site development and the integration of shopping cart technology and real-time credit card processing. Or, at the very least, a convenient order form and an autresponder to confirm the order. But that's an article for another day...