Setting Up an E-Marketing Presence
Companies can conduct e-marketing in four ways:
1. Creating a web site
2. Placing ads online
3. Setting up or participating in Web Communities
4. Using e-mail
1. Creating a web site
Web sites vary greatly in purpose and content. The most basic type is a Corporate Web Site.
A corporate web site is a web site designed to built customer goodwill and to supplement other sales channels, rather than to sell the company’s products directly.
Corporate web sites typically offer a rich variety of information and other features in an effort to answer customer questions, build customer relationships, and generate excitement about the company. They generally provide information about the company’s history, its mission and philosophy, and the products and services that it offers. They might also tell about current events, company personnel, financial performance, and employment opportunities. Most corporate web sites also provide entertainment features to attract and hold visitors. Finally, the site might also provide opportunities for customers to ask questions or make comments through e-mail before leaving the site.
Other companies create a Marketing Web Site. These sites engage consumers in an interaction that will move them closer to a direct purchase or other marketing outcome. Such sites might include a catalog, shopping tips, and promotional features such as coupons, sales events, or contests.
Designing Effective Web Sites
Creating a web site is one thing; getting people to visit the site is another. The key is to create enough value and excitement to get consumers to come to the site, stick around, and come back again. Today’s web users are quick to abandon any web site that doesn’t measure up. “Whether people are online for work reasons or for personal reasons, if a web site doesn’t meet their expectations, two-thirds say they don’t return – now or ever. They’ll visit you and leave you and you’ll never know. We call it the Internet Death Penalty”, says a Web design expert. This means that companies must constantly update their sites to keep them current, fresh, and useful. Doing so involves time and expense, but the expense is necessary if the e-marketer wishes to cut through the increasing online clutter.
A key challenge is designing a web site that is attractive on first view and interesting enough to encourage repeat visits.
To attract new visitors and to encourage revisits, e-marketers should pay close attention to The 7 C’s of Effective Web Site Design:
– CONTEXT: the site’s layout and design
– CONTENT: the text, pictures, sound, and video that the web site contains
– COMMUNITY: the ways that the site enables user-to-user communication
– CUSTOMIZATION: the site’s ability to tailor itself to different users or to allow users to personalize the site
– COMMUNICATION: the ways the site enables site-to-user, user-to-site, or two-way communication
– CONNECTION: the degree that the site is linked to other sites
– COMMERCE: the site’s capabilities to enable commercial transactions
At the very least, a web site should be easy to use and physically attractive. Ultimately, however, web sites must also be useful. “The bottom line: People seek substance over style, usefulness over flash”, says one analyst. “They want to get what they want quickly. Surfers should know almost immediately upon accessing your site why they should stick around, what’s in it for them.”
2. Placing Ads and Promotions Online
E-marketers can use online advertising to build their Internet brands or to attract visitors to their Web sites.
Advertising appears while consumers are surfing the web, including banner and ticker ads, interstitials, skyscrapers, and other form.
Forms of online advertising and promotion
– banner ads
– tickers (banners that move across the screen)
– skyscrapers (tall, skinny ads at the side of a web page)
– rectangles (boxes that are much larger than a banner)
– interstitials (online ads that pop-up between changes on a web site)
– content sponsorships are another form of internet promotion.
Many companies gain name exposure by sponsoring special content on various web sites, such as news or financial information.
E-marketers can also go online with microsites, limited areas on the web managed and paid for by an external company. For example, an insurance company might create a microsite on a car-buying site, offering insurance advice for car buyers and at the same time offering good insurance deals. Internet companies can also develop alliances and affiliate programs in which they work with other online companies to “advertise” each other.
Finally, online marketers use viral marketing, the internet version of word-of-mouth marketing. Viral marketing is “an extension of the oldest form of advertising in the world – word-of-mouth – on the newest platform, the Internet.” Viral marketing involves creating an e-mail message or other marketing event that is so infectious that customers will want to pass it along to their friends. Because customers pass the message or promotion along to others, viral marketing can be very inexpensive. And when the information comes from a friend, the recipient is much more likely to open and read it. “The idea is to get your customers to do you marketing for you”.
The future of online advertising
Online advertising serves a useful purpose, especially as a supplement to other marketing efforts. However, the internet will not soon rival the major television and print media. Costs are reasonable compared with those of other advertising media, but web surfers can easily ignore such advertising and often do. As a result, web advertising plays only a minor role in most promotion mixes.
Unlike Yahoo! and other competitors, Google opted not to offer news, shopping , and other services. Its web site promises “a laser-like focus on finding the right answer for each and every inquiry.” In fact, the name of the company, is a play with the word “googol” a mathematical term for a 1 followed by 100 zeros. It’s a very large number. Google chose the name to reflect its mission to organize and make accessible the immense amount of information available on the web.
3. Creating or Participating in Web Communities
Web communities are web sites upon which members can congregate online and exchange views on issues of common interest.
4. Using E-mail
E-mail has exploded onto the scene as an important e-marketing tool.
As with other types of online marketing, companies must be careful that they don’t cause resentment among internet users who are already overloaded with “junk e-mail”. The recent explosion of spam – unsolicited, unwanted commercial e-mail messages that clog up our e-mailboxes – has produced consumer frustration and anger. E-mail marketers walk a fine line between adding value for consumers and being intrusive.
Companies must beware of irritating consumers by sending unwanted e-mail to promote their products. Netiquette, the unwritten rules that guide internet etiquette, suggests that marketers should ask customers for permission to e-mail marketing pitches. They should also tell recipients how to “opt-in” or “opt-out” of e-mail promotions at any time. This approach, known as permission-based marketing, has become a standard model for e-mail marketing.