In recent years, the Internet has become crowded with thousands of merchants, sellers, go-betweens, and buyers, turning it into a marketplace teeming with wares and money. There are now millions of companies on the Internet, with many of them selling nearly the same products and services, at nearly the same prices, and with nearly the same incentives. The question most starting businesses now ask is not how to engineer their products, services, and purchase packages to compete with the rest of the market, but how to carry out effective marketing that will catch customer attention and increase profits.
For advertisers and marketers, this crowded World Wide Web of a thousand entanglements presents a challenge that cannot be ignored. There are millions of buyers that can be attracted, millions of companies that can invest in marketing, and millions of dollars to be earned in such an enterprise. All that marketers have to do is choose a niche for Internet marketing.
How does one choose a niche to carry out successful marketing online? There are four main inroads to Internet marketing, and a marketer can choose a niche in terms of the marketing technique that can be used, the specific market that will be catered to, the product that must be marketed, and the service that must be sold. Another major consideration would be the finances and funding available to carry out marketing, but this article will assume that all funds are provided for, and budgets have been worked out beforehand.
Choosing a niche in terms of marketing technique entails asking oneself the following questions.
• How many people do I want to reach out to at this time? Although more customers may equal more profits, some companies may not be able to field the onslaught of requests that may arise if a marketing technique is spread too widely across the Internet. Such a technique might include mass mailing, posting advertisements on at least a hundred other related websites, or employing highly attractive incentives for potential buyers.
• How web-savvy am I? Web designers that have extremely well-honed design skills will usually opt to make their own websites and concentrate on marketing their wares through their sites. A website, however, has to be viewed correctly across a wide range of browsers, and has to be well laid out and attractive. A poorly made website will turn customers off, and will lower your company’s credibility.
You will also need to examine the major marketing techniques now available online, and seeing which of these techniques can help you.
• You can post advertisements on sites related to your product or service, but not on sites that sell the same products or services as yours. For instance, if you are a pet food maker, you may post advertisements on sites that sell dogs or cats, pet bath products, or pet accessories. Advertising can be done by paying the site for space, or by agreeing to post the site’s own advertisements on your site. This technique is versatile, and will work for most companies.
• Mass mailing is a more annoying technique that can send your advertisements into the trash bin of many an irate email reader. To reach out to your market, your mass email should be attractive and easy to load. Such a technique will work with more well known companies, as emails from them will most likely not be rejected by email users.
• An exclusive company website will also be advisable for a company that can afford to put up a well-ordered, secure site. A website should allow consumers to view your latest offerings, buy them, and know that their personal information (such as addresses and credit card numbers) will remain safe from hackers.
Finding your Internet marketing niche will also depend on the product or service that you wish to market, as well as on your target market. As you contemplate on what product or service you want to sell, ask yourself the following questions.
• What am I interested in? If you are interested in a product or service, your enthusiasm will show and consequently contaminate.
• How much time am I willing to invest? If you have all the time in the world to carry out your marketing, then you can put up and maintain a website, or even moderate a forum. If you are working on both a limited budget and timetable, then you may want to consider reciprocal links or advertising on similar sites.
• Which target market will my products and services most appeal to? If you know the behavior, likes, and dislikes of your target market, you can tailor your products and services to its tastes, and turn your marketing techniques to favor the market.
Internet marketing can be difficult to carry out, and the challenge can be daunting, but the rewards are many. If you can make your voice heard on the World Wide Web, and attract customers through the noise of the millions of other merchants online, then you can see your profits rise in no time.