Can you Help Me Understand Internet Marketing?
Sure, I think I can give you some help on this topic! Consider that there are Seven Arenas of Internet Marketing.
1. Direct Marketing
The first arena of internet marketing is direct internet marketing.
It starts with something as simple as your business cards. Your business cards should have your URL printed on them.
If you business name is long, contains odd spelling or words that are commonly misspelled, it is a good idea to secure a domain name that is easy to type in to a browser window. Such a domain could be an acrostic or common keywords.
For example, let’s say your business name is Pagliacci’s Pizzeria and Pasta House and your restaurant is in Peoria, Illinois. Owning the “dotcom” of your business name is always a good idea, even if it is ridiculously long, however, you should also register an abbreviated name, such as the following:
If you distribute brochures, be sure and print your website domain name clearly on the cover at top or bottom and again with your address information. The website address is often the most important address information to publish.
For most of my clients, I recommend reducing the brochure to the popular 4” X 9” rack cards- they are cheaper to produce than brochures and provide plenty of room for photos and key points.
Print your domain on the front of these and most people will go from your rack card to your website.
All Other Print Media
Print your website domain name in all of your printed advertising in a prominent place. More and more consumers go straight from your print media to your website to get more information.
For most radio advertising, you need to repeat your website in addition or in sometimes in place of your phone number. It is best to repeat your website address 3 times, once near the middle of the ad, and twice at the close of the ad.
You can see “hear” why an easily repeated domain name is important. Hearers will need to go from the ear to the keyboard to get to your website.
If you are advertising via video on a website, cable TV or television, you will want to have your domain name both spoken and visually imprinted on the ad. It should be spoken at least twice, but best at three times in a 30 second ad and the url should display on the screen for at least the last five seconds of the ad.
2. Inbound Links
Inbound links work to market your website both directly and indirectly.
Links from other websites can market your website online directly in several ways.
Graphics (photos, logos or other art) can have links embedded in them that will take browsers to you website when clicked.
Text that identifies your company by name or keywords or both can have links embedded in them that redirect traffic to your website.
Movies or animated (moving or rotating) images can have embedded links that redirect to your website.
About Link Structure
The text around the links (your relevant keywords), the “alt” tags on the images and the text of the text links themselves is important when you are wanting to get the most Search Engine Optimization (SEO) mileage out of the links.
I will use one of my websites as an example. Pajezy.com is a “small business website editor”, so many of the links that I have created from other domains that point back to pajezy.com look like this:
If you are looking for a small business website editor pajezy.com is the website editor for small business that we recommend.
The syntax for an the link on an embedded image would look like this:
More recently, I am working on building rank for this search term: “website design”, so now I am building inbound links with the words “website design” built into them instead.
These links work for you directly because people see the links embedded on text, photos and graphics on related websites and then are redirected to your website when they take the action step of the click.
A complete article on a well-optimized page that is saturated with the same keywords as your website, that links back to you is the most powerful of all.
These same links also have an indirect effect.
Quality links from websites is the single most weighty element in Google's search engine algorithm. It is not the only element, but it is powerful enough that you will get great rank if you win here even if you do almost everything else wrong.
The most common form of linking is reciprocating links. This simply means that you link to someone’s website and they reciprocate with a link back to you.
Keep in mind, however, that reciprocating links are not as valuable as they used to be. If your website has good content, many people and “bots” will find it and link to it, anyway, however, -- eventually.
Should you reciprocate links? Yes. Whenever it makes logical sense to do so. If you are in the accommodations industry it makes sense to link to restaurants, for example, and it would be customary for the restaurant to reciprocate with a link back to you.
One Way Links
Are one way links better? Not necessarily. If you have reciprocating links from well established business websites that result in you making sales, it is hard to beat that!
If you are talking purely about the value for search engine rank, then a one-way link has more weight than one the reciprocates.
There our thousands of cheap link farms. Don’t waste your time or money on these. They won’t do you much good, and they may even get your site penalized.
Should you purchase inbound, one-way links? That depends. It depends upon the search engine rank of the website that is offering you the link, the keyword phrases for which the particular page your link will be on yield top results in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages), and how much they are asking for the link.
If you can get a permanent link on a stable website for a reasonable price, AND you are wanting to aggressively market your website via Organic SERPS, then you should definitely do it (so long as it meets the criteria above).
3. Affiliate Programs
Affiliate programs work wonderfully for some businesses, and some form of affiliate or “referrals” program can work for most businesses.
What is an affiliate or referrals program?
Affiliate programs or referrals programs are simply mechanisms (usually automated, but not always) that pay a commission, either flat rate for sale or a percentage for referred business from someone else’s website.
They are prevalent among well known and large companies, and have been used as the primary vehicle for the generation of wealth via the internet for hundreds of entrepreneurs.
How do affiliate programs work?
Affiliate programs typically use an ID that is attached to the URL that comes from the affiliate’s website. This ID automatically records the lead from the affiliate, and if the sale closes, the affiliate will receive a commission. This process is usually automated.
These programs are especially useful when you have products that can be delivered electronically, like software or publications, which are both easily downloaded upon completion of the sale.
Internet affiliate programs are simply the electronic versions of network and multilevel marketing companies, and many affiliate programs pay referral commissions on more than one level.
You can market your own affiliate program through online providers or you can purchase and install your own affiliate software.
Is there a simpler way I could use an affiliate or referrals program?
Yes. If you are able to sell any product or service online, you could operate a simple affiliate program by creating a monetary incentive for others with websites to advertise your products or services.
The most rudimentary of affiliate or referrals programs would require the buyer to tell you where they learned about your product or service (which is a good idea anyway) on your order form.
You could then manually reward the referrer with a commission if the referral resulted in a cash transaction.
The mechanism to accomplish the referral could be a graphical or text ad that you provide to the affiliate and that the embed on their websites. When clicked, the browser is taken to whatever URL is embedded in the link.
One of the programs that my company has developed, pajezy.com, has a built-in referrals program, which will track people from the website link with a referral ID. When the referred visitor comes to the pajezy website, pajezy.com recognizes the referring ID and embeds it into a hidden field in the signup form.
We currently reward referrals with a 20% commission for business referred from their websites.
4. Website Advertising
The easiest way to get advertising on other websites is to pay for it.
I have several websites with high rank and good traffic that get the attention of people on occasion that want to buy links from me. To date, I have not chosen to accept the proposal for selling them links, but I could.
On the other hand, I have spent quite a lot of money buying ads on websites that attract my target audience, hoping to capitalize on the quality of the leads that I could gain from the websites.
When purchasing such ads, you will pay more or less depending upon the which page the ad will be displayed, the position on the page, and the size of the ad.
The cost of the ads will usually vary depending upon the length of time that you run the ad. If you sign an annual agreement, you will typically get the best price.
Creating Your Ads
How your ad is displayed will make a difference. You will see lots of other ads just about any place where you can buy an ad, and the owner of the website will usually be very helpful in guiding you to create an ad that is effective for you, because the will want to keep you as an advertiser.
Experimentation with such ads is a must. Subtle changes can sometimes make a big difference.
The more general your advertisement is, the more clicks it will likely generate - but the resulting traffic will not have the highest value.
The more specific your advertisement is, the fewer clicks it will generate, but the result traffic will more relevant to your offers.
When buying advertising that is based upon a monthly fee, it is usually a better idea to be more general to get the additional traffic and use your landing page to clarify the results.
If you are buying advertising that is “click-through” based, then the opposite would likely be true.
Your Landing Pages
One of the great things about internet advertising in this way is the narrow focus you can achieve.
If you have written your ad copy well you will get highly relevant results, and then you can direct them to a specific page on your website, not just your root URL.
There is a real science to creating the landing pages in such a way as to close a sale for you. You don’t want to clutter the page with things, just make the one thing that you are trying to sell stand out, and guide your visitor to the close.
Most such pages are created with “action buttons” - (the buy now buttons) at regular intervals down the page, often providing additional incentives to purchase right away.
The psychology of selling is critical to capturing the browser’s interest and holding it to the point of sale.
5. Internet Directories
Internet directories are either geographically focused or industry focused.
One of the best reasons to consider buying advertising in an internet directory is that they typically have good rank on internet search engines for their relevant keyword phrases.
If you are considering buying internet advertising in a directory, be sure and check out the rank of the directory for the OSERPS (Organic Search Engine Results Pages) before you decide to purchase a directory listing.
If the directory doesn’t have top half of page 1 listing on at least 2 out of 4 of the major search engines, I don’t recommend that you buy a listing from them, unless it is really affordable. The link itself is worth something to you, even if it doesn’t result in a lot of traffic to your website.
The top four search engines are Google, yahoo, msn and ask, which collectively account for about 98% of all search engine traffic.
No matter what industry you are in, there are directories online that you could use. Other popular directories are your local chamber of commerce and most every service club has a business directory.
Most cities in the U.S.A. will have several directories online, operated often by independent, entrepreneurial persons.
EBay is a very popular directory that offers products for sale via online auctions.
6. Power Partners
Power Partners are other businesses in closely related or complimentary industries to your own that work well for cross-referrals.
These people will naturally be able to refer more business to you than others because your businesses work together on a transaction, are complementary industries or just have the same target clientele.
Here's a few examples of Power Partners:
Working together on a transaction such as the purchase of a home:
Real Estate, Mortgage Loans, Escrow, Property Insurance, Appraiser, Pest Inspector
Complementary industries such as advertising and promotion:
Web Design, Graphic Design, Printer, Artist, Marketing Consultant
Sharing target market, such as the health and wellness demographic:
Chiropractor, Physician, Massage Therapist, Health & Nutrition Products, Acupuncture
It will be well worth your time to consider who your power partners are and make your own “web ring” of referrals. Each of you should have a page, such as a “partners” page where you advertise each other’s services.
7. Search Engines
With all else being considered, still over 80% of all first-time traffic to websites comes from the four top search engines.
After the initial visit, website browsers often bookmark the websites that they visit and return the next time via the bookmarks.
Some search engines (like yahoo) also operate paid directories. A business listing in the yahoo directory is $299 per year.
Google utilizes the dmoz.org open directory project.
MSN also operates a directory and uses yellowpages.com for advertising businesses
Note: I do NOT recommend paying for listings in search engine directories, but submitting your site to dmoz.org has merit.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
All of the major search engines utilize PPC programs. The PPC ads show up as “sponsored results” at the top and sides of the pages.
You can create an account and then set a daily or monthly budget for how much you are willing to spend total, as well as how much you are willing to spend per click.
The more you are willing to pay per click, the higher up in the list your ad is posted.
When your budget for the day or month is exhausted, your ads will not display anymore until the new cycle begins.
I am ordinarily not an advocate of PPC programs for most small business owners because they tend to be riddled with fraud.
Programs have been created that mock human behavior to activate links (click on them) and often human visitors will click on ads having no intention to purchase a product.
Fraud gets kicked up a few notches when programs are instituted to allow PPC ads to be displayed on “partner websites.” The are actually people that pay people to click on ads by the hour. It is fraudulent.
All major search engines have fraud prevention programs in place now, but if you don’t cry wolf, don’t expect to be heard. The problem is that most of the people who use PPC programs simply don’t know enough to be able to identify fraud.
Apart from the fraud aspect, the PPC programs are a good way to advertise your products or services, where you actually can compete if you are will to pay enough for the clicks to get noticed.
If you stay on top of a PPC program and have the right product or service, you can do quite well with them. Lots of savvy internet business people do very well using PPC, the key is being really good at it.
OSERPS (Organic Search Engine Results Pages)
When a search engine lists you in its “regular” search engine results pages, that is what is known as “organic” search engine results.
The word “organic” is always used in contrast to paid directory listings or PPC programs.
In order to show up in the organic search engine results pages near the top of the list, your site must be designed in such a way (not visually, but mechanically) that the search engine gives you a favorable ranking when its “algorithm” (a mathematical formula) is overlaid on your website.
Search engines use their algorithms to determine which websites show up on the top of the pages, and the order all of the way down to the last listing, and each search engine uses its own algorithm.
The broader the search term or phrase, the more difficult it is to be found as #1 on page 1 results. The more details there are added to the search phrase (this is called refining your search) the easier it is to get to #1 of page 1.
The most common “refining” process is to add a geographical location. For example, you would probably search for “Seattle Motel” instead of just “motel” if you were looking for a motel in Seattle.
This course has two sessions devoted specifically to learning how to “optimize your website” for search engines, one session dealing with “on-site” SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and another session dealing with “off-site” SEO.
We will at least highlight the major components of both here at the end of this session:
On Site SEO
Most important is the Title Tag that displays at the very top of the internet browser. All search engines read this tag. It’s purpose is to identify the main keywords of the website.
The title tag looks like this in the HTML:
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Want to know what the majority of websites use here? “Home Page”. I just googled these keywords and the result was 1,600,000,000 pages X 10 links to a page.
You should then follow by having your Meta Tags accurately identified.
Common meta tags are the keywords tag and the description tag. They should properly identify the keywords that are actually found on the page itself.
They look like this in the HTML:
The next element would be using heading tags to identify the textual outline of your website.
They look like this in the HTML:
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Add to these things text decorations for you keywords on your web pages and be sure to use what is known as “ALT” tags on all of your images, and you are on your way to on-site SEO.
The Alt Tag HTML:
Off Site SEO
You don’t have so much control on the off-site SEO, but it is even more important than the on-site SEO.
Why? Because the major search engines (led by Google) place more weight in their algorithms on what is known as website reputation or popularity than they do on the website’s own testimony.
Think of the on-site SEO as what the website says about itself, and the off-site SEO what others say about the website.
Which one is likely to be telling the truth? The search engines think that others are a better judge of the value of a website than the site owner themselves.
Quantity of inbound Links
The number of links certainly does matter. The more links you get pointing to your website from legitimate websites the higher your site will appear in the OSERPS for your specific keyword phrases.
If you can ever secure good, inbound links from legitimate websites at a reasonable price, you should buy them - if you are trying to market aggressively online AND you have some control over how those links are embedded on the referring websites.
Add how the links are created plus which websites from which they proceed to equal the quality of the inbound links.
Quality of inbound Links
How links are created + websites from which they proceed = quality of links.
The links should have the important keyword phrases for your website embedded in them and they should point to a page that has the same keywords on it as well.
The links need to proceed from reputable websites - not link farms. Search engines today can identify these links and they are devalued, so don’t waste your time or money on them.
Providing good, old fashioned content on your website will win you some great inbound links free in time. Other sites will find you and link to you when you are providing something truly worthwhile.