A lack of a system is one of the most significant obstacles for a successful Internet marketer. These systems make life a whole lot easier by streamlining the process of marketing, as well as allowing you to correctly assess the efficiency of all the measures you have taken in the past and present.
Now I won’t go into this topic in great detail as there are many Internet marketing gurus out there (both fake and authentic) that offer their systems. I do not seek to compare or contrast the innumerable number of systems out there. What I am going to discuss, however, is the basic formula beneath these systems. This will allow you to find a system out there that you know will be able to help you out in your Internet marketing endeavors. Understand the process well enough and you may even be able to create your own system from scratch!
Step 1: Define the Product
You are an Internet marketer, so it is absolutely essential that you understand what it is you are offering.
This is generally referred to as “a product,” but it could be anything at all: consumables, electronics, materials, tangible hardware, digital software, personal services, outsourcing services and all sorts of things. Anything can be a product to sell as long as people are willing to buy it.
The first thing you need to understand here is the purpose of your product. A product must serve some purpose, either real or imagined, if it will sell well in the market. A real purpose is a practical one, like how a screwdriver is needed to turn the screws by hand. An imagine purpose is one that meets a human need, like how a piece of art can evoke strong feelings in a person. Understand the purpose of your product and you will know what it will be for.
You should then evaluate your product by its relevance. Tablet PCs used to be irrelevant or unimportant to people when they were first launched, but Apple had released the iPad tablet PC in a time when people needed computing on the go. This is a glowing example of how you will have a much easier time selling a product if it is important and relevant to the times.
The last thing you need to define in your product is how well it will fare against the competition. You can consider yourself lucky if you are selling a product with little or no competition. Stiff competition, however, will require you to convince consumers that your product has something that the competition does not have.
Once you take all these factors together, you will be able to define the purpose, relevance and competitiveness of your product – all of which are vital things that will affect how you sell your product.
Step 2: Define the Demographic
Once you have defined the product you aim to sell, the next thing you need to define is the people that will most likely be willing to pay money for your product.
This is called a demographic, also known as a target audience or potential customer base. You will be working to meet the needs and wants of these people, and you will be able to sell your product much more easily if you understand them better.
The first thing you need to do is to limit the physical variables. These are the variables that physically differentiate people, like age, gender and physical condition. This will allow you to paint a solid picture of the person you would like to sell your products to.
The next thing is to work on the social variables. This is what sets people’s cultures and identities apart, like nationality, ethnicity, education and even political affiliation. These unique social variables will help you gain an idea of how these people present themselves to other people.
After social variables come financial variables. The income of your target demographic will greatly affect how they live their lives, especially since upper-class, middle-class and low-income people live very different lives indeed. Pinpoint what income bracket you want to appeal to and you will be able to know what marketing tactic will appeal to your demographic the most.
The final and perhaps most difficult variable you need to define is the language that your target demographic uses. This is not just about using the written and spoken language of a people, but their expressions and mindset as well.
Here is an example: the average American will typically come off as brash, loud and arrogant to people who are used to proper manners and etiquette, while the average Japanese will come across as fake, deceptive and pretentious to people who are used to openly speaking their mind. Such an example demonstrates the need to understand the language used by your target demographic in order to better ‘connect’ with them.
All these will help you better understand the people most likely to buy your products. You can then adjust your marketing strategies accordingly.
Step 3: Define the Methods
Once you have defined your audience, the next thing you need to do is define the Internet marketing methods you will use in your campaign.
There are countless ways to skin the proverbial cat, and there are countless ways to sell a product on the Internet. The good thing about this is that you do not need to limit yourself to just one marketing method. As long as the methods work to bring in sales, then you can mix and match to your heart’s content.
I will have to repeat that this guide focuses on helping you succeed as an Internet marketer, not on the various marketing methods, so I will just make a quick run-down of the marketing tools at your disposal:
Website creation – this is a no-brainer for any Internet marketer. Whether you create a full website complete with all the relevant perks for visitors or a simple landing page to sell a product, your website will serve as your public face on the Internet. Make it pretty and effective and it will get the job done for you.
Search engine optimization – search engines like Google, Yahoo! And Bing has these unique methods of ‘ranking’ websites based on their content and relevance to a set of keywords. You can either study up on SEO or hire a specialist to do the optimizing for you.
Email marketing – this is an oldie on Internet marketing, but is still as relevant today as it was before. Getting people to willingly sign up to an opt-in program will allow you to build a list of interested potential customers. You can then use this list to send out newsletters informing potential customers about the products you have to offer.
Article marketing – brand name is something you absolutely need to build up on the Internet, and article marketing will do just that for you. Writing a whole host of articles on a particular topic will allow you to establish yourself as an expert on a particular field; making it easier for people to trust you and be willing to pay for your products. Articles can also be used for search engine optimization, so that’s killing two birds with one stone.
Also have a look here: 47 Article Directories For Building Backlinks & Traffic
Forum marketing – posting, communicating, sharing and interacting in forums is another way to build your brand name on an existing community. Search the Internet for forums related to the product you are selling and engage with the people there. Remember to contribute useful content and actually be part of the community instead of trying too hard to sell your product. Remember: you are trying to establish yourself as an authority and an expert, not a desperate peddler.
Must Read: 60 Top High PR Dofollow Forum sites List
Blog marketing – blogs are a great way for you to reach out and communicate with people, and they are pretty well-loved by the search engines as well. A blog is something like a personal journal where people can react to your posts, so it is not a good place to push for sales. Think of it as a platform where you build trust with existing and potential customers.
Social network marketing – Facebook and Twitter are like mini-blogs, except massive in scope. Their minimalist nature coupled with their networking capabilities makes them ideal places to make announcements and shout-outs. They are also great tools for getting quick feedback and opinions from people. There are, however, correct and incorrect ways of using social networks. Be careful what you say, otherwise you could have your mistakes instantly broadcasted across a wide network of people.
Viral marketing – content that people will want to share is called viral. It can be a striking photograph, it can be funny sound clip, it can be a sad video or it can be a witty blurb. What matters at the end of the day is that people willingly share the content and make a connection to the product you are selling. Again, there is a correct and incorrect way of creating viral content – especially since people are less willing to share content when they know somebody will profit from it.
Link exchanging – working together with other Internet marketers can be a very useful and lucrative affair, especially when you agree to exchange links to each other’s websites. This link exchange effectively allows you to tap into each other’s customer bases, but will only be possible if you work with people who complement your business instead of compete directly with it.
Personal marketing – real-life events like parties, seminars, and social gatherings are excellent opportunities to market your business, even if that business is based on the Internet. This is where it pays to maintain a social circle in real-life, and you would be surprised how effective this can be.
These are but a handful of the Internet marketing tools at your disposal, especially since the list will grow much longer if you are willing to put money into the whole affair. Doing so will give you access to pay-per-click advertising, banner advertising, classified advertising, link purchasing and lead purchasing. You can even hire other marketers to market your product for you, a system called affiliate marketing.
Step 4: Review the Methods
Once you implement your methods of choice for marketing a product, you will then have to take a long, hard look at which ones work and which ones don’t.
This basically means you will have to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing methods. You have to check if each one meets your marketing goals and lives up to your expectations. The problem here, though, is that you need to know how a method failed or succeeded. Failure to do this will result in adopting or rejecting a marketing method without finding out why in the first place.
In order to objectively evaluate a marketing method, you first have to rate it based on three criteria:
This is the single most obvious criterion for evaluating a marketing method’s effectiveness. It is relatively easy to keep track of the number of sales made within a period of time, and comparing this month’s profits to last month’s profits is a relatively simple task. The numbers alone, however, are not the only thing that determines your long-term success as a marketer.
Happy customers make for good advertising, while unhappy customers can make your life much more difficult. It is always important that you get the feedback of your customers, especially since your success as a marketer hinges on your ability to meet the needs and wants of your customers to their satisfaction. Reaching out and communicating with your customers, then becomes essential in reviewing the efficiency of your marketing methods.
What works today won’t work tomorrow, which is why you always, always have to keep track of how well your methods bring customers into your fold. The same marketing methods can only work for so long, so keep checking back on how they perform and modify them as needed.
Remember that some marketing methods work better for a mature product that’s been on the market for some time, while some methods become less effective the more people know about the product. Keep this in mind and you’ll be able to evaluate the sustainability of your marketing methods.