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March 1999

 

Technology

Luke Melia: The Basics for Promoting Your Business Online with Carole Dunn

Join online marketing expert Carole Dunn as she shares her rules for successful online prospecting. -- Luke Melia

To Blast or to Opt-In?

If you think that Internet marketing equals an email blast, think again! Do you like to receive junk email? Do you take it seriously? Email blasts can damage the credibility of your company, inspire hate mail, and may cause you to lose your ISP!

Opt-in lists are a different matter. These are targeted lists of people who have voluntarily subscribed to a mailing list on a specific topic. The cost per name is high- 20¢ each- and the response rate is generally around .5-3%. Opt-in lists work best for a one-time
promotion, such as a sale, a free drawing, or a contest.

"Sig" Lines & Standard Emails

Create an email "signature." This will be your signoff on every email you send or message you post. It should contain your contact information, company name and a short benefit line. Next write an informative, standard email message relating the benefits of your product or company. Why should Mr. Prospect buy your product or join your company? What's in it for him? Your message should have the benefits loud and clear near the top, followed by the features of the company and the
opportunity. Whenever someone online asks you for information, send him this always-updated summary.

If You Have a Web Site

Your web site is also your signature. Take time to design an attractive site that offers content and value to your prospect. Include interactive features like autoresponders, surveys or a form where people can request more information or register for a newsletter. If you are selling products online, be sure to offer a secure, online payment method.

Submit, Monitor, Rewrite and Resubmit

Before submitting your site to the search engines and directories, read up on how to write your title, "meta" tags and the first few paragraphs of each page to obtain a good ranking. To improve or maintain your position, you may need to rewrite pages, add new content and additional web pages, and change your description and keywords. Web site promotion is a mix of
knowledge, art, skill and persistence.

To Banner or to Link?

Are banner ads effective? Statistics show that no matter how eye-catching a banner may be, the average click-through rate is around 1.3%. The novelty has worn off and people are "tuning out" the flashing advertising messages leaping from every site. If you want to use banners, test them first on the free
services like TrafficX and LinkExchange. Reciprocal links are often more effective than banners at bringing prospects to your web site.

E-zines and Email Lists

If you have the time, inclination and skill, creating a newsletter or e-zine is a good and inexpensive way of prospecting. Start a target email list by adding a form to your web site inviting people to sign up for your newsletter. Advertising in established e-zines is also effective, but can be expensive.

Choose a few online newsgroups, message forums, and email distribution lists on subjects that interest you. Contribute helpful, informative messages regularly to these exchanges before you talk about your business or products to reduce the risk of negative feedback.

Plan + Persistence + Patience = Payback!

Design your marketing campaign and materials
carefully. Commit to your plan, persist, and success will reward you. Your online prospecting efforts will bear fruit only if they are multi-faceted and repeated. It is the total of all activities that will bring you new prospects and product sales.

 

The author, Carole Dunn, built her international USANA business exclusively on the Net, and she owns a web site design and promotion business. Email her at caroledunn@aol.com. Luke Melia, Upline's Technology Editor, welcomes comments and ideas about this or other columns. You can e-mail him at luke@upline.com.

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Reprinted with permission from Upline, Upline Technology - March 1999, 888-UPLINE-1, http://www.upline.com

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