Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Marketing Your Online Business

If you have an online business, chances are your customers are going to be online users and focusing your marketing efforts online is the most logical move. However, while the bulk of your marketing efforts may go to online resources, do not forget the offline customers as well. Many may not react to online marketing but finding your website in a print or broadcast media advertisement may have more integrity with some users.

As people continue to be bombarded with online advertising through pop-up windows, email ads and advertisements playing on the internet whenever they open a new page, they tend to become immune to seeing them. Even news videos offered free of charge are often preceded by a commercial and most people tune them out and watch the play clock until the news footage they requested begins to play.

Research is beginning to show what most web users have known for years that graphic intense pages that take a long time to open, usually never see the light of day. Even with broadband connections some pages can take up to 20 or 30 seconds to load, exceeding the patience level of most want-it-now internet users. It does not matter how great the page looks once it opens, if no one hangs around long enough to see it, it was a waste of time and money to build it.

Flash presentations became the big thing a few years ago and many webmasters were quick to jump on the bandwagon, but with the length of time needed for these pages to load made most web users reluctant to sit and watch a page unfold. Low graphic content and heavy text with a simple message open quicker, increasing the chance a person may actually look at the page.

Keeping the message on your landing page simple will also help people decide if they have any interest in going any further. The first thing people see must relate to their interest and clearly explain what they are going to find on your website. If the page opens instantly and there is nothing grabbing the users attention, the page will close just as fast.

One of the most used means of internet marketing is the use of affiliate programs. With most forms of advertising you pay for a certain number of exposures and hope someone finds the advertisement interesting enough to visit your site. Then you hope they buy something. With affiliate marketing, you only pay for ad placement if a sale is made, usually a small percentage paid as a commission on the amount of the sale.

Numerous websites will host advertising as an affiliate, placing an ad you had designed and when visitors to that site click on your ad and make a purchase, the website owner is paid a commission. You get the advertising free until a sale is made. Additionally, the site becomes a link back to your site, improving your sites position on search engines, drawing more traffic to your site as well.

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