Websites have become much more creative than being simply online catalogues. Now they promote products and try to create brand images, use sales promotions, and even sell products and services.
The number of websites keeps on increasing everyday. What if a company creates a website that nobody visits. It is like opening a show room that no prospective customer comes to. Another situation can be, those who enter the showroom are not the target customers. They are not the ones who would buy the available merchandise. The number
of websites is numerous and unless a company’s website is visited by the right customers, it amounts to having wasted the money in creating the website. Search engines cannot keep track of all the available websites.
Visits to websites are deliberate and initiated by the visitors who can be customers, suppliers, or competitors, looking for particular products or information of their interest. In case of mass media marketing communications, such as advertisements, there is no passive exposure. What happens in case of traditional mass media marketing communications such as TV, or radio commercials, or outdoor media, people get exposedto them without really looking for such ads. In case of the Internet, the visitor initiative is very important.
The Internet marketers have to make their websites attractive to the right target audience so that, they are motivated to visit their specific websites. Developing and maintaining a website requires considerable effort to attract visitors to the site and encourage them to return again and again requires creativity, effective marketing and regularly updating the site. Depending on the product category and the company’s marketing objectives for the Internet, a website can be just a simple source of information about the company and its products or a powerful tool to build brand image, a means to offer samples, or generating sales leads.
In general, the communication objectives may relate to creating awareness, generating customer interest, provide information, help in building a strong brand, a powerful image or stimulate product trial by consumers. To accomplish their objectives, Internet marketers use many approaches, some of which include:
Banners: A banner ad is a boxed-in promotional message that often appears at Changing Marketing Practices the top of the web page. If a visitor clicks on the banner ad, she/he is transported to the advertiser’s home page. This is the most used form of Internet promotion. Banners can be used to create brand recall or recognition. Other names given to
banners include side panels, skyscrapers, or verticals. Experienced web visitors ignore banners and many experts believe that their usefulness is very limited and their use seems to be declining.
Sponsorships: This is another common advertising approach on websites. The advertiser is given a permanent place on host’s website and pays a sponsorship fee to the host. Some sites are targeted at specific segments, such as village is targeted at women. This site has many sponsors who offer special deals and offer advice to target visitors. The use of sponsorship sites is increasing and is more popular than banners.
Pop-Up and Pop-Under: When a visitor accesses a web page, sometimes a window appears either in front or underneath the web page, the visitor is viewing. Pop-ups become visible as sooner the web site is accessed and pop-under becomes visible only when the visitor closes the browser. Pop-ups are usually larger than a banner but smaller than full screen. Website visitors often get irritated with popups and consider them as intrusion.
Portal Use: Some portals give a prominent place to a company’s offer for a fee. When a visitor follows directed search, the marketer’s name appears prominently at or near the top of the list. For example, when anyone uses Yahoo’s search engine to locate a toy marketer, the name of K-B Toys is displayed prominently.
E-mail: Companies send e-mails to Internet users to visit the company web site. It can be effective only when the target customer is appropriate otherwise it becomes “junk mail.”
Push Technologies: Some companies provide screen savers to its website visitors, that allow the firms to directly “hook” the visitor to their websites. This is an approach to “push” a message to the consumers rather than wait for consumers to locate it. These new technologies are known as push technologies or web-casting technologies and open web pages or news updates and may also have video and audio content.
Sales Promotions: Many companies effectively use sales promotions such as contests and sweepstakes to generate consumer interest. For example, Pepsi Co. used a contest for its Mountain Dew named “Play Street Dash"

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