Introduction – In simple terms, Internet Marketing or Online marketing, describe a set of business strategies and marketing techniques that are employed to represent a company’s overall online marketing objectives. It describes the practical methods of analysing the market, performance testing and promotion to ultimately sell products and services using the Internet. The first step is to research and analyse your target market to be in a position to make decision regarding online objectives and tactics platformcore….
Market Research and Analysis – the first stage in any form of online marketing is to find out as much as possible about what your prospective customers want. By reviewing market research information, reviewing competitors web sites, industry surveys, obtaining online feedback, obtain company reports, research search engine usage and so on; a qualified business strategy can be formulated. Without collection of unknown information to discover and learn from, creation of business strategy is nothing more than guess work. The main areas of information to qualify and quantify are; target market size, industry conversion rates, website traffic, distribution channels, purchase behaviour, sales copy testing, price elasticity, regulatory and legal restrictions and company product testing. By far the best form of market research and analysis is primary feedback from prospective customers (as opposed to general secondary research from 3rd party industry surveys); these secondary surveys results are usually out of date and data collection, analysis and conclusions questionable. Practical ways to get customer feedback when testing new product ideas could be asking for feedback via Online Feedback Surveys, Free Prize Draws, Free Product Samples, Special Offers on the Confirmation Pages of Contact Forms, Newsletters, Contentious Forums, Competitions and Quizzes.
Setting Goals and Targets – if you don’t know where you are going, how do you know when you have got there? Without previous experience or good quality market research, it is extremely difficult to quantify and forecast how much you will to sell in the future, by when and at what profit margin. However, use your market research to put numbers against the elements you can quantify. Look at the realistic boundaries for your online marketing projections… if your competitive analysis shows the average product value, market size and search traffic volume, you could make some realistic sales assumptions if a top engine ranking were to be achieved. Similarly, if you knew of the average number of sales per affiliate (see below) could send you, you could plan the number of affiliates you need to recruit and how quickly you need to recruit them. If you want buy into a market quickly via online pay per click advertising you can test return on investment very quickly. By test spending on pay per click in search terms using various sales copy, it is easy to begin to develop some useful metrics to project future sales volumes and profits. Download the company reports of the top three competitors in your target market to check sales revenues… then apply some common sense to the situation… If your top three competitors only turnover X per year it would indicate a certain ceiling in that particular market. Most importantly, understand your predicted conversion rates and average product margin associated with your product or service. Without those two numbers it is difficult create a spreadsheet business model to forecast sales and profit targets.
Choosing The Right Business Model – now that you have created a quantifiable set of objectives, the next step is to decide how this is going to be achieved online. In most situations websites can be categorised as using one or a combination of the following business models…