Planning is the most crucial aspect of online business. The plan should include short term and long term goals. You should always be clear about your business objectives and purposes. The goals should be effective in generating new customers and keeping the existing ones. While setting goals it is important to keep in mind to know the visitors or customers you are expecting at your site. You should be flexible enough to adapt to the needs of your changing traffic or visitors.
Online business is both, very easy and very difficult to manage at the same time. Though this is a contradictory statement, it is a reality. You can easily set up an online business to sell a product but bringing customers to your site is a big task and difficult one too!! So instead of gaining money, you are actually losing money because of the monthly rent that you’re paying to have your website hosted in cyberspace. The best way of getting the attention of people is through advertising. There are various methods to market your product online or generate traffic. Some of them are CPA(Cost Per Action) campaigns, PPC(pay per click) campaigns, Private Ads, CPM Ads, Article Marketing, Viral Marketing, Marketing on forums, Word of mouth Advertising, Social Media Marketing or Media Marketing and Referral traffic and SEO. Put together all this refers to website marketing.
Now let us discuss some of them. One of the most easy and effective way to get noticed is Pay per Click campaign or PPC. This is based on keywords or phrases related to the online business and whenever a person types this and searches the net he gets a listing by the search engines which lead to your site. These search engine listings generally appear in a box above the natural listings. Whenever a person clicks on this listing the company or organization pays a certain amount to the search engines. In fact you have to purchase these ‘keywords’ making monthly payments to the search engines. The less known phrases cost less and the more popular keywords are expensive. The trick is to purchase less expensive keywords and use them judiciously and at the same time, smartly.
But the flip side of PPC is that it sends both non-business and business traffic to your website and you end up paying for non-business traffic too. It is also expensive as your competitor may outbid you. So monitoring the PPC listing daily is an important daily schedule. Professionals are hired to take care of PPC campaigns who keep in mind the goals, asset and objectives of the online business in mind while designing such campaigns.
In contrast another website marketing strategy tries to divert traffic to your website through natural high rankings in search engines. This method is called or Search Engine Optimization and the traffic sent through this method is called organic traffic. It is not free but relatively cheaper than PPC. SEO does not aim at clicking the site link. It is a simpler technique which aims at getting a higher rank in the listing of search engines(Yahoo,MSN,etc.) whenever a person types in a keyword to search his desired result. The experts make sure that your site is compliant with Search Engine Algorithms and no spamming or “black hat techniques” are used to rank your site.
Certain tools are used for SEO such as article posting, forum posting, press releases and blog postings. These send referral traffic to your website. Additionally, search engines help you divert the online traffic to your site. It also helps to establish goodwill for your site and build visibility with other webmasters which helps the sustainability in the long run. You can take it from there and build website strategies such as pay-per-impression or pay-per-action or blogging to monetize the traffic diverted by search engines.
B2B referral traffic consists of the incoming links from businesses which are related to your kind of business. You place their link on your website and they place yours on their site. These businesses are then visited by online surfers or visitors. That brings traffic to your site and vice a versa. So in a way incoming and reciprocal links are form of advertisement of your business on the basis of mutual understanding of businesses.
According to a recent online study, over 50% of Internet users have visited websites through referral traffic. These can be bogs, directories, forums and search engines.
Blogs and forums are compared to communities. You must then invest the time and effort into getting your target audience opt-in to receiving future specials and updates – Newsletters, enzines, new product reviews or free offer etc.-Something for them to come visit your website over and over again. According to one survey 43.2% of online traffic is Direct traffic, 36.1% is through Search engines and 20.7% is through referring sites. Referral traffic is more interactive way to generate traffic to your bog or website.
It pays to apply different strategies and not just simply cost cutting when business hits ‘bad weather’. While SEO may be economical in the long run, PPC generates instant traffic. For a new website referral traffic is hard to come by. Online or offline what is most important in a business is to build a relationship with the people and make them trust you. Once they start trusting you, they will become your loyal customers and talk about you and your service getting you more traffic.
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Ajay Prasad is the Founder and President of GMR Web Team, a leading healthcare digital marketing agency. He guides small and medium size healthcare practices/businesses in customizing their online marketing strategy, focused on building a loyal base of patients and improving their patient acquisition. Ajay believes in an improved patient experience as the key to successful healthcare business, which can be accomplished with the right marketing plan in place.