In many ways the web is a giant shopping mall, complete with shops, vendors, and information kiosks. A person can even order food online, a virtual food court. The Internet is now flooded with people trying to earn money online. Quite a few online marketers are just hoping to snatch the right get-rich-quick scheme out of the air. On the other hand, there are several legitimate marketers and businesses trying to earn an honest living online. In order do be seen among all the competition clambering for people’s attention and money, a business needs a flexible, state-of-the art marketing plan.
Online marketing involves first targeting the precise group of people that would most likely benefit from the product or service the company offers. Marketing is far more effective when directed toward a narrow niche instead of addressing the entire population as a whole.
Each niche has concerns which are important to them. Good marketers will pay attention to the niche and learn what matters most to them. They will then connect through those issues. Examples of what may concern members of a niche would include either side of hotly argued controversies, such as politics, the vaccine wars, and health care.
By giving people within the niche answers to their top concerns, businesses will encourage loyalty and gain a following.
For example, a gardening site that sells products and ebooks could offer free articles about urban homesteading, a growing movement to produce as much food as possible in a small city space. They could also offer a subscription to a series of articles about hydroponic gardening or backyard canning. Similarly, they could offer discounts on their own supplies or services. Each of these actions would directly address the needs of the niche and build customer loyalty.
It used to be common practice to load a sales page with vague promises, meaningless guarantees, and barrels of hype. For a time, it worked. Those days are gone. Yes, the occasional newbie or desperate marketer will fall prey to the dishonesty of the hype-driven salesperson. Overall, the majority of potential customers have been duped often enough to know better. Businesses who want to succeed need to feed their audiences quality, relevant content that is honest about the product claims.
Videos work much better than pages full of hype and false promises. Videos will quickly grab a visitor’s attention, while a great video will hold it. A visitor can get the rundown on the product or service in record time. Videos are somehow more trustworthy than text. The old adage “seeing is believing” still stands in today’s high-tech, visual society.
One of the most crucial components of a strong marketing plan is often overlooked. It is the customer service department. Site visitors should easily be able to reach a customer service representative at any time, at least to leave a message. Email addresses, chat rooms, telephone numbers, and even physical addresses are all options, depending on the particulars of the company.
All emails and letters should be answered promptly and with courtesy. Most companies begin this process with an auto-responder. A real person must make a real connection rapidly and frequently during the time the issue remains open. By dropping the ball in the customer service department, a company’s reputation will grow tainted and customer pool will shrink.
At one point the almighty list was the be-all and end-all of marketing programs, and to a degree, it still is. The main intention of the old list strategy was establishing a cold email campaign, in other words, spam. The days of successfully spamming massive purchased lists are over. Today’s customer wants a relationship with a company, and online social networking enables such connections.
A savvy marketer will use social sites, forums, and newsletter subscriptions to increase interest in the product and to cement customer loyalty. Businesses often use these means to encourage people to sign up for a newsletter. The newsletter is then another way to reach customers with promotions and helpful information. This organic list of interested, voluntary subscribers is a very powerful marketing tool.
Marketers today need to be focused, but flexible. Today’s consumers are different than the consumers of yesteryear. Following the ebb and tide of the ever-fluctuating Internet world will aid marketers on their way toward a profitable online campaign.