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By Jim Collins

E-Commerce and an online marketing program enable small businesses to reach more customers, increase revenue and move beyond their traditional boundaries to challenge the big players in their industry.

In his last article, I examined the key tools for building an effective E-Commerce web site. This column will describe how to effectively draw traffic to your e-commerce web site once it is up and running

Marketing rarely gets as much attention as it should during the planning of an e-commerce site. Marketing is arguably as important as the site design and development process – after all, why build it if nobody comes? Unfortunately, online marketing can be a confusing process, to say the least. The best options for your e-commerce site depend on the customers you are trying to reach and what you are selling.

Pay-Per-Click and Search Engine Optimization:
Effective online marketing consists primarily of two techniques. The first, keyword or “pay-per-click” marketing, can be extremely cost-effective for a small business. Offered primarily on the Google and Yahoo! search engines, keyword marketing allows you to target ads to people using specific terms or phrases. The best part is that you only pay when people click on your ad.

There is a caveat, though. Most keyword marketing programs use a bidding system to determine the price paid for each click for each individual keyword. This is a complicated system, at best. Choosing the most cost-effective keywords for your ads and writing compelling ad copy are absolutely necessary for effective pay-per-click ad campaigns. For this reason, it is highly recommended that small businesses new to online marketing get help with keyword marketing, preferably from an experienced, reputable firm.

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Jim Collins is the CEO of Affinity Internet.
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