Boosting ROI: Internet Marketing on a Shoestring
This article was contributed by Michael
Weinstein, a veteran entrepreneur and Internet
marketer. For more information about how he can help you
drive more traffic to your web site and increase your
online revenue, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or
visit his site at www.PrimarySystems.com.
So now that you have a web site, how do you get people
to find it? More importantly, how can you drive people
to your site when you're on a budget?
Search engine marketing, email marketing, affiliate
marketing and banner advertising all require long-term
investment and planning. While we're all aware of the
necessity to optimize our sites for the search engines,
establish in-bound links, manage cost-per- click
campaigns, send out press releases, acquire email
addresses and join affiliate programs, these strategies,
even when executed properly, can still take time to
produce tangible results.
However, in my experience as an Internet marketer, I've
discovered several cost-effective strategies that can
help drive traffic to your site today.
Case in point: While working with a startup company that
sells cosmetic products online, I took the liberty of
mailing a letter along with some samples to a local
doctor who is also a syndicated newspaper columnist in
the hopes of helping the company gain exposure and
possibly even an endorsement.
In my letter, I introduced the company while suggesting
that the enclosed products might be a great help to
readers who wanted to remove unwanted facial and body
hair and prevent the hair from growing back. Of course,
I made sure to mention where his readers could purchase
the company's products for only $7.98 apiece should the
doctor decide to mention them in his column.
Sure enough, a reader wrote to the doctor two weeks
later asking him for his thoughts on popular hair
removal products. In his response, the good doctor was
kind enough to mention the company's web site and the
products that I had sent him.
Within only a few days, CosmeticLabSales.com rang
up over $250,000 in new business and, months later, the
orders are still rolling in. As a result of the
strategy's success, the company now has plenty of money
to implement longer term and more sustainable online
marketing strategies while continuing to develop its
Here are some other tips to help you drive free and
low-cost traffic to your web site:
* Make sure you have plenty of relevant and "keyword
dense" content on your web site
* Start your own blog and publish it in popular blog
search engines like Technorati
* Post comments on other blogs regularly (without
becoming a blog spammer!)
* Contact popular bloggers and ask them to mention your
web site on their own blogs
* Contribute articles to article directories
* Participate in forums (online discussions)
While free traffic is great, it's also essential to
conduct paid online marketing campaigns to take your
company's efforts to the next level.
* SEO: Use link building to improve your organic
(natural) search engine rankings. Although this can take
months and cost as much as $10,000 a month to
effectively improve your search engine rankings, most
online consumers shop on web sites listed on the first
page of Google or Yahoo. Your company
needs to be there.
* Email Marketing: Build opt-in email lists and
send out offers and/or newsletters on a regular basis.
While email marketing services typically charge around
$400 per month to send up to 100,000 monthly emails and
can exceed $2,000 per month to target 1 million
addresses, email marketing still continues to be one of
the most cost-effective forms of online marketing there
* Affiliate Marketing: If you're looking for a
way to test new products or services, consider joining
an affiliate network where thousands of online resellers
will gladly market your products on their own sites in
return for a small commission. While some of the more
popular affiliate networks like Commission Junction,
Performics and Linkshare do charge
significant upfront fees to join, there are also
affiliate networks that require only a nominal setup
charge such as AffiliateTraction and
Remember: The key to any successful marketing campaign
is to test, measure and test again. There's no better
time to get started than now!
Internet Ad Spend Holds Relatively Steady
AzoogleAds Agrees to Pay Florida AG $1 Million
How to Create a Business Plan
The Vest Pocket Consultant (Rosalind's Blog)
Last week, I stopped by the Hilton to walk the
ad:tech show and take the pulse of the
While the rest of the economy may be feeling pain,
you wouldn't have known it from the
party-like-it's-1999 atmosphere on the show floor.
Hands down, it was the biggest and most crowded
ad:tech I've seen since the dot com bubble burst in
2001. In fact, the aisles were so crowded that even
getting close to the booths wasn't easy.
But that wasn't the only difference I saw at this
year's ad:tech. Back in 2004 when the Internet
marketing business was just beginning to recover
from the crash, most of the exhibitors were touting
search engine marketing -- search engine
optimization, in particular. Media was a dirty word
back then, and the ad networks and publishers that
sold media had been banished to obscurity, if they
were still in business at all.
At this year's New York ad:tech, the ad networks
were back in a big way. While Google had by
far the biggest booth (and a fat press kit promoting
its forays into repping print and broadcast media),
pay-for- performance networks like AzoogleAds,
Commission Junction, CPA Empire, Hydra, Ingenio
and ValueClick were strutting their stuff,
too. GPS-enabled mobile advertising networks popped
up their heads as well.
The show's biggest news came from Facebook
CEO Mark Zuckerberg who announced Facebook
Ads, an ad system for companies to deliver
targeted ads in a social context that encourages
Facebook users to share marketing messages with
friends. "Pushing your message out to people is no
longer good enough," Zuckerberg said. It's the
referral from someone you trust that's the key.
Twelve major advertisers have said they planned to
test the Facebook system, including Blockbuster,
CBS, Chase, The Coca-Cola Co., Saturn, Sony
Pictures, The New York Times Co. and Verizon.
But this doesn't mean that the Internet marketing
business is out of the woods just yet. Facebook and
other social networks face a backlash from what many
users may view as an invasion of privacy. And
AzoogleAds, a leading affiliate network, got a black
eye last week when the company agreed to pay $1
million to Florida's new CyberFraud Task Force
following an investigation of the firm's online
offers for mobile ringtones. According to an article
on ClickZ, Florida's attorney general alleged
that consumers had been victimized by deceptive
online marketing practices that induced them to sign
up for paid services without their clear consent.
AzoogleAds has not admitted wrongdoing and referred
to the $1 million payment as "voluntary."
As a result, lead-gen companies like Azoogle will
have to change their tune from headline grabbers
like "Free ringtones" to something a little tamer
like "Free ringtones with paid monthly subscription
of $9.99 per month," ClickZ reported. The real cost
of the offer must also appear next to specific
registration form fields. As the Federal Trade
Commission pursues its own investigation into
the Internet's lead-generation business, the heat is
on for the industry to clean up its act.
And that's not a bad thing. Quite the opposite --
what's good for online consumers is ultimately
what's better for online marketers and publishers.
And a clean slate is exactly what the Internet
marketing industry needs as it matures into a
mainstream advertising tool.
Until next time!
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