In order to successfully promote on the internet you need to develop a sound online marketing strategy with which you can guide your efforts. Marketing on the internet is different from the traditional offline tactics we have all grown accustom to. Offline firms create demand with their advertising whereas online the customer decides what they want and then goes looking for it. The need to determine what people are looking for is the first step towards establishing the strategic goals of your business. Based upon those findings you then move forward in developing a promotional plan with which to market your business.

Let's look at 5 key phases you need to move through to determine your market and the demand in order to establish the strategic goals that will guide your business.

Establish Your Target Market

Your very first step will be to narrow down those target markets you have an interest in. It is quite normal and actually recommended to focus on multiple markets initially so that you leave yourself with plenty of options. Besides it is inevitable that not all your target markets will prove to be worth the investment of either your time or effort.

Determine Profit Potential

Do the target markets you are looking at display income potential? If nobody is spending money in the niche than from a business standpoint it is simply not worth pursuing. There are relatively simple ways to determine this which involve doing a quick search using a keyword research tool which is particularly helpful in determining the number of searches a particular keyword receives over a specified period of time.

Now search 'demand' alone does NOT determine profitability but what does is the number of ads being displayed when you 'Google' these keywords online. The results you get when you do this type of online search will give you a good idea of the size and competitiveness of the market. Over on the right hand side is where you will see the paid ads. If people are willing to pay for ads the market must be profitable.

Who Are Your Competitors

The paid ads you see in the search results are also your competitors along with any others who show up in your online search results. Visit their websites and see how they got their sites laid out and what type keywords the site is built around.

Knowing who your competitors are and how they promote will tell you a lot about the market itself. Along the same lines watching your competitors can also help clue you into any changes coming along that you may not be aware of.

Use your competitors as a means to measure or compare what you have to offer to the marketplace.

Is There a 'Need" for Your Product?

Is there products similar to yours in the market and if so how well do they sell. Visit forums and blogs in the niche you are entering and 'scout' out any opinions and/or suggestions relative to its popularity.

Also look for any improvements you can make based upon feedback you have accumulated to enhance the product giving it greater value in the marketplace.

On the other hand you may find the current trend is on a downward slide saving you the futile investment of time and effort and avoiding needless frustration.

Repeat Sales

Determine a strategy in which you are able to successfully promote additional products to your customer base. Whether these products are related affiliate products or upgraded versions you want to be able to repeatedly monetize your list of buyers.

Face it traffic generation takes time, effort, and often times money to find buying customers therefore selling a customer more than once is a cost effective marketing strategy.

And one last thing to remember, ALWAYS offer a money back guarantee! Marketing on the internet can be a very 'impersonal' experience due to the 'remote nature' of electronic marketing. With this said you need to give customers some assurance that their purchase comes with 'safeguards' since no familiarity with the merchant is established beforehand.

Successfully promoting anything on the internet requires an effective online marketing strategy to be developed. A determination of your market and its demand must first be made in order to establish the strategic goals of your business. Marketing on the internet is a business and must be treated as such. Conducting the necessary research is required to minimize your chances of failure. Upon completion of your research you will then be able to develop a promotional plan that will move your business forward. The 5 phases we spoke of here today will help to better prepare both you and your business for the success you seek and the failure you want to avoid.

Author's Bio: 

TJ Philpott is an author and Internet entrepreneur based out of North Carolina.
For more tips about developing an Online Marketing Strategy and to receive a free instructional manual that teaches valuable niche research techniques visit: