Let me be very clear: there is a LOT of legitimate money to be made on the Internet. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that there is huge potential to make money on the Internet. However, very few people succeed in realizing what needs to be done to make it. 

Every day there are countless numbers of intelligent people that come to the internet looking for ways to make their dreams of financial freedom come true. But it does take much more than intelligence to succeed in this business. It takes tactics, it takes strategies, it takes hard work to succeed in internet business. A lot of these people who come to the internet to ‘seek their own green pastures’ do not see the internet as a business that will make them money, they see it as an opportunity to make money. We call them ‘opportunity seekers’. 

Who is an opportunity seeker? An opportunity seeker is somebody who is looking to make money online, but wants to do it with little or no work/effort. They believe that there is some “magic formula” that will solve all of their problems and make them a ton of cash. And that is why they get easily scammed by people who offer to invest their money for them and give them 1000% profit within 30 days, without them having to do anything other than go and deposit their money in his bank account. 

When they try out an “opportunity” and it doesn’t make them money within the first week (or month), they abandon it and move on to the next one. After several failed attempts they usually give up, claim the Internet is some big scam, and go back to their day job or no job.

My topic today says: “Strategic Marketing: A success factor for eBusiness”. Now let’s see, what does ‘Marketing’ mean? Marketing means to make a communication about a product or service in order to encourage recipients of the communication to purchase or use the product or service. And what does Strategy mean? Strategy simply means ‘tactics’. Strategic Marketing therefore is a marketing system that has been tactically planned so as to achieve specific results, for example to determine how the product can compete with its competition in the market place, how to generate a competitive advantage relative to its competition. 

In order to make good money on the internet, you need to handle it as a serious business, the way you would handle your business offline. One of the most important, if not the most important, tasks you need to undertake for your business, is good marketing because marketing is one of the most important functions of business.

No business survives without good marketing and no marketing succeeds without it being properly planned ahead; internet business more so. After creating your good quality product or service, you need to bring it to the awareness of the people who need and are searching for such product or service. No matter how good a product or service is, if nobody knows where it is, it will not sell. It will just be a case of you winking in the dark. Of course you wink, but the person you are winking at does not see it so it is pointless that you are winking. This is where marketing comes in, – marketing that is planned to be perfectly suited to your particular product or service. To stress the importance of effective marketing, gurus have said that good marketing can sell a bad product while bad marketing will not sell a good product, no matter how good the product is. Let me mention here that it is advisable to always offer good quality products in order to retain your customer base. This is because it is easier to sell repeatedly to someone who has bought from you before; it is also cheaper to retain an old customer than to acquire a new one. 

A business must have a road map to guide it along its growth path. That road map is your business plan and an important arm of your business plan is the marketing plan. It is advisable to “ write your marketing plan in pencil” – this is just a term to say that you must be prepared to change your marketing plan as directed by the market because it is the market that will dictate to you where you will go and what you will do when you get there. This happens much more often on the internet than in the brick and mortar business.

To start with, you must have an initial concept of your product/service – how you propose to gain entry into the market and how you retain/increase your share of the market; how your product relates to the needs and wants of the consumer. This is your marketing strategy. Now remember this: the quality of anything depends on the quality of what goes into it in the first place. The quality of marketing strategies you come up with will depend largely on the quality of planning. A marketing plan is intended to lay out some marketing objectives and the means that will be employed to reach there. As there will be a number of variables involved, it helps to have a clearly defined plan to ensure coordination and synergizing of efforts. 

The strategic marketing plan is developed on the basis of long term strategy and objective of the business to achieve the goal of the business. For example, you as an internet business owner want to earn a monthly income of $100,000 on the net. That is your objective which has a time line to achieve. Based on that, a strategy to achieve that objective will be developed. Thus a Strategic Marketing Plan (this is a component of your overall Strategy) will be developed to achieve the objective in the stipulated time. 

In the example given above, you must sell either a product or service online in order to earn the anticipated $100,000 per month. Your first major concern therefore should be how to get people (traffic) to browse through your site. After all, if you do not have people browsing through your products or services, how do you sell them anything? For example, let’s say you give training on how to do business profitably on the internet from the comfort of the home and you have set up a website to help you find more students; it is important to get as many people as possible to know about the site, visit the site, know what you offer; and what visitors to the site are likely to benefit or experience.

However, you must realize that there are two types of traffic and only one of them is worth your efforts. Generally the two types of traffic are targeted and untargeted. Targeted traffic consists of people who .e to your website already knowing something about your niche and what you are selling. They’re often ready to purchase your services or products even before they get there. Targeted traffic for you in the above example would be people who are looking to run a business on the internet and make good money from it. 

Untargeted traffic could come from anywhere. Their purpose in visiting your website is unknown. They may or may not have any interest in your offers. For instance, you could get visitors who are researching internet business or how to make money but who may not necessarily be interested in working from their homes. This type of visitor seldom results in any significant sales. There are different marketing methods you can use to get the right kind of visitors to your site. These methods are your strategic marketing tools.

One of the most effective ways to generate targeted traffic is to master one specific tool: Keywords. It’s important to understand how vital keywords are to your success – and how to use various tools on the Web that can help you maximize your findability. When creating content for your website – product information, staff member data, even articles related to what you’re selling – you want to make sure you include plenty of keywords that your potential customers could be searching for. The goal is for your site to show up in search engine results pages (SERPs) after a targeted visitor searches for those particular keywords online. 

Amassing the right keyword arsenal is another strategy to help market your website. Most Internet business owners make the grave mistake of not taking the time to conduct thorough keyword research. They brainstorm the first 10 words that pop into their heads for their niche (like “work from home” and “make money online”); they never dig deeper into the minds of their prospective customers. Try to come up with as many specific keyword phrases as possible. Choose very specific keyword phrase, sprinkle those keywords throughout your website and inside your advertisements, you’ll be able to get the most targeted traffic to your website – people who actually want to buy your product or service. As your list of keyword phrases grows, start putting it to use by including those phrases on your website, in your blog, in content you post in article directories, and in pay-per-click search engines.

The next marketing strategy is to build a relationship with prospects and customers on your list. In order to profit from your list, you need to build a relationship with members on your list. It is good to build a list, but the list only becomes valuable when you use it to your advantage. How do you get to use your list to your advantage? You have to be in constant touch with your list members and build a relationship with them. Let them get to know you. Would you rather buy from a complete stranger or from a trusted friend? From a trusted friend, of course.

Some people advise that you only mail your list once in a week. I believe it is safe to mail your list twice a week as long as your mail is not always a hard sell. There are people who even advocate daily mailings but I believe one should not go overboard. You start building relationship with your list through emails – sending and replying mails. The mails you send to your list need to be warm and have a personal ring to it. Write your mail as if you are sending it to one single individual – a valued friend; and that is the kind of response you get from your list.

Don’t just build your list for the sake of building it. When you start to build your list, always go after people who are interested in your niche. This is what is called ‘your targeted list’. It simply means a list of people who are looking for services/products that you have to offer. 

Targeted list is always a warm list and you can keep profiting from the list for a long time, especially if you maintain a good relationship with your list. It is good to have a big list (at least some sales might come out of it) but a small responsive list is always better. 

Of course, placing adverts is another vital step. You strategically pick where to place your adverts e.g. related ezines, article directories and magazines, classified ads, press releases (both online and offline).

Another strategy is the list swap where you allow another internet business owner to mail his offer to members on your list while you also mail your offer to his list. 

Articles: I have left article writing and submission this late so that it will continue ringing in your mind as it is a very effective, costless way of marketing a website. You write an article on a topic related to your niche and submit to article sites. This needs to be well planned as you need to pick articles sites that have high page ranking with Google.

Now, marketing of websites is a job that is begging to be taken up in this part of the world. It is a goldmine that has not been tapped at all, at least not to my knowledge. I personally would be glad to have access to such a service as it would free up more time for me to concentrate on product creation and business set up. I have also had occasions when fellow internet marketers have expressed the need for Marketing Executives who will do the job of solely promoting their businesses for them and getting paid for doing so; just like a company offline would engage the services of a marketing company. A lot of people I know who have highly successful offline businesses are building websites and taking their businesses to the internet. Unfortunately, after paying so much to have their websites designed and uploaded, they do not have any means of marketing such websites to the world. The websites only exist on their business cards and letterheads and get visited once in a while by few curious customers. 

I was in a business meeting of the NECA Network of Entrepreneurial Women and when I shared my business card, quite a few of these women jumped on me to help market their websites. They have spent so much on acquiring the websites and hosting them, but the sites are not getting them any business. I had to keep explaining the difference between me, as an Internet Marketer and a Marketing Executive. A lot of people get frustrated to the point of giving up and not renewing the hosting for such websites. This is a virgin market that is yet to be exploited; and getting trained for it is quite easy whereas the gains are unquantifiable. The market potential is enormous as the internet business is just an emerging phenomenon in Nigeria . It is a business you can start profiting from almost immediately and you will never be out of job or should I say contracts? Internet 4 Jobs, Marketing Websites is a big one.

• Wellington, MD/CEO, Raisingwealth Incorp delivered this piece at the launch of Nigeria internet for Jobs I4J initiative.


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