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Online Marketing Strategies - Different Forms of Internet Advertising

December 13, 2005

The newest focus in marketing and advertising is online and Internet marketing and advertising. What used to be a traditional media (newspapers, magazines, fliers, TV) outlet is now turning towords a new medium. ANY BUSINESS should be involved in some sort of online marketing and advertising. People increasingly look online for products and services and if you are not part of the "online advertising game", then you are denying yourself a could-be lucrative marketing opportunity.

There are many ways (which I will discuss below) to use your website to market and advertise to generate income. I'm not talking about a specific product or service or "ecommerce" website, but rather using your website traffic to sell advertising. The number one "golden rule" though is simple, you must have traffic to your site in order to warrant people spending money on your site. If you have no traffic, you have nothing to sell! Indeed many of the forms of online marketing and advertising you can offer revolve around the amount of traffic you receive to your website. In addition, I would break the term "traffic" down into two categories; casual visitor traffic and membership traffic. Some of the forms of online marketing and advertising I'll describe will benefit greatly from a membership-driven website. Membership-driven websites are great because you can collect information from people that can help you better market your website, and the information is also more valuable to outside parties.

Banner Advertising
Banner advertising has been around for a long time and everyone has seen a banner ad before. You may think this form of advertising is dying out, but a well-designed focused banner ad displayed on a relevant website can definitely generate interest and click-throughs. It doesn't help going to a website and seeing a banner ad which has absolutely nothing to do with the site's content. Banner ads are still around though and selling banner ad space on your website is a no-brainer.

Directory Listings
Most websites, especially up-and-coming websites, try to generate traffic and higher search engine rankings by exchanging links with other websites. This is a great way to promote your site and also try to increase your rankings on Google and the other search engines. At some point it may make sense to create a "preferred partners" directory, which is highlighted as being a more refined links directory than your "normal" links page(s). Again, companies with relevant products/services to your site's content are willing to pay for a listing in these types of preferred directories.

E-Newsletter Sponsorship
This form of marketing assumes you have a membership base (e-newsletter subscribers). E-Newsletters are periodic emails sent to subscribers with targeted content. These are great because the lists are opt-in, which means you know the subscriber is interested in the content. E-Newsletters are great to promote a product/service that has to do with the content you are supplying and advertisers are eager to pay for an e-newsletter sponsorship.

White Papers
White Papers are, almost by definition, a form of marketing. I believe the term "white paper" is used as a euphemism for "technical marketing". Often white papers are generated by more tech-orientated companies, but they are ultimately "press releases" reviewing a new product or service. Having a white papers section on your site and finding companies with relevant content who are looking to advertise their white papers is an excellent way to generate more income.

RSS Feed Advertising
One of the more newer forms of marketing, RSS Feed Advertising is coming on strong. RSS Feeds, like e-newsletters, are opt-in. People choose to get your RSS feed and so you know they are interested in your content. RSS feeds are great because they deliver a nice "one-liner" which can be worded in such a way as to sound like a news headline. In this respect RSS feed advertising is similar to a white paper. I believe that more and more businesses will look to advertise in relevant RSS feeds over the next couple of years as this new form of advertising really takes off.

User Lists
As I stated above, if you run a membership site and require users to submit personal information when they sign up, you have very valuable data. This information is "golden" to marketing and advertising companies who sell this information to other companies and businesses looking to target a specific audience. Once your membership base becomes large enough, you can sell, resell, and resell again the user information.

There are thousands of possibilities to market and advertise your website and generate more income without having an actual product or service to sell. The ideas presented above are general and could probably be used in the majority of circumstances. But the best and most rewarding forms of online marketing and advertising arise from a need. Think about what your website has to offer and how you can turn that offering into something an advertiser wants to become part of. And don't forget that no form of online marketing and advertising will work if you don't have decent website traffic and good search engine positioning!

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