Innovations In Behavioral Marketing And MARKETING MANAGEMENT TERM PROJECT Innovations in Behavioral Marketing and Electronic Commerce Date: June 15, 2000 Table of Contents Preface1 . Introduction . Benefits of Electronic Marketing . Effectiveness of E-Commerce I. Ways for Promoting your Website II. Learning about your Visitors III.
Segmenting your Internet Market . E-Commerce in Lebanon I. Lebanese Companies on the Net II. Customer Adaptation to E-Commerce Websites . Conclusion I. Introduction An online marketing channel is one that a person can reach via computer and modem. A modem connects a computer to a telephone line so that the computer user can reach various online information services.
There are two types of online channels: Commercial Online Channels: Various companies have set up online information and marketing services that can be accessed by those who have signed up for the service and pay a monthly fee. The best-known online services are: CompuServe, America Online, and Prodigy, with more than 3,200,000, 3,000,000, and 1,600,000 subscribers respectively. These online channels provide subscribers with five main services: information (news, libraries, education, travel, sports, reference), entertainment (fun and games), shopping services, dialogue opportunities (bulletin boards, forums, chat boxes), and E-mail. The Internet: The Internet is a global web of some 45,000-computer networks that has made instantaneous and decentralized global communication possible. Originally established to facilitate research and scholarly exchanges, the Internet is now available to a much broad audience, some 25,000,000 people. Users can send e-mail, exchange views, shop for products, and access news, food recipes, art and business information.
The Internet itself is free, though individual users may need to pay a commercial service to be hooked up to it. II. Benefits of Electronic Marketing Why have online services become so popular? First, they provide three major benefits to potential buyers: ? Convenience: Customers can order products 24 hours a day wherever they are. They do not have to sit in traffic, find a parking space, and walk through countless aisles to find and examine goods. And they do not have to drive all the way to a store, only to find out that the desired product is out of stock.
? Information: Customers can find reams of comparative information about companies products, and competitors without leaving their office or home. They can focus on objective criteria such as prices, quality, performance, and availability. ? Fewer hassles: With online services, customers do not have to face salespeople or open themselves up to persuasion and emotional factors. Second, online services also provide a number of benefits to marketers: ? Quick adjustments to market conditions: companies can quickly add products to their offering and change prices and descriptions. ? Lower costs: Online marketers avoid the expense of maintaining a store and the accompanying costs of rent, insurance, and utilities. They can produce digital catalogs for much less than the cost of printing and mailing paper catalogs.
? Relationship building: Online marketers can talk with consumers and learn much from them. Marketers can also upload useful reports, or a free demo of their software, or a free sample of their newsletter, onto the system Consumers can then download these items into their electronic mailboxes. ? Audience sizing: Marketers can learn how many people visited their online site and how many stopped at particular places on the site. This information can help the marketers improve their offers and ads. Clearly, marketers will want to consider using online services to find, reach communicate, and sell. Online marketing has at least four great advantages.
First, both small and large firms can afford it. Second, there is no real limit on advertising space, in contrast to print and broadcast media. Third, information access and retrieval are fast, compared to overnight mail and even fax. Fourth, shopping can be done privately and swiftly. However, online marketing is not for every company or for every product; thought has to be given to if, when, and how it should be done. III.
Effectiveness of E-Commerce In order for your company to be effective in its electronic commerce, some conditions must be satisfied. For example, your company should promote its web site properly in order to attract visitors who are the companys potential customers. Thus the more the visitors, the higher the probability of having more customers. Another point of concern is the size of the Internet, which constitutes a humongous market. Therefore, attacking it as a whole would be a difficult task for the company. That is why companies usually tend to segment the market into small niches to give each of them an equivalent portion of the companys attention.
In addition, the company must keep in mind that there are millions of surfers with different wants and needs, different age groups, sexes, ethnicity, social lifestyles, educational levels, and so on. This issue pushes almost every company with a web site running online to start knowing its online customers in order to serve them best, knowing that online competition is increasing vastly each and every day. A. Ways for Promoting your Website The most important first step is to register your site with the main Web search engines, so we begin with steps to prepare your Web pages for optimal indexing. 1. Write a Page Title.
Write a descriptive title for each page of 5 to 8 words. Remove as many filler words from the title, such as the, and, etc. This page title appears on the Web search engines when your page is found. Entice surfers to click on the title by making it a bit provocative. Use some descriptive keywords along with your business name on your home page. For example, instead of LAU use LAU Leading University in Middle East .
The more people see in the blue highlighted portion of the search engine that interests them, the more likely they are to click on the link. 2. List Keywords. To get your juices flowing, sit down with some associates and brainstorm a list of 50 to 100 keywords or key phrases – the kind of words or phrases someone might search on to find a business or site like yours. Then refine the list to the most important 20 or so.
Those words are placed at the top of the Web page internally – not visible on the page – in a META tag1. Search engines use them in order to locate the site. Note however, that some research on search engine algorithms indicates that a fewer number of keywords may help you better target the most important search if you are working to increase your page’s ranking on the search engines. Consider using both lowercase and capitalized forms of your very most important words, since some search engines are case-sensitive. 3.
Write a Page Description. Select the most important 20 keywords, and write a sentence or two. You do not need to repeat any words used in the page title. Keep this readable but tight. Those words are placed at the top of the Web page internally in a META tag1 too. They will appear in the search result of search engines when a user requests a search for one of the specified keywords.
4. Submit Page to Search Engines. Next, submit your page to the important Web search engines and directories. The most important search engines that robotically spider or index your site are: Yahoo, AltaVista, Excite, HotBot, Lycos, Infoseek, WebCrawler, and Northern Light. 5.
Request Links on Industry Sites. You probably belong to various trade associations that feature member sites. Ask for a link. Even if you have to pay something for a link, it may bring you the kind of targeted traffic you crave. 6.
Include URL on Stationery, Cards, and Literature. Make sure that all reprints of cards, stationery, brochures, and literature contain your company’s URL. And see that your printer gets the URL syntax correct. In print, it is recommended leaving off the http:// part and including only the www.domain.com portion. This way it is easier to memorize.
7. Promote using traditional media. Do not stop print advertising you have found effective. However, be sure to include your URL in any display or classified ads you purchase in trade journals, newspapers, etc. View your website as an information adjunct to the ad.
Catch readers’ attention with the ad, and then refer them to a Web page where they can obtain more information or perhaps place an order. Sometimes these ads are more targeted, more effective, and less expensive than online advertising. Consider other traditional media to drive people to your site, such as direct mail, classifieds, post cards, etc. 8. Develop a Free Service.
It is one thing to say, Come to our site and learn about our business. It is quite another to say Use the free kitchen remodeling calculator available exclusively on our site. Make sure that your free service is closely related to what you are selling so the visitors you attract will be good prospects for your business. Give visitors multiple opportunities and links to cross over to the sales part of your site. 9.
Request Reciprocal Links. Find complementary websites and request a reciprocal link to your site (especially to your free service, if you offer one). Develop an out-of-the way page where you put links to other sites — so you don’t send people out the back door as fast as you bring them in the front door. 10. Issue News Releases. Find newsworthy events (such as launching your free service), and send news releases to print and Web periodicals in your industry. 11.
Request Links from Business Link Sites. Especially if you offer a free service, you can request links from many of the small business linking pages on the Web. When you have something free to offer, many doors open to you. Surf the Net looking for places that might link to your site. Then e-mail the site owner or Webmaster with your site name, URL, and a brief 200-word description of what you offer there.
12. Capture Visitor E-mail Addresses and Request Permission to Send Updates. On your website’s response form, include a checkbox where the visitor can give you permission to e-mail updates about products or services. Now your e-mails to visitors are not Spam. You are responding to their request for more information.
It is recommended capturing first and last name in separate fields so you can market personally to them. But only ask for the information you need or they won’t fill it out. 13. Publish an E-Mail Newsletter. While it’s a big commitment in time, publishing a weekly, monthly, or quarterly newsletter is one of the very best ways to keep in touch with your prospects, generate trust, develop brand awareness, and build future business. You can distribute your newsletter using your e-mail program, or have people subscribe on your website directly to a listserver program offered by your Internet Service Provider.
14. Install a Signature in your E-Mail Program. Most e-mail programs such as Eudora, Netscape, or Outlook allow you to designate a signature to appear at the end of each message you send. Limit it to 6 to 8 lines: Company name, address, phone number, URL, e-mail address, and a one-phrase description of your unique business offerings. Look for examples on e-mail messages sent to you.
15. Promote Your Site in Mailing Lists and News Groups. The Internet offers thousands of very targeted mailing lists and news groups made up of people with very specialized interests. Do not use aggressive marketing and overtly plug your product or service. Rather, add to the discussion in a helpful way and let the signature at the end of your e-mail message do your marketing for you. People will gradually get to know and trust you, visit your site, and do business with you.
16. Announce a Contest. People like getting something free. If you publicize a contest or drawing available on your site, you will generate more traffic than normal. 17. Join a Banner Exchange Program.
Essentially, you agree to show a rotating banner on your site for other Link Exchange members, and they do the same for you, and there is a possibility you’ll earn something through paid banner ads, too. 18. Purchase Banner Ads on Appropriate Sites. You may need to spend money to boost traffic by purchasing banner advertising. Choose sites that seem to attract the kinds of people who would be good prospects for your business or product. You can find media brokers who can help you find appropriate and cost-effective places to advertise, especially if you have a significant advertising budget for branding purposes.
19. Buy a Text Ad in an E-Mail Newsletter. Businesses are finding that some of the best advertising buys are for small 4 to 12 line ads in established e-mail newsletters. Ads can both inform and motivate readers to click on the URL, and tend to bring much more targeted visitors. 20.
Rent targeted e-mail lists. Bulk untargeted, unsolicited e-mail lists are despised, and you’ll pay a very stiff price in reputation and cancelled services if you yield to temptation here. But the direct marketing industry has developed targeted e-mail lists you can rent consisting of people who have agreed to receive commercial e-mail messages. Do a smaller test first to determine the quality of the list. 21. Begin an Affiliate Program.
Essentially, a retailer’s affiliate program pays a commission to other sites whose links to the retailer result in an actual sale. The goal is to build a network of affiliates who have a financial stake in promoting your site. If you are a merchant2 you need to (1) determine the commission you are willing to pay (consider it your advertising cost), (2) select a company to set up the technical details of your program, and (3) promote your program to get the right kind of affiliates who will link to your site. 22. Ask Visitors to Bookmark Your Site.
It seems so simple, but make sure you ask visitors to bookmark your site. 23. Devise Viral Marketing Promotion Techniques. So-called viral marketing uses the communication networks (and preferably the resources) of your site visitors or customers to spread the word about your site exponentially. Word-of-mouth, and network marketing are offline models. The classic example is the free e-mail service hotmail.com that includes a tagline about their service at the end of every message sent out, so friends tell friends, who tell friends. Another example is the Recommend-It.com service to tell friends.
Why don’t you recommend this site right now to see how it works, and enter to win a prize? Certainly, ways to promote your site will never end. To effectively market your site you need to spend some time adapting these strategies to your own market and capacity. (Wilson. June 99) B. Learning about your Visitors As part of developing your Internet Marketing Plan, you need to carefully define your visitors.
Everything flows from who your customers are: your website design, your product or service offerings, and your modes of advertising. If you are to succeed offline or online, you need to have an excellent understanding of your customers. Here is the kind of information you ought to be looking at to build your profile. Here are some elements of a customer profile to consider. For business-to-consumer businesses, these customers are individuals.
Of course, business-to-business customers are companies, they usually have a human face that may well have some specific characteristics as owner, purchasing agent, engineer, webmaster, VP of marketing, etc. Let us begin to define your customers with some of these parameters: ? Geographic. Are they grouped regionally, nationally, or globally? ? Cultural and Ethnic. What languages do they prefer to do business in? Does ethnicity affect their tastes or buying behaviors? ? Economic conditions, income and/or purchasing power. What is the average household income or purchasing power of your customers? What are the economic conditions they face as individuals? As an industry? ? Power.
What is the level of decision-making level and title of your typical B2B customer? ? Size of company. What company size are you best able to serve? Do you determine this best by annual revenue or number of employees? ? Age. What is the age of the companies you do business with? Dot-com start-ups or several decades old. What is the predominant age group of your target buyers? How many children and of what ages the family is of? ? Values, attitudes, beliefs. What are the predominant values that your customers have in common? What is their attitude toward your kind of product or service? ? Knowledge and awareness.
How much knowledge do your customers have about your product or service, about your industry? How much education is needed? How much brand building advertising do you need to make your pool of customers aware of what you offer? ? Lifestyle. How many lifestyle characteristics can you name about your purchasers? CACI (http://www.caci.com/Products/MSG/Databases.html) has developed the fascinating ACORN system of 43 closely targeted lifestyle profiles that can be tied to specific ZIP codes. If you were to geo-code your existing customer database using their ACORN system, you would be able to determine patterns for your best customers that would guide future marketing. ? Buying patterns. There is a growing body of information on how consumers of different ages and demographic groups shop on the Web.
This is vital information for your marketing plan, even if you have to pay to get it. ? Media Used. How do your targeted customers learn? What do they read? What magazines do they subscribe to? What are their favorite websites? These are all pretty obvious to developing a marketing campaign. (Web Marketing Today. April 1999) We have just touched the surface here, but we hope it gives you an idea of the process. After you have collected this kind of information from a wide variety of sources, you are ready to write a description of your best customers.
Distill all you have learned into a maximum of three or four paragraphs, even though you may have spent days or weeks researching. Once for good measure, all repeat together: The core of our Internet Marketing Plan is understanding our customers. Get this right and you can carve out a successful business on the Web. Be careless in defining your customers, and you will doom your online marketing, no matter how much money you throw at it. You can learn about your site visitors in a number of ways.