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Marketing on the Internet
 
Section1
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Creating a Web Presence
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Online Marketing
How does your marketing plan change when a door to the Internet is opened? It’s estimated that over 20 million people are connected to the Internet. Sounds like a marketer’s dream, doesn’t it? You might be able to reach most of them using electronic mail, but more importantly, they may choose to reach your materials at your company’s online site. This is one of the chief differences you’ll encounter when you begin marketing over the Internet. Your customers self-select and present themselves at your electronic doorway. This is an unprecedented opportunity to not only communicate your message, but also to mine the customer’s thoughts and needs in a two-way conversation.

Typically, your Internet presence will be a computer address on the World Wide Web. It may include electronic mail press releases or may engage your customer with interactive Web pages, accessible by a graphical browser such as Netscape. Your Internet marketing materials may contain text with many variations, as well as full-color graphics, sound and video. Online forms may be used to collect demographic and other data, submitted directly from the user. You’ll need to think differently about presenting your message in multimedia format, for a global audience.

There are many obvious benefits to marketing over the Internet and World Wide Web.

  • information can be updated instantly.
  • distribution of your materials is cost-effective, whether they are distributed to the customers down the street or worldwide.
  • information is available at your customer’s convenience, not just during regular business hours.
  • important information can be collected from users. Electronic forms capabilities allow surveys, suggestions, orders and other information to be transmitted with ease between your customers and your firm.
  • you can monitor activity to see who is coming in and when, as well as what information pages were viewed and which were ignored.

The ability to include multimedia information in your marketing messages may be alluring, but it is not enough to keep customers coming to your site. Many marketing experts find that content is the key to success on the Internet. They often put other value-added information at their sites, such as a searchable database of popular movies, or a downloadable archive of popular software. They may also have contests, or drawings, often on a weekly basis. You’ll need to think about providing thoughtful content, not just advertising hype, to attract the users you want.

And don’t forget that you have to market your Web site. People locate content through web indexes such as Lycos, Webcrawler and Yahoo. You should announce your Web to these and many other indexing services, so that its content will be gathered and indexed. Also, promote your site and your products on carefully selected discussion groups, newsgroups and other appropriate places on the Internet. You can start by announcing to 15 different indexing and announcement services at once through Submit it!.

When doing this, however, you need to take care to avoid unwanted "spamming" of individuals, groups and locations in the thousands. This is considered an unpardonable breach of netiquette. The Blacklist of Internet Advertisers "is intended to curb inappropriate advertising on usenet newsgroups and via junk e-mail. It works by describing offenders and their offensive behavior, expecting that people who read it will punish the offenders in one way or another."

For more information, explore some of the following resources which will help identify other issues affecting marketing on the Internet.

General Information
Marketing in Hypermedia Computer-Mediated Environments: Conceptual Foundations Donna L. Hoffman,Thomas P. Novak. Introduces marketers to this revolutionary new medium, proposing a structural model of consumer behavior and examining marketing implications that follow from the model.

The Successful Forum has collected many white papers, articles, tips and shortcuts to begin or to improve your web marketing presence. Especially helpful may be the short article "Tips for Writing Your Cyber Marketing Plan."

There is a very complete archive of web marketing and advertising knowledge collected at the Internet Marketing discussion list site.

Web Digest For Marketers is your web-watcher to keep on top of who’s doing what on the net.

Marketing Demographics
Surveys on web demographics and user studies may be found at: The Graphics, Visualization and Usability Center of Georgia Tech.

CyberAtlas provides research statistics on a variety of Internet topics.

How to Advertise on the Internet
Blackstone Marketing & Communications has collected Top Ten Internet Marketing Do's and Don’ts.

You’ll also want to check Tenagra Corporation’s extensive archive of "net.acceptable" advertising advice, papers and articles.

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