Where to Turn for Help in Creating an E-Business (1,393 words)
by Katie Haegele
You're a successful direct marketer and you know it's time to take your business online. Or, you're already there, and you need some expert advice to make your site even better.
Look no further. Before digging into our extensive listing of service providers, take the time to figure out exactly what you'll need to succeed.
The good news: A lot of this New Economy advice will be old-hat to direct marketers, as our industry is well versed in the need for target marketing.
Newcomers, on the other hand, must first answer such basic questions as,"Where does your target audience hang out on the Internet, versus off-line?" says Douglas Armstrong, director of marketing and digital communications for Arthur Andersen Knowledge Enterprises and co-author of "The Clickable Corporation: Successful Strategies for Capturing the Internet Advantage." "Once you understand this, you can decide where to put your marketing investment."
"One thing smaller companies can do is segment target audiences based on absolute priority," Armstrong advises.
Needle in a Haystack: The Search Engine Question
Let's cut to the chase. How can newcomers determine the best use of their marketing dollars?
"There are projected billions of URLs out there. Small companies don't have the budget to compete with larger companies who can build a strong brand online and a recognizable URL," warns Armstrong.
One tactic is to register with search engines so your site will come up in response to a query.
Robin Lebo, president of Lebo Direct, which helps e-commerce sites bring direct marketing concepts to the mix, says that although all search engines perform an automated sweep for anything relevant, registering your site increases the chances that it will be listed.
An outside vendor can register your site and check on its status, as well as set up the site to be more easily found by an engine. Search engines are so inundated with literally millions of new sites being added daily that it can take up to six months for an engine like Yahoo! to list a new one, says Lebo.