Effective online advertising tips
05 Jan 2006
By Ian Hopkins
Over the years I have had the pleasure of developing a number of ecommerce web sites for various companies and have watched and monitored what has worked and what has not.
In this article I have put together some of the my most important tips and points of interest from my experience and observations and shared them to the public for the first time.
No matter what kind of online business you have, it is vital that customers are able to find your web site. Once they are at your site you will need to engage them in the browsing or buying process, depending on your site objectives, using various promotional tools and techniques to enhance the online experience.
The challenge in getting customers to visit your web site. and return in the future is a reflection of the competitive nature of the online environment. Businesses have to constantly compete against thousands of new companies that go online every day and they must also consider the increased buying and decision-making power of consumers, who have a variety of options at their fingertips. To be successful your web site. will need to stand out from the endless stream of online businesses and gain the attention of customers and you need to do it well.
There are a number of ways you can promote your web site. You can use your web site. as a vehicle to drive your goals and objectives forward using various web marketing tools, or you can implement a number of online and offline promotional techniques.
WEB MARKETING TIPS & TOOLS
1. Plan an web marketing campaign
If you want your e-commerce business to be successful online then make sure that your web site. is properly optimised to rank well with the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and NineMSN. You will then need to submit these sites to the search engines so that they know it exist.
Web Marketing or Search Engine Marketing will no doubt surpass traditional forms of advertising because of its effectiveness and reach it is a sales force that works 24/7 it never sleeps, rest, complains or waste time.
2. Combine both online and traditional marketing techniques.
The aim of your ecommerce site is to attract customers and sell to them, therefore your primary concern should be the exposure for the web site in what ever form of marketing is planned for your business. To gain as much exposure for your site as possible you will need to look at combining both your online marketing campaign with traditional marketing methods. This could be such things as: your web site address included in all your letter heads, business cards and stationery, printed media advertisements, TV advertisement, newsletters, emails, networking etc.
3. Email Marketing
With people spending so much time on email, there is an enormous opportunity to market to them and build solid customer relationships. Email marketing has emerged to become one of the most profitable and economical ways to manage customer relationships, presenting marketers with many opportunities and benefits. Its benefits include the following: low cost vehicle; access to a targeted and qualified audience; fast, efficient and effective; offers personalized communication; easy to track and evaluate; increases sales, awareness, and traffic.
4. Track customers activity on your web site
Ever wanted to know what your customers go through in order to finalise a sale on your web site or what makes them leave and go somewhere else? ofcourse you do, who doesn't ? What you need then is to implement a tracking system that allows you to report on the activity of people visiting your web site and its various sections. This is extremely useful because it allows you to harvest various information and statistical reports on such things as: what pages are the most popular, what pages people exit from the most, what items people look at the most, the ratio of visits to sales etc. This type of system has many possibilities depending on what you want to achieve with it and YES we at Golive Technology have developed them before.
As a low cost promotional tool, a newsletter enables you to build rapport and strengthen your relationship with new and existing customers. The key to success is to focus on a balance of self-promotion and providing information that is newsworthy and valuable. To effectively communicate with prospective and current customers release the newsletter regularly and provide customers with an opportunity to unsubscribe.
6. Daily Give-Away/Coupons/Contests
Sites that offer regular promotions such as a ‘give-away’, coupons and contests are in a solid position to capture a regular audience. While the promotion acts as the driver that attracts customers to visit initially, it provides an opportunity to showcase new products and services, and deliver important news about your company. For instance, you may initiate a ‘give-away’ that is a printer, but also take the opportunity to tell your customers about a printer sale next week. Your promotional tool has not only lured customers to your site, but it has also increased the likelihood of getting a sale. Offering various promotions also enables you to obtain customer information that you can use in future marketing campaigns.
Content is a strong driver for encouraging repeat visits by customers, particularly when it is fresh, timely, and gives customers a reason to visit regularly. For example, perhaps you have a ‘Tip of the Day’ or a regular visit by an ‘expert’ well-known in your field of business who provides online advice. Content that is useful for your visitors and will enable them to leave with new knowledge will attract them to your site, and encourage them to check back regularly.
8. Feedback Forms
Using customer feedback forms can improve your site and provide better service to your customers. Using feedback forms also shows your customers that you are interested in what they have to say, and provides an opportunity to build relationships with them.
In most cases feedback forms allow the customer or visitor to the web site to suggest ideas and that improve the site's overall usability and appeal and thus creating a source where the end user can have their say. An effective ecommerce site is one that evolves to cater for the needs of the customers as well as the company a good example of this is Amazon.com, this company is perhaps the most successful online shopping site ever and they have achieved this by listening to what people want and making it happen.
Surveys provide an effective avenue through which to gather important customer data that will help you to improve your business and plan for the future. To encourage visitors to complete the survey, you can provide an incentive such as an opportunity to win a prize.
Online tours provide you with an opportunity to showcase particular products and services, and highlight their key benefits. For instance, you may have a CRM product that you would like to promote. What better way to show how it works than to provide a tour of the product - making what could be a potentially complex product look simple and easy to use.
Including awards and testimonials on your site will provide credibility to your business. They will also provide a foundation for you to build rapport and trust with your customers, who will be more willing to visit a site they can trust.
12. Banner Advertising
If you want to increase your company’s brand awareness, implementing a banner ad campaign is an effective advertising method. Banner ads are an effective direct marketing tool that can increase site traffic if they are creative and include a call-to-action. Advertise on sites that your customers would visit, and ensure you provide the best possible offer you can.
13. Link Strategies
Linking strategies provide an effective way for customers to learn about your company through other sites related to your subject. The key to developing an effective link program is to identify sites that are not direct competitors but have a similar target market as you. It is also necessary to find a balance between the amount of traffic that exits your site through a link and the number of people who visit your site through a link on another site. Building links from other sites to your site also increases your site’s relevancy to search engines.
14. Affiliate Marketing
With an affiliate program you offer affiliates an incentive to perform a particular outcome. This outcome may be to generate customer leads for your business, increase ‘clicks’ to your site or improve sales - from a banner ad, text link, graphic or other means such as a newsletter. The incentive is usually a fee, provided as a flat rate or percentage depending on your affiliate program objectives.
I hope this information has been helpful, if you would like to find out more about how we can help your online business be successful please contact us
Ian Hopkins is the founder of Golive Technology. Ian's role in the firm is to provide the business with its direction, ideas and innovation. Ian has been in the industry since 1998 and whilst studying a Bachelor in Information Technology at Griffith University he saw an opportunity to start a web design business during the early stages of the internet boom and bring into it his talents as a computer programmer and creativity as a web designer.