Everyone is looking for the secret solution that will get more clients and customers into their business. The truth is, getting customers is the hardest part of business. However, there are many ways to promote your products or service that will help you get more business.

Let’s look at your website. First, does your business have a website? In today’s world, you need one. Before you run out and get a website, you must ask yourself one question: “What do I want my website to do?” There are so many websites on the world wide web today that do nothing more than confuse the person who is visiting them. Do not let this happen to you. Pick one main thing that you want your website to do. Is is to collect a marketing lead? Is it to tell about your business or service? Pick just one and three at the most. Anyone who sets up websites should be able to help you with this step.

Another thing you want to do is to print your web address on all of your marketing materials. This includes business cards, postcards, flyer’s, company letterhead and everything else.

Do you have customers and clients already? If you do, keep in contact with them. You can run sales or send them newsletters, postcards, special offers, bounce back cards. It does not matter what you send them as long as you stay in touch on a regular basis.

The next tip is to make your business user friendly. Do everything you can to make it easy for the customer to do business with you. Give him or her payment options, customer service, selection – you name it. When you make it easy for the customer to do business with you – they will.

Ask yourself: “Is there a way to make my product or service better?” The answer will always be a ‘YES’.  Find that way and improve your product or service. Make it known to your customer why your service or product is better than others. Ask your current clients to tell other people about your service. Why not run a contest where your customer can give you a name and address of one or more of their friends who might like what you offer? IF this method seems like something you are not sure about, give them a card and let their friend go check out your web page. Ask them who sent them to your page and tell them about your contest.

The next thing is to always be looking for new clients and customers. Never stop looking for people who want what you offer. It is sometimes hard to get customers and clients, but many times it is easy to keep them once you have found them.

Many small businesses outsource their online advertising to agencies to avoid the time and effort it would take to do it in house. Nevertheless, it is imperative for a small business owner to know exactly how their money is spent.

The purpose of this article is to provide a framework for the savvy business owner to ask the right questions to ensure accountability of how and where their advertising dollars are spent when trying to identify the best outsourcing agency for their company.

For example: you own a local small business and its monthly advertising budget is $1,000 and you are now in the process of finding an agency that will best suit your advertising needs. From a financial accountability perspective, here is the information you will need.

Find out if any campaign will use the search network, content network, or both. Using the content network is an easy way to deplete a budget with a lot of clicks but not enough leads to justify the spending. Internet yellow page advertising is geared towards search advertising, not the content network.

Ask if the advertising spend will be on both Microsoft AdCenter and on Google AdWords. Remember, Microsoft AdCenter is also running Yahoo. Any agency that just runs on one platform will reduce your reach and frequency, which will mean far fewer potential customers.

For the monthly spend, ask for the percentage markup per click. Business owners should always know the daily spend by ad network. This is critical. If you do not know the markup per click and distribution of spend by ad network, you will have no idea where your money is going. Beware that several of high profile agencies that specialize in small business advertising charge 100%-150% markup per click.

In doing due diligence, I called the top four agencies that specialize in small business advertising and there was only one that had full disclosure of how their customers’ monthly advertising spend was allocated. This company is AdHui (www.adhui.com).

Some sales reps were clearly caught off guard and didn’t know while others sounded like they had a canned script to evade and down play the importance of the questions. Furthermore, none of the stats was displayed on their dashboard. Again, AdHui was the only agency that displayed daily spend by network and was the only agency that gave complete disclosure of their markup per click.

This is they way it should be. Any fortune 500 company that advertises knows how their budget is spent. The same should go for small business.

Effective advertising relies heavily on market segmentation and the elusive window of opportunity. If you want to get a product or service advertised, you have to make sure you do it in an effective way because otherwise, you could spend thousands on advertising and not sell a single additional unit than you did before the campaign ran.

The first thing to consider is your target market. This is where the idea of market segmentation comes in. You want to get to know your audience well and determine what media vehicles will be effective in advertising to them. If you’re selling a toy, for example, showing commercials on ESPN is probably not the wisest marketing move. You want to target parents and especially, kids. So buy ad time on Nickelodeon or the Disney channel to get kids interested. They will do the rest of the work for you.

Another example especially relating to picking media vehicles, such as TV, internet, radio, or magazines, is trying to market a kayak. Someone who would buy a kayak probably likes the outdoors, which means they probably wouldn’t be sitting in front of their TV on a Saturday afternoon. So putting commercials for a kayak at that time might not be very effective. On the other hand, you should consider buying ad space in Outdoor Life magazine.

This all seems like common sense, but it is important to do research because some market trends are actually the opposite of what you would instinctively think. Consumers are very interesting creatures and it will benefit you if you thoroughly research the people you are trying to market to. You might also find information about what kinds of things get their attention or make them laugh to make your advertising even more effective.

Another important thing to consider is aperture, or the window of opportunity. You should always keep in mind that advertising is useless unless a customer is ready to buy a certain item. I love the Energizer bunny commercials but if I don’t need batteries, the commercial alone isn’t going to make me go out and buy some. You could set up a schedule of advertising that occurs on and off for some period of time. This is an example of what is called an awareness ad. If my computer breaks and I’ve been seeing commercials for the new Mac for months, I am more likely to look into that when I go out to buy a new computer. They make the consumer aware of the brand.

But for certain items, this kind of advertising is ineffective because they are seasonal or otherwise extremely reliant on when a customer is ready to buy. So you wouldn’t advertise for school supplies in the middle of the spring if the school year is almost over. Similarly, it is probably a good idea to increase advertising for video game systems around Christmastime because a lot of people are in the market for one.

If you keep these things in mind, you should be able to create effective an advertising and marketing campaign. Always remember to do thorough research. I cannot stress that point enough because it should be the basis for every other step you take in the advertising process.

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.