Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Inexpensive Columbus Internet Marketing Ideas

It is not enough in Columbus to have a great product and a beautiful website. If you want to be successful on the Internet, you need to implement some form of a marketing plan. Fortunately, the Internet gives you many opportunities to market your website and products without much expense.

Below are some ideas you can use to help your convince potential customers in Columbus to take a look at what you have to offer. As you read through this information, take note that each idea is something you give to your customer. One of the great truths of Internet marketing is that many people cannot resist the opportunity to get something without paying money. In the modern era, people put great importance on the concept of "value."

1. Find at least one item you can dangle in front of your potential audience as being "free." Of course, it is not really free. They have to visit your website or join your mailing list to get the free stuff you are offering. If it is something such as a short report or e-book, you may be able to make it yourself. You may also be able to find something you can give away for free that will be of interest to your site visitors. Or, for a fee you can hire a writer or web designer to make a very unique software tool or an e-book pertinent to your website topic to give to Web visitors.

2. One of the oldest Internet marketing techniques, often employed by Columbus Web Design companies, is to offer a free subscription to a newsletter or e-zine on your website. If you write your own newsletters, this can be done at not cost to you. Best of all, the people who sign up for your newsletter will be people interested in your website. It is much easier to sell to people on this type of list than to sell to random visitors to your website. Make sure that you continue to give either great information or links to more free items in your newsletter so that your subscribers will still be paying attention to the content when you provide information about the products or services you want them to buy.

3. Provide some kind of news on your website that will be of interest to potential customers. Keep it fresh by hiring a Columbus Web Design company to integrate a blog into your website. Make it good enough for them to keep coming back for the news and they will become familiar and comfortable with your brand. If you are a good writer learning to publish, press releases can be golden. Don't sell your products in your press releases, but rather focus on establishing your brand's credibility as a reputable resource in the field. There are also inexpensive press release writers and submission sites available on the Internet, but most established web design companies should have the necessary contacts.

4. Many in Columbus seek out the opinions of others before making decisions. Take advantage of this by writing reviews of products or services related to your site. Some ideas of things that you can write reviews of are books, broadcasts, schools, seminars, blogs, and other media. Try to avoid writing about your direct competition. Don't forget to attach your brand to your reviews.

5. Don't forget that previous customers make the best future customers. Offer your previous Columbus customers incentives to do business with you again. Offering a time-limited discount is an excellent way to gain repeat business and get control over the timing of cash flow. You can also offer them opportunities to pre-order items before they are offered to new customers. Consider setting up a free service for repeat visitors. If appropriate, help forums are an excellent way to hold on to customers by both increasing satisfaction and keeping your brand fresh in their minds.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Using Online PR to Promote Your Columbus Business

Online public relations, or online PR for short, refers to ways of connecting with your website's or company's key audience with the goal of either building awareness and increasing exposure in Columbus, building and maintaining trust to your image or brand, or communicating to your key target to solve problems or crises. Online PR works similarly to traditional PR, but using different PR tools, mostly focused online, so you're Columbus Web Design company is best suited to take care of this process for you.

There are several benefits to including online PR to your Internet marketing efforts & website.

1. You can send out your messages quickly to your key audience regardless of what your message is -- from breaking news to response to a problem or crisis situation,.

2. With the right set of online PR tools, you can directly connect with your target audience instead of simply just to non targeted groups through media outlets.

3. With online PR, you can easily evaluate your online PR campaigns because you are directly sending your message to your target audience. You can easily and immediately gather data from viewers, readers or listeners because you can have direct interaction with them through online PR.

4. If you are a small website or online company, you'll find that online PR tools and strategies are more accessible to you than the traditional or offline PR tools.

There are several online PR tools you can use with the help of a competent web design company for your public relations efforts, and these include:

1. Press Releases

You would use press releases for your online PR efforts similarly to how you would use them in traditional or off line PR. Although nothing beats manual targeting of quality media outlets and trying to establish relevant media relationships, distributing press releases or news about your site or business to news engines like Google News and Yahoo! News can be seen directly by people within your target market, whether it just be Columbus, or United States-wide.

2. Blogs and Forums

Blogs and online forums in Columbus are two great online PR tools you can use to establish and maintain your reputation or status as an expert in your field or an authoritative source on a niche. However, when using these two online PR tools, you need to use a "soft sell" technique rather than a blatant sales pitch. Some soft sell techniques include writing quality content and answering questions about your niche. You can use blogs and online forums to build trust and gain the respect of your target market, which will eventually generate traffic to your website or convert sales for your company later on.

3. Article Distribution

Another way you can establish your expertise in your chosen niche and build trust among your target audience is to write expert articles and then make them available online via the different article directories. Ask your web design company how to do this.

4. Search Engine Optimization

Commonly thought of as a marketing tool, search engine optimization or SEO is actually a narrow online PR niche. The purpose of this online PR tool is to build exposure and raise awareness about your site or online company through the soft sell approach via search engine placements. When done properly, but a knowledgeable Columbus Web Design firm, SEO will bring natural traffic to your website or convert sales for your online business.

5. E-mail Newsletters

An e-mail newsletter or e-zine is an online PR tool you can use to directly communicate with your key audience or Columbus market segment. By regularly publishing an e-mail newsletter, you can maintain your image as well as make your key audience remain aware of your brand name in Columbus.

6. Podcasts and Webinars

Podcasts and webinars are regarded as the online counterpart of off line seminars. You can use podcasts and webinars to establish reputation and reinforce your expertise in your niche, and such seminars can be setup to stream right from your website, assuming the right modifications are done by a web design company.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Search Engine Optimization Explained

To succeed in e-commerce, you must use every tool at your disposal to compete against other Columbus companies doing the same. More and more Columbus company owners are realizing that search engines are the greatest source of traffic because the traffic from search engines are actually people looking for what their websites sell. If you aren't continually working on the search engine optimization (SEO) of your website, you could get run over by the competition before you know it. Luckily there are many Columbus Web Design companies that are proficient in this area of expertise.

SEO has become a buzzword on the Web. The popularity of search engine optimization stems from its value. Most people don't go looking for things on the Web by surfing. Most people go looking for things on the Web by going to a search engine and typing some keywords or a key phrase. Search engines are just as valuable of a tool to those looking for things as they are to those with things to offer.

The most important thing for a website owner to know is that most people who do a Web search never look beyond the first ten results that show up for the keywords they have typed. And, most of those people don't look beyond the first three results they see. This is why search engine optimization is vital to your Columbus company. You must be sure that your website is among the top results from the billions of websites available on the Internet.

It is important to realize that you can't just do something and suddenly be at the top of the search engines and stay there. Search engine optimization is a long-term way of doing things. The goal is to make every page so that it will be clearly understood by search engine robots. These robots are software programs that roam around the entire Web to index all of the content on the Web. When you do search engine optimization, you are working on trying to move up the search engine results pages over the course of time. This process usually will take several months before you even begin to notice results. Even if your web design company does everything right in your search engine optimization, it could take you one to two years before you have pages ranked consistently near the top of search results pages. Your search engine optimization doesn't stop here as someone is always drooling over your spot in the search results, so it's always good to retain a competent web design company to continually maintain your results.

We need to develop a more clear definition of what search engine optimization is. Search engine optimization is the continual utilization of all of the tools and methods available to you on each of your websites to convince the search engines that your web design belongs near the top of search results for the keywords that best describe your website. If you already have a web design, there may be many aspects that you need to change for the purpose of search engine optimization. Whenever you are building new pages, they should be structured from the ground up with search engines in mind, and any most web design companies in Columbus will take care of this aspect for you.

You may be wondering what exactly you can do to optimize your web design for search engines. Search engine optimization has actually become a deep study in the web design community. Listing all of the available knowledge of search engines here would require hundreds of pages of text. However, the basic ides of search engine optimization are simple. You make your web design simple so that search engines do not become confused. You include plenty of keywords in the text on your website in key locations on your pages. You give your pages meaningful URLs, link names, and titles. You trade links with websites similar to yours to help the search engines categorize your website and to let the search engines know that other websites consider your web design a credible resource. That's really all there is to search engine optimization in the broader sense, but any paid service from a Columbus Web Design firm is going to go much deeper.

To get a more detailed description of search engine optimization, go to a search engine and enter "SEO" in the search box. Take the time to consider all of the different recommendations. Search engine optimization is a science, but not an exact one. Search engines constantly change the way they evaluate websites, so the best in the search engine optimization companies are those that keep up with these changes. The best way to learn about this subject is to take time each week to read new information on the topic. Learn from as many sources as possible, such as other Columbus Web Design companies, as no one has a monopoly on the best search engine optimization information.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Profiting From Product Reviews

Doing occasional positive product reviews, or product recommendations, related to your website's niche can be a lucrative addition to your Columbus Website. Profiting from product reviews is not a new marketing technique in Columbus, but it is one of the least talked about. This is because it gives opportunities for dishonesty by those recommending products that aren't good just to make money. However, if you are profiting from product reviews that are honest and you give you reasons why your product recommendations are being made, you can further your website's credibility and usefulness. If you give a product recommendation and someone reads it and buys the product and finds everything you said about it to be true, they are very likely to come back and look through your product reviews in the future. This means continually profiting from product reviews is dependent on honesty, as any good Columbus Web Design company will tell you.

What makes product recommendations profitable is the widespread availability of affiliate programs selling every imaginable type of product. So you go find products that you particularly like related to your site's niche, write up a little product review and accompany it with your affiliate link, with the help of your Columbus Web Design company of course. Before you know it you're making commissions off the product and your website visitors are enjoying the product. Product reviews are one of the highest conversion methods of making sales, with one of the strongest customer appreciation indexes. It all comes down to how well you establish website visitor trust in your website and how carefully you manage it.

How far should you go in your honesty? Here's the thoughts from a reputable Columbus Web Design firm: in most cases saying a few negative things about the product you are recommending will result in higher sales conversion ratios than just saying positive things. Saying only positive things will give website visitors the impression you're making a sales pitch. Saying a few things you would change about the product gives your product review credibility. To really close the sale, you can just make it appear that you are giving a product recommendation because even with the little annoyances the product has, the positive features of the product are too good to be ignored. If one of the negatives of the product is a feature the website visitor really wanted, then that visitor probably won't buy. But they will be grateful and more likely to return to your website. If you failed to mention a crucial negative and the person bought, they would possibly return the product and likely resent your website.

To be successful with product recommendations the whole of your website must establish your credibility as an expert in your website niche. People will be willing to pay a premium and buy nearly anything from you if they are highly interested in the niche and they have complete faith in your evaluations. So make providing expert, honest, unbiased information on your niche topic the primary goal of your website if you want to profit from product reviews on your website.

Always maintain a sense of professionalism on your website, but with a tinge of deep concern for your website visitors. Make it look like you are one of them and out there fighting for them. But never lose your calm or cool in your forums or website content. And, when you take up an issue, do not take a side on the issue itself but rather take a side on how the issue is being handled by those involved. This is how news mediums give off the impression that they are a high-quality, expert resource that can be trusted. You need this same type of trust to profit from product reviews.

But while you are portraying yourself in a certain light, do not go overboard and exaggerate or minimize truth. You need to remember that many people will see right through any falsehood. In fact, they are at your website because they are interested in the niche of your website. Many of your website visitors may themselves be among the foremost experts in that niche field. Don't give people a chance to doubt your honesty and credibility.

Finally, don't give product recommendations for products you don't personally know anything about. Not only can it make you look like an idiot, but it can damage your reputation as a reliable source of information on the niche in which you specialize. It takes a long time to build up your website visitors' trust in your credibility, but only a dumb mistake or two to rip their trust away.