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    Back Issues, Weekly
    Week Ending: April 13, 1996
    April 13, 1996
    Donna Hoffman, the Vanderbilt marketing professor has delivered another solid contribution to the emrging Web/Net Marketplace. Give Internet Use in the United States: 1995 Baseline Estimates and Preliminary Market Segments a thorough scan. The report is a strong attempt to reconcile the conflicting numbers floating around in various Internet Demographic surveys. Hoffman's team have identified four major market segments based on frequency of usage. The accompanying demographic matrices provide a solid insight into the Net as a bulk market.

    We wonder, though, when the market researchers will start segmenting the Net's population into real markets...ie, interest clusters. The fact that 10 million 35 year old males use the Net frequently is of little interest if they're all interested in football and we're selling books. We hope Hoffman and Co will come through shortly with demographic data about niche markets.

    April 12, 1996
    Customer service and support are central components of any marketing strategy. The fascinating thing about the web is that it allows small, regional players to benchmark their customer service performance against large, well-heeled, international players.

    Take Professional Messenger, for example. The firm, a regional messenger service working in the San Francisco Bay Area, chose to use UPS and Fedex as its service benchmarks. As a result, you can place and track orders on the web with Professional Messenger.

    The site, cleverly crafted by Internet Literacy Consultants simultaneously raises the performance entry bar for other regional messenger services while establishing that Professional Messenger intends to hold itself to the delivery and quality standards of much larger operations. It's a fantastic idea executed with attention to customer satisfaction and usability rather than graphic flash.

    We think it's a model that any Web business can apply to their operations. Pick your competitors carefully.

    April 11, 1996
    They're back. We're glad. We missed them. Who's Marketing Online did a disappearing act in late December almost simultaneously with their announcement that they were going weekly. The delightfully packaged site now carefully avoids the question of update frequency by not dating the material. It's okay with us, we just like knowing that they're around. When you visit, be sure to check out the Editorial Vault. It's where they keep the goodies.

    April 10, 1996
    Professor Pete's Webmastering 301 is an absolutely delicious introduction to WebDesign. Heck, it's worth a visit just to see the winking professor as you get ready to walk through the design tutorial. Framed in business language, rather than web technobabble, the site provides the detailed steps and explanations that we all use when engaging a new client. Bravo.

    April 9, 1996
    The Bandwidth Conservation Society isn't as forbidding as the name might suggest. Their goals is to help find the "balance between a pleasing page and an economical, low-bandwidth delivery of that page". Cutting through the jargon, the Bandwidth Conservation Society offers resources that help you deliver faster pages by optimizing your graphics.

    They offer tutorials on graphic formats and tricks.

    April 8, 1996
    One of our clients is using the techniques described in yesterday's piece to increase the effectiveness of their overall marketing program. The Proposal Group is a consulting firm that specializes in managing the complex proposals required for large systems designs (like staffing a government facility, building a ship or designing an airplane). Their clients are usually medium to large businesses that provide all or part of the services required to accomplish the job. The end customers are either government agencies or large companies.

    Once the website was completed, The Proposal Group used AltaVista to define the universe of potential clients with websites. With a target list and the ability to offer reciprocal links, they began contacting potential clients.

    The initial contact was a short piece of email, tailored for each lead, describing the website and commenting on specific features of the potential client's site. (It's worth saying that this approach takes a very focused bit of research and is quite time consuming.) The Proposal Group reports that about 70% of their initial queries were answered and that they've begun productive and interesting relationships with over 40 potential clients.

    They don't want thousands or millions of visits to their site. Rather, they'd prefer to hand customize the site (and their correspondence) to meet the needs of their potential clients. The Proposal Group is successfully using the web as a method of delivering precisely targeted information to specific clients.

    April 7, 1996
    A web page begins at the inbound link on another site. Reader expectations are set and managed there. In addition to monitoring your competition's technical changes, pay close attention to their inbound link structure. Inbound links are the best kind of marketing success. As a general rule, one inbound link will yield an average of 20 (some are much higher, some lower) visitors per week. While non-web media publicity and marketing can yield significant traffic spikes, inbound links provide a steady source of visitors.

    AltaVista will show you your inbound links if you search for:
    link:yourURL.com (so, our search looks like link:www.interbiznet.com .)

    Use this same formula to see your competition's inbound link structure. AltaVista's Advanced Query gives some very interesting additional possibilities.

    Imagine that we saw Yahoo as a major competitor. If we wanted to see their inbound links, we'd search AltaVista for link:www.yahoo.com. Using AltaVista's Advanced Query, though, we could see the places where Yahoo was linked that we weren't by searching for link:www.yahoo.com AND NOT link:www.interbiznet.com. The result of that search is a hotlinked list of places we need to contact to make sure that our inbound links are the same as our competitor's.. That hot list is the solid material for a short term very targeted marketing campaign.

    Montoring your competition's links keeps you fresh and will always yield additional market opportunity.

    Try Freeloader

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    All material on this site is © 1995, 1996 by IBN (The Internet Business Network), Mill Valley, CA 94941