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Part Two of the 5 Step Internet Marketing Plan

An Effective Marketing Campaign Doesn't Have to Be Expensive or Difficult

By Paula Polman

Increase your online sales with an organized Internet marketing campaign.

Increase your online sales with an organized Internet marketing campaign.

Image (c) Paul Eekhoff / Getty Images

Here are the last three steps for creating an effective Internet marketing campaign.

Step 3 - Budget

While some folks think this should be the first step, realistically you can better create the budget for your online marketing plan when you have a good idea of the costs involved. That can only be done once you've figured out your targets. You probably already have a figure in mind of how much you can really spend, so go back to your marketing campaign sheet and total the costs of all the ad spots you'd like to do. Chances are that total will exceed your overall spending limit.

Now go through that list and prioritize the ads in terms of where you think you'll get the most exposure and results that fit within your budget. Move the others into a holding list. Remember, as the ads start to pull in results you can always go back and expand your campaign from that holding list.

If you are engaged in pay-per-click advertising, check in daily for the first week or so and monitor your results to ensure you are paying for results.

Don't forget to consider ad swaps and bartering as part of your payment and marketing budget. Many sites will swap newsletter ads or banner ads for similar placement on your site. It never hurts to ask.

Step 4 - Creating Your Ad Content

Online marketing works best when you focus only on one or two things. You may have a variety of products but pick one or two items that are good sellers and have a solid appeal to your target market for your marketing campaign.

Next ask yourself, "What am I selling"? It's rarely the product or service. You are selling a benefit, something that registers at the emotional level. If you are selling fishing rods, for example, you're selling the excitement of successfully landing that monster in the lake. If you are selling cosmetics, you're selling beauty.

The most successful ads use words that relate to the customer. Use You and Yours and never put the focus on Me, Mine, Our, My or We. Create several emotional words associated with the product - fun, comforting, relaxing, stimulating, addictive - and use at least one of them in the ad.

Coupons are also an effective marketing tool. They can be easily tracked either manually or by an automated shopping cart system. Use different codes for different advertising locations and you'll quickly see which ones get the best attention.

Create a text ad for each item in your Internet marketing campaign, making sure to hit at least one to three prime keywords in the text. Text ads typically run 60 characters wide by 3, 5, 7 or 10 lines long.

Once you have your text ads, go through your banner inventory. Do you need to update them with a holiday specific message? Does every image have an appropriate ALT tag? Is the graphic properly optimized for size (under 20-50kb) and resolution (72dpi)?

Step 5 - Tracking & Monitoring Your Ads

Tracking and reacting to your campaign's successes are critical in maintaining an effective marketing campaign. From your website stats to PPC stats, there are many ways to determine what is working and what isn't. By paying attention you'll learn volumes about your ads and how to hone them for best results.

Tracking tricks include using specific coupon or sales codes for each ad placement, setting up separate entry pages on your site for each ad, and utilizing a service that helps track activity.

There are advertising management services that help you to track ad performance, such as Google's DFP Small Business, a free service that is relatively easy to implement and gives powerful ad tracking management and support. Some venues, such as Facebook ads, provide their own reports.

On a daily basis for the first two weeks, review the results of your various ads. Write them up in your tracking sheet and look for any trends or patterns. Which ones are performing, where and why? If some aren't working, replace them with others that are or try another from your hold list. Once you settle into a pattern of review and ad management you'll know better how often you need to monitor your marketing campaigns.

Happy Online Sales!

Successful Internet marketing campaigns are within the reach of any business, no matter what your budget. By following the five basic steps above and committing to the follow-through, you can create a cost effective marketing campaign with a substantial return on investment.

Good sales to you this year!

Paula Polman has been in online retail since 2000 and is the owner of several online retail sites including Mossberry Hollow Living and Herbal Hugs Natural Thermal Therapy.

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