Success Secrets of Internet Marketing Wizards
”A Successful, profitable, work from home based business is typically not going to happen by accident, it is more often than not a byproduct of implementing a series of proven online business disciplines. Use the information in this report to set a benchmark for your online business, we make a successful Internet based business a mater of probability rather than the result of chance.” merging of Internet technology and software shopping cart applications has created a true revolution in the retail industry. This revolution has created a wealth of new opportunities for both the established retailer as well as the clever entrepreneur.
The Internet based retail opportunity has created a new global marketplace that is bounded only four things
- Demand For Your Products Or Services:
- Visibility Of Your Online Storefront
- A Positive Online Shopping Experience
Lets detail the four topics above so that we can discover the power of today’s shopping cart systems and be among the tens of thousands of successful online retailers.
Demand For Your Products Or Services
You need customers that have a desire or need for your products and those customers must have access to the Internet. There are literally tens of thousands of products and services that are well suited for Internet based retailing. There are a number of free services on the Internet that you can use to actually track what people are looking for and that is part of determining what product or service you sell.
Visibility Of Your Online Storefront.
Your storefront must be highly visible on the Internet and potential customers must be able to easily find your store. Internet search engines are like the yellow pages of yesterday. Being listed in the most popular search engines is paramount to driving potential customers to your online store. If you are not listed in a popular Internet search engine you must find other means such as targeted or direct marketing to drive potential customers to your site.
A Positive Online Shopping Experience.
Your ability to create a positive online shopping experience for your customers is paramount to your success. The power of Internet search makes it easy for guests to shop around therefore store features that you provide to enhance your guests shopping experience will simply add up to a better shopping experience and help to build value in the marketplace. Implementing your store with a full featured and flexible shopping cart system, is an important component to your online retail success
Demand For Your Products Or Services
You must offer a product or service that there is a sufficient demand for. It is important to consider that your potential client base is no longer limited to those individuals in your immediate geographic area, or to whom you can reach with a targeted direct US Postal Service mail advertising campaign. Your potential marketplace is now ‘global’ by virtue of the Internet.
Leveraging the power of the Internet, your clients may be across the street, or across the globe. Products and services that are not doing well in one area of the world may be hugely popular in others and this is one of the reasons that a well chosen Internet based business can be so successful. When properly chosen, there can be a steady demand for your product or service 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, and 365 days a year.
Gartner estimates that by 2008 total Internet retail sales will grow to about 15% of all retail sales in America. The consumer electronics and computer hardware/software industry alone is expected to grow from $7.5 billion (1999) to $105.8 billion in 2008. Other significant areas of growth that are anticipated are Internet auctions and auction related services (eBay, Yahoo auctions and PayPal for example) collectibles, and on-line Internet banking and investment services.
Make note here that there are niche markets, trend markets, and staple markets; each having it’s own unique marketing characteristics. Briefly defined these three markets can be expressed as follows:
- Niche markets, a niche market is composed of products or services that appeal to a very specific segment of the global population. Examples might include: pigmy goats, Shelby automobiles, digital scrap booking, and toxic mold. The list of niche markets could be never ending however, a one advantage of a niche market is that it is typically well defined and target customers are often easy to find.
- Trend markets, a trend market is composed of products or services that appeal to a specific segment of a localized market and have a tendency to come and then go. Examples of a trend market might include products like ‘Beanie Babies’, ‘Croc shoes’, and even the gas guzzling SUV market. Trend markets are very often great income producing opportunities if you get in early or create a unique value add for that market community however, trends markets often suffer a slow, gradual but very certain decline only to be replaced by the ‘next big thing.’
- Staple markets, a staple market is composed of products or services that appeal to the general population and have a tendency to exhibit two primary traits, longevity and heavy competition. Example staple markets might includce products like: office supplies, groceries, energy, communications, and hard goods manufacturing. TO compete in this marketplace typically requires a lot of capital and a lot of time to build a name for your business. The rewards can be huge because of the number of consumers but the competition of staple markets is quite fierce. It is better for the small business, home based business operator to discover, create, and market a product or service that compliments a staple market rather than competes with it. For example, instead of starting another real estate agency, you might consider marketing to real estate investors only in the residential foreclosure market.
Regardless of which market segment you find yourself in, it is important to first determine the level of public interest in that marketplace. There are services available online that actually track what Internet users are searching for online. What people search for is a very good indication of what products and services people are currently looking for. Therefore, if you know what people are searching for on the Internet, it’s a simple matter to find products and services to offer them.
One such tool is commonly referred to as a ‘keyword search’ tool. You can use your favorite Internet search engine such as Google or Yahoo to locate a variety of keyword suggestion/search tools. Some of the keywords search tools we have used include: WordTracker, SEOBook, and others.
Visibility Of Your Store In Popular Search Engines
A good position in the search engines is extremely important to generating traffic to your online storefront/Website. There is a very specific science to how your Web site pages will place in search engines, and a greater portion of your position will be determined by how good a job you do paying attention to the dozens of little page design details and rules that a search engine will use to rank your pages. For this reason alone, having a good SEO toolkit is very important to placing high in the search engines. We are not fans of search engine submission or optimized page builders, but the tracking and auditing features of some of the tools are very handy. We discovered the WebPosition Professional product a number of years ago and it has been in our standard tool bag ever since 2001. We use portions of the huge collection of tools in the WebPosition Pro product. We use these tools to track the position of our client Web sites (as well as our own) over time in about 20 different search engines and we use this same tool set to help our clients build pages that will rank consistently better. You should always run your pages through a good SEO toolkit and page checker before you publish to get the best possible initial ranking. HOWEVER..you should NOT use any automated page submission software to submit pages to a search engine. They mostly do not work any longer and the search engines that they do work on are not the ones you probably should be focused on, which for the most part as of the writing of this document was..in some order of importance: Google, DMOZ, Yahoo!. It is that initial ranking that is quite important. In fact, you can exploit this behavior because if a search engine will initially index and rank a page for it’s mechanical content (rewarding the simple and more direct design and penalizing the fancy and more complex pages) you can simply submit simply designed pages with appropriate HTML tags and it would rank pretty well if you did everything right. So, why don’t you then go back a bit later and jazz the page up a bit, or even change the message and intent entirely?
While search engine popularity and ranking do contribute significantly to building traffic to your website, savvy Internet retailers know the benefit of adding additional Internet marketing programs to achieve even greater traffic building results. Other marketing methods to consider that will drive more potential customers to your site may include:
- Paid sponsorship advertising
- Pay-per-click advertising
- Link exchange partnerships
- Banner advertising
- Op-In mailing programs
Another factor that you must consider is that the ‘size’ of the Internet can make it difficult for potential clients to locate you! Two points to consider in regard to the size of the internet are:
- Internet search engine technology lessens the impact of a retailers geographic locale on a potential customer’s buying decision.
- Millions of Web pages are added to the Internet on a daily basis and are making it increasing more difficult to get your Web pages displayed in search engine results to qualified, interested, and able customers.
Before the global Internet marketplace, most shoppers turned to their friends or the traditional ‘yellow pages’ to locate a retailer that was close to them geographically. Now that the Internet is here, shoppers have the ability to easily locate retailers anywhere in the world. Today’s savvy shopper uses something like the yellow pages to find retailers on the Internet. The Internet search engine is the equivalent of the traditional yellow pages.
Recent statistics published indicate that eighty-four percent of the people that purchase online use a search engine to find an online retailer; therefore, it is imperative to be one of the first businesses listed in a search engine if your marketing plan is primarily reliant on obtaining customers via search results and search engine marketing. Savvy Internet retailers learn how to leverage the power of popular search engines by using search engine optimization services.
Internet search engines examine specific properties of your Website pages to determine how it is ranked in popularity and where it is placed on any search results list. Being able to obtain and maintain a favorable search engine position with search engine optimization services that drive additional traffic to your site is very important to your online store’s success. It is a fact that many search engines have similar popularity and ranking rules, and it is also known that all search engines have their own ‘custom’ rules to further rank and position Websites. Search engine positioning and ranking is considered a science in today’s global advertising marketplace and obtaining favorable search engine ranking does require a high level of current training and expertise.
There are thousands of search engines on the Internet and to complicate the science a bit further, the rules the search engines use to rank your website will change from time to time. In order to keep your website in a favorable position (meaning to be on the first page of search results), your on-line store absolutely must be designed with the most current search engine popularity rules in mind and you must use the rules to get the search engines to find your site and to rank its popularity very high.
A Positive On-line Shopping Experience
You must also consider the shopping experience that your Website must provide your shoppers. Internet shoppers expect just as much good quality customer service in their on-line shopping experience as they do in a traditional retail shop. In fact, they probably either expect or require more in order to be compelled to make a purchase.
The shopping experience is a somewhat qualitative factor that is produced by a quantitative effort of the expertise required to actually construct an attractive, functional, customer focused Website. To create a positive shopping experience, the e-commerce analysts at Work From Home Systems have highlighted 15 components an Internet retailer needs to consider when implementing an online retail storefront. The key 15 components that need to be addressed include:
- Location in search engines: As indicated previously, a online store needs to be found through various key words on multiple search engines. The better your search engine position the more beneficial the search engines will be to your Internet marketing efforts.
- Product/payment/pricing information: A online storefront should provide payment details early in the transaction cycle rather than later.
- Ad overload: Too many ads can slow down a site. If possible try to avoid all ads that are not specific to your company, product, service or industry.
- Intuitiveness: A site needs to have signposts on every page to help shoppers navigate to where they want to be.
- Link sabotage: Create partnerships that benefit the site, but do not lose the customer in the process by allowing them to click a link that takes them off site. It is better to host the information from a partner than link to its site wherever possible.
- Integration: Web merchants that have more than one selling channel should integrate all marketing campaigns, promotions, customer information and sales channels.
- Shipping options: The online storefront should link or host multiple-shipping-options on the site, allowing the customers to choose a shipping company, select a shipping option and see comparison of rates.
- Repeat-customer benefits: Allow customers the benefit of keeping purchasing lists and reminder data by setting up customer accounts, offer soft benefits for repeat shoppers to keep them coming back.
- Inventory availability: Avoid sending "out of stock" and "back order" e-mails by using a shopping cart system that identifies how much inventory is available and ensures that products are not sold that cannot be fulfilled when sold.
- Quick answers: Customers should never be more than two or three clicks away from any answer to a question.
- Search window: Install a "search" window in the Web store to allow the customer to keyword search for an item or information within the Web site enterprise.
- E-mail and customer communication: Provide communication options with the customer. There are many ways this can be achieved such as by live chat via instant messaging, voice over IP and standard e-mail communication.
- Globalization: Web channels must integrate the cultural, commercial and technical delivery needs of each targeted customer. There are three issues involved: content, business practices and access channels.
- Return processing: Merchants should have a clear process for customers who want to return an item they bought through any one of the merchant's channels.
- Security and privacy. Privacy policies include a statement posted on the site regarding how the customer data is being protected against being seen by or sold to outside parties.
A successful shopping cart business is largely dependent on the key factors described above. If you design your Internet business plan with a proper harmony of well selected products, a value proposition that appeals to your target audience, search engine marketing AND direct response advertising, and powerful shopping cart software, your probability of success is not guaranteed but is greatly enhanced. Failure to observe one or more of these four basic parameters of success however, will almost certainly result in an Internet marketing disaster.
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