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Whether you are an experienced online marketer, or you are just getting started in the online advertising space, the increasing number of marketing options available on the internet can make creating and managing profitable campaigns pretty tricky. Below is a list of eleven strategies that you can use, regardless of how much experience you have, to help improve all of your online marketing campaigns.
1. Define the goals of your advertising campaign before you start
Be specific when setting goals for your advertising efforts. Merely stating that you want to â€œincrease trafficâ€ or â€œimprove site functionalityâ€ is not enough. Here are a few specific examples: Increase monthly unique visitors from 5,000 to 10,000 within 6 months, decrease shopping cart abandonment by 15%, generate 500 monthly transactions within 90 days, increase monthly newsletter subscribers by 20%, or generate 50 new leads per day. Whatever it is, clearly define your objective.
2. Take a baseline of where your metrics are now
Whether you are looking to improve your site conversion rate, increase newsletter subscribers or generate more leads, you will need to know where you stand today to determine what work lies ahead to achieve your campaign goals. Often times this critical step is overlooked, making it difficult, if not impossible to measure your progress. Your Web Analytics software can supply you many of the critical metrics you will need. Take the time to gather this important data.
3. Test, Track and Optimize until you reach your objectives
It is important to test each of your marketing channels on a regular schedule to see which ones are best suited to achieve your goals. Some channels work better than others for certain objectives and will need to be managed accordingly.
For Example, if your goal is to increase your site conversion rate by X%, looking at your Web Analytics Software might be a good place to start. Where are you losing the majority of your prospects? Are they leaving after they land on your homepage (most homepages average a 66% drop-off), or are you losing most of them in the checkout process? Are your search engine visitors converting higher than your in-house email list? Identifying where the holes are in your bucket will allow you to improve on each of these micro-actions, and ultimately, your site conversion rate.
Likewise, if you are looking to increase newsletter subscribers, you may want to look into co-registration partnerships with similar (but not competing) companies, or test the placement of your newsletter subscription box. Each goal that you set will have a number of variables that can be tested to optimize your results. Make sure to test only one variable at a time so you can accurately keep track of what is working best for each objective.
Now that youâ€™ve set your goals and taken a baseline of your current metrics, itâ€™s time to get to work. Here are 8 specific strategies that can help improve your online marketing efforts today.
4. Prepare your Homepage for Conversion
Before you drive traffic to your site, you need to make sure it is optimized for the highest possible return. In most cases, you have just 5 seconds to capture your visitorsâ€™ attention and persuade them to take action. Your visitorsâ€™ objectives are â€˜macro actionsâ€™ (buy a product, subscribe to a newsletter, etc.). Every macro action is composed of a series of â€˜micro actionsâ€™ (click on the â€˜widgetsâ€™ link, click â€˜learn moreâ€™, click to read your â€˜return policyâ€™, etc,). Actions are taken only after your visitors have made a conscious decision to continue. Lead your prospects through the buying process one click at a time.
5. Implement your Website Analytics
According to Jupiter Research Analyst and Web Analytics expert Eric T. Peterson, â€œWeb Analytics is the assessment of a variety of data, including Web traffic, Web-based transactions, Web server performance, usability studies, user submitted information and related sources to help create a generalized understanding of the visitor experience online.â€ In simpler terms, Web Analytics help you understand what is, and what is not working for your visitors and your website. Here are a few statistics to consider if you are not currently monitoring your website analytics:
â€¢ 65% of all website orders are abandoned in the shopping cart
â€¢ 40% of repeat visitors are lost from negative experiences
â€¢ 50% of web sales are lost because visitors cannot easily find content
â€¢ 85% of visitors abandon a new site due to poor design
Web Analytics can help you uncover where the critical issues are on your site to make it easier for your prospects to buy your products or services.
6. Improve your Purchase Process
More than 65% of all website orders are abandoned in the shopping cart. Over $6 billion per year is lost due to poor shopping cart design, issues with credit card processing, or poor follow-up. Improving your order process can double your revenue without spending additional money on advertising. Here are a few tips on improving your purchase process:
â€¢ Track your customerâ€™s buying experience, from site entry to checkout
â€¢ Indicate the length of the order process (using numbered steps or a time length)
â€¢ Avoid surprising your customers with negative information
â€¢ Give your customer more options to purchase (800 number, fax, etc.)
â€¢ Assist your customers in resolving credit card issues
Take a close look at your current purchase process. In fact, make a purchase on your own site. Was it easy to buy? Did you feel comfortable with the process? Is there room for improvement? You will quickly uncover these answers and more by walking a mile in your customerâ€™s shoes.
7. Test your Site for Compatibility
What if you could increase your sales by 20% to 30% without changing your ad copy, without lowering your price, and without spending one dollar more to attract new visitors? Testing your site compatibility on multiple browsers/systems/resolutions could very well achieve these results. Did you know that more than 17 million consumers are surfing the web without Internet Explorer? Many consumers that are visiting your site may be experiencing a skewed version of your home page, or even worse, may not see your site at all. Your Web Analytics software should be able to help you identify what browsers your visitors are accessing your site with. Adjusting your site to accommodate these additional visitors may allow you to increase your sales without increasing your advertising budget.
8. Develop your Email Capture Program
Before you spend thousands of dollars with the pay-per-click search engines, make sure that you are capturing the email addresses of as many website visitors as possible. Why pay again to reach the same consumer? A properly planned email capture program can improve your pay-per-click return by as much as 50%. There are a number of incentives that can be used to persuade visitors to share their email address:
â€¢ Access to premium content (articles, white papers, etc.)
â€¢ Low price or clearance alerts
â€¢ Contests or Sweepstakes
An email capture program should never be just a means to send out periodic sales offers. You should balance your communications appropriately with relevant information and promotion. Find the right balance for your audience and build on those relationships.
9. Optimize your Site for Google (and other spider-based engines)
Search engines are one of the primary ways that internet users find websites. Properly optimized websites can see dramatic increases in qualified visitors. According to Jupiter Research, 82% of online shoppers know exactly what they want when they log onto the Internet and roughly half of them use search engines to find solutions and vendors. Research also confirms that the vast majority of searches end within the first few pages of results, increasing the need for proper placement in the major search engines.
There are no silver-bullets when it comes to optimizing a site for natural search listings. As any marketer in the space will tell you, search is a moving target. It takes a balanced blend of keyword rich content, meta-data, inbound links and database architecture to own real estate atop popular search engines such as Google or Yahoo. Here are a few tips:
â€¢ Include 1 or 2 of your top search terms in your homepage title tags
â€¢ Write individual title tags, keyword meta tags and description meta tags to support the content on each individual page of your site (pages with important content)
â€¢ CONTENT IS KING! Use keyword rich content throughout your site
â€¢ Hyperlink important keywords to drill visitors deeper into your site
â€¢ Build a hyperlink-rich site map and include a link to every page
Optimizing your site for the search engines is a lengthy process, requiring both expertise and hard work to be done properly. The tips above are only a few of the necessary tactics for a successful SEO campaign, but they should get you moving in the right direction.
10. Set up your Pay-Per-Click Search Engine Campaigns
Pay-Per-Click advertising involves paying for keywords and phrases to appear as sponsored links in search engines like Google and Overture (Overture is now owned by Yahoo). Most PPC search engines are based on a bidding system where you choose the amount you are willing to pay for a qualified visitor.
The first few steps in setting up a PPC campaign are to determine the appropriate search engines, search terms, ad copy and landing pages for your campaign. Once the campaign has been established, you will need to perform campaign optimization based on your target business metrics (cost per order, cost per lead, etc.). In most cases, you will need to test, track and optimize your results on a daily basis to stay on target and on budget.
PPC advertising allows you to focus your advertising dollars towards the consumers that need your services the most. These visitors have raised their hands and â€˜qualifiedâ€™ themselves as ideal prospects for your services. Leverage this effective advertising tool.
11. Set up your Affiliate Program
Affiliate marketing is revenue sharing between online merchants and online publishers/salespeople, whereby compensation is based on performance metrics, typically in the form of sales, clicks, registrations, or a hybrid model.
Affiliate marketing has contributed to the rise of many leading online companies. Amazon.com, one of the first early adopters, now has hundreds of thousands of affiliate relationships. Paying only for performance shifts much of the advertising risk from the merchants to the affiliates, although merchants still assume some risk of fraud from partner sites. This is where the recruitment of â€˜professional affiliatesâ€™ comes into play.
In most affiliate programs we have seen, 10% of the affiliates generate 90% of the sales. An affiliate program which simply runs on random affiliate traffic is operating at minimum efficiency. The solution to this is to actively recruit potential affiliates whose user base and traffic is synergistic with your own and to provide them with an offer that makes sense to both parties.
Successful affiliate programs require a great deal of business development, professional management and good old customer service. Take the time to recruit top performers. Once you have them on board, do everything you can to help them succeed.
All the best from a new DNforum member,
Last edited by DNfolio; 11-01-2004 at 05:35 PM. Reason: spelling error