L.  Marketing and Promotional Opportunities on the Web

So far, the focus of this discussion has been on understanding the promotional mix and how traditional media can be utilized as a means to promote a new Web site. As you may already know, the explosion of the World Wide Web has brought about an explosion of e-businesses, including our friends in the advertising industry.

Marketing and promotional opportunities on the Web are still evolving. Many people from the advertising and direct marketing communities have been trying to cookie cut the online advertising and marketing of Web sites into existing philosophies with little or no success. The World Wide Web is often equated with the Wild, Wild West, with few laws and all the control given to the consumer instead of the advertiser-something advertising agencies are not used to. The Web gives users the freedom to click away and avoid the advertising clutter they've been subjected to with other media, like TV and Radio.

Successful Web developers need to be aware of the creative presentation of their web sites-give customers the opportunity to engage in an interactive experience that may encourage them to stick around and perhaps buy something. All the banner ads and targeted e-mails in the world won't keep customers on a boring, uninteresting site.

So, assuming that a new Web site is interactive and an enjoyable experience for the user, various forms of online marketing and promotional tools may be employed to further drive traffic to the site:

1. Search Engines: The first marketing tactic involves registering with the major search engines and Web directories: Yahoo!, Lycos, Alta-Vista, Webcrawler, Metacrawler, Excite, Hot Bot, Info Seek, and America Online Netfind. Registering is easy and free, and with the proper integration of some keywords in the tags of the home page can be a very successful way of promoting the new Web site online.

2. Cross-marketing: Swap links and banner ads with suppliers and other constituents the new Web site does business with. Crossmarketing can be an effective means of driving traffic to the sites of both parties involved. This approach is very effective with nonprofits and small to medium-sized businesses-it gets a little dicey if the competition shares the same suppliers, so be aware.

3. Targeted e-mails: Send targeted e-mails promoting the new Web site to existing customers or people who have visited the site in the past. Several sites have employed automatic e-mails and news services to people who have visited a site and subscribed to it. This approach can be very effective in keeping past customers and potential customers informed of any promotions and company news.

"Spamming"-or mass e-mailing-is not a recommended approach for online marketing. Internet service providers (ISPs) as well as e-mail recipients are turned off by such activities. Most ISPs have employed systems to filter spamming and punish the spammers (i.e., the company that sent them). So try to avoid mass e-mailing.

4. Banner advertising: Unless the new Web site has a decent sized marketing budget, online banner advertising may be an expensive option. The cost of banner advertising is based upon cost per thousand impressions, or CPM. For example, for every 1000 viewings of a banner ad, a cost will be applied to the advertiser. Web sites that employ banner advertising base their CPM rate on number of visitors per page and how much business the site generates. Sites can also track the number of hits an advertiser's banner receives to measure its effectiveness and adjust future advertising prices.

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