Why Internet Marketing?
Growing a small business without a clearly defined Internet marketing strategy today would be more than just difficult. Consumers have never had as many choices and as little time as they have today. The Internet has not only given consumers more options – but also more power to influence your business’ reputation and success. People can grow your business beyond your imagination just by sharing their experiences with their friends and family in person and online. They can also cut your business in half by posting negative reviews on the web.
Traditional advertising methods through TV, radio and print ads offer lower and lower ROI, as consumers are choosing the Internet to explore, decide and shop. This is true for retail jewelry, as well as all small businesses. But this is not the end of marketing; it is the beginning.Using the Internet to put your business directly in front of a costumer who is searching for your services or products, at the moment she's searching, is one of the best ways to market your business. This is the reason every small business owner should revisit their marketing budget and consider allocating more resources and effort into Internet marketing.
Ingredients of Internet Marketing Success: Website & Web PromotionWebsite Design
Your company website is the core of a successful Internet marketing campaign. It should be the hub of all of your online marketing efforts: it must make a great first impression, educate the visitor and convert a visitor into a buyer -– whether through an online purchase or by motivating them to visit your store.
Jewelers who treat web design as just another business expense more often than not do not get much in return from their website. Your website should represent your brand and reflect how you want your target market to perceive your business.
Inspire visitors with a unique design that shows visitors that you offer truly unique jewelry. In addition, your website should demonstrate your business’ credibility. Achieve this by displaying all professional and trade memberships, such as your membership in Jewelers of America, as well as any professional certifications of your staff and testimonials from happy customers.
Cheap, or unprofessional, looking websites will give visitors the wrong impression of your business. After a bad first impression online, it will not matter if you offer the most exquisite, unique, custom jewelry in your area –- most consumers will not be inspired to visit your store or consider giving you their business.Develop a website with a unique web design that looks credible and trustworthy as the first step in the Internet marketing campaign for your jewelry store. The second ingredient is getting people to see your website -- the following web platforms help you do just that.
Local Web SearchA study by comScore, Inc., proves that local brick-and-mortar businesses have to invest resources in local web search. It showed that the majority of people use the Internet as their primary source to find local business information. The number of people who use offline resources for the same information is in a constant decline, from 33% in 2007 to 28% in 2009.
In the context of this guide, “local search” is defined as any search that prospective customers perform online to find information about local businesses. This includes using the location search sites, such as Google Local/Maps or Yahoo! Local; online directory websites, such as Superpages or YellowPages; and general search engines such as Google.com or Bing.com.Your business must be present across all of these search platforms for you to get optimal results from Internet marketing. Many of these search websites offer free listings. Google Local/Maps free listings are an opportunity that cannot be missed, especially because Google Local receives the majority of the local search traffic at 26% (an increase from 15% in 2008). This increase was mainly due to Google more aggressively including local results with their main search engine result pages (SERPs) , as part of their "universal search system" that blends listings from news, images, video, local businesses, etc.
Social media is an umbrella term that describes a category of websites that are based on user-generated content and participation, like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and MySpace. Some of these websites offer advertising, but their true value lies in connecting you with your current customers on a personal level. Generally speaking, people don't use social media sites to search for products or services; they use them for social interaction and personal connections.
You should use social media to run promotions, contests and to empower your happy customers to spread positive feedback about you and your business to their friends and networks.Conclusion
To succeed online, you will need to implement a well-defined strategy with attainable goals that reflect the goals of your business as a whole. Internet marketing has to be an active part of your day-to-day operations. With defined goals and a proper level of commitment, Internet marketing can become your most important source of business.In Part Two: Now that you understand the key ingredients for the foundation of your Internet marketing campaign, in Part Two, Vedran Tomic discusses how to get increased visitor traffic to your website and brand online.