Advertising is an essential part of any successful business. Unless you are able to bring your product to market and let customers know what you have to offer then they will never know that they can buy from you. The Internet provides an excellent opportunity to deliver targeted messages to your customers. eZines or newsletters are one way in which you can effectively market online. An online magazine, or eZine, can be tailored to meet the particular interests of a subgroup of your customers - a group of people that you know are already interested in your product. This makes them more likely to read your newsletter and buy your product.
Finding an online Magazine
It is important to establish how many readers an eZine actually reaches. You need to find a newsletter that reaches many thousand people, and one that is able to show their readership demographic. Your advert won't get much of a response if it only reaches a few hundred people, or if the people who read it are not interested in your product. Ask your eZine provider for details about their readership. You can also perform independent research by looking for comments about the eZine on search engines and blogs.
There are several online directories that list ezines. By joining such a service you will be able to discover ezines that target your specific marketing interest. By shopping comparatively through the various options you can search for an ezine that can provide you with competitive readership statistics and pricing options.
Some eZine publishers are less reputable than others. You should check that a newsletter allows subscribers to opt out of their list, and that the email addresses are obtained legitimately. Nobody likes to be spammed with unwelcome emails and your marketing message may actually be damaging to your business if your send it to people who have not agreed to receive it. Don't pay for an eZine to distribute your message to people who don't want to hear it.
Double blind subscriptions
A double blind subscription system is one which requires users to first ask to subscribe and then confirm their subscription by replying to an email sent to their address. A quality eZine will insist that all readers have confirmed their subscriptions. They will be able to tell you how many people actually open your email and how many people unsubscribe.
Another important aspect of a double blind subscription is that it ensures that your readers are actually interested in your product. Traditional broadcasting methods of advertising (e.g.: television or radio) send out a blanket message that is the same for everybody. These methods hope that they will reach at least somebody who will find your message useful. Online marketing can be much more focused on reaching a particular readership demographic.
Writing marketing copy
Writing copy that will be effective in promoting your product is a very specific skill. There are companies who specialize in writing copy that generates interest and delivers a well structured marketing pitch. The first prize in writing marketing copy is to get the opportunity to deliver a solo advert - one that does not have to compete for attention from other adverts. Writing an attention-grabbing headline and opening paragraph is a good way to draw attention to your advert.
Split up your message into logical paragraphs. Each paragraph should convey a single point and be directly related to the topic of discussion. Readers are generally unwilling to pay attention to articles that are too long. Including wasteful content is a surefire way to lose your readers.
Free classified adverts
You don't always have to pay to have your marketing message delivered. There do exist several free classified advertisement services that have a high readership number. Of course because they're free your advert will be competing with many other adverts for attention. Regularly posting your advertising message to several directories can help to keep it at the top of the list.
Make sure that you get feedback from your customers and business associates. Try to persuade them to let you know how they experienced your advert - did it grab their attention? What parts did they find useful? This will help you to refine future newsletters so that they offer content more precisely suited to your client needs.
How not to advertise online
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a contentious issue. Companies like Google, Yahoo, and Facebook generate the majority of their revenue by selling clicks. Basically you pay the search engine (or other website) a few cents for every visitor that they send to your site. It is possible to obtain a positive rate of return (ROI) on a PPC campaign, but it requires a great deal of work to track your clicks and measure how they are converting into sales. Often people lose track of the fact that there is a difference between the number of visitors to your site and the number of people actually buying your product.
Pay-per-click adverts are usually presented contextually. That is to say that the advertising agent (e.g.: Google) will examine the content of your webpage and present adverts that it believes are related to it. Unfortunately Internet users are becoming increasingly savvy and often see adverts as a simple annoyance. Browsers like Firefox have special extensions that will automatically remove adverts from webpages. This can have a significant impact on which users actually see your advert.
Pop-up adverts were quite popular a decade ago but are now seen as an annoying distraction. Popping brightly coloured windows up in front of content that visitors want to see is not likely to be met with a positive response. Generally people will close the popup and navigate away from you page. People visit websites to get information - adverts should not interfere with this purpose.
Measuring the performance of your online marketing campaign is essential. Spending money on getting traffic is useless unless you can know that you're increasing sales and receiving some return on your investment. When choosing an eZine or newsletter solution you must ensure that they can provide you with statistics on readership. Also be sure to install some sort of tracking code on your website. Companies like Google or Awstats provide free statistical tracking services.