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Self-Help Articles on Psychological Marketing

By Gary Witt, Ph.D.

  You know why you want a web site, what you want it to do for you, how to design it for maximum impact, and how to keep visitors coming back. In part four of this series, we'll look at some ways you can continue to improve your Web site's success, and get people to notice you.

  Research has shown that the most successful sites do not rely exclusively on Internet advertising (e.g. banners) to bring visitors in. Dr. Ralph Wilson says, "Setting up a website is like building a storefront on a dead-end street. If you want any shoppers, you must give them a reason to come." And you must tell them you're there. (See Wilson's helpful site at www.wilsonweb.com.) Use off-line advertising, especially print, to publicize your Web site. Think of your site as a product or service your company offers. How would you market it? One important way is to include your Web site address in all your printed materials, from ads and brochures to your letterhead and business cards. If it has your company's name on it, be sure it has your Web site, too.

  A slogan is also good to use because it helps create an image. If you have a slogan for your site, include it to help readers focus on what they can expect to find. In creating your slogan, focus on a major need of the buyer. Then try to stimulate it and promise satisfaction. For example, if you sell shoes, you are really selling comfort and appearance. Your slogan could be "Look Good and Feel Better." In general, the company which creates the richest "memory trace" in the buyer's mind will have the best chance of being visited. You can see this yourself when you look at search engine listings. Those sites that create a positive image in your mind with a few descriptive words that seem to promise what you want will get the first click throughs.

  When you think of advertising, consider the price advantage of a small ad which will drive readers to your Web site. The two keys to making a small ad work are (1) catching the reader's eye, and (2) intriguing the reader enough to write down your Web address. The first may be accomplished in numerous ways, including color, stripes, odd shapes, etc. The second may be done by using words and phrases which make the reader want something which is found at your Web site.

  For example, if you sell golf balls, try a whole series of small ads in a golf magazine or tabloid. Put a wide striped border around one, put the copy of another on a picture of a golf ball, and make the third bright yellow with black letters. Use pitches that appeal to different motivations of the reader: "Tired of paying Full Price for your balls?" "A Child can hit our balls 300 yards!" "When you say SIT, our balls SIT." Then tell them they'll get something free by visiting your site. "Check out our balls, and print out a FREE copy of Tiger Woods' Top Ten Rules of Good Golf." Then give your Web site address. That's it.

  In addition to ads and plastering your Web site on every available piece of paper, don't forget your e-mail. Use a "signature" for all your e-mail which includes your Web site and slogan.

  You know the importance of search engines in the success of your site. Countless research shows that if your site doesn't appear in the listings on the first page brought up, chances are you will be at a real disadvantage. Strategies and techniques to boost your rating are found on sites all over the Internet. Most want your money. For an excellent education about search engine strategies for free, take a look at Search Engine Watch (http://www.searchenginewatch.com/). It's packed with hundreds of ideas, which are updated regularly. Whatever you do, don't neglect your search engine positioning work. It's tough to get into the Top Ten, and it's harder to stay there.

  An electronic newsletter sent by e-mail to a list of subscribers is an excellent way to promote your Web site, give added value to your product or service, and generate a growing list of potential buyers. Consider using bulk e-mail to find more people who may be interested in what you sell. You've probably heard of "spam," or unsolicited e-mail advertisements. In the Internet culture, it is a no-no. Instead, look for companies which offer "opt-in" e-mail lists. These are lists of people who have indicated they would like to receive information about some topic, such as new business opportunities, health care products, etc. You will pay for each name, just like you would for a mail house list. The value is that you have a receptive audience, and you save most of the costs associated with a regular bulk mailing through the Post Office.

  You can find hundreds of sites ready to sell you e-mail lists online. It can be hard to tell who to do business with. One way is to select a business which already has an established reputation in the bulk mail business. Also look for guarantees that you won't be charged for undeliverables. You should ask questions like how old the list is, how it was gathered, and the last time it was cleaned, but you can't always rely on the answers.

  Your e-mail message should be designed to get people to visit your Web site, not sell them your product or service. To do that, the best approach is to offer them something free, or maybe a lot of somethings. When they show up, you make your pitch. Also be sure to offer your free newsletter, and make it easy to sign up. That way, you don't lose those who visit but don't buy. In fact, one online marketer estimates that it takes up to six or seven e-mailings to get the average person to buy.

  Keep your e-mail message short, stimulate their interest and curiosity, emphasize the value of the free material awaiting them, and offer them a sample of what you're giving away. For example, your invitation might just be four or five lines, designed to stimulate some "hot button" motivations and then promising to satisfy them by a visit to your site. For example, if you sell home decorations, your e-mail might ask the question, "Do you know how to give your entire home a brand new look for less than most people pay for a kitchen? We do! Visit us at www.wearecheap.com to learn more. And get a free home analysis and hundreds of free tips on making your home a showplace your friends will envy. I've included a few of those tips below."

  There's a lot of good advice available on using e-mail in marketing. It's as close as your favorite meta search engine. Probably the most important tip is to write several different letters and test them out on small parts of your list. See which ones get the best response, and use them. Keep on studying, testing, combining and analyzing. Don't be disappointed if you're only getting a 1-2% return. Some sites say they get 15%+, and maybe they do, but don't bet the farm on it. Once you're getting a good return, see if you can expand into other regions, countries, or related interest groups.

  The Internet is growing at a faster pace than any other communications medium in the history of the world. Over one billion people will be on line in just a few years. Europe will begin to open up as American ISPs enter that market, and if the antiquated per-minute telephone line charges Europeans pay are revamped, that market will explode, the pent-up demand is so great. As you plan your Internet marketing strategy, actively seek ways in which you can make your product attractive to buyers overseas. By 2004, Americans will be less than half of the total available buyers out there. Take off any blinders you're wearing and get out the binoculars. It's a brand new, global marketplace out there.

Be sure to look at these other helpful articles on Internet Marketing:

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