Internet marketing has the great advantage of low barriers/cost for entry. For as little as $50 and about 15 minutes you can be serving up pay per click (PPC) ads, with very little effort. This makes it very attractive for companies to try it out.
But you can’t really just try it out – not if you want to make it work. You’ve got to make a commitment; Internet marketing is similar to traditional marketing in that it is difficult to predict what will work in your target markets and what won’t. As with anything else in business, there are no guarantees of success.
Broaden Your Approach
As well, you don’t want to pin your hopes on the one Internet marketing activity you chose to try, because if the results are not as you expected, you’ll be disillusioned. Just like traditional marketing, communicating your message in more than one medium and multiple times will increase the probability of making the sale. Thankfully many online and offline elements work well together to achieve this. Along with a commitment, investment in a number of upfront activities will greatly improve success:
1. Research into keywords and user behaviour – These are staples in all Internet marketing activities; know them well.
2. The advice of experts – You don’t need them on your payroll and you don’t need them on every campaign, but an expert can help you choose the right Internet marketing tactics and ensure everything is set up correctly. As well they can interpret the campaign results. Click throughs (number of clicks to an advertisement), bounce rates (number of visitors who leave your site after viewing one page) and exit pages (pages that users are leaving your website from) can be a bit daunting. You may be able to judge if results are good or bad but more importantly, do you know what action to take next in order to improve?
3. Correct set up of analytics tools – To properly set up filters and segment your website traffic statistics to get at the data that is most important to your business is not straightforward, especially if multiple websites are involved. Many businesses don’t set up tracking correctly and work with inaccurate data.
4. Landing page templates – These are pages on your site specific to a campaign or promotion that people arrive at when they click from a PPC ad, online ad or a print campaign. A template based approach lets you reuse your investment for future campaigns.
5. Email template – If email is on your roster- and it should be since it’s cost effective and can be highly targeted – invest in 1 or 2 great templates. With a base template, all you need to do is swap in new content each time you want to send to your list. All of your emails will be consistently branded and polished if you take the time to do it right.
Your Return on Investment
These set-up activities will pay off in the long run. Yes, it’s more upfront cost, but once it’s all in place, subsequent campaigns will be mostly execution and reporting. And you don’t have to include their full cost in the Return on Investment (ROI) calculation – you can amortize them over a year or more to more accurately represent the value of your campaigns.
Approach Internet marketing with the knowledge that it is a cost-effective, flexible set of options to reach your market. But know that just because you can measure results, there is no guarantee of good results. By making an investment in the foundation activities and taking advantage of the intelligence that measurement provides, each campaign teaches you about the market and your user’s behaviour so subsequent campaigns can be that much stronger – every time.