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This was a transcript of an event held a couple of years ago. I have updated the information and resources to make it relevant in today’s online marketplace.

Q. Let’s talk about online marketing. What is the very first step that we need to take, when we are just starting out marketing our business online?

A. The first step is Knowing your Target Market and How to

Find it Online. You know who your target market is, and now you need to find out how to find members of this target market online, how to network with it, how to let your niche know about your business.

There are a few different ways of doing this. One is social networking. In addition to the top 3 (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) there are many other viable networking organizations online such as Pinterest, Bebo, Hi5, Orkut, Ecademy and many, many more. These are all big, general networking organizations, and you will do well if you join them. Many of these also have smaller groups within them. These smaller groups should be visited by the members of your niche, so that you could network with them, get to know them, and let them get to know you.

One great resource to find groups where you can network is by searching Yahoo groups. You can find them at groups.yahoo.com. And for a big list of niche social networks, check out: Traffikd.com with a list of over 400 social networks broken down by category. 

Online networking is great for many different reasons:

– You don’t have to spend the time commuting to and from networking events. I routinely get invites to events that will take me an hour and a half each way. Not the same with online networking – open the online networking web site, and you are ready to network.

– You don’t have to attend an event at a certain time. There are many events I hear about that start early in the morning or later at night, and are not very convenient. You can network online anytime and in your pajamas.

–  You can reach many people with just one message, this is a principle that I call one to many. One time effort, in this case posting one message on an online message board, can reach many members of your target market, and expose them to your expertise.

Q. Great! So now that we know what our target market is, and how to market to it, what is the next step? Do we now need to create our web site?

A. The next step is to create our web site infrastructure.

When you have an online business, and a web surfer visits your web site, you want some kind of action to come on his part. But what is the end result you want to see from this web surfer? You want to turn him into a customer!

However, the person might not turn into a customer right at this moment, but we still want him to take some kind of an action – maybe contact you for a quote, maybe register for your newsletter, maybe buy your latest ebook.

For all of these actions I have described, there has to be infrastructure in place on your web site.

– If you want someone to contact you for a quote, there has to be a Contact Form and a Questionnaire for them to fill out.

– If you want someone to register for your newsletter, there has to be a newsletter.

– If you want someone to buy an ebook from you, there has to be good sales letter on your web site selling the ebook, and some way for you to process the payment and deliver your ebook to the customer.

Here are some examples of what can go into your web site infrastructure:

– Your web site content / your web copy. Your web copy is what will make your web site visitor buy from you, or go on to the next web site.

–  Means to contact you – a contact page with a form to contact you, your email address, maybe your phone number, maybe your mailing address.

– Means to buy from you, so you need to have a shopping cart and a way to accept payments for your products right there on your web site.

Q. What is next, once we have our infrastructure in place?

A. Our next step is Promoting Your Expertise Online. When we

need help or just information, we want it to come out of the most reliable source.

When you want medical advice you go to an expert – a doctor in a specific medical field. When you want your car fixed, you go to a certified mechanic. When your tooth hurts, you go to an expert – a dentist.

Same for our customers. When they need help, they want to get this help from an expert. When they need a web site designed, they want to go to someone who has experience in design, and has designed a few web sites.

As you can see, the best way to convince your customers to come to you for advice, services and products is by being an expert in your field. That way, when they are looking for advice, they come to you.

Q. So, how do you become a well-known expert in your field online?

A. By showing your expertise and having many people see that. Here are Effective Ways to show your expertise online:

– By publishing a newsletter.

– By having your own blog, and blogging consistently.

–  By networking online.

–  By publishing articles.

–  By having published a book/ebook.

–  By offering seminars or teleclasses.

Q. Now we really need to capture the contact information of people who come to our web sites. How do we do that?

A. Before I start working together with a coaching client, I always ask what they are looking to gain for their business from our working together. Many new clients tell me it’s more sales of their products and services. At this point I ask “What else?” and don’t get much of a response.

A sale is great, but when you create a database of potential customers, you create a list of people who you can share information with and offer your products to over and over again.

Q. How do you generate leads online?

A. Here are a few different ways:

– Search engine optimization. When you optimize your newsletter page for search engines, people find it and register for it.

– Article Writing. When people read your articles, invite them to sign up for the newsletter in the resource box.

– Pay per click search engines. Look for your target customers, using them. We recommend starting with Facebook PPC – it is less expensive and you can “drill down” to the exact audience you wish to target.

– Online networking. Invite people you network with to register for your newsletter, use information about it in your signature.

These are just a few ideas to help you start thinking about generating leads for your business.

Q. With so many things to do to promote a website, it can be overwhelming. Let’s talk about selling for a moment. Many of us have services, as well as products, listed on our web sites. How do we sell them online?

A. Everyone’s favorite topic – generating online sales. You know who your ideal customers are. You have a great web site that sells your products and services, has your articles, has a newsletter and means to contact you.

Q. Now it is time to bring in customers. How do you do that?

Your marketing campaigns should be extremely targeted. No matter what you are selling, or which techniques you are using to sell, your campaign should be very targeted. Your campaign should send your customer to a specific landing page, and the customer should have a few options on that page.

For example, if you are promoting an Online Marketing Teleclass, you should send all of your customer to a page dedicated to that teleclass. Your customers should only have a few options on the page – register, leave, maybe subscribe to your newsletter. You should not be promoting five other teleclasses there.

Q. So which online marketing techniques should you use to sell your products?

– Affiliate marketing. This is a great way to sell your products, and I run affiliate programs for my own products. Affiliate marketing helps you recruit people who promote your products on their blogs and web sites, in exchange for commissions.

– Search Engine Optimization. Optimizing your web site, especially the products and services pages for search engines helps you bring targeted customers to the pages that promote your products.

– Newsletter Marketing. Since you use your newsletter for lead generation, your newsletter subscribers are interested in your products.

– Cooperative marketing with others – promote each others’ products together.

Q. Is it really possible to build loyalty and relationships with our clients and customers if our primary business is selling online? If so, how?

A. Absolutely. This is how my customers find me online – many people who contact me have read my articles, have subscribed to my newsletter or have networked with me online.

Q. In order to build trust and loyalty, you need to own your field; you need to be considered an expert in it. How do you do that?

– By publishing articles on the topics you are an expert in.

– By publishing a newsletter.

– By publishing a blog.

Q. And, If you build an interesting, genuinely useful website, it is possible to get links to your site and get traffic to it?

A. Definitely. My favorite way of building links to my web site is by writing and publishing articles. Once I publish them online, other people re-publish them on their web sites and blogs, thus giving links back to my web site.

I strongly recommend that if you are not writing and publishing articles yet, start doing it.

Note: When you join Women in Ecommerce™ at the Platinum Level you get a step-by-step blueprint of how to write and promote your articles to your target audience. This is just one of the many resources you receive as a Platinum Member!