The advantages available on the Internet for small businesses are excellent. Small businesses already have lower overhead than larger businesses. With the Internet at their fingertips, small businesses can access the world with their products and services and even compete with the big guns.
When preparing your Internet marketing plan, it’s important to consider the following elements: your target market, your budget, and your schedule of implementation. We’ll start by examining these elements and then going into strategies of creative Internet marketing.
Your Target Market
When it comes to the Internet there are many markets available to you. Is your product or service something that can reach numerous markets, or does your business have something very specific for a targeted market? By determining your specific Internet market, you can then determine the best way to locate lists, websites, chat channels and other means of reaching your targeted market.
Once you determine the exact group you want to reach, it’s important to plan your marketing strategy for short-term and long-term advertising. This takes us to the issue of your budget.
Your Internet Budget
All small businesses need to have an Internet budget and expense plan. This budget should include short-term and long-term Internet marketing costs. From product/service websites to blog sites and banner ads, your budget should be very specific and cover as many ideas and possibilities available to you. Do your research and find the costs. Then evaluate your research and determine which Internet marketing strategies will work best for you within your budget.
Schedule of Implementation
As you determine the exact course you will pursue online, next you need to determine your schedule of implementing those strategies. Some marketing strategies work best during certain months or seasons. It’s a good idea to form a six-month marketing strategy plan and review it at the end of the six months to see how well it did.
Creative Internet Marketing Strategies
A website with free offers and incentives — If you don’t already have a website, you definitely need one. Don’t make your website like everyone else’s. Instead, have a website that offers free products or services and/or coupons and incentives. These specials can attract the needed traffic and interest to keep your potential customers coming back. Offer something new and different monthly or quarterly. Invite them back.
Start an Ezine – Ezines build credibility and allow you to communicate regularly with your customers and potential clients. They also provide a channel through which you can promote your products and services. For the small business, this is priceless!
Purchase banner ads and other types of ad space -– It’s important to establish an image, a message, and a theme. What better way to get that information out and attention than by advertising via banner ads, popup ads, or ads in other ezines?
Hook up with search engines – be sure to get your website registered with as many search engines as possible.
Bulletin boards, chat rooms, and personal blogs — are great ways to let others know who you are and what your business is about. The more information and articles you generate, the more likely you are to get hits on your websites and sales on your products. Offer your new visitors from these sources a free gift or free booklet. Keep in mind that incentives go a long way.
Marketing strategies change with the times and with new trends. Keep up-to-date with what’s “hot and what’s not” online by subscribing to Internet magazines (hard copy or online), tech and marketing journals and any newsletters on the subject. Review and evaluate what’s working and invest your money in those channels.