Online Marketing: A Busy Person’s Guide

By: Stephanie Diamond

Managing your online business is a full-time job. Unfortunately, most people have other responsibilities that prevent them from devoting all their attention to e-commerce.

If your time is limited, here are five things you must do to keep your revenue flowing:

1. Keep content updated

Nothing signals a neglected business like old content. If you walked into a retail store that had dusty signs and old merchandise you’d turn around and walk out. You would instantly know that the service would be poor and the merchandise unacceptable. A neglected website signals the same things. The only thing your online customer can judge is what they see on the screen. They have no idea you work late into the night improving your product. Make sure to do simple things like updating your copyrights to the current year and removing references to holidays that have passed. Which leads us to our next topic—promotions.

2. Develop frequent promotions

Excite your customers whenever possible. People respond to novelty. Create new promotions as often as you can. Even slight changes make a difference. A discount, a bundle, anything that says “ALL NEW” will catch their eye. If you get into the habit of constantly revising the way your products are merchandised, you will have a much stronger sense of what works. Which leads us to our next topic—testing.

3. Test and revise

In my marketing business, I have seen companies spend hours in meetings deciding what words to use and how to position a product. Often it is based on nothing more than a strongly held position by an aggressive staff member. The arguing continues until the loudest staffer gets his way. This is not the way to make decisions about your website. The only true way to know if something works is to test and revise it. If you are not tracking promotions you are simply devoting time to a hobby. This is not to say that intuition should be ignored. It should be tried and tested to determine whether your customer sees things the way you think they do. Which leads us to our next topic—feedback.

4. Get feedback from your customers

If you want to know what your customers think you have to ask them. It’s not complicated. I guarantee that sometime in your career you will be shocked by how customers perceive something differently from you. I use the word ‘shocked’ advisedly. Sometimes you will be so close to a product that the obvious benefit or flaw escapes you completely. This is not a good experience, but it will encourage you to see how your customers view your offers. Which leads us to our next topic—buying.

5. Make buying easy

Your main goal for your website is to get people to buy something. You have a service or a product that needs to be purchased. Is it easy to buy? Do you require lots of extraneous information that you don’t use? Think long and hard about what your buying process should look like. Check out how the largest companies sell their products online. They streamline the process so that people don’t get frustrated and give up along the way. This should be your goal. Don’t feel you need to make the purchase seem ‘important’ by requiring lots of unnecessary steps. Amazon has reaped the benefits of "1-Click" ordering.

If you pay attention to these five areas, you should not feel guilty when you devote your time to other parts of the business. Which leads us to the final conclusion—make it fun! Busy people need fun too.

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Digital Media Works, Inc.( ) is an Internet marketing and design firm. A seasoned 25+ year management/marketing professional, founder Stephanie Diamond, former AOL Marketing Director, is experienced in building profits.

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