Marketing and Electronic Commerce

Developing an integrated marketing plan for on-line marketing.

  1. Introduction
  2. Product
  3. To find
    1. Integrated Marketing Program
    2. Search Engine Registration
    3. Cybermediaries: Advertising, Mutual Linking and Driver Services
  4. To return
    1. Understand Motivation
    2. Site Design
    3. Subscriptions
  5. 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.

Integrated Marketing Program

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.

Search Engines/Lists

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 search engines: 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 (including title) 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:

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 important.

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.

  1. 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!)
  2. 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.

Cybermediaries: Home-Page Advertising, Cross-Linking and "Driver" Services

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: This list that appears are the URLs of sites, in the Alta Vista database, that are pointing 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 (example: 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 following opportunities:

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 Return

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).

Understand Motivation

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.
  1. You are collecting demographic information about the people who access your site. This will help in maintaining the site in the future.
  2. 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.

Banner Promotion for Non-Site Advertising

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.