Advertising: What Will Get The Results You Want?
The following page is due for review and update. While the general concepts present remain valid, many of the details continue to evolve.
The following is a summary of a business breakfast presentation by Graeme Morris of Info-Design Online, November 2001 in Toowoomba.
The answer to this question comes in two parts: advertising via the Web and via email
1. Using the Web
A Web Site can serve many purposes, but in terms of advertising two areas are worth considering.
A. Direct advertising: This creating an environment in which potential buyers are moved to - or closer to - product purchase. Happy is the Web Site owner who can achieve this outcome. However, such a site requires:
- Knowing with great clarity your market - what they think, what they like, what they want, and how they seek it.
- Having a product or service which people seek, and seek online. This may not be as common as you think. Consider what type of products your search for online.
- Creating a Site which is compelling to your market segment.
- An aggressive marketing of the Site - usually through paid Search Engine listings.
B. Indirect advertising: This supports & extends an existing marketing environment. Think, not so much of generating sales online, but of reducing your customer acquisition, service or reordering costs.
In this role your Web Site can be highly cost-effective way of indirect advertising. Consider some examples:
- Telling your product's story
- Product details & technical specifications
- Installation or maintenance information
- Compliance and how your product meets regulatory standards
- Trouble-shooting guides
- Answers to frequently asked questions
- Product Catalogues and options
- Even short video, animated or audio presentations.
With modest design costs, near zero distribution costs a well designed Web Site can be a powerful advertising tool. Whether direct or indirect advertising, a commercial Web Site needs a call to action, a clear pathway to that action and minimal barriers to completion. Systems must be in place to respond to people's action. Test your own site in this respect.
2. Using Email
Email advertising can reap large returns because of the potential for sales together with near zero deliver costs. But beware, the pitfalls are many and they can be deep! While a ill-conceived Web Site is ineffective, an ill-conceived email marketing campaign can make your business name to be like mud.
To be effective, three resources are necessary:
- A list of people from whom you have earned the right to send email.
- Subject material which is both relevant and timely to their needs.
- Access to the knowledge required to avoid the email marketing land mines.
Broadcasting emails to people who haven't consciously requested them is now considered unbecoming and even commercially dangerous. It can damage your brand, your name & reputation. It can result in abusive emails, malicious cyber attacks, cancelled email accounts, and under soon to be enforced legislation may adjudged illegal in this or other countries. There is much debate on this whole issues, but so called "permission marketing" is seen as the best way.
Important email marketing points:
- Paying for email lists - don't, ever!
- "Spamming" is being treated as a serious issue
- Removal procedures - a must have in place and test them.
- Technical disasters - avoid them at any cost.
- Include a clear call to action, without being pushy.
- Use email to interest people in your Web material - always link to it.
Good uses of email advertising:
- New product notification
- Product upgrades
- Seminar invitations
- Relevant industry news
- Changes in company's services, contracts, operations, pricing etc.
Rather than another form of mass advertising, think of email marketing as an extended personal contact with your customers. What benefits can be gained from writing individual emails to existing customers?
Thoughts compiled by Graeme Morris, Manager of Info-Design Online Pty Ltd.
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