Online marketing

What Do the Addicts of the Internet Want and…


24 hours a day 7 days a week, All Singing, All Dancing Show!

A lot of people ask me if I like my job. I instantly reply yes. They usually ask why? My response varies from day to day but on this new years eve I must say the reason why I love it is because of my love of the internet. “I LOVE INTERNET” should be the shirt I should wear. What do I love about ther internet?

1. Its always on – Even on this new years eve people will be buying things, searching websites, chatting, blogging, browsing, hacking, transferring, downloading and playing online. Checkout your websites statistics even as the clock ticks over to that magical new year. My favourite experiences are when people purchase at that time. Send me a screenshot of your New Year Purchase!

2. Its Free – Apart from ISP costs the internet is free. In Sydney I am not sure if you have noticed but it has become offensive to drive around with the amount of tolls you have to pay. Its as if there is a driving tax. I much prefer to walk and ride my bike around local areas than pay up the big tolls. I cop the worst tolls too. I am one of the 30,000 people using the Cross City Tunnel. Yep. I go from Bondi to Balmain each day and it would be a nightmare if someone hadnt kindly built me a tunnel to travel the length of my entire destination. (Thank you Mr Hong Kong business man for spending 100 million just for my and the 29,999 other people.) I digress. This blog is Free. The information on it. Free. All the other wonderful services provided by the internet FREE FREE FREE.

3. Instant gratification – Unlike any other medium you can get it instantly on the internet. I love buying something and using it immediately. Its like your on one of those Datona games and you bust through a checkpoint and immediately your onto the next challenge. On the internet I buy something and immediately im using it and onto the next challenge.

4. Anonymouity – On the internet you can be anyone. I played Second Life for the first time in my life and it was amazing. I could change to be a girl or guy with the click of a button. I could fly, smoke, talk, eat, share, laugh all with other people and not say a word as to who I was or where I came from.

As a high usage consumer of the internet these are the things I love. How are you tapping into these facits of a high user of the internet on your website and through your internet marketing. If you can:

1. Ensure your website is on all the time – Get yourself a decent web hosting company if you dont already have your website up ALL the time. Email me if you like and I will sort you out.

2. Give something away for FREE – Give me something. Anything. But make it free and worthwhile. Give me more value than you would normally receive if I didnt give away my personal details. I want a FREE report on the 10 most frequently travelled to destinations around Australia, give me 7 ways to save money with a low rate credit card or just give me a good review of your top 5 products.

3. Give it to them now – If your website requires human interaction your slowing the speed of gratification down. Give it to them when they want it i.e. when they buy it. The more you can automate the better. I know there is more cost and investment but plan for it. Scale up slowly. Ebay would die if it didnt give you instant gratification.

4. Dont make me tell you how many cats I have – If your asking too many personal questions your not letting me stay anonymous. If your giving away a free report let me put a random email address in. I know its not going to be as higher quality email database BUT your ebook or Free report should be good enough that they return back to your website. Let me make the choice of whether to return or not. Keep investing and improving your materials and you will see those repeat visitors coming back anonymously but with their wallets open.

How else do you feed the internet addicts?

Music

Live secret recordings from Famous bands streaming FREE


I just found this website that is music streaming (BTW I have adsl 2 at home and it has reopened up the internet to so many new things for me!) so of the most prized recordings from bands such as Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Led Zepplin, Bob Marley and Bob Dylan. There is some golden music here that was recorded by the stage promoters and now streaming live and free for you.

How does this apply to online marketing?
This is a golden example of good content. It took me a while to understand what good content meant. Every says good content and I always thought, oh yeah, write something meaningful and exciting. Golden content isnt that. Its where you just have to get to the nearest web browser type in the URL and bask in the content. Its the difference between a good product and one you just MUST have. I used to be a World of Warcraft adict and I loved it. I just had to play. I would leave parties to go home and play. That was a golden game. I just had to peel myself off it because it took over my life.

Get in quick on this website because the lawyers are trying to shut it down!!

Seen any golden content recently?

Online gaming and marketing games

Ashes Cricket Weetbix

We launched the Ashes Cricket website and it is turning into a glowing success. Key success elements:

1. Ashes Cricket Microsite – A microsite like this ensures that visitors dont get lost in all the other content weetbix provides. This way there is a place for visitors to easily go.

2. Ashes Download – This is a desktop application that sits on peoples desktop and sends them updates whenever a wicket falls. This is great for the user connection and continuing an ongoing relationship with the visitor of the website. I personally think having something on the customers desktop is very powerful and is a massive brand extension for Weet-bix just being a tv commercial and box of cereal!

3. Ashes On pack Competition – The competition does around 900 entries per day. Its a great traffic driver for the website and gets people to the website. The sheer depth of the website and other elements to it builds that engagement.

4. Brett Lee Ashes Bowling Game – This flash game is superb! Its very addictive. It comes more from the mindset of the bowler and allows you to think and play like a bowler. Its quite mathmatical and has some good smarts built into it.

Let me know what you think?

Banner marketing

Text banners are useless right? Wrong!

“Text banners are boring… they’re not going to get anyone’s attention. We should have an animated banner that grabs people’s attention!”. Is that statement really true?

While I was doing some research I stumbled across an IBM banner that I really liked. You may have seen this before.

The screenshot below shows the IBM banner ad to the right of the page (click on screenshot forExample of IBM HTML bannera larger version). It looks like a special feature of the ZDNet Australia website. Would you believe it? There’s not one bit of animation in it! No sound, no video, no huge images.

It’s an HTML banner that’s clean, simple, and shows off how IBM generates results for its clients. The banner is full of invitations for the viewer to click through to the IBM site. It goes against all the Flashy, animated, in your face banner ads that we see nowadays.

This example shows that not all banners need to be flashy, entertaining, or have shock value. Banner ads need to be able to communicate to the right people at the right time. If being a simple HTML banner ad with barely any imagery and no animation is the way to go, then do it.

Don’t get me wrong though. Flashy, entertaining banners have their place, but perhaps not so much for IBM, especially on the ZDNet website. ZDNet readers are there for news, information, and ideas for solutions. Don’t waste the reader’s time on anything but that.

So if you’re considering a banner ad campaign as part of your online marketing, take time to talk to your agency. Assuming you have a marketing plan all ready, here are some things to ask yourself and your agency:

  • What are you trying to achieve with the banner campaign? Do you want to build brand awareness, customer database, brand reinforcement, or a sale?
  • What will be the best way to measure success? Results of a follow-up market survey, number of subscriptions, leads/enquiries, or number of sales?
  • Will I want to reach all my target markets, just one, or a select few?
  • What do I want to tell each of my target market(s)?
  • Which websites will provide you with the best exposure to reach your target market(s)? Your agency should have a good idea of what may be most appropriate.
  • What placement can I acquire on these sites and how will the timing coincide with our marketing plans? Your agent will find this information out for you. It would help if you had an idea of when you want to run your banner campaign.
  • What banner creative will best communicate our message to the target audience? Your agency will provide you with a couple of concepts based on your brief.

You know already that it’s all about going back to marketing basics. Don’t be afraid to explore simple HTML banners if you feel that it will work for your next campaign. Flashy isn’t always going to give you the results you’re after.

Inspiration

An Online Marketing Success Story of Adopting Sheep

Sheep Starving
“Adopt me?”

Here is a story that is happening right now. My friend Michael Kiely has a farm full of sheep, and unless you have been living under a rock you will know that there is no water its dryer than my mouth when I wake up in the morning after a tough night boozing. So what he decided to do was allow people to adopt his sheep! (http://adoptasheep.blogspot.com/)

This new campaign has been spurred by using email marketing to Michael’s Thought Of The Day list (A golden read), A great blog, Some serious blog posting, Some press releases and a good bit of old follow-up and some good old Word Of Mouth.

Michael’s PR was so successful that he was on the Channel 7 News!!

Adopt A Sheep On the Homepage of Yahoo!7 News. Video Story about Adopt a Sheep

Online customers

How to Build a Profitable Online Relationship with Customers:…

It takes at least 7 visits to your website before someone purchases something from it.

In support, comScore Networks V.P. John Miniati said at this year’s IR Conference, “People don’t always convert in the same web session when searching.” Their study found that only 17% of search-initiated sales (mostly movie tickets and flowers) occurred during the same web session. 20% occurred in later online sessions and 63% in latent offline purchases.
John Miniati, vice president, comScore Networks Inc.

Now even though I am a high-end web user, my own personal experience confirms this. At the moment I am looking at buying an information product, online. It costs US$997.

The person who wrote it is renowned for being a guru in his space. On his website there are near 100 testimonials extolling the product’s virtues and value. But, I still haven’t purchased it. These are some of the things I have done:

• I have googled his name, visited his website and looked over the materials at least 3 separate times.
• I have read reviews about the product on others’ websites.
• I have looked through affiliate sites and read tips on the product by those who are currently using it.
• I have researched the supporters’ websites to confirm their authenticity and see how their business is performing as a result of applying this product’s instructions.

I guess I want to get as much information and ensure this is the right product for me, before I purchase. At the end of the day I am going to have to take that leap of faith and just try the product. There is a money back guarantee but I am very skeptical about those kinds of things.

The concept I want to show you is that you need a lot more than just information and a ‘buy now’ button to persuade customers to transact on your website.

You need every single piece of evidence to build credibility about you and your product/s. This information is partly what will convince customers to buy from your website.

The other factors are a) a decent product, and b) potentially the most important element – a genuine relationship with your customer.

A relationship is defined as:
Dictionary.com – “A connection, association, or involvement.

In order to start the relationship we need to get a connection, association or involvement with this other person. In everyday, a business relationship is built on the following milestones.

First Contact – By accident or design you meet, exchange contact details and a first meeting is set up. The relationship has the ingredients (contact details) to begin. The communication using these contact details is the basis upon which the relationship can be formed. Interactions follow, which build and grow this relationship.

First Meeting – Following from the exchange of details you meet and get to know each other further. At this point you haven’t yet worked together but feel it may be possible, so a proposal is requested – the relationship is new and fragile.

Proposal written and received – At proposal stage you receive pricing estimates, detailed solutions and can begin to place some sort of value on the relationship; its future costs and benefits. If the proposal is pursued, the relationship becomes an “involvement”.

If the proposal is not accepted, efforts can still be made to build the connection or association. For example, if a supplier and ourselves were to partner up and pitch for a particular piece of business, to the person receiving the pitch we would be associated with each other. This association is only in infant stage as it hasn’t yet been tested although it still exists.

On the other hand, if I were to simply meet this supplier at a networking event and introduce him to a third-party, our relationship at this point would be described as a “connection”.

How do I replicate these face-to-face contact experiences online?

The above example is a very physical way of explaining relationship building although the same principles apply online.

First Contact – You might search, receive an email, click on a banner ad or hear from someone else about a particular website. The key thing here is that you have the contact details of the domain name. Hopefully on the website you can get more contact details to extend the communication to other mediums like telephone, mail or face to face.

First Meeting – A visit to a company’s website is your first meeting. Just like when I first went to the information product’s website for the first time. I met the company for the first time and I scoured through their website.

However, this is where ‘real-life’ and ‘virtual-life’ differ. Although we are having a ‘meeting’, I have yet to introduce myself to the online company. At this moment I – as the consumer – have the company’s details, but they don’t have mine. Only 1 way communication is possible.

The only way they can follow-up and take me to the ‘proposal stage’ is by capturing my (the consumer’s) contact details. In order to foster the relationship they need some way of contacting me and continuing the conversation.

As an online company, what can you offer to get those contact details?

A FREE enewsletter – If people opt-in to your newsletter signup they are interested in what you have to say. Sure, some competitors might opt-in but in general, anyone who opts-in will be very interested to hear and read about what you have to say.

A FREE eBook – Wrap up all that initial information you would normally give a prospective client in a first meeting into an ebook. An ebook has 1 rule, “It must contain high quality information or you will lose ALL credibility with your subscriber.” These ebooks do take some time to prepare although they are a master capture device for contact details once you get it them and running.

FREE articles related to your product or service – You are an expert in your space, and as a prospective customer I want to hear what you have to say. I want to see how your products/services might benefit me. A great thing to realise here is that anyone who provides their contact details because they want to read your articles is very interested in what you have to say. Your credibility as an expert is increased immediately and the prospective customer will be more interested in building a relationship with you.

A FREE download – Giving away a trial version of your software or a free version of a little software tool to help them is a superb way to collect contact details if you are selling software.

What I like about it is that the visitor can experience what your company is like to work with by using your software. I also like the tangible nature of an actual piece of software being installed on their computer. This is a good sign of relationship potential as they had the confidence to install your software on their computer. I would say that this is an “involvement” with you. If you were to meet this person who has downloaded and installed your software and have a chat with them you wouldn’t be coming in cold. They might say, “Oh I know your company I have been using your trial software for ages.” This is a relationship that has been going on without you knowing.

Sparking that 2 way relationship

You have collected their contact details, they might have started an involvement but you haven’t spoken back yet. To build that relationship and not let it fizzle out Send them an email. You must be tactical with what you send them but say something back. Your communication is enabling that customer to build a connection with your company. If for example you were to meet this person at an event and you said you were from XYZ company they might say, “Oh, I know your company I downloaded your ebook and you sent me a mail the other day that really inspired me to reconsider my options about your product.” You are not a stranger, you have a connection with this person.

How do you get an online customer to look at your proposal?

Just as with the face-to-face example, when your customer has expressed an interest in you, you need to give them your proposal. At this point they are clearly interested in building a “more intimate” relationship with you. The online way of doing this is to include an offer in your email.

An offer is a proposal shortened to a good headline, linking to a web page with more details. Your proposal/offer needs to be in line with what you have been discussing in your communications. You don’t want to be randomly discussing a completely different product.

Once they have accepted your offer this is not the end of the relationship. Customers like to continue to building confidence in you. They may repeat purchase, or if yours is a one-time-use product (such as laser eye surgery) they could refer you to friends and family – especially if rewarded for doing so. So after they have accepted your offer, send a thank you email.

If they don’t accept your offer there are other ways to continue building the relationship and we will address these in later chapters. However the key steps covered in this session are to:

1. Get online browsers to give you their contact details
2. Email them in response to their action/request and include an offer
3. Reply with a thank you (or follow-up) email.

Get started with these steps and by the time that “How to build an online relationship with customers: Part 2” reaches you, you will have many consumer leads upon which to implement my next chapter. See you next time.