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Database Marketing

Email/Newsletter marketing is the method of promoting products or services to a group/database of people using electronic mail (email). In reality we can say that any email sent from a business to a customer is a form of Email Marketing.

According to a recent study by the Radicati Group, there are around 1.9 billion email users worldwide, with a projected increase to 2.4 billion by 2014. Recent growth within the Smart Phone industry means that email users will now receive their email on the go, creating another perfect opportunity to spread news and promotions on demand.

As such, it is vitally important to create a communication channel with your customers, website visitors or newsletter subscribers and having the ability to collect and store your customer and potential customers personal information is a must.

Create regular newsletters and deliver them to your database with information about your products and services, send special offers to your existing customers to generate sales from existing customers. They have already trusted you and your business once so you have their attention and can be become repeat customers if you are expanding your product or service lines.

Directory Listings

As we briefly discussed in my search engine optimization article, the internet is still growing at an incredible rate with new users, websites and technologies. Finding what you are looking for with a search engine is sometimes a difficult task, usually resulting in you landing at an industry specific niche portal that has an online directory and then finding what you are looking for from there.

By the very nature of an online directory, users are extremely targeted in their searches and subsequently will be of a higher quality than raw search engine traffic or any generic link strategy you might employ.

There are thousands of online directories, some paid, some free, where you can list your website link with a title, description and contact details. Obviously listing with the free directory services is a worthwhile task as it will in some cases vastly improve your back link rating and you will also generate good quality direct traffic due to the targeted source.

Depending on your budget you might want to select a few of the paid directory services to boost your traffic and quality back link ranking although take some time to research the directory service to make sure that it will fit your needs and attract the audience you desire.

As a guide, expect to pay around £30 to £50 per year for a mid-range directory and up to £200 per year for quality branded directory listings. If you have any internal tracking solutions to analyse your inbound traffic, possibly setup individual landing pages for each listing so you can see the performance of each over the course of time and gauge if it is worth continuing your listing the following year.

Reach A Global Audience

Viral Marketing is exactly as it sounds – Marketing that spreads like a virus and reaches its potential audience through 3rd party (often forwarded by friends) distribution.

It can be used to increase brand recognition, brand awareness and brand positioning, and relies on engaging users by finding a common trigger point, usually a comedic element.

Hotmail provides us with a perfect example of how effective this can be. Being one of the first free Web-Mail email service providers, Hotmail wanted to get a foothold in the market. The plan was simple. They continued to provide users with a free email address and associated services. At the footer of each email message sent, they attached a simple tag promoting their free service.

The message was read by the recipient and hotmail’s name and service propelled globally, now offering email services to over 360 million users.

A viral marketing strategy is simple. Hotmail chose to include one line of text at the end of every outgoing email message, spreading the Hotmail name like a virus. Other campaigns can be run using, >Video clips, Interactive Flash games, Advergames, e-Books, Branded Software, Images, Text Messages.

A more recent viral marketing attempt was performed by Old Spice, the men’s toiletry brand, who filmed some videos to promote their products. These were uploaded onto the internet and within 36 hours the videos had been viewed an incredible 23 million people, the fastest growing online viral campaign ever.

Anyone considering a viral marekting campaign will need to get in tune with thier creative side with some quality content to distribute, understand the audience you are targeting and then reach them with multi channel delivery.

These are the basic principles of Viral Marketing. There are more advanced information and case studies that you can read about in our other articles.

Social Media

Ever heard of Web 2.0?

If you have, you are already aware of the growing phenomenon that is Social Media. A Web 2.0 site allows its users and visitors to interact and collaborate with each other in a social media dialogue.

Like, Post, Share, and Tweet. These are some of the many words we associate with Social Media. The two biggest Social Networking sites have over a billion active accounts between then (Facebook now has 845 million active users and Twitter a further 175 million). The business potential here is huge. Imagine a realistic opportunity to promote your products or services to that amount of people, and more importantly, it’s free to do it!

As with anything, Social Media also carries its weight in disadvantages. We have already said that there are over a billion registered accounts between Facebook and Twitter. The problem here is that people who have negative experiences with a particular business can also freely state their point of view, often destroying reputation with only a few words but plenty of exposure, but if used correctly it can add a great deal of power and reach to your overall marketing strategy.

Lets assume that you create a facebook and twitter account for your website. You will place links on your page identifying to your users that they can easily communicate with you by adding you to their list of friends or followers. With facebook, each time a users joins your page, all of their friends will know about it, and if interested you have their eyes too!

Every announcement, news article or feature that you publish will then have an eagerly awaiting audience ready to react, comment or share with their friends, expanding your reach. The more friends or followers you have, the wider your network reaches and expands.

Social Media Facts

22% of the time spent online in the US is related to Social Networking
Twitter processes around 40 million Tweets per day
One in four social media users are aged 65 or over, a increase of 100% during 2010
Facebook tops the Google Searches for weekly traffic in the US
Social Media is now the #1 activity on the web, overtaking Pornography
If Facebook was a country, it would be the third largest
YouTube is the second largest search engine online

If you decide to place yourself in the social media space, engage your audience and create a community presence and deliver regular quality news, articles and relative content. Don't assume that a social media platform will deliver direct sales for you, but used correctly it gives you the platform to position your product, website or brand infront of a truly global audience.

Take a slow and measured approach to learn the ropes and build your social media campaigns and remember how many people could be watching!

Pay Per Click (PPC) Marketing

PPC marketing concerns three parties:

people click on paid adverts more than any form of digital advertising. Generally we don't mind being advertised to as long as it's relevant to what we have searched for.

Search engines are forced to cater to searchers and advertisers at the same time. The engine itself will provide for users by displaying relevant quality search results, while its revenues come from the advertisers. 

They are offered a unique means of reaching a targeted audiences.

What is PPC Marketing?

Pay per click marketing revolves around keywords. Keyword research, combination, and organization is the key to creating successful AdWords campaigns. Search engines reward advertisers who can use effective keywords to create intelligently targeted PPC campaigns by delivering targeted visitors that click on your listings.

Dont assume that your ads will be shown purely on Googles search results pages as Google use a network of publishers to display ads for them. We've all heard of class action suits against Google and other paid search engine listing comnpanies by companies that discovered that they were paying for fake traffic, thus highlighting some serious issues surrounding the pay per click ad industry.

Google, although it says strongly vets ll publishers websites to ensure that the quality of traffic is as good as possible, but the reality as with any industry worth a great deal of money, it becomes a target for abuse. Coupled with the fact that technology is fast moving and you get a recipie for some disasters so if you do spend a great deal of money on your pay per click campaigns, think seriously about tracking your traffic to understand more about the visitors that it generates and your return on investment.

It would be prudent to make the potential customers, the people searching a focal point of your keyword research when preparing a campaign. Tailoring your PPC advertising on actual keyword traffic data and conversion rates instead of guesswork and hunches will put you in a much greater position to profit and beat your competition.

Offline Marketing

Two thirds of all people who search for a product online are driven to do so by exposure to some form of offline marketing. Television, magazines and newspapers, flyer and word of mouth influence well over 80%.

The iProspect study asked users what encouraged them to search online for a certain company, product, service or slogan. The results were: TV: 35%, Word of Mouth: 24%, Magazine/Newspaper/Flyer: 22%, Radio: 13%, Billboard: 6%

So there is a clear link between offline and online. How you take advantage of the above offline methods depends on your industry and product.

What forms of offline marketing can you utilise to drive more potential customers to your online business?

TV campaigns are extremely expensive when considering the professional production and network airtime costs. Without doubt, we'd all like to deliver our message to people sitting in thier own homes on mass for maximum exposure. Depending on the network you choose to deliver your message, you can reach millions of people and have thier attention for 10, 20 or 30 seconds. You will need deep pockets for TV, so probably only a realistic opportunity unless you are targeting a specific local market and can strike a great deal with a local TV station.

Word of Mouth is always a great channel to exploit, but you must have identified a unique selling point and then be able to deliver that message to your first round audience, and actively encourage them to tell thier friends. We've all had friends that cant wait to tell us where they got a great deal, saved money or bought the latest and greatest product. Group comforters always encourage people to follow them and do the same as them, so they can feel good about thier own decisions and purchases.

Publishing channels such as Magazine/Newspaper/Flyers need careful consideration and a great deal will depend on what industry and market you operate in. Glossy big title magazines and national newspapers tend to used more for brand awarenes and positioning, whereas niche market magazines and local newspapers will provide a platform to deliver a more direct sales/call to action message. Flyers are always a good way to start any offline marketing campaign as the flyer can be dropped through an entire town or regions letter box or distributed as an insert through a 3rd party such as a magazine, newsletter etc.

Radio is currently in 4th place as a branding delivery medium, but is showing signs of gaining traction on the print media channel above it. With more people now listening to digital radio on thier computers and TV's than on an actual radio itself, the power of internet technology giving birth to a global on-demand services means that you can reach your audience through audio message. Again, radio commercials can be be cost prohibative to many looking at national and top rated stations, but you can start with some local campaigns as a test and then roll out regionally once you have fine tuned your campaign.

Billboards are hanging in there and most productive placed with the greater footfall. For billboard advertising to be successfull, you have to understand who your audience will be and then deliver your message that will make an impression. Due to the static nature of billboards, demographics of the passing traffic are relatively easy to assess and targeting your message to your passing eyes is key.

Offline marketing success will vary depending on the creativity of your advertising, exposure volume and how targeted your campaigns are.

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