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On-line Marketing Methods

The Three Most Popular On-line Marketing Methods
Due to the interactive nature of the Internet, marketers are now able to better track what works and what doesn’t in on-line advertising. Search Engines, Emails and Banners are the three most widely used techniques today. Having a strong understanding of these three mediums is vital to the success of your business.

Search Engines
Search engines control most of the advertising power with 78% of users researching on-line before they buy.

Currently, the top four search engines are: Google (35%), Yahoo (31%), MSN (16%) and AOL (9%). Within each result page, there are two types of listings: natural and pay-per-click. It depends on your business as to which will work better for you.

Natural listings are free of charge and have the potential to give you phenomenal exposure (if you are lucky enough to merit a front-page spot). In fact, it can even be considered the David and Goliath of the advertising world -- where small companies can actually compete with large corporations.

Unfortunately, it can be somewhat difficult to get listed in the Top 15. Since each Search Engine has its own unique, constantly-changing criteria for ranking Websites, it can prove to be a full-time job just figuring out exactly what each one is looking for.

Pay-per-click advertising in search engines allows you a certain measure of control. Not only do you choose your own keywords, but you also submit how much you are willing to pay each time a user clicks through your link.  Though it offers the potential for major exposure, choosing the right keywords and bid may be extremely competitive -- especially if you are trying to use keywords that are very popular.

The value of banners is another hotly debated topic. Though the click-through rate has dropped off in recent years, brand awareness has increased substantially. It seems that even though on-line users are not actually going into the ad, they are retaining the message on it – especially after repeated exposure. Millward Brown International did a study and found that exposure to banners alone increased brand awareness from 12% to 200%.

The study also found that a single exposure to a Web banner generated greater awareness than a single exposure to either a television or print ad did. The effectiveness of the banner stems from the fact that Web usage is an actively engaging exercise – so consumers prefer it.

Emails are another effective way to get through to your target audience. Studies show that emails have a response rate ten to twenty times higher than traditional direct mail.

The bottom-line with email is that it can generate millions of qualified leads and is surprisingly affordable -- if done right. The trick is putting together a smart campaign so the email gets opened and not lost in a spam filter.

Three of the most popular types of email strategies are on-line contests/promotions, permission-based emails and point-per-click emails.

Contests and promotions are a very effective way to gather specific information about your customers. Users type in relevant information about themselves in exchange for a free prize or gift. This data is then analyzed and used to target specific audiences with custom emails. The success rate is very high using this method.

Permission-based (or opt-in) emailing is effective because it generates a higher quality of lead. Because the recipient has expressed an interest in your product by signing up for the email, he is much more likely to buy. In addition, permission-based emails are a cost-efficient way to gather data about prospective customers that may be used to fine-tune future marketing campaigns.

Lastly, pay-per-click services send out free mass emails for their business clients. They only pay if the recipient actually clicks on the link of the opened email. The return on investment may be substantial since the marketer has real, measurable results that can be used to plan future strategies. Even though a “click-through” does not guarantee a sale, it does (as in banners) generate more brand awareness.

The Internet offers a variety of unique marketing opportunities to small and large businesses alike. Because of its interactive nature, we are better able to trace and decipher consumer feedback. With minimal effort, we are now able to hit specific market segments with customized advertising designed for maximum effect. Businesses that want to thrive in this technology-influenced era must embrace and adapt their marketing goals to reflect this powerful medium. 


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