Maximizing Your Article Marketing

So, you have just written a beautifully scripted, well researched, content
rich, keyword placed, grammatically perfect article, and you’ve got absolutely
zero additional hits to your website! What has gone wrong? Well, here’s a quick
checklist of some of the internet article marketing tricks you may have missed
out on:

Did you remember to include your name?

You’d be amazed at the number of people who write great website articles and
then find that all their internet article marketing efforts full flat because
(a) they either didn’t include or forgot to include their name in the by-line of
the article; or (b) they posted the article on a site where accreditation for
the article is not allowed. Keep in mind, if the reader doesn’t know who you
are, how are they going to find you?

Did you provide a URL?

You should always remember that people are inherently lazy. When it comes to the
Internet, this counts doubly so! As a result, when you submit your article for
publication, make sure you maximize your article marketing potential by
including a URL to your website so all the reader needs to do is to click and be
redirected directly to your site.

Have you included your details?

Although not necessarily beneficial to increasing the traffic to your website
directly, many readers feel more familiar and trusting with a writer who
includes a little information about themselves in the resource box at the foot
of the article. This way the reader get learn something about you and a
relationship of trust can be built up between you and the reader. In turn, it
likely that the reader will be more likely to visit your website as a trusting,
familiar, and friendly person. Exactly the type of potential customer you’ll be
looking for!

Did you maximize your article marketing exposure?

The art of article marketing is not only writing a great article, but also
making sure you place that article on a site that gives it maximum exposure.
Consequently, there is absolutely no point putting all your effort into a great
piece of work, if you have done no research about the website where it will be
posted. Because, if the website where the article is posted gets no hits, then
good or bad your article isn’t going to get many referrals to your site – which
is the whole point of article marketing! What’s more, where possible, you should
always consider maximizing your article marketing potential by placing the same
well-written article on as many different publishing websites as you possibly
can. Hopefully this will increase the referrals and traffic to your website.

Have you frightened the reader?

Even when you have written a great piece, the way you structure the layout of your article can have a dramatic affect on your reader. For example, if you have
a resource box that details your website URL and credentials, you need to make
sure that the space this takes up is no more than 1/5th of your total article
space. To do otherwise will usually result in the layout of your article having
a negative impact on the reader – especially the reader’s first impression. As
such, your well written article will go unread.

Maximizing referrals to your website via implementing a successful article
marketing strategy is not overly difficult. You do, however, need to give it
some thought. And, having written a great piece of work in the first place,
isn’t it worth the extra effort to make sure you get that piece working for you
by directing as much traffic to your website as possible?

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Network Marketing – Why is It So Great?

If you’ve ever heard of Network Marketing, you’ve probably heard it said that it is essentially a people’s business. Some have also labeled it a people’s franchise because of the similarities between the business models of network marketing and franchising. Advocates of the industry name it as the ultimate people’s business and say there is nothing quite like it. People that are in network marketing will immediately respond positively to this.

One of the unique characteristics of the network marketing type of business is that every individual distributor is in business for themselves but never by themselves. They will always be part of a larger organization and the compensation models are designed in such a way that every person can count on some form of support from their upline.

It is no secret that fortunes can be made in this type of business and many have done just that. Of course this is not the majority of network marketers, but every individual distributor does have the same chances. Success or failure in network marketing is not dictated by politics, race, age, background or gender, but always by results. In that respect it is probably also the fairest business model in the world.

For many people however the true value of their home based business is not directly in the financial return. The lessons a person can learn while building his or her own network marketing business are truly priceless. Many people are totally transformed through the personal growth they experience as a direct result of their challenges in their MLM businesses. It forced them to get out of their comfort zones, grow, and in many cases become a better person.

So what is so unique about network marketing in this respect? Doesn’t every entrepreneur have to deal with challenges? The answer of course is: Yes, they do. And they also experience personal growth as a result from this. However there is a significant difference. Most entrepreneurs are self made and many of them learned their trade largely outside of formal education. Either they were taught by a family member, a mentor or perhaps they learned everything the hard way: by trial and error. Very rarely will you find an entrepreneur that has an extensive library of books and tapes on personal development. Most businesspeople don’t attend seminars and motivational trainings. They think it’s all a bunch of hype. While in some cases this can be true, there are many trainings and seminars that teach the principles of success better than any textbook found in business schools.

One of the great things about network marketing is that this type of education is built into the training systems of all good companies. There is no business on the face of the earth that places such a strong and direct emphasis on the importance of personal development as the network marketing industry. Many companies might argue that they spend a great deal of their budget on education; training employees and as such assisting them in personal development but in most cases what they are actually talking about is personnel development. Although the words are almost identical, their meanings are vastly different.

Network marketing is all about building people. It is probably the best school on the planet if you want to learn about what it takes to be successful in life and you don’t need rich parents or some kind of scholarship to enroll.

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Market Research – What’s That Then?

A definition first: A market is a group of customers (people or businesses) who may be interested in buying your product (goods or services.)

People research for the following reasons:

1. Researching a market in order to produce a product to meet a perceived need.

2. Discovering the size of the potential market for a product.

3. Discovering what people want.

4. Deciding how much people would be willing to pay.

5. Understanding what encourages people to buy.

6. Understanding why a product you have is not selling.

7. Discovering who your potential competitors are.

8. Understanding what your competitors are doing in the market.

9. Deciding the best way to launch your product on the market.

10. Finding a niche – or hole in the market – that you can satisfy with one of your products.

Once you have decided on what questions you want answering – there are two main market research methods – the direct and the indirect methods.

o Direct: You go directly to your potential customers and ask them a series of questions. This is expensive and you need a standard set of questions plus some work afterwards in order to review the results. Usually potential customers are contacted via questionnaires or surveys. This can be done face to face, by telephone or via your web site. This kind of research is better for qualitative research such as what reactions to a product are, would you buy if…. etc?

o Indirect: This is research on a topic – or question via the internet or via researching a particular database – such as the National Statistics etc. This kind of research is best for quantitative research – such as how many? Where they are? Etc.

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Planning and Evaluating Marketing Programs

Measuring and understanding your Website’s success is a critical process that is sometimes overlooked. Many times, marketing efforts stop at getting traffic to the site. The next step is to evaluate results.

By “connecting the dots” between your marketing programs and end results, you can improve performance. Ultimately, site success depends on how well your site performs with respect to your goals. Measuring actual results against those goals tells you how well your site is succeeding.

Improving results means not only measuring the results themselves but also measuring, understanding, and adjusting the events that lead to those results. Further, having a marketing plan that identifies general strategies and specific programs for meeting your site goals will give you a higher baseline performance to work with when improving upon your site’s success.

Have a Plan

Whatever your Website goals, a marketing plan helps you meet them. By including two or three general strategies to meet each goal as well as specific programs under each strategy, you are better able to evaluate and improve performance.

For example, let’s say you make high quality, custom-made scarves and wish to sell them regionally:

– A Website goal could be to begin selling scarves online and achieve “x” amount of sales in the first six months online.

– One general strategy for meeting that goal could be to get the site known locally by fashion conscious ladies in your community.

– A specific program to support this strategy could be to hold a contest on your site, with the prize being a free, customized scarf. To promote the contest, you could issue a press release, which you send to fashion editors, etc.

By taking this funneled approach – planning down from the broad goal to the specific marketing program – you are better able to evaluate how well each program supports (or fails to support) your goals.

From the start – when you are developing your plan and deciding site structure – think about how to measure performance. Measures will differ, depending upon the situation, but should be both quantitative and meaningful with respect to helping you improve site performance. Choose a set of measurements that will tell you not only how your marketing programs are working, but also how well they support Website goals.

Evaluate Marketing Programs

To evaluate a marketing program’s success, decide your objectives first. You can then “connect the dots” between those objectives and your site goals. Later, when analyzing program results, evaluate not only whether the program succeeded in meeting objectives, but also how well it moved your business toward its Website goals.

It is possible to meet an objective for the marketing program while failing to support site goals. Many traffic generation programs serve as an example. Businesses will often participate in “hit” programs with disappointing results. They reach “hit” objectives, but move no closer to site goals.

Consider Return on Investment (ROI)

One way to evaluate marketing program results is through Return on Investment (ROI) analysis. ROI is a computation that tells you how much you received compared to what you put into a project. You can express ROI in terms of a dollar amount or as a ratio. Either way, the formula itself is simple.

The dollar amount formula tells how much you increased profit in total dollars as a result of the project:

(Cost savings and earnings as a result of the project) minus (Dollars invested)

The ratio formula tells how much you got back, in dollars, for each dollar you invested in a project:

(Cost savings and earnings as a result of the project) divided by (Dollars Invested)

IMHO, things get sticky when you try to define “cost savings and earnings as a result of a project.” This is because returns from marketing investments are broader and often more abstract than returns from some other types of investments. Marketing investments have not only direct monetary benefits, but indirect benefits as well. These indirect benefits are often intangible and difficult (if not impossible) to measure directly.

If you are part of a typical small business with limited resources it may feel like you are in a no win situation. Accurately computing ROI requires a detailed analysis for which the internal resources and expertise are often lacking. Outside consultants can spend hours unearthing data and computing an accurate ROI, but this can be expensive on a small budget.

This does not mean, however, that you cannot use ROI as one of several inputs into program evaluation. When figuring ROI and evaluating marketing program success, keep in mind that each project will realize different types of benefits. Aside from direct dollars cost and direct dollars returned, consider other potential project benefits, including how well it supports your site goals. Other aspects to consider:

Improved customer relationships. Happier customers can represent a return on investment. This can be gauged through repeat order patterns, by a change in the number of complaints/compliments, or through customer surveys comparing pre- and post-project satisfaction.

Influence on offline sales. Online activities often have an influence on offline transactions. You may experience sales leads originating from your Internet programs, for example. Customers may also be driven to your offline store as a result of online information.

Brand building. Online activities can mean better long term growth for your brand. Market share changes, online interactions, and brand awareness surveys are some ways you can judge brand building effects.

Company growth potential. Factor in long term growth prospects when evaluating your project. For many businesses, the Internet provides access to new markets and customers. If you have a local business, for example, your Website could extend your business far beyond the city limits.

Take into account these broader implications, pay attention to how well a marketing program supports your site goals, and measure program results. By taking this three pronged approach, you can better choose marketing programs with positive results.

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The Current Power of Direct Mail

While attending a session at the annual Direct Marketing Association Conference & Exhibition in San Diego this year, I was part of an interesting discussion about direct mail, it’s direction and it’s current power.

We all know that the USPS is in financial troubles, postage rates have gone up and direct mail volume has been recently shrinking. What does this mean for the business owner and direct mailer that are still mailing? Well for one, it does mean that you’re paying more per mailed piece. However, because the volume of direct mail has shrunk, your message stands out to prospects more than ever. Recipients of your piece are paying more attention to it, and if you’ve crafted a relevant offer, more recipients of your offer are turning into paying customers. So while the initial cost of your campaign may increase slightly because of postage, your return on investment (ROI) could be exponentially larger than it may have been just a year or two ago.

While many people are going digital to subsidize costs, it still makes perfect sense to keep a proven communication channel in your direct marketing arsenal. Best practice would suggest that you use offline communication channels like direct mail to engage the user in an online fashion. An example would be sending a mail piece that encourages users to visit your website or Facebook page for a coupon catered to them.

The bottom line: Direct Mail is more powerful now than ever: target your prospects and let it work for you!

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Network Marketing: Business Model of the Future

Direct Sales or multi-level marketing (MLM) is not new business model. But it is a business model with new life and potential. Often equated with pink Mary Kay Cadillacs and home parties, MLM is seeing a new place in e-commerce and a global economy. As a result, those plugged into the direct sales business are seeing a major surge in popularity and success. This is, in part, due to the higher unemployment and decreased economic stability of late. However, the real driver of the surge in revenue potential of the direct sales business is much more than past middle class women home parties. Consumer behavior is driving the demand for direct sales and its a business change that will stay.

While word of mouth and the recruitment of team members (typically called the downline) is still a major aspect of MLM, the way sales are made and teams are built, and the ceiling on earning potential have dramatically changed. This is due primarily to changes in consumer behavior and expectations coupled with a growing global economy. Technological advances that provide fast access and a myriad of tools and applications have made e-commerce simple and virtually real-time. This has created a new direct sales business model and opportunity that may very well dominate over the next decades.

Gone are the days of calling everyone on “your list” to network, bring in business partners, and generate sales. While still an important part of any successful company, the emphasis of MLM now is more on blogging, social media, internet marketing, and lead generation. Word of mouth still prevails, however new independent distributors use the social networks on the web to promote their products and business opportunities. And new direct sales companies are not pricing themselves out of the market. While team building is still a core function, the emphasis in on selling the product. To be competitive and profitable, direct sales companies know that their products must be priced right and of high quality.

Successful direct sales companies which provide a legitimate business and income opportunity have the following key business elements:

  • Corporate training and tools
  • Active consultant network
  • High quality products
  • Internet centered
  • Minimal inventory requirements
  • Corporate media exposure and advertising

The business model has real potential for long-term success with the right mix of attributes. Not all current MLM companies have made the necessary changes in their business. However, the prediction is that they will soon make significant adjustments and follow the model of leaders in the business.

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Surprise! Direct Mail That Makes You Sit Up and Take Notice

So many pieces of business-to-business direct mail show such a depressing lack of imagination that it makes me wonder if the companies who are running the campaigns have got money to burn. Every morning when my business mail lands on my desk, at least 5 items go straight into the bin without anything more than a cursory glance at the contents. Only occasionally do I spot an item of direct mail that makes me sit up and take notice and almost inevitably, that mailing piece will come into the category of “dimensional marketing”,

A chunky pack is always going to be more interesting and appealing than a plain, flat white envelope – particularly if the pack is custom-printed with imaginative graphics. Receiving such an item makes you look forward to opening the pack, filled with anticipation of what lies within.

From a personal point of view, I feel somewhat deflated if the contents of such an enticing pack prove to be kind of mundane and ordinary such as a plastic pen, a coaster or a mouse mat. I much prefer it when the designer has excelled by coming up with something different – particularly if the contents create a surprise and have a fun element.

However, inexpensive promotional gifts such as mugs, T shirts and other such paraphernalia, are hardly likely to jump up and grab your attention and so marketing managers must look elsewhere if they are to achieve a unique reaction tailored to their own very specific promotional needs.

It is my contention that imaginative application of cardboard engineering and paper engineering techniques can produce just the effect that might be required. However, not every designer possesses these skills and so it might be necessary to call upon specialist suppliers – namely a printer with a cardboard engineering department. You might be surprised, but there are quite a number of these dotted around the globe!

One type of product that gives a surprise every time has been on the market for quite some time but a couple of imaginative variations have appeared recently. The product that I have in mind is a square cardboard pack with fold-over closing flaps. When the flaps are opened, out jump four rubber-band powered cubes – much to the surprise of the recipient! Different suppliers give a different name to the product, usually something like a Crackerjack, a Springbox or a Jack in a Box.

The variations that I have seen include a compact, pocket sized version with just two pop-out cubes and another where a tray slides out of the pack to release the cubes one after the other. Both are as effective as the original in bringing the elements of surprise and fun to your mailing pack.

These may be simple products but they are both effective and memorable and just as likely to bring direct mail success as a gift costing an awful lot more. They are well worth consideration when your future direct mail campaigns are up for discussion.

One manufacturer of this type of product is Whitney Woods who are based in the UK but have websites in different languages to help continental buyers.

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Insights About the Future of Direct Selling Companies

Direct selling has been well-entrenched in global market for some time. The success of companies can even be described as phenomenal. Notwithstanding recent developments in the world economy, observers have a lot of observations about the future of direct sellers. These may well be the basis for people who consider joining the industry or entrepreneurs who dream of putting up their own enterprise.

It is widely believed that economic slumps can be good for this sector. In fact, becomes more lucrative as gifted individuals express their desires to become distributors. People all over the world have been looking for ways to earn as a result of the unemployment scare so the rise in the number of determined sellers will overshadow the drop in sales to create more proceeds.

For so long, has been a healthy business. The emergence of product sales via the internet or online shopping poses a big challenge to companies. So, these organizations are shifting strategies by putting in the element of face-to-face relationships in internet marketing and getting the younger generation involved since this is the age group that is so attached to online pursuits. The focus nowadays of direct sellers is to incorporate the online features to the concept of face-to-face marketing.

Another major issue is the effective management of well distributed organizations.

Dealers are self-employed and have very minimal direct contact with the companies whose products they circulate and sell. Training is not adequate so most of the time; the selling points of field distributors are very different from the company’s point of view. Secondly, it is hard to keep people interested all the time. Thus, it is up to the company to come up with strategies that will energize potential customers. Moreover, faces almost the same challenges as big corporate organizations which have to contend with huge work forces.

Successful direct sellers usually knock on the doors of strong social networks such as those with religious or cultural orientation. These direct sales distributors normally depend on social networks that can provide them with a considerable client base. The future of is still very profitable.

There can even be a situation where the enterprise can grow twice the size that it is today. Consumers are now inclined to do their shopping through online methods, supermarkets and hypermarkets but given the employment of innovative techniques, direct selling companies can make headway in the years to come. By and large, the future of depends partly on the progress of network marketing. This is not a new approach anymore in the delivery of products and services to the marketplace. It has been existent for so many decades. The advantage of this concept is that there is no need for start-up time, no need for a business plan or manufacture any commodity. You only need to be obsessive about the product and sell this to the end user to make money.

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What is Direct Marketing and How Can I Make a Killing From It?

Direct marketing is another form of marketing and it is quite self explanatory. The word direct here is used to describe the way in which sales copy and pitches are delivered to consumers, which is directly and without the use of intervening media. It also involves the use of communication media either offline or online, and the main defining characteristic of the type of communication is that it is unsolicited.

Also, direct marketing is also focused on getting purchases from a specific call to action, which means purchase is gained from lead creation, and the creation of these leads are often defined by acts that consumers have to do to either “opt in” or “sign up”, where later “up-selling” can be done or more tangible offers can be forwarded to the consumer. How is direct marketing measured?

In the only way possible; which is through the response of the consumers, measured as targets and sales generated through direct marketing efforts. Can you make a killing from it? Of course, you can, but how you go about it is very important. One of the common mistakes made by direct marketers is that they come into the campaign very unfocused. One of the important things to understand about a good direct marketing campaign is to know the product literature inside out, which means that you need to have all the information at your finger tips. Nothing kills a marketing campaign or a sales pitch like misinformation or the silence consumers get as you try to work out a response.

Being unsure about a product reflects on the confidence of your sales pitch, and this often leads to failure. Always be certain about what you are selling, and try to have some passion about your product. The belief that you have about your product will reflect greatly on the way that you promote it. In some ways, selling the product and service that you are representing is more like a performance than anything else, as so succinctly put, it is about selling the sizzle and not so much of the steak. One of the other ways that you can turn a great profit from your direct marketing campaign is to get your hands on a highly targeted list to begin with. In this way, you will have an advantage in your selling strategies.

How? Simple. Having a list that is targeted and tailored towards your product means that you will have your hands on a market that is more than likely to be excited by your product at the very least. It is like selling financial products to investors, or teaching tools to a school. The more likely that they are to buy your product, the more likely that you will have success at selling them. These are just some of the principles you need to keep in mind to make a killing from direct marketing. With a bit of hard a work and a dash of smart thinking, you will surely succeed in your campaign.

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How to Prepare For a Successful Internet Marketing Campaign

There is no denying the fact that internet has become a significant part of many people’s lives. Every day, people from all over the world go online to interact with family friends; search for jobs; do research; send email; and of course, do some shopping. If you are a business owner, you simply cannot overlook all the wonderful possibilities that internet marketing can do your business.

For years, many business owners have relied on direct marketing by sending business letters and postcards. But today, these traditional methods of direct mail advertising can be combined with direct mail internet advertising to maximize your marketing potential.

Direct Marketing Through Electronic Mail

So how is direct internet marketing campaign done? Since you will be reaching out to recipients over the internet, this method of advertising is done by sending emails. Let’s discuss pointers on how you can be successful with your internet marketing campaign.

Start with a good list. Just as with traditional direct mail advertising, the right direct marketing list is important. You need a list of prospects that are most likely to respond positively to your campaign. And not only that. One way to ensure the success of your direct marketing campaign is to always update your mailing list since most people have multiple email accounts or change emails often.

If you don’t have your own listing, you need to purchase your internet marketing list from a reputable online marketing broker. But watch out as there are internet marketers who sell contact details without consent from the email account holders. Before buying a listing, check the seller’s credibility.

Track your progress. The key to successful internet marketing is repetition. This method should be done repeatedly in order to get the results you want. You must send email marketing updates to your prospects at regular time intervals to build name recognition and rapport with your niche market.

Therefore, be sure that you are keeping track the results of each internet marketing campaign you launch. Are you getting a positive response from the recipients of your marketing emails? Have you checked if all your emails are successfully sent? Be observant and if you notice a room for improvement, then do the necessary adjustments on your next campaign.

Build up your business website. Of course, you need to direct recipients of your marketing emails to your business website. The question is, what will they find from your online store? Will they be impressed? Will they be encouraged to browse your website or to visit often? Or will they be disappointed with your website design? Remember, great presentation is a crucial element if you want to keep up with your competitors online.

Take care of your reputation. Direct marketing is used to build name recognition and familiarize people with your brand. However, to create a good reputation in the market, you need to make sure that you are selling high-quality products and rendering outstanding service. No matter how successful you are with your marketing campaigns, if buying customers are not satisfied with your products and services, it will be very difficult for your business to survive.

Copyright (c) 2010 Luie De Von

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