Internet Marketing Strategy For Tough Times

As we enter into what many enlightened souls are calling the most dire economic times since the Great Depression, online marketers need all the help they can get – regardless of the source. You have probably heard of Google; but chances are almost 100% certain, you have never heard of me. Lucky you!

Actually, the only thing you need to know about me is that I am a full-time online affiliate marketer and I make a very comfortable living from the web. Last year (2008), was my best year online so far, which left me scratching my head and saying what recession?

But that may be something of a false positive, as I will never know how much I could have made if the economic times had been good instead of bad. Plus, judging from my own limited experience, selling and marketing online may not have been hit as hard as those businesses in the real world in 2008, since consumers are doing everything to save a penny and shopping online has become a much cheaper alternative for many.

As we enter into these uncertain times, online marketers and webmasters need all the help they can get. Recently, Google mailed a small booklet to its Adsense users; in it Google gives “6 Top Tactics For Tough Times.” It is obviously referring to its Adwords PPC (Pay Per Click) program and clients but Google’s advice can be applied to your general online marketíng.

These tactics include: (quoting directly from the Google mail-out)

1. Focus your ads on low prices and savíngs.
2. Use Value-related keywords.
3. Ensure your ad groups are targeted and relevant.
4. Don’t waste money on irrelevant clicks.
5. Make it easy for customers to buy.
6. Focus your money on your high-performers. (End Quote)

Sound advice and I especially like the idea of focusing your marketing on low prices and savíngs mainly because people want bargains in tight economic times. I also like the fact that you must make it easy for your customers to buy… something as simple as putting your “order/buy link” above the fold can improve your conversions.

Also, targeting value-related keywords, is a very effective marketing tactic. Relating your keywords to “discounts, bargains, cheap, inexpensive, lowest prices…” will help improve your sales. So too, is catering to phrases that suggest the searcher is in a buying mind-set: gifts, presents, gift ideas, wedding gifts… shoppers searching those words are ready to buy.

Plus, focusing your time and money on your high-performers is solid advice. Sometimes succeeding online is simply finding a market niche that works/performs – then running with it. Once you have found the keywords and products that perform well with your site or sites – focus the majority of your time and energy developing those niche markets.

Now here are some of my most effective marketing tactics that have worked for me and tactics I will be relying on in the coming years – even in these hard times.

Make Keywords Your #1 Goal: This is the single most important factor for my own online success. You have to make keywords and ranking high for them in all the search engines your main objective if you’re marketing online. Might sound obvious, but many beginning marketers don’t truly understand how important getting top rankings for your chosen keywords will be in your online success.

Target less competitive long tail (multi-worded) keywords to get started and slowly work your way up to more popular keywords. Center your marketing around getting those first page listings (Top Five) for your keywords. Achieve this goal, (especially in Google) and it will be almost impossible for you not to succeed and make a profit with your online marketing even in bad times.

Autoresponders, Líst Building & Online Relationships: Keeping in contact with potential buyers is mission critical. You must use autoresponders to send follow-up messages to build trustful relationships with your potential customers.

So building a large contact líst is essential. That’s why the social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace can be very effective marketing tools for building this online contact and trust. Truth be told, all these social networks are, more or less, just glorified autoresponders and líst builders!

Your Unique Selling Position: You must give potential customers some very good reasons for them to buy from you or your links. Offering special bonuses and discounts works wonders for your sales. Some of my most successful pages simply consist of coupons and discounts offered by different companies. If buyers can save $100’s OFF by buying thru your links, they will.

Always remember, besides looking for the best deal or bargain, consumers are also looking for a quality product. If you’re into affiliate marketing, only pick top quality products to promote. Picking top brand names also makes it easier to make sales. So too is only promoting popular online merchants like Amazon which can be an effective marketing strategy. Most importantly, always remember consumers are also looking for INFORMATION on the products they are considering buying, give them helpful information and you will succeed.

Go With The Flow: If you’re marketing online, you have to follow what’s working for you. Most times you will try countless ideas or tactics – once you have found a process or system that works, really work it or scale it up. Making your first dollar is the hardest, but once you do something that earns you that dollar, just repeat that “something” a thousand times.

Tracking what works is very important so keep a close eye on your site’s traffic logs to find where your customers are coming from. Something like Google Analytics is simply priceless for “fine-tuning” your site and your internet marketing. It will tell you what’s working and what’s not.

Target Recurring or Residual Income: One of my most effective marketing strategies is to promote and sell products and services that give you a recurring or residual income. Make one sale and get paíd for years or for the life of that referred client. Concentrate on services like web-hosting, telephone, marketing programs… once customers sign up to these services, they will likely keep them for years. I am still earning income from sales I made five years ago.

Building a large residual income could be the key to surviving in tough economic times. This will be income which will carry you or your business over the rough patches since it is based upon past performance and not on your current selling situation.

Automate Everything: The real beauty of marketing online and using computers… you can automate just about every process in your marketing system. Make it a point of automating everything you do… use autoresponders to follow-up with potential buyers, use automatic check-outs, automatic reporting… just set-up your whole internet marketing system that runs itself with little or no supervision from you. This will free up your time to concentrate all your efforts on marketing/promoting your site or product. Besides, nothing beats coming back from a vacatíon and finding out you have earned the cost of your vacatíon and then some – all the while you were lying in the sun and miles away from any computer.

Find The Top Online Marketers: If you’re just starting with internet marketing, you need to find the top successful marketers and “model” what they’re doing. This is relatively a new industry and you have to seek out the experts and pioneers who have set the groundwork. When I first started marketing online, I was quite fortunate to come into contact with some web marketing heavy-weights such as Marlon Sanders, Ken Evoy, Neil Shearing… and SEO experts like Brad Callen and Aaron Wall.

Make Google Your Friend: Whether you love or hate Google doesn’t matter, you just have to make it your number one ally in your online marketíng. Google has just about conquered the worl
d-wide search market, Yahoo and MSN are still important, but Google is the deal-breaker when you’re selling stuff online. Consumers have enormous respect for Google, a number one listing for a lucrative keyword simply means money in the bank.

I have found using Google Search, Google Adwords, and Google Adsense have played a more than significant role in the success of my own online sites and marketing. Google tools such as Google Analytics, Google Alerts, Webmaster Tools… all have been invaluable and an enormous help in achieving my “web-based” lifestyle and livelihood. Of course, Google has also driven me around the bend more times than I can count, but no one is perfect. Besides, when it’s all said and done, anyone marketing on the web must truly embrace Google if they want to reach their highest level possible.

Titus Hoskins (c) 2009

Go Guardian eCommerce!


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