Categorized | Web Marketing

Promotions: Marketing and Sales 8.2 Web Marketing

Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away . . . probably 1950’s America . . . marketing and promotions were easy. All marketing really took was a giant plateful of media advertising combined with a generous helping of sales and some dollops of direct response advertising and public relations. Nobody ever had to produce a spreadsheet, laboriously extracted from some database, full of response, conversion, and revenue statistics. Life was good. But it was also expensive and most businesses had no idea if the marketing was really working. A former president of Proctor & Gamble once quipped, “I know that 50% of my advertising is effective. Problem is, I don’t know which 50%!”

The World Wide Web changed the promotions and marketing world pretty much the same way it changed just about everything else. It introduced entirely new and complex ways to promote companies, products, and services and, more importantly, allowed marketers to precisely determine how effective these promotions are in terms of sales and revenues. More importantly, the Web made marketing volatile―the ground is constantly shifting as advertisers find new ways to sell products and services. There used to be a “right” way to market and promote your company and products. Well, those days are over.

Let us be straight with you. Web marketing is not easy. It rewards the folks who are both highly creative and highly quantitative―an unlikely combination in many organizations and virtually unheard of in individuals. It’s possible to get lucky, but most people who succeed do so through years of intelligent, creative, and dogged effort.

In addition to your Web site, Web marketing consists of:

  • Search engine marketing: the entire panoply of techniques that marketers use to generate high rankings for a company’s Web site or products on search engines based on user keyword searches, including placing pay-per-click advertisements on search engine results pages.
  • Link exchange management: trading links or banner advertisements with other Web site owners. While this is usually free (making it pleasingly cost-effective), there are link exchange services that will help you trade links and will charge a fee. Because search engines base their rankings in part on how many inbound links pointing to your Website, link exchange qualifies as a significant tactic in search engine marketing.
  • Pay-per-click or pay-per-impression advertising: pay-per-click is the most common form of banner advertising and link management. In a pay-per-click arrangement, the owner of another Web site places a banner or link to your Web site on their own Web site. They then bill you each month for the number of people who “click” your Web site’s banner or link to visit your Web site. In other words, you pay for each visitor who comes to your site through the affiliate site.
  • Online affiliate marketing: affiliate marketing goes one step beyond link exchange and pay-per-click advertising. The owner of one Web site pays the owner of another, affiliated Web site based on how many leads or sales the affiliate generates. Also called “performance marketing,” affiliate marketing differs from pay-per-click or pay-per-impression advertising in that the advertiser cuts the ad publisher in on the deal by giving them a chunk of the revenues they produce or paying them every time they send a lead to the site. In addition to finding online affiliates for your business, you can also run an online business as an affiliate.
  • Contextual marketing or advertising: contextual advertising means delivering custom ads based on the type of Web page a user is visiting. Contextual advertising means your ads only appear in places that have content highly related to your company or product and so are more likely to attract an interested and motivated audience.
  • Social networking, blogs, etc.: while more properly considered an aspect of guerilla marketing, social network sites such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and others give you an opportunity to use social networks and social network profiles to promote your product, company, or Web site. 40% of MySpace profiles are estimated to be primarily promotional in nature.
  • Online video: again, more properly considered guerilla marketing, online video sharing sites such as Break.com or YouTube allow you to create video promotions that can produce site visitors or, better yet, sales. Many major companies produce television ads that are primarily intended to get wide distribution on the Internet.
  • Auctions, blogs, etc.: while you may think of auction sites as a place to sell, they’re also a great place to promote your products―even if you do no sales through the auction site! You can use online auctions to generate site traffic, as advertising vehicles, or even as direct response catalogs. Auctions cost next to nothing and can give you measurable results for various promotions tactics.

8.2.1. ClickZ

http://www.clickz.com

ClickZ is the number one Web destination for interactive marketing and Web promotions professionals. With news, articles, case studies, features, profiles, interviews, and statistics, ClickZ, in our opinion, is a must-read source for current strategies and tactics in Web promotions.

Their resources comprise both introductory and advanced materials on email marketing, search engine marketing (SEM), and Web advertising. In addition, ClickZ runs SearchEngineWatch.com, a site devoted solely to monitoring search engines, the proprietary formulas they use to rank sites against keywords, and search engine marketing tactics.

8.2.2. Awecomm Web Strategies

http://www.awecommwebstrategies.com

Awecomm Web Strategies (AWS), based in Troy, Michigan, is a division of Awecomm, a premium hosting company (see 7.4 for Web hosting). They are primarily a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) company (see 7.7), but also offer a multitude of moderately-priced services:

  • Web site marketing and design
  • Mobile Website design
  • Search engine optimization
  • ClicksPlus pay-per-click management
  • Email marketing
  • Programming
  • Application stress testing

8.2.3. USWeb

http://www.usweb.com

USWeb is a leading strategic Internet services firm whose clients largely consist of medium-sized to gigantor-sized corporations. Specializing largely in search engine marketing, USWeb has offices across the United States. They also offer, at premium prices, Web design services, contextual advertising services, conversion optimization (redesigning your site to increase conversions), affiliate marketing management, email marketing, database marketing, Internet ad design, Web analytics, viral marketing, and Web site ROI tracking.

8.2.4. WebAd.Vantage

http://www.webadvantage.net

Specializing in online direct marketing, WebAd.Vantage offers a smorgasbord of affordable online marketing services including search engine optimization, pay-per-click search engine campaign management, online media planning (banner ad placement), email direct marketing, and Internet marketing consulting. Clients range from small startup companies to major corporations such as Nokia.

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