Internet Marketing: First Steps To Increase Your Chances of Success

Building an online business is like constructing a building: the deeper the foundation is, the higher it will go. Forget about laying down the right foundation and you practically have a business that is doomed to fail. But by implementing a solid internet marketing foundation, you dramatically increase your chances of success.

Planning
Every online business starts with a plan and planning happens even before you think about what your domain is and what your website should look like. Plan every aspect of your business from structure to launch, growth and direction. In real life, it makes it easier for you to get somewhere if you know where you are going. The same is true in internet marketing. Think about your online marketing strategies. Map out all the directions you want to lead. Your internet marketing plan should already be set up even if you don’t have a website.

Goal Setting
What’s the use of the future if you don’t have any plan for it? What’s the use of different internet marketing strategies you have laid down if you don’t know where it will lead you? Every successful internet marketer knows how important a goal is. It sets your direction, it gives you motivation, and it helps you to push yourself higher. Goals do not always have to be long-term. Break down your goals into short-, mid- and long-term. Once you have set your goals, accomplish them religiously, every day, every week, and every month. Set your goals straight and apply methods that will help you achieve your goals.

Business Plan
Every successful online business (or business in general for that matter) has a winning business plan. If you plan to earn a living from the internet, you should have certain products to sell or services to offer. You should also know how you can earn from them through your business models. This sounds simple enough and it is, with a little research and effort.

Traffic
What’s the use of a great website if nobody knows it exists? Your internet marketing strategies should be able to answer this concern. Traffic generation is the most important aspect in doing online business. Without it, it’s like saying you have built a business in the middle of nowhere. Resources about different techniques to promote and advertise your online business are abundantly available online. These include things like article marketing, SEO optimization, and blogging just to name a few. You should be able to utilize these resources competently and efficiently.

How to Make Your Next Email Marketing Campaign a Success

Email marketing campaigns still offer one of the best ROIs out there. They’re cost-effective and provide one of the best lead-generation tactics available. The best email marketing programs can pull up to a 30% rate compared to just 2-3% for direct mail. Before you rush out to implement your next campaign though, first employ a little strategy.

The good news is you don’t have to put together a full-blown email marketing plan in order for your next campaign to be effective, but you should define the following before you get started:

Who is your audience, and what do you want them to do? How well do you know your audience? Can it be broken down into subgroups? If so, maybe they aren’t all legitimate prospects for your next campaign. This really comes down to your in-house list keeping. The more information you have on your customers and their interests, the better. Beyond that, what’s your call to action? It can often help to have more than one. For example, “Click here to buy our latest widget” can be your main CTA, but you could also follow it up with “Click here for more information”. Once they’ve clicked through, you’ve established interest, and can follow up on the lead.

What tools other than email do you use? The best marketing campaigns are integrated because they take a holistic approach. They’re more interesting, impactful, and typically have higher response rates, which translates to more leads. In addition to your email campaign, you might try a direct mail postcard with an offer, or purchase pay-per-click advertising and post to your Facebook fan page. The important thing to keep in mind here is that your campaign should have a unifying look, feel, message and offer.

Outline the executional details. What software program will you be using to send your email campaign? What will your subject line, your lead-in and your offer be? How much do you have budgeted? All are good to know, as they can directly effect your results. Another good question to ask is what kind of response you’re anticipating. If it’s a lot you’ll probably want to implement an autoresponder with a form response that promises a more detailed response within 24 hours. Today’s consumers expect this kind of service and without one you could actually do more harm than good.

Establish a goal and tailor your program to meet it. In order to measure a campaign’s success it’s necessary to have a clear goal. If yours is to increase awareness you could measure success by adding, say, 200 new emails to your list in one month. Click-through ratios are another way to measure success.

Establish a time frame for your program. You might want to send out multiple emails. For example, if you’re running a special for the month of April, you could send one out at the end of March alerting your customers and prospects to it, and then follow up with emails every week. It’s a good idea to test the campaign’s success along the way using the metrics you’ve established above. If you’re not getting the click-throughs you would like, for example, try revising your subject line, lead-in, or even improving on your offer.

The most important part of your strategy is having a clear sense of your objectives. Each tool you use is a tactic; your plan should connect how each tactic delivers on each objective.

Also, keep in mind that by far the two most important factors are your offer and the list you use. No matter how good your execution, you won’t be able to sell lipstick to, for example, male basketball players.

Resources: If you have an in-house, opt-in email list that needs some attention, check out LISTSERV email list management software. There’s even a free version for lists under 500 addresses.

Template Zone provides hundreds of customizable HTML email templates you can use to send out through an email service provider like ExactTarget or Constant Contact.

If you don’t have a privacy policy on your site explaining what you’ll do with people who decide to opt-in to your email list, you need one. You can create one at GeneratePrivacyPolicy.com.

Summary Plan your marketing campaign carefully against set objectives. Measure how the actual response compares to your planned response. Test one variable of your email program at a time. Each time you send out an email program tailor it to include all the feedback you have received from prior emails. This cycle will ensure that your program continuously improves.

The First Rule of Marketing – And How You Trigger the Right Parts of the Customer’s Brain

Understanding how a mechanism works is often an essential key to make that mechanism behave in a specific way. The same goes for marketing. If you want your marketing initiatives to make an impact, your marketing messages must trigger exactly the right mechanisms in the mind of the recipient. One way of achieving this goal could be the simple “trial and error” approach, testing what works (while accepting the risk of spending a lot of money on something that might have the opposite effect), before you eventually stumble upon a method that works. Another approach could be to gain knowledge about how the human mind works – and use this knowledge to direct your messages directly at the right triggers.

One of the key differences between humans and other animals, generally speaking, is the ability to act based on rational thoughts, rather than mostly being controlled by instinct, apparent feelings and urges. If we meet an attractive representative of the opposite sex walking down Main Street, we control our urges, show respect and merely send a longing glance. A dog would have gone directly into contact, sniffing and humping.

To fully understand how the human brain works a brief introduction into anatomy is required. It is difficult to determine precisely when the brain appeared in evolution, but it is certainly not a new invention – in fact most scientists agree that it took its origins around 450 million years ago, before any animals lived on land. Our brain has evolved ever since and today it is a magnificent collection of approximately 20 billion neocortical nerve cell, which have a combined weight of 1400 grams – an impressing piece of machinery, superior to even the most complicated computer. The brain basically consists of three parts, which have not changed much, neither in form nor by function, since they were individually developed. Simplified it can be said that the construction of the brain is similar to the history of an old company, which has started out with a core department and then, as time went by, two other departments have been added. The evolutionary development of this ‘company’ has not been reviewed by a business developer – so layer upon layer have simply been added to the brain, without ever reviewing the functions of the previous ones. The newest addition is the cerebrum which handles the rational and philosophical thoughts – from religious beliefs to reflections upon the surrounding world, etc. The cerebrum is basically what differ humans from other animals – acting thoughtfully rather than on impulses (or at least; so we believe). The second-youngest part of the brain is the diencephalon, which (among other things) controls motor skills and learning – if you put your hand into the fire, you will burn your hand and you will likely have learned not to repeat the experience! The diencephalon also controls grief and happiness. The inner and oldest part of the brain is often referred to as the “reptilian brain” (basal ganglia), which handle the simplest of functions – focusing on you! You and your survival are the only topics of interest for this part of the brain. Contrary to what you might think; the reptilian brain actually controls most of how humans act. The two other parts tell the reptilian brain what they know and feel, but in many cases the reptilian brain controls the end decision – and if it does not sufficiently value the input from the other parts, it simply vetoes and makes the decision on its own. Brain scans show that the reptilian brain makes decisions in two milliseconds and makes you react rapidly to threads – while the rational parts would first need a visual impression, recognize the object, and then decide whether to flee or stay. The latter part of the process alone takes a minimum of 500 milliseconds – and that is a long time when faced with immediate threats (i.e. if a renegade truck is coming right towards you at a high speed).

The first rule of marketing!
As mentioned above, the reptilian brain is the high judge of decision making and it is only concerned with you. So if a salesman wants to communicate with the reptilian brain while selling trucks, it might not be successful to say “I think this truck is the best on the market” – as this part of the customer’s brain simply does not care what you think. Thus it would likely be more successful to say “YOU will find this truck absolutely suiting to YOUR needs”. Most salesmen enjoys talking about their product, but successful salesmen know that the customers basically does not care about anything else than themselves – so the trick is not talking about your product, but getting the customer to talk about himself. Furthermore, the trick to really excite the customer is to serve the arguments on a silver platter – as the reptilian brain screams: “What’s in it for ME?!” So if you want the customer to really participate and make a quick decision: Do not waste time thinking that he will translate a lot of information and observe an objective overview – you should rather use the word “YOU” repeatedly.

Simple choices of black and white
In addition to repeated use of the word “YOU”, it is also motivating for the reptilian brain to present the customer with simple contrasting choices like: “If you buy this truck, the sun will shine, you will never face unscheduled breakdowns, your customers will be happy, your economic stability will be saved and your business will grow – if you choose an inferior brand, you will face unpleasant problems”. A salesman often senses that a customer actually likes the product, but feels insecure and not ready to close the deal – saying, for instance, something like: “I am interested, but I think I will consider my options and wait to see what time will bring”. The persistent salesman might not let the customer off that easily, but rather try to identify the cause of the insecurity, which could be related to the expectations of the future haulage-business – and a response from the salesman could be: “No matter what you think will happen, we are able to accommodate your needs. If you think you will have many haulage-jobs, you should buy a Volvo FH with a full service contract. If you think you will have only a few haulage-jobs, you should buy a Volvo FM with a limited service contract.” – The alternatives are now black and white, easy to comprehend.

Visual stimulation
A third entry to the reptilian brain is visual stimulation. Human language is about 40 thousand years old and the written word is “only” 10 thousand years old. As mentioned earlier, the reptilian brain is about 450 million years old – more than 10000 times the age of our language. So if you really want to communicate with the reptilian brain: Do it via the eyes! If you see a text-sign saying “beware of snakes”, you might consider the risk of snakebites on a rational level, but your reptilian brain will not be acting at all. If you see a picture of a snake that is ready to attack, you are likely to be more alert than when reading the text message. If you see a video (motion picture) of a snake attacking, your reptilian brain will act! The reptilian brain works faster than the rest of the brain and it has the veto-power of decision making – and more than anything; it reacts to visual stimulation. Thus it is likely to have a positive effect on sales if the salesman can show and demonstrate a representative model of the product he wants to sell. If the customer can see it, feel it, hear it, smell it and try it – the sales effort is much more effective than if the salesman is simply telling the customer about the product.