Well, I felt that quality over anything else should lead to success so I made sure everything on my site worked properly and established connections with reputable people to help guide me through this learning experience. Looking at the competition (Orbitz, Travelocity, Cheaptickets,etc), I felt that I would be lucky to scratch even a few sales. Interestingly, when I checked prices I found that I actually compete very well. My confidence grew and so my journey began.
(Free Advertising,learning experiences) Ok, well this one is interesting because I've had mixed results from many attempts at growing my business. The first thing I tried was free advertising. I filled out countless classifieds adds over a period of several days and many, many hours. I do not think that was incredibly effective, so I turned to the FFA sites. I submitted to thousands of FFA sites, I found free link sites, free link dumps. Anywhere I could post my link I did, and I still do. This strategy has, if nothing else at leasted boosted my confidence, but produced few visitors to my website.
(Continued strategies of Free Advertising) Now I was ready to submit to various search engines. This seemed endless and boring. I submitted by hand to many search engines, indexes, etc, but this job seemed endless because it seems no matter how many search engines I can submit to, I can still find more to submit too....I thought well I must submit to the most popular ones, Yahoo, Google, etc., so I did. This has helped and I've also learned that international search engine submissions are also an excellent avenue to go down.
(Free Advertising/Emailing) (Emailing co-workers, people I knew, or had some contact with) Being a teacher it was relatively easy to email other teachers about my business. I emailed around 600 teachers. I felt like I was spamming, but I made sure I had a personal message that related to the upcomming summer and having some personal time off. It seemed ethical to me, but in a way it does/did feel like spamming. With that I earned a few more visitors, but I knew I needed to create more momentum for my business so I decided to look at paid advertising, which to this point was out of the question because of all the hoopla I've read about how great free advertising was..In actuality its not bad, but it cannot compare with what I've learned about paid advertising.
(Paid Advertising) Well, I learned here about the difference between visitors and hits. Real visitors is what you want. Whats interesting in the paid advertising campaigns is that you can buy so many different forms of this. I quickly found that anything that you could do for free, you could pay for and recieve a deeper scope of it. Lets face it, if someone has an automated gizmo that can submit your classified add to 500 adds at once, while you hand type one in 5-10 minutes you're going to look into your wallet and decide its worth the price. I have learned though that many paid advertisers exagerate about what they can do. For 12 dollars it seems a little befuddling that they actually submitted to 700,000 search engines...I'm not knocking paid advertising, but be prepared for the, " I'll sell you the world statements".
(Web Traffic) Wow, this can be construed in so many ways. There's auto-surf, of which seems to be one of the lower forms of advertising. IN this a person, or a chair is in front of the computer while every 30 seconds the page renews itself with a new website..Then there's the aggressive approach, traffic can be done by blogging (forced visitors),pages bouncing out at them. This is an avenue that I have gone down, but it brings about a feeling that you're really just spamming people. Then there is targeted and untargeted web traffic. I've learned that targeted is much better. During these campaigns you can see how many people view your site each hour/day,etc. Its kind of interesting. You should go into your webstats to see how long people are staying. Pay per click is another form of getting web traffic, which is very expensive, but effective.
(Banners, Logos, Featured adds) You can pay to have banners exposed, or pay for a featured add to be added to a popular search engine. Whats nice about this is you can get premo attention because its ussually highlighted in some fashion, depending on the search engine. The downside is its expensive. Logos are neat, but how effective they really are, I'm not sure...I know featured adds are effective, but pricey. Whichever avenues you go down, you take as a learning experience and the larger your business grows the more confidence you get. It is most important to surround yourself by good people and make sure you are selling a good product. My site travelplanonline.com is a rooky in an overpopulated boxing ring of travel agencies. My outlook is still positive and I know with hard work and effort I can look forward to some success.
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