Following are 5 Tips For Online Marketing Success...
1. Thou Shall Have a Clear Vision and Goal
There's an age old proverb by Thomas Edison that famously states:
"He who fails to plan, plans to fail."
Truer words haven't ever been spoken. You need to have a plan before you start a business. Why is a business plan so important? Because a properly constructed business plan is like a roadmap to your goals - a GPS if you will.
Having a business plan will give you a much clearer vision of your goals and objectives, and will keep you on track and enable you to operate more efficiently, and achieve your goals more expeditiously.
One important caveat about business plans: They aren't written in stone, and more than likely, you will have to change or adjust your plan multiple times along the way to keep yourself on track. That's just part of the process.
If you need help writing a business plan, you can obtain a free business plan template from BPlans.com.
2. Thou Shall Educate Thyself on the Fundamentals of Marketing
Take time to educate yourself. Does it really matter if you build that website now, or a few months from now when you're more prepared? Of course it doesn't.
Starting a business is like building a house. You start with a strong foundation, and then you build on it. Well, in business, being knowledgeable about basic marketing fundamentals is your strong foundation. You just have to build on it.
That means taking the time to learn how to do things the right way. Be patient, and prepare yourself for success. By "failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." Study and apply basic marketing fundamentals.
Slow down, and read a few marketing books. To get started, I highly recommend Web Marketing All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies. It's actually eight books in one, and is written by multiple authors. It's perfect for newbies, and touches all the bases including...
* Establishing a Web Presence
* Search Engine Optimization
* Web Analytics
* E-Mail Marketing
* Blogging and Podcasting
* Social Media Marketing
* Online Advertising & Pay-Per-Click
* Mobile Web Marketing
3. Thou Shall Learn and Implement Basic SEO Techniques
I don't consider myself an SEO expert by any means, but I've taught myself enough basic SEO, so that I can at least optimize my own website well enough to generate a decent amount of organic (free) traffic. Learning how to optimize your website should be one of the very first things you do. You don't need to become an expert. Simply focus your attention on basic SEO techniques. For example, make sure your title tags contain your primary keywords.
Also, make sure your description tags are properly optimized. And don't cram your web pages with keywords. Sprinkle them in intermittently... naturally. A web page stuffed with keywords will be interpreted as spamming by the search engines, and your pages WILL be penalized as a result. And don't keep using the same keywords over and over again. Using different variations of your keywords is the best approach. It looks more natural to the search engines and will give you a much larger keyword footprint.
Believe it or not, these simple but basic steps really do make a difference. One of my favorite resources for learning basic search engine optimization techniques is Jill Whalen's, HighRankings.com.
4. Thou Shall Advertise and Promote Thy Business Consistently
Free advertising methods such as article marketing, forum marketing, social media marketing, etc., are all proven traffic generators - provided they're properly executed. But it's also important to have a sufficient amount of money set aside for paid advertising. You will have much better sales conversions if you combine proven, free advertising methods like the aforementioned, with laser-targeted, paid advertising, such as pay-per-click, ezine advertising, text link advertising, etc.
And don't overlook offline advertising methods either. For example, college newspapers, community shopper newspapers, car magnets, local business journals, and flyers. The most important thing is to advertise and promote your business consistently.
5. Thou Shall Give Customers Easy and Convenient Payment Options
Believe it or not, as popular as it may be, not everybody likes PayPal. So be sure to give your customers alternative payment options.
In addition, make it easy for customers to get from the product page to the checkout page. Don't make your customers jump through hoops, clicking thru page after page after page to give you their money. If you do, they will become frustrated and abandon your shopping cart. It's estimated that 71% of shoppers abandon shopping carts in the middle of a purchase.
How easy is the buying process on your site? How easy is it for customers to quickly find what they need and checkout? More importantly, could you make the process even easier?
To find out, have a few of your friends test your website for shopping user-friendliness. Have them make a small purchase as a simple test. (Don't worry, you can cancel the transaction on your end later).
Getting some honest feedback on the user-friendliness of your website's buying process is a win-win situation for everybody. You make shopping on your website easier and more pleasant for your customers. And improvements you make in that regard will boost your sales conversions.