The 7 Habits of Successful Internet Marketers

The 7 Habits of Successful Internet Marketers“The future of ecommerce looks bright,” according to Forrester research. Online retail sales in the U.S. are forecast to reach $327 billion by 2016. Overall share of the retail market is expected to increase from 7% to 9% during that period.

Adobe reports that the recent Cyber Monday (December 2nd, 2013) was the biggest e-commerce spending day in US history: the total online sales grew 16% to hit a new high of $2.29 billion in one single day.

Digital media has become the leading media in terms of consumers’ time spent (44%), before TV (38.1%), radio (12.1%) and print (4.5%) (eMarketer).

No question, the Internet is presenting a huge opportunity for most businesses.  The real question, however, is what do we plan to do about it?

There are many different proven business models and e-marketing strategies on the Internet. In spite of these differences, we will now explore what most Internet entrepreneurs have in common.  Inspired by Stephen Covey’s famous book “The seven habits of highly successful people”, here is how we see the seven habits of successful Internet marketers:

Habit #1: Reading and Learning

Most successful Internet marketers have accumulated vast amounts of knowledge about e-marketing before they became successful. They kept reading any new articles they could find on the subject of mobile marketing, website usability, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click (PPC), social media… Regular, everyday reading had become part of their passion, almost an addiction. They understand that they do not have to do everything by themselves, but they do want to understand new opportunities created by technology.

Habit #2: Looking for Gaps

Successful online entrepreneurs constantly research supply and demand on the Internet and look for gaps.  Online demand can be researched by using various keyword popularity tools such as the one provided by Google Adwords, or Google.com/trends. Supply can be researched by “googling” your competition. When you see a great demand (search popularity) and only few really good competitors, you know that you are probably onto something. As a matter of fact, one of our client’s businesses started when we realized that there were more than 800,000 online searches for one particular product category per month, and only a handful of strong competitors.

Habit #3: Testing

We have recently written in Business in Vancouver about the three biggest secrets of Internet: testing, testing and testing (http://www.biv.com/article/20130813/BIV0304/308139949/the-three-biggest-internet-marketing-secrets-testing-testing-and). The idea is to quickly try various ideas, products, websites, and projects on a limited scale, then decide if and how you want to launch..  The Internet provides a perfect, inexpensive and quick way of testing and optimizing business ideas.

Habit #4: Long Tail Thinking

As Chris Anderson points out in his book “The Long Tail”, the future of business is selling small quantities of a very large number of items. The future of Internet marketing “isn’t in hits, the high-volume head of a traditional demand curve, but in what used to be regarded as misses–the endlessly long tail of that same curve”. Amazon, is a prime example of “long tail marketing”. The idea is to look for underserved micro niches, and serving them aggressively across the globe.

Habit #5:  Educating Customers

Website content is considered as “king”, one of the seven Cs of an effective website, along with context, connectivity, commerce, community, customization and communication. Successful online businesses have a “habit” of providing wealth of information including tips on how to use products, free lessons, video recordings, online libraries, blogs, archives or various databases.

Habit #6: Connecting with Customers

Thanks to social media, Internet marketers can now connect and build relationships with customers.  Engaging in the real dialog with your customers is the key here, rather than just counting mere number of likes and followers.

Habit #7:  Thinking Viral

Word of mouth, considered as the most important instrument of marketing, has just become even more powerful thanks to social media (refer to our earlier column on Word of Mouth and Viral Marketing)  (http://www.biv.com/article/20130409/BIV0304/304099920/0/SEARCH/Best-ways-for-business-to-harness-the-accelerated-word-of-mouth-momentum-of-viral-marketing). Some of the best “habits” of viral marketers are to create a special  “viral hook” (e.g.   Hotmail’s  “open a free Hotmail account” signature at the bottom of each email), to create a wow factor by doing more than expected, to offer something for free,  to design a “refer a friend” program etc.

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BizTech Q&A is our answer to the most common technology questions related to your business. Email us your questions at questions@biztech101.com, and we will respond.

Cyri Jones teaches at BCIT and Capilano University and is the founder of ZENPortfolios.ca. He blogs at www.24posts.com. Dr Ivan Surjanovic is a marketing faculty at Capilano University and CEO of iPower Lab. He blogs at www.whereispuck.com  and tweets on www.twitter.com/whereispuck.

Written by Dr. Ivan Surjanovic and Cyri Jones, 
adapted from BizTech101 column in Business in Vancouver

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