However, knowing what tools to use and some vital marketing knowledge will make your task much easier and much quicker. The Internet does have its own unique tools and methods which you should be familiar with before you start any web business. Complete knowledge of these marketing tools and information will greatly increase your chances of creating a successful Internet business.
1. Domain Name/Website
You must start with a Domain Name – most marketers either make their domain something catchy and short that visitors will quickly remember such as Digg.com, BestBuy.com, Yahoo!.com or they will directly tie in their main product or service in the domain such as Hotels.com, YouTube.com, Carloans.com and so on.
Your domain must be attached to a well designed and easy to navigate website. Preferably one that is professionally designed and equipped with all the commercial tools you need like a shopping cart and payment system. Like any business, you must try to accept all the major credit cards and display all the proper trust building icons such as ‘Better Business Bureau’…
Most professional online marketers keep graphics to a minimum and highlight their main benefit or product in a headline at the top of your webpage. You only have a few seconds to impress your prospective customer so summarize your whole site in one short benefit-loaded phrase or slogan. Be precise and direct in your presentation.
2. Keywords/SEO Strategy
Keywords, what surfers type into search engines to find what they’re seeking on the web, are the real cornerstones of any online website or business. You must find out the exact phrases and words people are using to find your product or service and target these keywords with your online site. Create pages and content on your site to draw in this targeted traffic. As a general rule, the more targeted your traffic/visitors are, the greater your conversion rate, i.e. the more sales you will make.
Professional online marketers do keyword research and a whole lot of testing to find the right high converting keywords that virtually guarantees sales. These marketers find the buyers at the right stage in the buying process, where customers already have their minds made up and are ready to buy. For example, someone searching for ‘cars’ is not as targeted as someone searching for ‘2007 Ford Mustang with Shelby GT exterior design’.
Savvy marketers use professional keyword research software such as Keyword Elite or use such sites as GoodKeywords or Overture (Yahoo! Search Marketing) to find the number of monthly searches for the keyword phrases they target with their sites. Many online businesses outsource their keyword/link building to SEO specialists who do this job for them. These firms develop a long term SEO strategy of building links to targeted keyword phrases, thus building a successful business in the process.
3. AutoResponder/Opt-in Lists
The AR or AutoResponder is one of the most essential tools to building a successful online business. You must set up an Opt-in system on your site to capture the contact information of your visitors, this will increase your traffic and dramatically improve your sales. It has been proven that it takes 5 to 6 follow-up emails before a customer buys your product or service.
It just makes good business sense. You must build a list of potential customers for your business. The AutoResponder makes this possible and is unique to the online world. You simply place a form on all your webpages to capture the name and email address of your visitors for further follow-up and contact. Instead of a surfer visiting your site just once, you draw them back again and again with special offers, deals or a daily/weekly newsletter.
The key element that makes the AutoResponder such a powerful marketing tool is trust! The Internet is still a very distrustful place. You simply use the AutoResponder and your follow-up system to build trust and a sense of loyalty from your potential customers. Once this trustful relationship is built, running a profitable business online will be easy.
Blogs and RSS feeds are essential online business tools. As we saw above, building a trustful relationship is very important to doing business online. Keeping an online Blog or daily journal is another way of building trust and keeping in contact with your customers or clients. Everyone likes to be a part of a group, a member of the club – having a company blog will help keep everyone a member of your business.
Blog and RSS feeds are a way to instantly connect with your visitors or customers. Podcasting and broadcatching (video casting) are excellent ways to more personally connect with your clients. Videos are all the rage right now and savvy marketers are using them in their advertising and marketing. Why should Google and YouTube had all the fun?RSS (Really Simple Syndication, original acronym stood for Rich Site Summary) will get your sales message out to your customers quickly. With the upcoming release of the RSS powered Windows Vista expect RSS to play an even greater role in your whole Internet experience. Make sure you have at least one RSS feed on your online business site.
5. Articles/Syndication Software
People want information first, products second. Regardless of what you’re selling or the type of online business you want to create, always keep in mind potential customers want information first and then the sales pitch. Give people good solid information and they will more likely buy from you. You must pre-sell your online business or product.
One of the best ways to pre-sell is by using articles. Simple informative, how-to, 500-700 word articles on all aspects of your online business. Place these articles on your own site and syndicate them around the web by using article distribution software or by submitting to such online article directories as Ezinearticles.com, Goarticles.com, Ideamarketers.com and Articleally.com – make sure you place a link back to your online business within the resource box at the end of each article.
Articles are an effective way of drawing very targeted customers to your site or business. Each article is a marketing tool in its own right. Create a whole army of these articles and you will see a marked increase in online visitors and customers.
As mentioned before building a successful online business is not an easy task. It does take some strategic planning and a whole lot of marketing tools with the knowledge to use them properly. But anyone can create a successful home business with the right equipment and the right attitude. You now have some excellent starting points, the next step is really up to you.