Study statisics for your sector of the internet. An analysis of your environment will help you plan, for example where to advertise :: go where people are. Ask why people are going where they go and determine if there is overlap with what your website does. Incorporate information about your environment into your strategy. How does your website fit in your market sector? How do you stack up to the competition?
Example. Do you have a yoga studio or sell yoga products? Are there social networking sites or forums about yoga? Where do players in your field advertise? The way people exchange and obtain information is evolving. Evolve with it.
Why should you be interested in where people go and what they do there?
Why do large companies such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo buy the popular networking and social sites? These companies are interested in where people are going in order to control what happens there, ie advertising and content management, to be close to where the action is. Statistics and tracking are used in order to understand and influence what is happening. These companies want to sell ads; they need traffic in order to do this. Advertising is central to all these activities and in determining acquisitions. The big players must control traffic in order to fulfill business goals.
Use your understanding of the environment to make decisions - where to advertise, how to participate, how to find overlap between your website mission and current trends. One current trend is social networking sites - facebook, myspace, linkedIn, last.fm, etc. What are people doing on these sites and how can webmasters strategise and react to the new ways people are using the internet?
Bottom line: How can information about what is changing be useful to you? Research and learn where and how traffic moves, for free (Alexa) or paid (Hitwise). Large companies use this information to make decisions. Information about what is working and what is not working is important to the industry.
Are you located in the best environment? Your environment will determine your success. Note that Quality remains very important. See, for example, recent interviews with Google CEO Eric Schmidt who emphasizes that Google are still seeing higher conversion rates and larger revenue when focusing on quality, as opposed to quantity. It is still important to bring traffic to your site, however it is equally if not more important to draw these visitors from the right part of the internet.
Ask questions: answers will provide direction
Click here for the worksheet Website Marketing Questions with related links.