It all starts with a well-written and designed website, followed by employing tactics that drive qualified traffic to the site. It continues with ongoing relationship building with visitors to your site. For most companies, the main goals for Internet marketing are to increase the prospect pool and generate leads . . . building relationships which can in turn increase revenues and margins. Some of the tactics of Internet marketing include; paid search (PPC), online advertising (banners and e-newsletters), search engine optimization (SEO), landing pages, email campaigns and directory listings.
Here are just five relatively simple things you can do to get started:
- Get a website. Twenty-one percent of Investment Recovery Association members surveyed last year said they had no website. These companies are truly missing out on a particularly cost-effective way to reach prospective buyers and sellers of surplus assets and IR services. Is a website important to your business? In the same survey, 93% of all members have made purchases for themselves or their company and almost half of the remaining 7% researched online BEFORE they purchased. Even if it’s just a few simple pages, a web presence has quickly turned a “nice to have” into a “must have” for businesses.
- Put your web address on everything. For those who already have a website, congratulations! The fun has just begun, but just because you build it doesn’t mean they will come. Put your URL on everything that “touches” customers; emails, print ads, faxes, even your outgoing voice mail. It’s the fastest and easiest way to build qualified traffic to your site and start building the relationships.
- Help the search engines help you. There have been volumes written specifically about search engine optimization or SEO. And there are many tools and techniques you can employ, depending on your level of expertise. One of the easiest and most effective is making sure the copy on your site is written so that your prospects can find you when they search for the surplus goods you buy or sell or the services you provide. Major search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN are in the business of providing people with relevant search results, so think about the words your prospects would type into a search box. Then use those words to write clear, concise copy describing your business and/or the surplus products you want to buy or sell. For helpful tools and more information, you can visit www.google.com/support/webmasters.
- Add an “items for sale” page(s) to your site. Not only does this drive “Free” traffic to your site, but it will also speed up the buying or selling cycle. Some corporate and Associate Member companies have sophisticated product database searches available; others provide a more generic category listing. As is mentioned in the cover story of this issue on asset identification, the more complete and comprehensive the product listing provided, the higher the likelihood of a high-value transaction taking place.
- Start a modest keyword “paid search” program. For a fast and easy way to build traffic to your site, “pay-per-click” keyword programs are available on Google, Yahoo, MSN and many other search engines. Google covers about half of all Internet searches, so starting there makes good sense. The primary advantage of keyword search traffic is that it’s highly targeted, so your traffic tends to be more qualified and the costs can be easily controlled. Helpful information on setting up keyword programs is available at: www.adwords.google.com; for Yahoo, go to http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com; for MSN go to www.advertising.msn.com. All three sites provide a variety of free tools that you can use to help you brainstorm keywords and write ads that will be most effective for your business.