Developing an integrated marketing plan for on-line marketing.
- To find
- Integrated Marketing Program
- Search Engine Registration
- Cybermediaries: Advertising, Mutual Linking and
- To return
- Understand Motivation
- Site Design
- Banner Promotion for Non-Site Advertising
There are three distinct issues that are relevant when considering marketing
a web-site (site). The first issue is concerned with determining whether
World Wide Web (WWW) marketing is appropriate. The second issue is how to
get your target audience to go to your site for the first time. The final
issue deals with convincing your target audience to return to your site on
a regular basis...make sure they bookmark it!
It is important, before considering developing your site, to determine if
your product is suitable for WWW marketing. Only some products really
benefit from WWW marketing. To market a site effectively, one needs to
first determine if WWW marketing is appropriate. Issues discussed in
previous sessions, especially session 4,
cover this area. Product categories that make particular sense include
digital products, information rich products, high risk products, high-tech
products and products with global niche markets. Product examples include
travel related products, computer products, automobiles and smoked salmon.
To be found
Unlike traditional media (TV, radio and print etc.) WWW is unobtrusive.
This presents an issue that is unique to WWW, you have to guide your target
audience to your site. No matter how good your site is, and how appropriate
your site is for your marketing plan, your target audience will be unaware
of it if you don't develop an effective "advernet" plan. An effective
advernet plan will use traditional media and other internet tools to promote
your site address (URL) and make sure your URL appears on appropriate search
engines, catalogs and other internet content provider sites.
As with all marketing plans, it is important that the plan is integrated.
Integration means that the advertising program (and various media within
the program) is coordinated with the sales promotion program, sales program
and public relations program. It is also important that if a site is a part
of your marketing program, its existence and development is integrated into
the other aspects of the marketing program.
Print and TV campaigns should
include a pointer (URL) to your site. Your URL should be published in your
brochure and placed on your letter head and business cards. Because you are
able to include a lot of product information for your customers on your site
(run interesting sales promotions or retail products) you should use other
media to get awareness and interest for your product, the site should be
designed to allow potential customers to make informed decisions about
purchasing your product (offer incentives to purchase the product or make
the actual product purchase).
Other media should also include other tools (Email and news groups) of the
internet. You can determine which of the many (more than 12,000) news
groups discuss topics related to your product offering and make these groups
aware of your site. It is important to understand "netiquette" (internet
etiquette) before doing this however. Blatant selling on news groups where
it is not appropriate will be counter productive and subject you to "flaming"
and perhaps becoming a blacklisted advertiser. Creating a signature file
that includes your web address (and other contact information) is an
effective way of creating awareness among those you interact (either
through private Email or news group discussion). Make sure your
signature file is no longer than four lines.
WWW can also be used to market products independant of promoting a
web-site presence. Thus on-line banner advertising promotions are
designed to make consumers take action that is not related to driving them
to a web-site. More details on this issue are under Banner Promotion for Non-Site Advertising.
Aside from using other media to inform your target audience about your site
you can inform web-browsers by registering your site with appropriate search
engines and category lists. WWW has many that allow you to list your URL
for free. Use the following links to submit your URL to the major
You must list your URL so that someone who is looking for information on
your product type/company will be taken to your site without actually
knowing that you have a site, or knowing the site's actual URL.
It is important to title your web pages appropriately so that you will be
found when a browser does a search on information that you offer. The
keywords in the title are generally considered by search engines as more
relevant than other keywords, and the title appears in the list the search
engine gives to browsers, thus an appropriate title increases the
likelihood of being selected by the browser.
Keywords in the document
should be used that are both expressive and relevant. There are a
number of strategies that can be used to add additional
keywords in a document, that do not appear to the web browser. Some are
more appropriate then others:
- Use Meta tags, search engines like Alta Vista explain them well.
These tags are recognized by search engines and are therefore very
appropriate for increasing keywords and allowing for search engine
- Use the <!> tag. All information that appears in the bracket
will not appear in the WWW document, but will be counted as keywords.
This can be abused.
- Use a background color for your site, and include additional keywords,
that are the same font color. Again, these words will not appear to the
web browser but will add to the list of keywords. This again is open to
- Use a small font size to add keywords that cannot be recognized by the
browser. Again, open to abuse.
You should visit
each search engine (or list) and learn as much about how they work before
you register your URL. You need to try to determine how each engine "ranks"
the keyword search results. Your goal must be to have your site appear at
the top of a listing when a browser uses a keyword that is relevant to your
site and your target audience's needs.
If you add keywords to your document, after registering the
document at a search engine, then you should re-register that site.
This is important because although the search engine will
automatically access the most current document on WWW, its database of
keywords will determine which documents are actually presented to the
browser in the first place. Thus keeping that database current is
Aside from looking for information provided by the search engines
(which is sometimes inconclusive), you may want to do a keyword search
on popular keywords (sex, consulting etc.) at each search engine and try
to determine how the sites that are listed at the top achieved that
listing. You may need to use the "view source" option of your browser
when looking at the listed sites.
You can also create multiple accesses
(listings) to your site. There are two broad methods of accomplishing this.
A second method of creating awareness of your site on WWW is to use other
sites to direct your audience to your site. This can be achieved by
announcing your site,
advertising on other (popular) sites or to have other sites point to your
site. Getting other sites to point to your site can be done if they believe
your site is relevant to their site (the informational needs of your
audiences are complementary) and if you offer recipocracy. Having other
sites list your site also improves your listing on the search engines as
your site is deemed more relevant. To check how many sites are
pointing to your site you can use Alta Vista and in the search
dialog box type: link:http://thesiteurl.com This list that
appears are the URLs of sites, in the Alta Vista database, that are
pointing to your site.
- If you have a site that appeals to assorted target audiences you can
create multiple copies of your homepage then register each copy on each
search engine using different (but expressive and relevant) keywords and
titles. This tactic can be abused if the site is not targeting different
audiences (i.e. you simply want your site to be listed multiple times given
a single keyword search), this may be effective but runs the risk of
"annoying" the web browser and being expelled from the search engine
database (or so some claim!)
- You must also make sure that you register
each relevant page within your site to each search engine. If your site
contains different materials that are alternative and logical starting
points then register those URLs with each search engine. Again, you are
creating multiple accesses to your site.
Advertising on a popular site that attracts your target audience can
be very effective, especially if the site you are sponsoring has high
awareness among your target audience. The sites that generate the most
significant advertising dollars are original content providers
HotWired); search engines
(example: Alta Vista) and
starting points (example: Netscape).
An advertisement is displayed in the form of an advertising banner.
A banner displays a message about your company, much like a bill board
on a highway. The banner is clickable such that the browser can access
a target site from the advertising banner. The target site is usually the
homepage of the advertiser, but can also be another page that contains
detailed information about a particular sale the advertiser is conducting
(this page may then be linked to the homepage).
It is important that the banner is created such that it looks like a
gateway to the target site and not just a part of the host site. This
can be achieved by explicitely stating "click here..." on the banner.
The information on the banner should also clearly state what the product
is (company does).
It is also important to change the banner frequently on the sites you are
advertising. This will retain the attention of your target audience as
they continually return to their favorite site. Research
estimates that banners that are not used to click through after
three exposures to the same individual is not likely to do so at
all, this phenomena is referred to as "banner burnout". Animation on the
banner also attracts attention. This does require
larger files that may slow the process of loading the banner. Rotating
advertising banners and using animation does not increase the likelihood
of a banner viewer clicking on the banner to the target site
(a "click-through"). It should, however, increase the awareness of
the banner to those viewing the page, and therefore increase the number
of click throughs. The prime goal of the banner is to increase the
likelihood of attaining "click-through" to the target site.
Since an advertising banner is essentially asking the browser to leave
the host site (not the goal of the host site presumably) this is becoming
an area of much discussion. Host sites need the advertising banners to
help finance their sites (much like "free" TV programming needs advertising
to support it), but they would prefer the browser remain at their site and
not move onto the sponsors site. A conflict that needs to be resolved.
Innovative advertising banner models to address this issue include
using exit banners (advertising banners that appear to the browser when
they exit the site) and advertising banners that download information to
the browser that can then be read offline. The browser doesn't have
to leave the site at that time to get the information.
Small businesses interested in promoting their web-sites through banner
advertisements should look at the
For a more elaborate banner program you can try:
A similar opportunity to gain exposure to your web-site is to join
emerging programs like Net Perks
. Net Perks is an example of a "Driver" service. A driver service
promotes your web-site to its audience, in return the audience receives
an incentive to browse (free internet access or other prizes).
To have your target audience visit your site for the first time requires
that you promote its existence by generating awareness and interest in
the site. A site that adds value to an organization's marketing program
is one that encourages the target audience to spend time at your site and
to return on a regular basis. This may be to satisfy an informational need,
purchase products, for entertainment or for other rewards (sales promotions).
Much like traditional advertising, an effective site must be designed
around the needs and motivations of its target audience. Understanding
why a web browser accesses your site will enable you to design the site
to fit your target audiences' needs and encourage them to return whenever
those needs reoccur, thus adopting your site.
The design of the actual site is also critical to the likelihood of a
positive experience, and hence a return visit. These design issues have
been covered in detail in session 5 6 and 7.
You can request that your browsers subscribe to your site (without requiring
it unless you have monetary reasons to require). By acquiring subscription
information you are achieving two goals.
The main focus of this session has been the promotion of a web-site and
its importance in a marketing campaign. There are instances, however,
where WWW can be used to promote a product without using a web-site as the
focal point (target advertisement). A good example of this is a banner
campaign run by MBNA America, who placed a banner advertisement on the
ESPNet NFL main page during the college draft week. The banner
advertisement promotes the NFL Visa card with rotating logos of all the
NFL teams. The banner adverisement also includes information on the
introductory rate (5.9%) and a no annual
fee. The placement of the banner would appear to be very
targeted. When someone clicks on the banner they are taken to an
application form, which can be completed online. Thus the target
advertisement, in this case, is a credit card application form, not part
of the MBNA website.
- You are collecting demographic information about the people who access
your site. This will help in maintaining the site in the future.
- You will be able to keep your audience updated with new site features.
WWW in unobtrusive but Email is not. If you can gather Email addresses of
those that frequent your site then you can contact them when you wish. Be
very careful doing this however, browsers do not like "junk mail" appearing
in their inbasket.