Business tips: how to do online marketing

Business tips: how to do online marketing

Online spending is growing rapidly in the UK. E-commerce in 2009 will be worth over £20bn and, experts say, by 2013, online spending will make up for 10% of total retail sales. If you have a product to sell, you're in a good position, but how do you attract customers to buy? Here are five recommendations:

1. Make offers
Offer to write content and guest posts for blogs and sites where you know your customers are hanging out. Offer discounts to member groups and communities and offer links to other important sites, in exchange for them linking back to you. The more inbound and outbound links, the higher you'll appear in the search results. 

2. Make some noise
Why not carry out a poll on your site using www.surveymonkey.com and use the results as the basis for a press release. Another tactic that will have you mentioned in the media is celebrity endorsement. This is what Lyndsey Young has done with her product, Count On It, which has received glowing testimonials from the likes of Amanda Holden and Janey Lee Grace, to profitable effect.  

3. Make the most of social media
Have as many sites driving traffic to yours as possible. And this is possible by making the most of social media and creating communities on Facebook and Twitter. These applications can now be integrated so you only need to update once and your news/product offers can be communicated to your entire network, with links back to your site. A number of online businesses we profile have their own site as well as a presence on a trading platform such as eBay, BT Tradespace or, for the arts and crafts sector sites such at Etsy, Folksy and MyEhive. Review sites such as www.thegoodwebguide.co.uk are also useful for bringing attention to your online store.  

4. Make friends with your customers so they keep coming back
Have your existing customers return by keeping in touch with them and connecting customers to each other. Again, this is where cost-effective technology tools play their part; why not introduce an e-newsletter to your site using a service such as www.mailchimp.com or add a community feature such as that available from www.webjam.com  -  you can go as far as inviting customers to meet each other virtually face-to-face by adopting www.tinychat.com.

5. Make yourself known to this site 
Contact the site you are reading this on and ask if they'll profile your story! It's great to have your company featured in the printed press, but if your site is promoted online (with a link) then potential customers are only one click away. 

Emma Jones is Founder of Enterprise Nation and author of Spare Room Start Up: how to start a business from home. This feature appears as part of Episode 3 of Enterprise Nation TV.

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