Spreading The Word

Sites For Sore Eyes

How do you make it as a marketing firm in the wide world of Webdom? According to Sayers, Internet marketers need many of the same things their clients need, including a killer Web site design that shows your company is on the cutting edge of Internet technology, a name that says what your company does, a site that clearly states what you are selling, presence on search engines, interaction with viewers, traffic analysis and a strategic marketing plan.

What you don't need? A server--Sayers says it's better to rent space on a host server than to buy your own at first. You may also be able to do without high-end computers with lots of bells and whistles--depending on what kind of Internet marketing company you operate, of course. You definitely don't need cushy office space--in fact, many Internet marketers work from home--or a big staff; many one-person firms manage to get the job done better than bigger operations.

With such minimal start-up requirements, this formula is striking a chord with upstart entrepreneurs nationwide. A few years ago, Internet marketing firms were few and far between. These days, as the number of new Web sites continues to skyrocket--10,000 new sites per day, according to some estimates--so does the number of Internet marketing companies that cater to them.

Judy Cannon, 39, owner of Acclaim Web Services in Paige, Texas, started her search engine registration company last July and has already noticed a tremendous amount of new competition. "When I started my company, there were only a handful of search engine registration companies; now there are hundreds," she says.

In spite of the additional competition, Cannon, who holds a degree in computer science and previously worked as a software programmer, still thinks there's room to grow in her business, which registers companies' Web sites on the major search engines, comes up with site titles, defines key words to emphasize and writes descriptions of sites. This year, she's hoping to build on her projected first-year sales of $70,000 by increasing her own marketing efforts on the Web. "Up until now, I've relied on search engines to direct customers to my site, but now I'm looking for opportunities to advertise and set up some reciprocal links."

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This article was originally published in the March 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Spreading The Word.

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