samedi 16 mai 2009

How to Use Internet Marketing to Build Your Business

No matter what business in you're in, you can put the Internet to use for you and use it to help you build your business and rake in more sales.

The statistics on how many people are online now are mind-blowing. As of November of last year, there are over One Billion people online. This gives all of us an incredible opportunity to grow our businesses – to global proportions, if that's what we want.

However, the Internet is not without pitfalls and obstacles. In fact, if you make the wrong move, you can find yourself in very real danger of losing everything you've worked so hard to build.

Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to using the Internet to market your business:

Create a professional-looking Web presence. These days with all the readily available Website templates, blogs and highly affordable Website designers who can be hired to design a custom Website, there just isn't any excuse for amateurish or poorly built Websites these days. Even when you add the cost of Internet access, hosting, buying the right domain name and the cost of having a Website built, starting an online business is affordable to almost anyone – and so even if you run your business from your home, it doesn't have to look that way!

Make sure that you've done your research. Find a hungry market that is already buying in your chosen niche. Choose a product that your target market wants to buy – the best way to do this is to choose a product or service that meets a need, takes away a pain or solves a problem. Competition is good – but make sure you choose something where you've got a good chance of getting close to the top.

Write a business plan. Even if your business is completely online, a business plan is your roadmap that helps guide you from where you are right now to where you want to end up. Business plans aren't just for people who are looking for venture capital or business loans. Include your plans for marketing and selling on the Internet in your plan. Be flexible and willing to adjust those plans as needed.

Start with the end in mind. Do you know where you want to end up? What are you going into business for? To make a little extra money? To build a business that you can later sell and live on the proceeds? Whatever your reason for going into business for yourself, decide what your ultimate goal is. That way you'll be able to direct your actions towards achieving it. Brainstorm as many different ways as possible that the Internet can help you to achieve your goals.

Create a vision board. Although some people call them hokey or old fashioned, having a vision for your business can help you to stay focused and moving towards what you want. Whether you believe in them or not, a vision board can keep you excited and motivated. If you do a Google Search, you'll find several companies that let you build a vision board online – and will even let you send it to your team, your mentors or other people who matter to you.

Have an action plan. Once you know your long-term plan for your business, it's easier to chunk it down and create shorter, medium and long term goals that will help you to achieve them. Write down your plan for marketing on the Internet and make sure that you take at least one or two actions towards those goals every single day,
Surround yourself with positive, supportive people who will hold you accountable when you need it, give you encouragement and keep you on your toes and stretching beyond where you think you can go. Thanks to the Internet, the people on your team no longer have to live in your town, your region or even your country!

Test, test, test. Whatever you're doing – whether it's banner advertising, using a newsletter, trying an AdWords campaign – or any other form of Internet marketing or advertising – keep testing your results. (But here's a hint – when it comes to your copy, don't waste your time on unimportant elements – only test the ones that are going to give you the biggest return on your investment.)

Spend your time where it's going to do the most good – making money. There's so much information available – and so much to do online, that it's easy to get sidetracked and involved in activities that waste your time. If you find yourself with lots of plans for what you're going to accomplish in the morning, but suddenly the entire day's gone by – and you wonder what happened – then chances are you're wasting too much time online. You can find some great time-tracking programs online – monitor yourself for a few weeks and you'll be amazed at all the ways you can find to turn things around and become more productive.

Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Develop a marketing plan where you're using offline as well as online marketing methods to grow your business.

Follow these simple rules for being online and marketing your business, and you'll end up exactly where you want to go.

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