[ad#Google Adsense]As an Internet marketer and online business entrepreneur, do you know where your website visitors, ezine subscribers and customers are coming from? Are you aware of why they visit your website? Have you identified what they expect to find when they arrive?
If you don’t know these answers, you’re leaving money on the table! Worse, if you don’t take steps to find them out quickly, you’re going to be left in the dust by your competitors who are smart enough to figure this out.
It is technically possible to analyze any number of data elements pertaining to your website visitors and buyers. This is what makes running an online business a delight as compared to an offline store. There are tools and methods available to discover what keywords a visitor used to search on Google or Bing before they found your business listed on the search engine. There are ways to track which link a new prospect followed to land on your newsletter registration page. And it is easy using Google Analytics (or any other Web stats package) to measure and monitor metrics like the conversion rate of visitors into opt-in subscribers, or blog readers into buyers, or leads into customers.
Let’s take one of them – keyword research. There are many powerful resources to help you with keyword research. The most elementary is the free Google Adwords Keyword Tool. While it provides precious information about related long-tail keywords, serious business owners often need much more versatile keyword research tools like Market Samurai which can provide competition analysis and indicate the profit potential of keyword phrases.
Many Internet marketers understand the importance of beginning with keyword research. Sadly, too many end right there. Keywords are definitely important. They tell you a little about the people who visit your website. They indicate interests, and suggest sections of your website that must be optimized to meet those interests. But deeper keyword research can also reveal a lot more about your prospective buyers.
For instance, if you know that a visitor to your site was searching for a specific brand of fish oil capsules that are expensive but superior in quality, you may infer that this is an affluent, health conscious prospect who is willing to pay for the best things in life, who will take the trouble to seek them out, and will even conduct some research before buying. The psycho-graphic profile you are able to put together about your customers can thus help you tailor your offer and product to appeal to their desires and needs.
There is simply no way to accomplish all this with an offline business unless you ask many personal and intrusive questions. If you do, you will probably scare away many customers – and lose business! Yet, amazingly enough, not many entrepreneurs who strive to build a perfect offline business are taking advantage of the incredible opportunities just waiting to be tapped by expanding their business to the Internet.
- Situation – The current status of your business
- Objectives – The goals you have set for your business
- Strategy – The approach you plan to take in order to get there
- Tactics – The action steps in putting this plan to work
- Actions – The people in charge, and the timetable to follow
- Control – The steps to monitor and measure progress
This simple, inexpensive approach can be extremely powerful in developing a winning marketing strategy. In combination with a sustained effort to understand your market better, this can literally multiply your profit. By drilling down into the research data about your customers, you can match your product or service, price and package, guarantee and incentives to convert more sales. And you will not only make more sales, you will do it more easily, at higher price levels, and achieve higher customer satisfaction ratings – because you will be providing your buyers with exactly what they are looking for.
Of the 245 million Internet users in the United States, many shoppers will use search engines as the first step in comparison shopping research. 67% of shoppers in a nationwide survey said they would begin their online research on search engines prior to making a purchase.
In Norway (home), even if the population is smaller, with only 4.43 million Internet users, the penetration of Web usage is higher (94.8% versus 77.3% in the U.S.) making it just as important for businesses to tap into the reach and influence of search engines and the Internet. In 2007, retail websites received 25% of their traffic from search engines, with Google being the most prominent source. Trends indicate that this has been growing very rapidly ever since then.
Globally, about 9 billion searches are conducted every month on the Internet. The big question for you as a business owner is whether you can afford to ignore this audience. And while it is impossible to effectively target the entire online crowd – talk about ‘Mission Impossible’ – you can certainly segment this large marketplace into smaller niches which you can serve very effectively and profitably.
Reaching this point isn’t automatic or instant. There is a lot of data to crunch, and a cohesive strategy to plot. Do you know your website’s current ‘fail rate’? How long do visitors spend on your business’ website? What do they do on your site? Does each page on your website have a specific purpose and target? Do you have an overall goal as to what your ideal visitor will do on your site? Do you know them well enough to understand how they think? Can you deliver them the kind of personalized content that is most appealing to their needs?
You can discover the answers to these questions, and then modify your business website to optimize the value you deliver to visitors, by using the SOSTAC Marketing Planning Template. It will give you a blueprint to get deep insight into every step of the buying cycle by understanding your market better. The step by step approach you will learn in it will help you “get inside the head” of your prospects and figure out their dreams and motivations, aspirations and desires.
And when you succeed at this, you will experience magical results. You will be able to integrate your offline business with the online component by building a website that’s based on your visitor’s intentions, needs and purpose. And when your prospects arrive at your intelligently structured site, they will see in it a mirror of their exact needs – which will make you seem like the ‘magical’ answer to their prayers!
Of course, there’s nothing quite magical about it. You are simply using a combination of search engine optimization (SEO), keyword research, and critical analysis of your Web data, combined with an intuitive matching of these elements to the dreams and hopes of your market that you have identified from applying SOSTAC Marketing Model principles. Applying this information to the simple SEO structure that you can pick up from my free book called “The Importance of SEO for Your Online Business” will give you a good head start.
Remember, it all begins with keywords… but goes far beyond that to tap into the very hearts and minds of your ideal prospects. That’s what turns random shot-gun Internet marketing into powerfully effective, laser targeted, ‘near magical’ online business building. And now you have the key to unlock that power and harness it in your own online business.