What Really Works in Online Marketing

A colleague recently said to me, “No one has found the winning formula for successful online direct marketing yet.”

I disagree. A number of companies know exactly what works and are making small fortunes with it.

The primary concept is that online marketing works best when you e-mail to people who already know you.

Therefore, successful online marketers build their “house file” or “e-list” (lists of prospects and their e-mail addresses) using the process outlined below, and then sell to those people via e-mail marketing:

1. Build a Web site that positions you or your organization as an expert, guru, or leader in your field or industry. This is the “base of operations” for your online marketing campaign.

2. This Web site should include a home page, an “About the Company” page and a page with brief descriptions of your products and services (each product or service description can link to a longer document on the individual item).

3. You should also have an “Articles Page” where you post articles your company has published on your industry or area of specialty, and where visitors can read and download these articles for free (e.g., a home improvement contractor would have tips for small do-it-yourself home improvement projects).

4. Write a short special report or white paper relating to the problem your product or service addresses, and make this available to people who visit your site. They can download it for free, but in exchange, they have to register and give you their e-mail address (and any other information you want to capture).

5. Consider also offering a monthly online newsletter, or “e-zine.” People who visit your site can subscribe free if they register and give you their e-mail address. You may want to give the visitor the option of checking a box that reads: “I give you and other companies you select permission to send me e-mail about products, services, news, and offers that may be of interest to me.”

6. The more “content” (useful information) on your site, the better. More people will be attracted to your site, and they will spend more time on it. They will also tell others about your site.

7. The model is to drive traffic to your site where you get them to sign up for either your free report or free e-zine. Once they register, you have their e-mail address and can now market to them via e-mail as often as you like at no extra cost.

8. The bulk of your online leads, sales, and profits will come from repeat e-mail marketing to this “house” e-list of prospects. Therefore your goal is to build a large e-list of qualified prospects as quickly and inexpensively as you can.

9. There are a number of online marketing options, which can drive traffic to your site, that I can help you with — or refer you to an expert I know and trust to help you with. These include: free publicity; e-mail marketing; banner advertising; co-registrations; affiliate marketing; search engine
optimization; direct mail; and e-zine advertising.

10. The key to success is to try a lot of different tactics in small and inexpensive tests, throw out the ones that don’t work, and do more of the ones that are effective.

This article appears courtesy of Bob Bly Direct Response Letter.