Audience Development. I know, I know it sounds like just another Internet
catch phrase dreamt up by those marketing firms out there to get you to spend
yet MORE money on your web site. However,
unlike some of those other potentially “critical” concepts, the concept of
Internet audience development makes perfect sense and is exactly what it
seems to be: a process for the creation of a profitable customer base on the
Internet. It is the way you attract potential customers to your site and keep
them coming back.
the Internet providing almost universal access to information and removing the
“tyranny of distance” from the equation, businesses of all sizes, in all
industries, in all countries now have the opportunity to operate in markets
previously out of their reach - to sell to potential customers they have never
before considered and may never need to meet. In this atmosphere of equal
opportunity, traditional business models are thrown out the window in favour
of activities that will help capture new audiences for their products and
services and bring repeat customers to their web sites. Audience development
is challenging, but remains a key to success in the new cyber-marketplace. So
what does it involve?
development doesn’t have to be difficult OR expensive. It just takes some
planning, brainstorming and the implementation of all your good ideas until
you find the formula that works best for your site.
Engine Optimisation - The
majority of Internet users rely on search engines and directories to find
the information they need. Therefore, ranking highly in search engines and
directories should be critical to your Internet marketing strategy.
Because users generally only explore the first 10 or 20 sites in the
search results, an understanding of how search engine ranking works and
how to get your site in the top 20 results can make an enormous difference
in the amount of visitor traffic your site receives. Effective
optimisation requires a combination of carefully designed META tags using
logical search terms, an understanding of the various search engines and
their ranking algorithms, as well as a pro-active approach to search
engine submission and ranking monitoring. If your web developer claims to
have already optimised your site, ask to see the key search terms used and
for proof of your search engine ranking. If you haven’t already hired a
firm that specialises in optimisation, consider it as the most critical
aspect of your audience development strategy.
Advertising – The
Internet is full of very popular web sites. Some attract audiences of
millions every day. Here are potential audiences just begging to be shown
your products and services. Why not purchase banner ad space on these
popular sites to draw them to your own? Today’s banner ad technology can
even target ads to visitors based on demographic data and behaviour. Such
capability can attract highly qualified visitors to your own site.
Programs – Unlike their
offline versions, online loyalty programs can be relatively inexpensive to
integrate into your business. They can be as simple as a discount voucher
printable from your site, or as complex as a protected sub site for your
loyal customers, accessible only by password. Some companies even create a
“virtual community” for visitors - providing chat rooms, personal web
pages and email addresses for their customers. Giving users of a
product/service access to each other is a powerful way to build brand
awareness and develop an audience.
Linking – The web as a
medium is differentiated by the use of hyperlinks, which enable users to
arrive and leave a site very quickly. Sites that have a lot of other sites
linking to it will naturally receive more traffic. Links with related
sites can stay in place for long periods, ensure targeted traffic and can
often be arranged free of charge or by reciprocal link agreement.
Webmasters of affinity sites should be approached for this service.
and Partnering –
Sponsoring strategic content on popular web sites is another way to secure
a site audience. If users see your brand associated with information they
find useful, they will naturally develop a good association with your
products and services. Exclusivity is the key here – if you provide a
unique service or information on a major portal, it lends credibility to
your brand and increases customer interest in your own site.
and Gimmicks – The
Internet has created a lot of “firsts”: the first car sold online, the
first online property auction, the first person to completely rely on the
Internet for survival (www.DotComGuy.com)
and so on. The publicity value of such gimmicks cannot be underestimated
– just think of the sponsorship $$ Dot Com Guy is getting, not to
mention the number of daily site visitors. You can also use the power of
the media to attract attention to your site. Create something unique on
it, develop a “first” for your industry, run an unusual competition
then issue a press release!
The above article may be
re-published as long as the content remains unchanged and the following
paragraph is included at the end of the article, including the URL link.
Article by Kalena
Jordan, CEO of Web Rank.
Kalena was one of the first search engine optimization experts
in Australasia and is well known and respected in her field.
For more of her articles on search engine ranking and online
marketing, please visit
High Search Engine Ranking.
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