Marketing and Advertising are at the Core of Online Business
Once you have your website and monetization mechanism set up, the bulk of the activities that you will be required to do after that would be continuous promotion in the form of advertising and marketing (free or paid), either online or offline in the real world.
Although some offline promotional methods like TV and radio can also be effective, they tend to be much more expensive than online advertising. We usually prefer to use online advertising because it is relatively cheap and in some instances even free. Another good thing about online advertising is that the results are easier to measure so you are better able to monitor your expenses and optimize your strategies for even better performance.
Different online businesses require different strategies for promotion. Not all promotional methods and techniques will be effective for every business. A major reason why many people fail at online business is that they do not properly understand the correct promotional methods to apply for the business that they are doing. In fact, many newbies who do not realize the importance of advertising and promotion in online business don’t do it at all or even if they do, don’t do it well.
Advertising on the Internet
Advertising on the Internet falls under the following broad categories:
Direct email advertising: Very cheap, almost free. This involves building a database or a list containing the email address of prospective customers who have visited your website or indicated interest in something you have to offer. When you have built a list of email addresses, you start sending them periodic emails advertising your website or products/services.
This is a very effective form of advertising because the list building and email sending process can be automated and you can advertise different things repeatedly to your list. In fact, direct email advertising is so effective that there is a common saying in the online business world that “the money is in the list”.
Content based advertising (or Content marketing): In internet parlance, content refers to any information, whether in the form of written words (also known as text), audio, video, e-books or other downloads that is contained in a website. Content based advertising relies on creating different kinds of free content that will be attractive to visitors and people searching for information online.
The purpose is to lure them, attract their attention, build their trust in you and subconsciously persuade them to do business with you. Some content based marketing models also enable you to make money when people click on some types of links contained within your content. Most successful websites, blogs, online magazines and forums are good examples of content based advertising. Creating free e-books containing your advert or links is also another effective strategy in content based promotion and advertising.
Paid advertising: Cheap but not free. Paying for adverts on websites like Facebook and Google is the fastest and most powerful way of promoting a website and getting visitor traffic. Although it is not free, it is relatively cheap and affordable compared to other forms of advertising. Online paid advertising also has many other benefits that make it a very good tool for online business promotion.
Social media marketing (or Viral marketing): This is the promotion of your business through people who share your links and products with their friends via websites known as social networks (e.g Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus etc). Social advertising can bring lots of free traffic but requires time to build up. Social marketing is a relatively new field which emerged within the last few years and only recently gained prominence in Nigeria due to the rising popularity of Facebook.
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