An Internet marketing strategy may seem like a given, but many businesses, both big and small, fail to take advantage of this readily available, easily accessible tool for growing their company. The Internet is the place where everyone goes to for information, and more and more people rely on the Internet to do actual purchases from the convenience of their home or office. With the advent of faster and cheaper access via broadband and wireless connections, there is really no reason for a startup or established business to delay designing and implementing their internet marketing strategy.
Building a Website
The first step in a good Internet marketing strategy is putting up a website. The website should contain the following information: what the company is all about; what products or services are being offered; how to get these products and services; and contact information. Ideally, the website should be one-stop and offer options for instant purchases. E-commerce transactions account for about 3% of the total retail sales of the US for 2006, which is about $114 Billion, rising about 6% from the previous year. Having an onsite payment system would greatly increase the ROI of the website.
With that in mind, it may be a good idea to have the website designed professionally, although there are software that allows a moderately proficient computer user to design a website. For start-up businesses, this could be a good place to start. Registering the name of the website should have been accomplished before this; many online domain registration companies will accommodate the registration, some offering it for free as well as web hosting. However, free domain name registration and web hosting typically carries some baggage, such as advertisements. A serious business website should consider the irritation factor before availing of adware-heavy web hosting. Consider paying a monthly fee for the site; some go for as little as $15 a month.
Merchant account services will need to be considered. Some merchant services companies make it easy to apply for an account but may charge hefty transaction and other fees. Shop around for the best rates and check out weblogs for any feedback on the services. A shopping cart service provider will also be needed and a reputable one integrated with the most popular online payment systems, including credit card verification sites, range from about $50 to $100 a month.
Whether an online payment system is included or not, the website is useless if nobody ever gets to see it, so a website should be listed with the top search engines in the industry, preferably in the top 10 search results. The easiest, and most highly used method, is search engine optimization, which make use of keyword-heavy text to ensure the search engine includes the website in the search. It is important to have the text in the first page of the website to make sure it catches the search crawl. Another surefire method, although a little more expensive, is to buy ad space on search engines, specifying the keyword that would signal its appearance on specific searches. The selection of the keyword is crucial; not too specific to make the likelihood of inclusion in a search smaller; not too general else the site becomes buried under the multitude of sites with the same keyword. The best is a combination of keywords that most closely describes the service or product being offered i.e. wicker chairs Idaho.
If you’re selling clothes online from brands like Saks Fifth Avenue, then make sure to include keywords related to the different types of items you offer.