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Friday, May 1, 2009

A Look at Internet Marketing and Small Business

By Val Olsen

Today, more and more companies turn to internet marketing for promoting their products and services. Even small business owners are now recognizing the potential of marketing on the web. If you own a home business or a small biz, is internet marketing suited for you?

Benefits of Web Marketing

The great thing about the internet is that it breaks distance barriers, enabling businesses to reach out more effectively to their target market. Through the internet, it is now possible for local merchants to introduce and sell their products in the international market. Potential customers anywhere in the world now have the opportunity to buy from online shops located in other countries.

Another advantage of internet marketing is its cost-effectiveness. Traditional marketing strategies are often more expensive compared to marketing over the web. In fact, many online merchants use a number of internet marketing tools for free. Examples of these free tools are press release websites, article directories, blogs, social sites, groups or forums, online classified ads, etc. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that money isn’t needed.

Competition among online merchants is also stiff. To be competitive, most online sellers invest a considerable amount of funding to support their online marketing campaigns. When done correctly, marketing through the internet often produces great results for businesses. No wonder why internet marketing is such a big hit among entrepreneurs worldwide.

Indeed, whether you’re a newbie or a veteran business owner, web marketing is an option worth trying. But before you try out this modern marketing tactic, there are some important points to consider.

Some Things to Consider

Before launching an online marketing campaign, you need to clearly define your target market. Ask the following questions:

  • Who are your potential customers?
  • Where are they located?
  • Do they surf the web?
  • If yes, how much time do they spend online?
  • What do they use the internet for?
  • Do they shop online?
  • Do they own credit cards?
To reach your target audience more effectively, you need to know the specific details about them. Remember that although many people use the internet, not everyone does. Although establishing your presence on the web is an advantage, investing a large budget on internet marketing may not be for you.

Thus, conducting a market research or hiring a market research group is recommended. If a large percentage of your target market does not spend as much time on the web or doesn’t use the internet at all, a different strategy may be necessary. Focus on reaching out to your target audience.

For instance, direct mail marketing or marketing with postcards may be a more practical choice of advertising. You can also use postcards to let people know about your presence online. By advertising your website address in your postcards, people can find you more easily.

Yes, focusing on internet marketing isn’t for everyone. Even if you decide that internet marketing is for you, don’t forget to pay attention to your offline marketing as well. When offline and online marketing strategies are combined, you can surely enhance your business performance.

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Luie De Von is a marketing consultant with Easypostcard Marketing and has been providing consumers and business owners with marketing strategies. Have photos to print? Go to 20 free prints