Archive for March, 2011

eCommerce – What To Consider

Online shopping is the latest trend among customers. Why would you still go to the shop personally when you can do shopping from the comforts of your own home? Because of the rising popularity of online shopping, more and more business persons are setting up their own ecommerce websites to meet the needs of customers and of course, earn big money online.

There is a very bright future for ecommerce websites. As long as there are needs that should be met, there will be customers. For ecommerce website owners, earning money online can be so easy. If people need your products and services, your website will stay alive as long as you want.

Online Competition For Ecommerce Websites

Because of the increasing numbers of online shoppers, there is a need for more ecommerce websites. The problem, however, is that there seem to be several ecommerce websites now. A lot of business persons have answered the call to sell something online. This makes online competition very tough.

Just think about this, if you sell health and beauty products online, there are hundred more several websites like yours. They also offer the same products and services. If there is one customer looking for a health product, he has a hundred choices to choose from. So how can you increase your website’s chance of getting that customer?

Plan Ahead And Market Your Ecommerce Website

This is one thing that most ecommerce website owners do not completely understand. Most of them think that once they have set up their websites, they don’t have to do anything anymore. They will just sit and wait for sales. This may be true ages ago, but with the tough competition now, if you don’t do anything, you won’t get any sales.

Ecommerce websites need two things to consider. First is planning and the second is marketing. Before setting up the website, there must be a thorough planning first. In planning, you must consider the target market, budget, design and other factors that will affect the overall performance of the website.

Second is website marketing. After you have set up your website, you need to work on a marketing campaign. Through marketing, you can make your website more popular and visible to your target market. There are several web marketing options which you can use. The choice of the web marketing option depends on the need of your website.

Remember not to stop working on your website after the set up. If you stop working on it, the sales will also stop. Continually market your website for continuous sales.

The Importance of Internet Marketing

Internet marketing can be key to modern ecommerce and selling your services.  An online presence is critical for reaching your target audience in today’s Internet focused age. Internet marketing – an affordable alternative to pricey print and broadcast marketing – can reach the people you want without breaking the bank. Let’s face it; your audience is already online; now it’s just a matter of delivering them your message.

To do so, you can work with professionals who understand the complexities of Internet marketing. They will assist you in developing your message, orchestrating a plan, and implementing it. The result can very well be a high level of success and viability for your small business.

To find such professionals check with other small business owners – for whom you have a respect – to determine what Internet marketing professionals worked well on their behalf. It may be beneficial to find someone who has an understanding of your particular industry. This alleviates the learning curve when attempting to construct an appropriate message for Internet marketing.

Internet marketing professionals will also be well-versed on the legalities of marketing small businesses online and can guide you through the process with an eye towards boundaries.
Your actual Internet marketing can be conducted right on your website with the use of surveys, give-aways, and a specific call-to-action.

It may be in your best interest to take some marketing courses so that you can best familiarize yourself with the importance of Internet marketing.

The beauty of Internet marketing is its mass appeal. It would take enormous effort and money to reach certain targeted audiences with specific messages delivered in a particular way. The Internet bridges the gap between all audiences and levels the playing field for those interested in marketing their small business.

Using Internet marketing to further the efforts of your small business can be vastly rewarding. With consistent and poignant delivery of messages through Internet marketing you can experience long term success and viability.

The importance of internet marketing could be very well realized by the fact that it covers a lot of spheres. Internet marketing would be the mantra of all web savvy entrepreneurs. The importance of internet marketing lies in the fact of its mass appeal. The internet marketing serves as a wonderful tool to those net savvy businessmen who exploit the tool to maximize the profit. A small business would assume incredible levels if an internet marketer apply a carefully planned technique to promote the product or a service. The importance of internet marketing lies in the fact that it is not restricted to one particular aspect and covers a large area.

There are several tools that form a part of internet marketing. Internet marketing had always been the prime area of concentration for those who would like to promote the business or a service.

The importance of internet marketing lies in the fact that it would lead to more enquiries and thereby improving the sales. Internet marketing would also lead to the exposure of one’s business to the world and this also leads to the expansion of business opportunities. This exposure might also help to secure newer business opportunities and thus widening the scope and the profit of one’s business.

The importance of internet marketing is growing in today’s digital world. The importance of internet marketing lies in its ability to generate traffic to the website. To any business marketing is important as that would bring in the visibility of the business and would also improve the sales. The same fact applies to internet marketing and thereby one could realize the importance of internet marketing.

Viral Marketing – A Great Way To Spread The Word

Before we explain how you can use viral marketing strategies to promote your online business and get a buzz spreading through the worldwide web, here’s a definition from Wikipedia,

“Viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use preexisting social networks to produce increases in brand awareness, through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses. It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet. Viral marketing is a marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message voluntarily. Viral promotions may take the form of video clips, interactive Flash games, advergames, images, or even text messages.”

If you’ve ever used hotmail, yahoo or G-mail account, you’ve participated in a viral marketing campaign every time you sent an email to someone – because the company inserted a small (and usually discreet advertisement) at the bottom of all of your outgoing email messages – inviting the people you were communicating with to receive their own free email account.

So, how can you put a viral marketing campaign together for your own online business to get the same advertising buzz like these major companies for free?

You don’t have to look very far to find the answer these days. Viral marketing has taken off with a bang with the introduction of web2.0 web sites like Youtube, Facebook, Myspace and twitter – to mention a few. Bookmarking and social networking sites have made it easier for you to engage your friends in spreading any message you want to promote.

According to a recent survey done by Forrester Research, people are almost 65% more likely to trust a review posted by a peer – or even a complete stranger – than they are to trust the marketing or sales information put out by the company.

Companies like Amazon and I-Tunes have used these tactics to build their brands to mega corporations, and now all the celebrities and broadcasters are using Twitter and Facebook to spread their messages and expand their brands.

Why is this the case? Because as consumers we tend to think that the average “Joe Blow” has less of a personal agenda when posting his review about the latest “Dixie Chicks” album and so we give it more weight.

And, by the way, this is a normal reaction – it’s one that’s kind of hard-wired into all of us. People have always shared the things they like – or hate – with their friends and family members. Back in the 50’s and 60’s, our grandparents used to talk to their neighbors over the “back fence,” call each other on the phone or tell their friends during lunch. The difference is, these days we use the Internet and cell phones.

What’s interesting though, is that with the popularity of the Internet, our trust – and believe in “social proof” – has become even stronger.

By creating your own viral marketing campaign, you’ll be doing more than getting the word out about your new product or service, you’ll be gathering social proof – and that will help your sales to go through the roof.

If you don’t have your own product or service as yet, you can start promoting affiliate products. Affiliate products already have a brand name presence and an established market.

So, how do you set up your own viral marketing campaign? The first thing to do is to get back to the basics.

Then make sure that you’re sending out the right message – an in the right way. If you’re marketing a product to teens, you’ll want to make sure that it’s something they want – and you’ll have to reach them where they’re hanging out. That might be on MySpace, twitter or even Friendster.

What’s the right message? Maybe it’s a special report. But it could just as easily be a video. Or an audio mp3 file. Match your message to your audience. And finally, make sure that you’re getting your message out at the right time – when your audience is ready to buy it.

Make your viral marketing campaign stand out from the crowd – because that’s how it’s going to get passed around and become viral. By understanding the basics – who your audience is, what they want, how they want to get it and when they want it – all you have to do next is to create something that your audience loves – or hates – or finds interesting enough – to pass around to their friends. And because your product comes with an implied endorsement – social proof – those people will pass it around to other people – and the buzz goes on…and on…and on…and you’ll start hearing the “ka-ching!” of your cash register going off a lot more often.

Compelling Reasons for Using a Content Management System (CMS)

A Content Management System (CMS) not just makes websites more impressive but also makes it easier to develop high quality websites. In addition, they are better for developing sites with multiple users or a lot of content. Some other reasons for using a content management system are:

Easily Manageable

With the features like Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), changing the site structure is like a nightmare because then one has to modify each page, which not just needs more effort but also takes a lot of time, whereas,CMS web developers can easily avoid this hassle because the content management systems use templates and once the template is changed all the internal pages will be updated. Thus, CMS website development makes the managing process much easier.

Easy Updates

Content Management System makes it easy to update a site from any computer. All you need to have is the login page and a password. Whereas, with no content management system the user needs to have all the files they are using, which makes it impossible in some instances.

Saves Money

Along with easy to update features, CMS web development also helps cut down the project costs because it is usually free. Although it is recommended to hire expert CMS web developers from a professional web development company if you want to customize your website according to your business, which is also not very expensive.

Higher Flexibility

Content management system will display your website content using current web standards, which makes it more user-friendly and it becomes more “future proof.” The CMS also has built-in search capability, which helps you modify and add or delete pages using the built-in browser based editor so that when the new pages are added, deleted or moved the page navigation menu links are automatically adjusted on the pages of your website.

Content management Systems help develop a professional looking website that is easy to use and update and that is the reason why a lot of CMS web developers and publishers appreciate the easy to use features of CMS website development and use it to develop both e-commerce and custom websites.

Learning More About Search Engine Optimization

SEO (search engine optimization) is one of the today’s most popular Internet marketing technique used in the industry. It mainly uses the capability of search engines to bring traffic to a website. And because search engines are heavily used by users, as a means for searching information across the World Wide Web (WWW), SEO quickly became a very powerful Internet marketing technique.

SEO techniques

According to a number of experts, such as those from SEO Philippines companies, SEO is very similar to that of SEM (search engine marketing), in terms of approach, which is the one-to-one approach, a technique popularly used for search engines. One misunderstanding between SEO and SEM is that SEO is not a type of SEM. SEO is a separate technique which is known to use a number of techniques and methods of its own.

The difference of SEO from SEM is its techniques. SEM mainly makes use of paid inclusion, such as PPC, while SEO makes use of natural and un-paid techniques and methods. However, compared to SEM, SEO involves many techniques and methods. These techniques and methods are then categorized between two different techniques, the on-page SEO which deals with techniques used in the website itself, and off-page SEO which involves techniques used outside the website.

On-page and off-page SEO

Techniques in SEO are categorized based on the nature of its method. On-page SEO are techniques which are used to make a website more search engine friendly. However, according to many SEO experts, the use of on-page SEO have significantly lost its effectiveness due to the number of techniques used to abuse the search engine result pages or SERPs.

Though it significantly lost its effectiveness, many SEO experts still use these techniques and methods not only to make their websites more “search engine friendly”, but also more “user-friendly”.

Techniques in on-page SEO

Content optimization: Content, meaning the image as well as its text content. This is where the bulk of on-page SEO is popularly used. Many of the researched keywords are found in the content, as well as the file name used for images.

Meta Tag and alt tag optimization: The use of Meta tags and Alt tags became very popular in on-page SEO. Other than in the content as well as file names for the images, meta tags and alt tags are used as additional places for keywords.

URL optimization: Optimizing the URL is also very important. According to many experts, URL are also used to contain keywords that clearly defines a page. It both works for the users and search engine crawlers.

Cross-linking: A very important part of on-page SEO. Though some of its techniques have lost its effectiveness, crosslinking and URL optimization are still a very important part of on-page SEO. Crosslinking examples include sitemaps as well as navigation bars. Other than allowing their users easy access to their website, it also allowed search engine crawlers to easily navigate through the website.

Popular SEO tool for on-page SEO

One software used by SEO experts and professionals in on-page SEO are content management systems or CMS. These online applications became popular among many SEO experts because it allowed them to optimize a website without asking for assistance with web professionals such as designers and developers.

According to many Web design Philippines experts, CMS softwares such as Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla!, were designed to allow users with little knowledge of programming languages or markup languages to create and manage content with relative ease. Because of this, SEO experts can freely optimize a website for search engines.

Off-page SEO and techniques

According to many SEO Philippines experts, off-page factors are considered as the most important part of SEO for it doesn’t only increases the chances for a website to be indexed by search engines at the first, but to also make their website more visible across the Internet. However, compared to on-page SEO, off-page factors only involves one method with multiple techniques. This is link building.

Link building is a technique widely used in off-page SEO. Its popularity is based on its number of techniques, which are used to naturally induce results in search engines compared to SEM. Link building techniques involve the use of:

Reciprocal linking: The first technique used in SEO, it involves creating mutual link between two objects, commonly between two websites to ensure mutual traffic. This technique, however, is now widely replaced by one-way linking.

Three-way linking: A technique which have grown from reciprocal linking. This involves a link building to create more “natural” links in the eyes of search engines. The value of links by three-way linking can then be better than normal reciprocal links.

One-way linking: The most widely used technique in SEO, it involves a number of methods and techniques which results in one-way links. According to a number of experts, this type of link would be considered more natural in the eyes of search engines. Part of its techniques include:

Blog comments: Blog comments are popular ways to get one-way links from other websites such as blogs. Other than blogs, other websites that allows comments from visitors may also be used to get one-way links.

Forum signatures: Forum signatures involve he process of using forum communities that allow outbound hyperlinks in their member’s signature. This can be a fast method to build up inbound links to a website; it can also produce some targeted traffic if the website is relevant to the forum topic.

Link bait: One of the most powerful link building technique used SEO, it involves any content or feature within a website that somehow baits viewers to place links to it from other websites.

10 Tips For Creating A Winning Mobile Strategy

Last week, I had the chance to attend a keynote on mobile – and even more broadly, the notion of connectedness – given by Emily Nagle Green, president and CEO of Yankee Group and author of “Anywhere.”

I found myself furiously taking notes because the themes and questions that Emily shared struck me as absolutely essential for developing a winning mobile strategy.

Below are 10 of the nuggets I took away, along with my take on their implications. I hope you find this as useful as I did.

  1. Mobile increases consumer expectations of connectedness. We tend to evaluate new opportunities with a tipping point mentality, asking ourselves “when is the opportunity big enough to take seriously?” The statistics already tell us that mobile has reached that point, but I loved how Emily reframed the issue away from hard facts and toward a very clear picture of the way behavior has changed as a result of the powerful computers we carry with us in our pockets and purses. Simply put, we expect more, all the time. Instead of thinking about whether mobile is big enough, we should be thinking about what expectations we’d actually be failing to meet without a thoughtful approach to mobile in place.
  2. Connectivity makes things more useful. When thinking about the expectations consumers have, start here. What useful thing could we do if we added connectivity to existing experiences? Take an inventory of all the places your brand exists and insert a connected experience wherever it adds value.
  3. Presence at the point of need. Every product or service exists to serve a consumer need. Think about the time or place that the need manifests itself, and how mobile can play a helpful role. Whether it’s in a store, at an airport, in the home, or anyplace else, it’s a good bet that mobile could enhance the experience. What better place for the brand to exist than at the point where the need for it becomes apparent?
  4. It’s not a screen, it’s a partner. Mobile is certainly a media channel – and one that’s about to get a lot more interesting with the launch of the iAd platform – but thinking of mobile predominantly as another screen to deliver messages misses the real benefit. Instead, think of mobile as an extension of your team.
  5. Create apps that deliver persistent value. Apps are fickle things. They’re hard to find and easily forgotten once downloaded. Creating sticky apps is as difficult as creating a video you hope goes viral. How do you create something that maintains relevance? Read on to number 6…
  6. Think about problem solving. As opposed to messaging, or branding, or anything else that’s primarily driven by your brand’s objectives. If you want to be a go-to app that stays on the first screen, solve a problem for consumers in a way that makes sense for your brand.
  7. The mobile Web isn’t the mini-Internet. Ten years ago, the mantra was: “a website is not an online version of your brochure.” Today, we similarly need to remind ourselves that the mobile Web experience shouldn’t be a pocket-sized version of the desktop. Mobile sites should be created ground-up, prioritizing the information mobile consumers need. A useful (and maybe unflattering) exercise to go through is to access your company’s Web content on a mobile device. If you find a same-but-smaller version of the desktop site, you’ll know you’re not giving consumers what they need.
  8. Use mobile’s embedded tools. To differentiate from the desktop experience and develop something mobile-worthy, think about how you can use the tools that mobile devices increasingly come equipped with, including GPS, accelerometer, camera, video, speakers, etc. For thought starters, read this insanely long but very useful post by mobile guru Tomi Ahonen about the eight unique properties of the mobile device and how they can be put to good use.
  9. Don’t rely on your brand name. Brands shouldn’t assume that their heritage or prior success will lead to more of the same within mobile. Your brand can’t do the work for you; you have to provide an enriching experience…or someone else will. If the brand name was all that mattered, Zagat would be the leading source for mobile restaurant reviews, but that space has now been claimed by players like Yelp.
  10. Become an anywhere brand. Emily closed her presentation with a compelling, aspirational definition of the “anywhere brand.” She described an anywhere brand as one that appears in meaningful ways, on appropriate devices, wherever the consumers needs it.What would it take to transform your brand into an “anywhere brand”.

Building An Identity Fou Your Business Is Critical

Being successful in your chosen field depends largely on the image you have. If you were able to build an identity that speaks of hard core professionalism and expertise, then you would definitely stay in your business for many years to come.

And it all boils down to who you are and how you would want to be known as when you present your marketing tools to your customers and prospects.

What your customers and potential clients see in your promotional print tools is what leaves that positive mark. Your brand and identity rely on the first impression that your professionally designed custom business cards or business letterhead provide your clients. Hence, it is crucial that you make a great first impression. It is therefore important that your aim for your print materials should be able to convey an identity way beyond that of your design and message.

Two of the most basic identity system package that any business should have is your custom business cards and your letterhead. This is where your clients would see your logo and hence, the kind of image that you would want to communicate.

One of the most crucial elements when designing your identity system package is to learn your business inside and out. Everything there is to know about your business and your particular niche you should be able to convey. If you know your business inside out, you would be able to provide a successful system.

Here are a few questions you need to answer when preparing for your identity system package so that you can get the most from it:

  • What kind of business do you have? Do you have a niche?
  • What are your products and services?
  • How many years have you been operating? How long have you been doing it?
  • Do you have competitors? If so, who are they?
  • Who is your target market?
  • How do your target clients see your business? What about the industry you are in?
  • What is the purpose of your identity system?
  • Do you intend to focus on a particular group of your target market?

When you are done answering these questions, you can now put forward the identity you would want your clients and prospective customers to retain in their minds. Putting your best foot forward surely helps in creating that positive image of your business to your clients.

What Is Mobile Marketing?

Mobile marketing is very similar to online advertising. However, one of the differences between these two advertising concepts is that mobile marketing reaches more consumers than online marketing strategies. If you look at the numbers, more people own a mobile phone than a computer. With this data alone, it is very easy to understand what a mobile campaign can do to your business.

If you are thinking of having a text campaign for your business, it’s important to know that there are several kinds of mobile ads. You can choose to use mobile banners and posters for your ads or go for the most common cell phone marketing strategy, which is text messaging. MMS and mobile game advertisements are other forms of marketing strategies you can use for your mobile campaign.

When choosing the kind of advertising you are going to use, you may want to keep in mind your target consumer population. If the behavior of your target consumer population leans more on mobile Internet, then you can use banners and posters and even mobile game advertisements. However, if your target population is more based on text messaging, then it’s better to use text marketing to send out your advertisements. This way, you can be sure to reach the right audience more effectively and more quickly. By learning the behavior of your target consumers, you can easily make individualized advertisements or personalized messages to make your target market follow your advertisement’s call to action.

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