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Hall Of Fame8 Corners of ECommerce
industry is on
the verge of
into a thousand
fragments due to
the knowledge explosion
and the proliferation
of new technologies.
There are no
more grand theories
that hold sway
over the entire
It's better to
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A few short years ago, my business partner and I ran a creative "shop". We produced ads and marketing collateral material for a wide variety of clients.
On one occasion, we were researching a print ad campaign for an insurance company. We noticed that most ads in this sector were full-color.
Not being the kind of firm that followed the crowd, we came up with a series of ads which used archive black-and-white images with spot color and a witty caption.
The response was overwhelming. Our audience appreciated the humor and liked the lack of dazzle conveyed by the monochrome images.
Which brings us to banner ads. Most banner ads on the Web are crammed full of information, often to the point that they are incomprehensible. It's as if the creators feel they have to use every last square millimeter of space to get their message across. Usually, it just looks like clutter.
A reversal of the prevailing concept has been usefully executed by Net-Temps with coaching from IBN . Instead of using the banner to convey information, only about ten percent of the available space is used as a "link button". It works! The "click-through" rate is very impressive.
You can find the "banner-link" at http://chi.yahoo.com/Empl oyment/Classifieds/. (Just click the "refresh" button to rotate the advertising until you reach the Net-Temps ad...).
Like the best ideas, this one is so simple that nobody thought of it... --John Blower
Marketing Without Megabucks is a book by Shel Horowitz which, as the title implies, explores low-cost marketing options for small businesses.
Shel's site is minimally designed - kind of post-modern to the point of being retro - but, nonetheless, is available in SEVEN languages, and reviews The Penny-Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant's Pocketbook and other books by him.
Eric Baxter is a self-proclaimed Web Marketing consultant, whose company has "designed and launched a number of good-looking and award winning web sites in the past 8 months". He is, by all accounts, beginning to identify some strategies that are commercially viable and successful.
This month, he is initiating a marketing campaign to market his own web design & site maintenance services, based on:
1) Direct mailings to targeted clients in fields that the company is already strong in, such as museums, real estate agencies, travel & tourist bureaus, etc.
2) Followup phone calls to the person in each organization responsible for PR and/or marketing.
3) Hopefully an opportunity to meet with them to sell them on the superior benefits of their services.
This is a real groundpounder approach, but it has worked for Eric in the past...
Eric's company site is Digital Communication Services.
Finally, Liz Seegert has written a small handbook "The Small Business Guide to Local Media Relations". It details, step-by-step, how to put together a press release (with samples), how to develop a media list and how to conduct an effective publicity campaign. A sample chapter and more information is available at http://www.seegertmktg.com/ --John Blower
A picture's worth a thousand words (except when it's over 20K...), and a mention of your site in a reputable publication is probably worth a thousand visits.
Online site promotion is all very well, but with only 35% of US households with a computer - and considerably less with Web access - your reach is limited, even if your target market is within the universe with Web access.
The best way to get free exposure in the "real world" is by submitting articles and press releases.
Using newspapers and television stations as a primary focus in this area can work wonders. If you have something "newsworthy", your local media may be very interested. In addition to your hometown press, media outlets in your birthplace and any other town you may have lived in may be interested as well.
The hardest part is often obtaining all the necessary contacts.
No longer. Thanks to Gebbie Press: The All-In-One Media directory, this valuable information is now just a few clicks away.
Simply visit http://www.gebbieinc.com/presto.ht m and Presto! US weekly papers and TV stations broken down by state. Simply save the file, open with a word processor (created using MS Word 6.0) and print! They're even formatted for instant Avery 5160 type labels.
Combine a well-crafted press release (see our Archive) to selected publications on Gebbie's list with an electronic press release to publications selected from the Ecola Newsstand: Sales and Marketing (many thanks Bob Poulsen), and you stand a higher than average chance of your site appearing in print.
I had the misfortune to stumble across Lumal Gate the other day.
When I arrived, I was confronted with the following menu items:
OUR FAMILY OF COMMERCE || THE LUMAL GROUP || A GANG OF
INTERNET SEARCH TOOLS
and a choice of "framed" or "non-framed" versions.
I opted to do without, but not before checking out "Our Cybernews Paper". Very much a "do-it-yourself" job. You submit, and...(don't hold your breath).
"Non-framed" broke every rule of good web design in the book. We had "gifs" which should have been "jpgs", images which bore no relation to anything under the sun (of which there was a large image), an Applet ticker tape claiming that Lumal was "organizing information in a modern world" (try starting with the site), the date and time, and an incomprehensible link, "Sound of our hearts content" (sic). Anticipating a 1.7Mb sound file, I passed on this one.
So what does Lumal DO? I was impressed by the claim that they were "organizing information in a modern world" - and, hey! I'm a 'nineties kinda guy...
I returned to the homepage and took a look at "OUR INDEX OF THE KNOW WORLD" (sic).
The page was headed - incomprehensibly - "LUMAL - SECTION; October 30, 1996", and appeared to be a partial reproduction of the Redondo Beach Yellow Pages. Very modern. Very organized. Very circumscribed.
But, hey! Give the guy a chance. I went to "THE LUMAL GROUP", thence to "The Crew". I was curious. A list of eMail addresses, many of them with cute "aka's".
This wasn't going very far. The rotating icons were giving me a headache. I went home.
Check out this site!! Then do EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE. --John Blower
So Who Do You Design For?
Within a newsgroup to which we subscribe - comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html - a fierce debate rages between the "purists" and the "pragmatists".
The "pragmatists", on the other hand, maintain that standards invariably lag behind what is happening "on the street" (or infobahn if you wish...), and that using browser-specific tags promotes their use and hence their incorporation into later HTML standards.
There are pros and cons on both sides, of course - it depends on your audience. For example, a client and we recently decided that his audience was primarily "geeks" who were likely to be using the most advanced browsers available. Consequently, there were no constraints on using browser-specific tags.
If, on the other hand, you wish to design for the widest possible audience, the "purists" have a resource for you. The Web Design Group was founded "to promote the creation of non-browser specific, non-resolution specific, creative and informative sites that are accessible to all users worldwide". Its site features tips and articles on using frames, style sheets and character sets amongst many other topics. It also has links to a number of HTML validators, which check your code against current standards (don't take the results too badly!).
The Group also promotes an Award for sites which conform to the standards it has developed. (Have you ever visited a site simply because it was the recipient of an "award"? No, we haven't either. Unless it was one of ours...).
Personally, we find the Group's pronouncements a trifle pedantic and pedagogical. You may feel differently.
In the end, it comes down to the old marketing principle - that you should know your audience and design your outreach accordingly. --John Blower
Take a look at the Archives. We've indexed all the past issues with topic pointers.
All material on this site is © 1995, 1996 by IBN (The Internet Business Network), Mill Valley, CA 94941