These days it is easier than ever to setup your own website. Advances in design software and browser technology has brought us into the era where web pages can be created and published in a matter of minutes. Community web portals such as www.weebly.com and www.tripod.com allow users to create web pages using plug-ins that run in the browser itself.

When you create your web page, you are creating something that you want other people to see. Maybe you just want to share photos with your family, or maybe you’ve written some great fan fiction that you want to show off to every other Harry Potter fan. No matter the reason for creating your page, you are going to want people to look at it, and while they are looking at it you want to keep them happy so they come look at it again.

Designing a really good web page is hard, well beyond the scope of this article. So instead of telling you what you should do, we are going to tell you some things that you should not do. By following the advice in this article, we can’t guarantee you that you will have a great web page, but we can guarantee that it will drastically reduce the number of people who are horrified by it.

Big Blocks of Text
Ideally, your web page will look a lot like a page out of a magazine. Your text will be evenly spaced with breaks between paragraphs. Reading long passages on a web page is not as easy as reading one in a book, so give your reader’s eyes a break by giving them nice bits of white space. This will allow them time to take a breath, absorb what you just said, and move on to the next chunk.

Horizontal Scrolling
Unless you use some really specific coding on your web page, most web browsers will happily wrap the text at the end of the screen. This way your users just have to keep scrolling down to read what you are trying to say. Sometimes however, even the most well intentioned web page designer can accidentally “break” the browser window and cause it to think that it is bigger than it actually is. This is most often caused by having wide pictures on your page. If your picture is 1000 pixels wide, then any user who has their desktop set to 800 by 600 will suddenly find that they have to horizontally scroll across your page to not only see the entire picture, but anything that you have written.

Mouse Followers
Imagine going to a web page that you really want to read. You arrive at that web page and while you are navigating around, you notice something odd. There is stuff following your mouse around! Maybe it’s a cat, maybe it’s a hundred cats, or maybe it’s a bunch of different colored text that chases your mouse around, and when you stop moving the mouse, reassembles itself into a clock. No matter what it is, it’s distracting and annoying. They were kinda neat 5 years ago for 2 minutes, but not anymore. You want people to read your page, so stop distracting them!

Music
You are sitting in your office/den/bedroom, browsing the web looking for the latest figures/antiques/American Idol gossip when all of a sudden Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” starts coming out of your speakers. Only it’s not even the real version of the song, it’s a cheap MIDI of the song that sounds like someone is playing it on their Gameboy. When people are browsing the web, if they want to listen to music they will choose their own and put it in their CD player. They don’t want you forcing music on them, especially if you are doing it just for the heck of it. There might be a few, a very few, web pages out there that warrant having music embedded in them, but I have yet to run across one. If you insist on doing this, at least give your visitors fair warning.

Animations
The human eye is naturally drawn to movement. If you have a happy face on your web page doing the Macarena, then that is what your visitor’s eyes are going to keep being pulled toward. Do you want your readers reading your vacation story, or staring at the dancing happy face? If you need to draw attention to something, use different colored text or a different font. Never, ever, have more than one animation in one browser window unless you are intentionally trying to trigger epileptic fits.

Unnecessary Plug-ins
People are uncomfortable downloading unfamiliar software to their computer, and rightly so. Therefore you should avoid placing anything on your web page that forces your users to download a plug-in. People have gotten used to Java and Flash, and putting something on your page that requires one of those is generally okay. However people are not going to want to download “Joe’s Super Cool Weather Info Plugin” just so they can see the current temperature (plus great offers) whenever they visit your web page.

Conclusion
Your website is a gift to your friends, family, or the whole world. Try to make your web page as neat and clean as possible. Most likely you want your web site to be one that people come to again and again, so you want to make sure that when people are reading your page they are not distracted or annoyed by a bunch of cutesy bells and whistles. Respect your visitors and they will respect your website.

When looking at the two department stores Walmart and Nordstrom’s, it is much easier to contrast differences than compare similarities. This is because they are at opposite ends of the economic spectrum; Walmart specializes in discounted prices, while Nordstrom focuses on quality at a higher price. Both companies enjoy much success, however. To attract customers that are more interested in each company’s characteristics, their marketing strategies differ from one another greatly. A marketing mix is defined as “product, price, place, and promotion – the controllable set of activities that a firm uses to respond to the wants and needs of customers”. . The differences in these four areas become obvious when we look at them at a glance.

Walmart offers many different products to suit every possible need of their customers. From automobile repair services to groceries to a variety of products in between, it is a one-stop shopping excursion for most of their customers. They also produce private label goods, such as Great Value, Sam’s Choice, and Equate. They even have a real estate division for commercial development. Walmart jumps on the bandwagon whenever they see an opportunity – and seem to prosper because so.

Nordstrom’s also strives to meet customer satisfaction through offering an array of products. “Our goal is to offer a well-edited range of products for a variety of lifestyles.”. While they don’t offer common, everyday needs like toiletries, groceries or cat litter; they do offer more upscale products such as apparel and home décor. Nordstrom, like Walmart, offer a private label – but without the notable discount.

Walmart has developed quite the reputation in our country for its low prices. Many name brands are apprehensive of Walmart’s private label. “In July (2006), Coca-Cola disclosed in a lawsuit filed in Atlanta that it changed its distribution of Powerade because it feared if it did not, Wal-Mart would come up with its own, competing version of the beverage.” . Nordstrom’s does not use a low price tag to attract customers; instead they use quality. While it is pricier to shop for clothes and home décor at Nordstrom’s; most designer labels prove to be of better quality, uniqueness, and durability.

Walmart’s private label brands goes directly from the assembly line to their store shelves. Eliminating the middle man helps them to offer such inexpensive store labels. Other suppliers they use to stock the shelves are bought from in bulk quantities. Nordstrom’s, in contrast, has one distribution center located in Newark, California. While they do not have as many stores as Walmart, they can still enjoy sizable profits from selling high-end products at retail prices.

By now, word of mouth definitely works in Walmart’s favor. But they also advertise on TV. “Everyday low prices” is their current slogan, but I think most of us think of the little “Rollback” smiley face cutting all of the prices down. While I have never seen an ad campaign addressed to a television audience, Nordstrom’s does pride themselves in utilizing ‘word of mouth’ from satisfied customers. They also advertise in magazines aimed for the higher-income-bracket female.

The marketing efforts by both companies clearly show that each company aims toward a different audience. There is a difference in the market between customers that want to spend no less than $200 for a pair of shoes, and customers who will pay no more than $10. Each company aims towards their target, and most likely do not share a customer base.

 

References

Grewel, D., amp; Levy, M. (2008). Marketing (Second Edition). New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

Nordstrom Inc. and Subsidiaries. (2002). Annual Report 2002. Retrieved August 4, 2009, from about.nordstrom.com: http://about.nordstrom.com/aboutus/investor/ar/2002/NOR2002AR.pdf

Nordstrom’s. (2009). Nordstrom’s. Retrieved August 3, 2009, from Nordstrom.com: http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/6011957/0~2377475~6003903~6011957?origin=tab-promo

Reyes, S. (2006, August 21). brandweek.com. Retrieved August 4, 2009, from Study: Wal-Mart Private Brands Are Catching On: http://www.brandweek.com/bw/news/spotlight/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003020035 imw;=Y

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a key factor for any website as long as they want to stay high in the page rankings. SEO, simply known as keywords, could be therefore called as the gateway of any website. If you need to enhance the web traffic of your site, you have to work with those keywords more often. Every webmaster thinks it important to have a keyword analysis done whenever possible. To make money online, you need to have keyword rich contents and moneymaking keywords.

Placing the sales pitch of your website on the first page i.e. google searches, is definitely a winning factor already and will give you the chance to improve your sales or whatever your website wants from the internet world.

As an example, you happen to be a regular guy who owns a plumbing business in your local area. To test how it works, and to find out who among you in the competition, having the same business gets noticed in google results, you will naturally type ‘plumber los angeles‘ (if you are in LA, California) in the google searches box. This is in simplest form what we call keywords. Again as an example, you were convinced how the SEO process can generate promising results, so you got your own company website and now you are ready to learn how SEO works. As a beginner, you will normally key in ‘plumber seo guide‘  so you can check all the available resources that offer information about SEO for plumbers.

Some (bigger) companies even pay for advanced boosting just to place their websites on top of the searches. But just as how it’s done in advertising, the costing will also be relatively higher. For startups like us, we can always learn, try and apply the basics of SEO. In the long run, the concept of SEO itself will let us think of strategies and tricks. But remember, just as with other businesses, honesty counts too. If you bump into the word ‘black hat SEO’ as you learn, this is an SEO practice that you should not even think of trying. Google penalizes those who cheat, remember that.

How can you create moneymaking keywords?

This is not a tough task to be done. Keywords fall into three different categories:

  1. Research Keywords. These keywords are used to gather information. These searches will be completely on academic interest. The person who performs this search will not be having an intention to buy anything.
  2. Shopping Keywords. As the name suggests, the persons who search with these keywords will be interested in buying something. But the problem is that you never know when they are going to buy it. Sometimes these people might be gathering all available information on a particular product before buying it. They might sometimes be looking for a comparison on various brands as well.
  3. Money Keywords. This is the most important section for someone who is or is trying to be making money online. This time the searchers are definitely looking to buy some product or service, for sure. Internet marketers find these search words as their best possible way to gain more profit. An ordinary web visitor will turn to a potential buyer when he types a money keyword. That is the reason why these keywords are considered the hottest ones.

Having read the above, now you might think that money keywords alone can make magic. That is not true. You need to have all of these three categories in your website, money keyword being the most important one.

How can you identify a pure money keyword?

You may be amazed to know that some keywords you always thought to be a part of research keywords, are really money keywords. To find out the hottest keywords, you need to do keyword analysis every now and then. While selecting a money keyword, you should ensure that it would help a person who is looking to buy some products online.

These keywords should guide him to the best seller and offer him the best possible price. Hopefully you can put what you have learned here into practice and find the best keywords to make money with. Remember, not all keywords are created equal – do your research. That is one competitive edge you can have to push for higher rankings.

Now that you have an online presence, it’s important to remember that your website doesn’t have to be accessible only on the Internet. A recent marketing trend has been to create offline websites, or stand-alone Flash projector files on CD-ROM. These CDs have an “auto run” feature that launches an interactive presentation, brochure, or catalogue as soon as the disc is inserted into a computer. With these offline websites, small and medium-sized businesses are finding it easier to stand out from their competition and gain brand recognition.

Convenient

With offline websites, your potential customers don’t need an Internet connection. Even bad or slow connection problems are a thing of the past. Graphically-intense content that would require substantial loading time for dial-up users is no longer taboo. This includes music, video-even television commercials can be put on your offline website. Your offline website CD-ROM can be passed out at trade shows or mailed to customers who can explore your website or catalogue without connecting to the Internet.

Creative

The offline websites can be on special shaped CD-ROMs, from multi-functional business card CDs to simple geometric shapes, to custom shapes of your corporate logo or a signature product. Talented designers will make your offline website even more successful by making it entertaining, informative, and easy to use. Even simple interactive features like videos, quizzes, and games can make your offline website more memorable and more likely to be shared.

Cost-Effective

A CD-ROM can hold up to 15,000 photographic images, 250,000 pages of text, over 70 minutes of full motion video, or 650 megabytes of computer programming. They costs as little as $0.60 each, although custom shaped CDs will cost a little more. CDs are light and innovative, and stand out among printed trade materials, and are fairly cheap to mail. As CD-ROMs, your offline website can hold more information, is cheaper to make, and easier to transport and distribute than a traditional print catalogue or brochure.

Here are some suggested ways to use your offline website effectively:

1. Train your staff through video demonstrations, games, quizzes, and other interactive media

2. Highlight a single new product

3. Send out a portfolio with examples of projects completed for other clients and customer testimonials

4. Provide virtual tours of facilities or real estate

5. Distribute extensive product catalogues with dynamic and interactive features

It’s important to remember your existing website doesn’t have to become your offline website, too. Professionals can create special content to highlight any facet of your company and make it available at the click of a button, when your competition is still asking potential customers to read through thick brochures or endure long loading times online.

Internet marketing has had its advantages from day one. These advantages have continued to increase as the state of the internet has improved. Everybody enjoys the instant access that is afforded from online digital products and services. The popularity of ebooks is growing daily. There is no indication that this will ever change, and so the number of online customers, as well as the number of advantages, for online marketers will continue to grow.

One of the undisputed advantages of the internet is its convenience. If you have a computer and internet access, you can conduct business anytime and anywhere you please. Now that many people have laptop computers, this becomes even truer. Information and digital products are only a mouse click away.

online-marketingFor the product marketer, advertising costs are greatly reduced with the number of methods available. One of these methods would be email marketing campaigns. You can send costly postcards to thousands of people and may recognize some success a week or two later. With email, however, you can send out emails to the same thousand people and notice an increase in sales an hour from now-all for no cost.

Suppose your business runs with no online marketing, and you just found out one of your products will be discontinued. You want to run a sale to clear your stock, but it will take a few days to reach your customers with the news. Now, the guy down the street also has this product and has gotten the same news. Suppose your competitor does his marketing online. Your competitor can send one mass mailing out to customers and have them at his store that same evening. You will most likely end up being stuck with the product while your competitor has moved onto the new, improved model.

Yet another advantage of the internet is you have the world at your fingertips ready to become your next customer. Starting a business, you have the people who can physically travel to your store as customers. This number is limited to the people willing to make that trip. The internet reaches just about every nook and cranny of the world. If you open your store online, your customer base is anyone with internet access-a growth of millions. Each and every day, more people join the online community. As they are added to the internet, they are also added to your customer database. You can’t beat this advantage.

The advantages to marketing online are numerous. It is great to interact with people personally and have these people shop in your store, but you cannot beat the added customer base the internet allows you. Not to mention the instant availability of information, products and services. Online marketing is here to stay.

It has often been stated that Internet marketers need their own website to have a successful business. Your own website is certainly a place where you can direct potential customers and sell your affiliate product, but, it is not absolutely essential. Many of today’s article directories will not accept affiliate links, but, this is something that can be worked around. Yes, it is possible to make a living online in affiliate marketing even if you do not have the benefit of your own website.

I will show how this is possible. Continue to read and I will show you alternative strategies that will allow you to make the most out of your affiliate marketing campaigns without having your own webpage on the Internet.

Affiliate marketing is a program whereby the affiliate can earn some generous commissions for every sale they manage to refer to the affiliate merchant. The affiliate’s role is to simply pre-sell the affiliate merchant’s goods. All of the mechanics of the actual sale are the responsibility of the affiliate merchant, for instance, online payments, the digital delivery of the product, and customer service.

The role of affiliate marketing is only to direct people to the affiliate merchant’s sales page. The affiliate marketer needs to convince people to click on the provided affiliate hyperlinks. These affiliate links are crucial since they indicate to the affiliate merchant what affiliate directed a particular customer to the website. Each affiliate link will uniquely identify the affiliate to the merchant.

Marketing the affiliate merchant’s goods without having a website means marketing the affiliate links in a variety of different ways. This can be done through utilizing the following techniques:

Article Marketing

It has long been recognised how powerful affiliate marketing can be in link building campaigns. Instead of providing links to your own website, the affiliate provides their unique affiliate links instead. Article directories allow you a resource box per submission, where you can provide a brief biography of yourself as well as leave your affiliate link. What you must remember is that some article directories do not allow affiliate links in the bodies of the articles themselves, and even restrict their usage in the resource box of the article. It is possible to use a redirect page in some instances. Some terrific directories to start your article marketing campaign are www.squidoo.com, www.searchwarp.com and www.isnare.com.

Your article marketing will also be improved greatly by incorporating the recent development called Social Bookmarking.

Forum Marketing

Online communities, or forums, are another great means by which you could promote your affiliate links. Membership to most forums will allow you to include a signature box and in this area you can also include your affiliate link. Every message that you post to the forum will include your signature and affiliate link, so if you post one hundred messages then that is one hundred times your link is being advertised for free. If you want to know which forums are relevant to your affiliate product then you can use the tool at www.link-advantage.com/search The other alternative is to type your niche area into Google (or an equivalent search engine) enclosed in talking marks with the word forums beside it enclosed in talking marks, for example: “Christmas Cross Stitching” “forums”.

Advertise in eZines

Some eZines will have an advertising cost that you will have to pay. Dependant onyour financial situation, this could promote your affiliate links to highly targeted prospects. Consider an eZine that has a list of 5,000 people. You could immediately be able to reach 5,000 quality leads with one advertisement. In your advertisement include your affiliate link to direct people to the affiliate merchant’s website.

There are many more possibilities that allow affiliate marketers to be very successful without a website. Most of the strategies I have discussed here can be achieved without spending a single cent. If you do not have the financial resources to register a domain or to subscribe to a web hosting service, you can still achieve success with affiliate marketing. As I have shown joining affiliate program and promoting affiliate links is free so make a plan and go out and make a start.

The video revolution is here – there are now well over a billion videos viewed each day and that’s just YouTube, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of other video websites!

In combination with affiliate marketing, video marketing was born. Individuals and companies alike can now create videos for a very low cost to promote theirs and other people’s products.

This article is aimed to help you get started with video marketing and how you can use it to in your affiliate marketing.

Step 1: Get your video setup

There are two easy ways you can begin recording video for the web:

A. Record yourself

B. Record your computer screen

Most people will opt for the latter because they are camera shy but regardless of the subject matter, less than a $100 and you can begin creating video for your video marketing. Buy a camera or software to record your screen and get acquainted with how to operate each before you move onto the next part of the recording process.

Step 2: Find a product or service to promote

The next step in using video for your affiliate marketing is to find the product or service you wish to promote within your video.

There are literally hundreds of affiliate marketplaces but if you’re just starting, it’s probably best to stick to the most well known such as Clickbank or Commission Junction. Once you’re signed up for these marketplaces you can browse through until you find a product or service you feel comfortable standing behind – you’re ready to shoot video in the next step.

Step 3: Record your video

Since you have two options when recording your video for affiliate marketing, this section will be broken into two parts:

A. Recording yourself

Setup your camera in front of yourself and hit record. If you don’t have a script you could try reviewing a product or service on camera or show it off (physical product). The point is that you’ll be explaining the benefits and by being on camera people will be able to build a bond with you which can greatly help your conversions.

B. Recording your screen (screencast)

Screencasts are another popular method to create videos where you will be using computer software to create a video for your affiliate marketing. Either record your own screen recreating what a product or service does or create videos which display the benefits (as noted before) so viewers can see what they’d be getting.

After the video has been shot, edit it down and move on to the next step.

Step 4: Upload your video

video-blogsitesAfter the video has been recorded and edited, begin uploading your video online. Although there are tons of video websites out there it’s best to use YouTube since it brings in the majority of views online.

Fill out your description and be sure to include your affiliate link so people can click through and you earn a commission if they buy – otherwise, point them to your website where you can later link out.

Step 5: Promote your video

As with any content you create on the web, promote your content by building backlinks, sharing it on social media or linking/embedding it on your website; try to drive traffic to your videos as this will increase your chance to make money through your affiliate marketing.

The Quiznos commercials we have seen in the last decade marketed Quiznos subs in an interesting (and perhaps to some, puzzling and disturbing) way. A bowler hat-wearing animal that appears to have the body of a hamster and the legs of a shrimp sings in a scratchy, off-key voice about how much he loves Quiznos subs because they’re so warm and tasty. Just in case you can’t understand the screechy rodent, speech bubbles from his mouth provide an explanation. A similar-looking animal wearing a pirate hat plays guitar in the background. While this commercial is certainly odd, it was successful in that it really got people talking. Trey Hall, the chief marketing officer for Quiznos, explained that Quiznos felt their marketing needed to be dramatic with the airtime they bought because they had a small ad budget. They were also seeking to gain awareness among the public, which shock value can be successful at doing.

The commercial’s weakness is that the shock of creepy singing animals could have potentially made viewers associate the idea of Quiznos with discomfort and unpleasant thoughts. While many viewers pondered how a singing rat-gerbil could possibly make them want a sandwich, some went so far as to say that the presence of the creature in a commercial suggested that Quiznos is rodent-infested and unclean. I personally avoided Quiznos for years after this marketing campaign – not for any reason that I could have articulated at the time, I just felt unsure about the place. It wasn’t until a friend suggested Quiznos that I ever ventured inside one. When I reminded her of the weird mutated marmoset commercial, she looked confused and said, “Oh yeah I remember that commercial…that was for Quiznos?”

Overall, the marketing strategy seems to have paid off. The company has seen rapid growth through franchises and has received numerous awards for their success. Their early ads were filled with shock value, from the bizarre rodents to a man suckling on a wolf. They then progressed to controversial ads that took on sandwich-giant Subway and suggested that “real women need meat.” This kept people talking and kept their curiosity up until Quiznos became a household name, at which point they dropped the shock value and started making more down-to-earth commercials like this one, which focuses on the value of Quiznos subs in our economy. Their marketing strategy, though criticized at times, has drawn the appropriate type and amount of attention to Quiznos throughout the company’s history.

This is considered an effective marketing – offline marketing or traditional marketing method. Although it may have been too risky to take a shot of at first, it was then followed by a lot of people talking and remembering about it. This can be applied to online marketing campaigns too. Some controversial articles tend to gain a lot of traffic and good value in return. It’s a mixture of being creative, being honest, being annoying (perhaps) and being strategic when you decide to make a scene in the internet world.

Unlike trying to go after an entire market, niche marketing details targeting a specific (and often tiny) portion of each marketplace based on a specific interest, product or service.

Niche marketing has begun to take off like a wildfire due to the high competition amongst major brands in the most common marketplaces. A perfect example is how it’s literally impossible to beat Walmart in a price war because of their stranglehold on the market and the ability to buy in massive quantities.

As savvy marketers have begun to realize, it’s much easier to target a niche market because users within a niche will often be more motivated to buy, highly driven and the competition is almost nonexistent since big businesses don’t take the time to go after such small marketplaces.

Let’s break niche marketing down into the fundamentals:

1. Finding passionate buyers

When dealing with mass marketing, you are blindly throwing out your advertisement and marketing toward a large group of people and hoping that a few will respond by buying your product or service. Traditional marketing methods which utilize these large markets can be seen every day through radio, print and television ads.

traditional-marketing-methodUnlike mass marketing, niche marketing only goes after a small group which are highly motivated and passionate about a subject. For example, it would be much easier to sell to a niche market such as “Red 4 Speed Mountain Bikes” as opposed to simply “Mountain Bikes”.

Because users that are passionate about “Red 4 Speed Mountain Bikes”, you will more likely be able to speak to them directly without having to spend a massive amount of money on marketing toward a larger market which most likely won’t be interested.

2. Comparing the competition

As the example above, it would be virtually impossible for a mom and pop store to compete directly with Walmart because it’s simply infeasible for a small store to stock all of the products that are offered by big box retailers.

But this doesn’t mean a small business can’t do great if they target only a select niche. Unlike big box retailers, niche marketing allows you to compete against other businesses that are on an equal playing field with comparable budgets.

When drilling down into a specific niche, a small business will be able to find a unique selling point that major businesses aren’t able to offer. This USP can be the competitive edge which sets the small business in a league of its own vs. its competition.

3. Filling a demand in the market

Because of the web and consumers wising up about their choice in the sales process, many consumers want unique items in comparison to generic products offered by most stores.

When a big box retailer goes into business they often only stock the most common items within a particular group. A perfect example is the lack of music selection and its restrictions to only a couple shelves.

A niche business which markets toward the right marketplace will be able to dive further into each product or service and fill a demand where other businesses have missed out on taking advantage of.

As big businesses continue to push generic products, niche marketing will allow you to find the cracks where customers have slipped through and sell directly to them without having to compete on a large scale.

Conclusion

The further you go into a niche, the smaller the marketplace will become. The flip side with smaller niches is that consumers will continually be more driven and targeted toward a business, product or service.

Through niche marketing, advertising budgets will be slashed in half, conversions will increase and only the most passionate customers will be apart of the overall experience for any small business which digs deep into the marketplace.