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Developing Your Cyber-Marketing Plan

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Before You Begin:

Determine what marketing information prospects need

Brainstorm all information you have available for your customers/clients. Consider the value a customer may find in the information you plan to provide and determine the information’s worthiness. Not all information is really worthy of passing on to the customer/client. The “rule of thumb” here is to provide the top three to five most important pieces of information. Providing more than that would either overwhelm the customer or drive the customer away.

Prepare your information in Internet-ready format

Build an inventory of electronic and physical art ready for publishing on the Internet. By doing this you will be able to keep costs down and integrate your corporate image into your web promotional material.

Organize the information into logical units

The biggest difference between the Internet and traditional marketing methods is space considerations. Consider the information that can be placed into a 30-second radio advertisement, then consider the 30-second television advertisement, and finally consider the amount of information that can be placed on the Internet. You will find that the hardest place to advertise is on the radio because you have people that, for the most part, are in a position where they are unable to record vital information or remember your product. Television commercials have more to work with – visual art being the strongest position that media has. Finally, with the Internet you are able to get the message across in print, audio, and art. Therefore, you should strongly consider the best way to group your information into logical units so that you do not detract from other areas of importance.

Plan your target market

After determining what you want your cyber-marketing to achieve, you will need to determine which areas of the Internet will enable you to reach your objectives. There is one thing of vital importance that requires mentioning: You may know you want to sale to a particular age group or some other demographic, but you do not know what makes up that demographic. A case in point, while blind people can not drive, that does not mean they do not own cars. However unlikely this may seem the point is your target market will always consist of individuals whose abilities or disabilities of which you may not be aware or even consider. Therefore an accessible web site is your best choice in a web site.

When You Are Ready to Plan:

Netiquette

While creating your marketing tactics you will want to remember the Rules of Netiquette. The Core Rules of Netiquette are available at The Core Rules of Netiquette. There are millions of marketing ideas that could possibly work in cyberspace, as long as you don’t violate the rules of Netiquette.

Prepare your information in Internet-ready format

Build an inventory of electronic and physical art ready for publishing on the Internet. By doing this you will be able to keep costs down and integrate your corporate image into your web promotional material.

The Aspects of Traditional Marketing

Any marketer, when attempting to establish a marketing plan, is always faced with how to classify and sort ideas. There are six aspects of traditional marketing that can be impacted by cyberspace. Your job, or your marketing team’s job, is to focus upon these areas. You must, however, determine the appropriateness of these areas as they apply to your business.

Build Brand Awareness and Loyalty

Build a community of customers who are loyal to you and your product.

Educate Your Market

Give customers and prospects an in-depth understanding of your product or service, your company, or your industry. People tend to purchase products they understand and in which they find a value (not monetary).

Demonstrate and Distribute

Distribution works hand-in-hand with demonstration. Door-to-door salesmen demonstrate their wares in hopes of gaining avenues of distribution or customers. Demonstrating the value of your product online properly will motivate people into impulse purchasing.

Public Relations

There are many journalists that hang out in the newsgroups, get e-zines, and surf the Internet in search of up and coming businesses. Search out these journalists and work with them to get coverage for your business. Send out press releases!

Feedback

Probably the most important thing you will ever receive as a business owner working in cyberspace is feedback. The feedback you receive can come from a customer, the market in general, others in your industry, and even your competitors. The amount of information you receive can be overwhelming at times. However, you want to use this information to formulate responses with adjustments in your marketing tactics or ensuring you continue with a marketing strategy that is working for your business.

Promote Your Web Site

By developing an ongoing promotional program, you are able to keep your web pages in front of potential customers, and therefore helping generate inquiries and orders. If you don’t promote your site then you will, more than likely, fade away like so many other Internet businesses.

Cyber-Marketing Pitfalls

Don’t Make These Common Mistakes:

No E-mail Responsiveness

There are many web sites out there that have no means of allowing you to send e-mail to their business. If you wish to succeed, you should always have a means of allowing your visitors to contact you. On every page there should be at least one address – the webmaster’s address. On every page their should be a link to some form of contact information. Your contact page should include phone numbers (unless you work out of your home and you share the same phone number for your business – definitely not advisable). Yet, most importantly your contact page should include e-mail addresses so the visitor can get information being sought. You never know, you may even be blessed with a customer that asks for a specific product you don’t carry and thereby creating a new product line just from one letter. I recently visited a bank’s web site and attempted to write a particular department. Oddly enough that email came back as not a valid address.

Failure to Maintain Consistency Between Marketing Efforts

Believe it or not, there are businesses out there that fail to remain consistent between their traditional marketing plans and their cyber-marketing plans. This behavior could result in lost business.

Lost in Cyberspace

All too often, web sites fail to provide adequate navigational tools to move around on their sites. I, recently, was asked to evaluate a web site for a local business. After I got done with the evaluation there were thirteen areas of concern, of which navigation was on the top of the list. From the way the site worked, it seemed that navigation was the last thing considered by their designer.

Another way to be lost in cyberspace is to fail to get your web site listed in the various search engines and directories. I always recommend my clients to purchase WebPosition Gold, click on the graphic to the left, from me when I design their sites and they don’t want me to optimize their site for the search engines. This tool will help you in optimizing your site for the search engines. It is impossible to have too many links to your web site or to be in too many browser bookmark files.

No Sign of Humans

There are sites out there that seem as if they have been created by some form of computer intelligence. What one should do is ensure there is some evidence that people do exist in the business. This could come in the form of employee names, humor, tidbits of local information, and other asundry items. Probably the most important is to write in conversational styles and not in a style that would seem monotoned.

No Target Marketing

In cyberspace people look for specific information. With the vast amount of information available, failing to have a target market is like shooting a shotgun at the side of the barn. You are bound to hit something, but is it what you really want to hit? Mass marketing is on its way out the door as fast and specialized marketing is on its way in. This may not seem like it is with all the unsolicited email you get from “spammers”, but assuredly it fails more often that it succeeds.

Lee Roberts President/CEO of target="_blank">Rose Rock Design, Inc. and owner/developer of the Apple
Pie Shopping Cart
the search engine friendly shopping cart.

Developing Your Cyber-Marketing Plan
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