Have you heard the phrase, “Are you ready to unleash the power of the Internet for your organization?” Well, unless the HTML fairy has waved a magic wand over your head, that power may be more elusive than you had expected. Whether you need help with your corporate Web site or other aspects of your Internetplan, here are a few e-marketing tips to get you started.
Innie or Outie: Do I Need to Outsource?
Consider several things when looking internally or externally for your answer. Does the Web developer have the time to help you? This is very important, because you may need information updated quickly, at any time of day. Does your Web developer understand meetings, trade shows, and events? Make sure that you spend time explaining your objectives and how your target audience thinks. Does your Web developer have the software and hardware to accomplish your goals? This includes a server and software to create your vision and an Internet Service Provider to pipe it out to the world. And if you go externally, make sure you check references.
Testing 1-2-3 …
Marketing, We Have a Problem
A common mistake is to forget to test your communications on various hardware and software platforms. Make sure you or your Web developer is testing your Internet visuals on at least the two major browsers (Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer), on both new and old(er) versions of each.
Take a look at your results on Macs and PCs at various screen resolutions. It won't make a great first impression if your event registration page produces an error message or does not display the event logo properly. As a test, send your HTML e-mails or online project to others in the company and externally before releasing to the masses.
Brand? Has Anyone Seen My Brand?
Internet marketing needs to reinforce your organization's brand as much as any other marketing effort. Even if you outsource parts of the project, make sure that your e-marketing pieces carry your logo and match the look and feel of your organization.
Think of your Web message as abooth. You have fewer than five seconds to catch the eye of a passer-by. Let him know what you do as quickly as possible without losing your brand. Yes, there are new online dimensions to explore, but don't forget, those golden arches still remind people of hamburgers.
Someone Call Security!
Threats from computer viruses and unauthorized use of personal and credit card data are very real. Consider this when developing your “calls to action.” Send information in the body of e-mails rather than as attachments. That way, you aren't asking people to put aside their virus fears by opening an attachment. Make the subject line of your e-mail brief and clear.
If you are collecting sensitive information via your Web site, make sure the site is secure (look for the handy “s” at the end of the https on your URL or the closed-lock visual on your browser to be sure). Let registrants know that you will not share their information with other parties, or if you do plan to share, make sure registrants agree to it.
E-Monkey See, E-Monkey Do
One of the best ways to learn about successful e-marketing is from others. Thousands of Web sites and online marketing campaigns are a URL away or are sitting in your e-mail in-box. See what you like, see what others like, add your personal touches, and walk away with the best of everything.
Mark Fisher is business development manager with Concepts Worldwide, San Diego. You can reach him at (858) 535-0050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.