Just a few short years ago, Internet marketing consisted of having a single company webpage with occasional email newsletters. With warp speed, the industry has morphed into a complex grouping of strategies that no one could conceivably master with limited time and effort. Internet marketing is amoebic in its tendency toward flux; changing constantly, taking on new guises each day that seem unrecognizable from previous incarnations. Strategies that are wildly effective upon their debut may prove to be completely ineffectual six months later. The effectiveness of an Internet marketing system will change over time as its novelty wears off: after a spectacular beginning, it may emerge as a slow but steady source of customer interest or just fade away into oblivion.
Recognition of the complexity and variability of Internet marketing need not mean that a business abandon this option. Instead, one can recognize that each type of marketing strategy has its own pros and cons dependent upon how each strategy is used. Utilized correctly, a particular marketing strategy can prove to be a boon to your business. Here are some examples that remain true despite the always-changing nature of the arena:
DO: Send emails only to individuals who have requested email from your company. Email marketing is an effective strategy, but not when you’re spamming people with unsolicited messages. Send emails or email newsletters on a regular schedule and from a name recognizable to the recipient as a “person” to increase reads. Also, pay attention to titles; send emails with titles that accurately describe the information contained within. Always include an opt-out or unsubscribe address in every email per the CAN-SPAM Act.
DON’T: Send emails with titles that contain all capital letters, exclamation points or dollar signs as these are often flagged as spam. Avoid sending emails with the word “free” in the subject. Email with images or large blocks of text requiring a download may foil your mobile marketing attempts since your email may be opened on a device that does not support this function. The rise of mobile use is good reason to try and format your email newsletter for legibility on multiple devices.
DO: Send text messages only to individuals who have requested this communication from your company. Require a type of secondary confirmation that the person actually requested this communication. Provide a benefit or discount — such as a coupon or free shipping code — that your customer would not have access to without having received the text message.
DON’T: Send text messages between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. unless you want to guarantee a lost customer. Avoid sending text messages that require a response within a short period of time to decrease potential response by automobile drivers. Send SMS messages from an unidentified number: use your company name.
Social Media Marketing
DO: Consider the benefits social networks present to your business. Social media can be an incredible tool, but only if you need it. No one wants to get notifications from an aloof business that looks like it got lost on a road trip and ended up on Facebook. Commit the time necessary to fully develop a media pages on whatever platform(s) you choose and update them regularly. Build a community of customers by responding to customer feedback, contests or discounts.
DON’T: Allow public Facebook postings if your business page is not monitored daily. If your advertising platform has many branches, make sure they are consistent with each other; what appears on Twitter should agree with what appears on Facebook should agree with what appears on your website, etc.
Internet marketing may be ever-changing, but it is not going anywhere.