Here are some very important things one must understand before taking a business online. I often explain these things to my clients who are offline business owners already, so I thought I’d post them here as I’m sure many others will benefit from the understanding.
Internet shopping is vastly different from offline shopping
Internet users search for different products and service than they would offline and the use different ways to search for them. Based on this premise, the first step in any Internet marketing campaign is to find out how the online market thinks, what it is looking for and what online niches will be profitable to engage.
Search engines are rapidly losing their leadership in driving traffic
With the advent of social networking and social bookmarking sites, which is the online equivalent of business breakfasts and social circles, more and more traffic is directed at websites from mega-sites, in which there is some built-in mechanism for implied trust, sharing and reciprocating. Therefore, a good Internet marketing strategy examines the online social vibe, as well as search trends.
Website content and structure are critical to having a profitable website
Bringing traffic to a site that does not convert visitors to business leads is a waste of money. Whether it is link creation, paid advertising or newsletter marketing, having a focused website with quality content reduces the costs and increases the effectiveness of the online marketing by at least a factor of 5. Therefore, work should be done on the website itself to prepare it for the off-site promotion work.
The local game is not the same
The Internet is everywhere, so the best online business is one offering products or services to the entire world. Competing in a local arena requires specific focus and a totally different set of strategies in order to avoid getting too much “noise” and wasting money on visitors who will never become clients. Therefore, it is best to acquire knowledge of the local market and possibly couple the online effort with an offline promotion to raise awareness and start a local “vibe”.
The Internet is ever changing
No matter how much effort is spent promoting a website, incoming links will always “fade”, as the number of links on referring pages grows, the number of pages on referring sites grows, the referring pages move away from the top of the referring sites and more sites are created on the Internet. If this is not enough, there is a disruptive change every 18-24 months in the world of technology, which either puts “state of the art” methods in the baseline or makes them obsolete. Therefore, Internet marketing is an ongoing operation, much like offline marketing is.
As always, if you need any clarification on these things or you want my help to take your own business to the Internet, you are more than welcome to contact me.