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Stages of Promotion
by Brian D. Chmielewski
The distinction between marketing your Web site and promoting it is
not always clear. In fact, the words are used almost interchangeably
to describe the same procedure. Marketing refers to the ongoing
positioning of your Web-based business, its service/product, the
benefits - communicating directly with those who are interested in
you. Although the action itself, promoting your web visibility,
accurately identifies what you are doing, you should distinctly
verbalize and conceptualize your efforts as marketing your Web site.
Promotions are campaigns with specific duration and objectives and
should tie into your overall marketing strategy. Typically, these
singular efforts are initiated to get responsiveness from your target
audience. There is no question that online promotions can assist your
Web-based business in strengthening existing relationships and
building new ones. So, we have outlined a promotional campaign
designed to gather data for ongoing marketing, paying particular
attention to some of the concerns that have arisen when executing
projects for our clients.
Step one involves planning. You must determine the objective(s) and
duration of your promotion. It is important to sculpt a fine-tuned
marketing mechanism that will appeal to your audience and earn the
results that you set out to achieve. Most promotions are short-lived,
basing duration on the anticipated length of time necessary to get
satisfactory results. For instance, if your goal is to build a
database of consumers to maintain contact with, you must settle on the
number of contacts that you desire and calculate a time-frame that
will allow you to get that number. If you know that you can get 100
entries per day and your goal is 5000, you can deduce that a two-month
duration should accomplish this. More difficult is the objective of
linking actual sales of your product or service with a time frame.
Know what you expect from a promotion and build the tools to realize
Where will you drive interested traffic? Whether you choose to
co-brand your company with the promotion through the URL
< http://www.yourdomain.com/promo > or want an independent identity
< http://www.promo.com > is a personal preference that should
be determined from the outset. Creating a new site for your visitors
takes time regardless of your decision, so plan ahead. Creating a
microsite within your main site is important to keep visitors focused
on the objective that you want to achieve. If you allow visitors to
wander or navigate away from the promotional objective, you can expect
weakened results. Be sure to clearly outline any rules or regulations
that pertain to this promotion. Give the visitor alternative ways to
complete it, whether via fax or postal mail, and be certain they can
contact you with questions or concerns. Be interested in them.
By offering incentives through your promotion, you can create a
powerful tool to drive traffic and generate impressions or
clickthroughs while building targeted relationships in a
cost-efficient fashion. Gathering incentive-linked data from your
site's visitors improves the credibility of that data, since it is
provided with their consent, rather than being amassed covertly. Take
care in selecting an incentive or giveaway that has perceived value by
those you want to target. Anticipate the value of the information that
you are gathering for the short and long-term. You should associate
this value with rough financial estimates, justifying the expense for
one or more incentive items. Test market your promotional item. If you
are unsure what will motivate your audience, don't hesitate to ask
them. Return to the boardroom with your feedback and evaluate what
falls within your budget.
Advanced educational degrees are offered for statistical analysis and
the psychological behavior of the consumer. Unless you already have a
degree in one of these fields, or are have the wherewithal to spend
four or more years earning one, think simple. The dynamics of
information gathering is not an exact science, yet there are
techniques that seem to work well.
Purchase or develop a database that can house all of the information
that has been supplied. Tabulate or organize it for analysis. Being
able to sort through the data by every field will make drill-down
targeting of this audience effortless for future communication and
promotion. Always back-up this data.
- Depending on the extent of information and depth of perceived
invasiveness by the consumer, you will need to assign value to
certain fields of data. That data with the greatest value should be
asked first. Since you are linking an incentive to your data, you
may choose to make all fields mandatory.
- If you are asking questions and rely on an open-ended response from
the consumer, you should write the question several times in several
formats and circulate it for feedback. Semantics, education,
geography, gender, race, etc., all play a part in how your question
is perceived and answer provided. It is better to offer
closed-ended answers to your questions, allowing visitors to quickly
complete them with results that you can quantify. You must know
your audience well, for closed-ended answers to fulfill targeting.
Overly-generic terms and abundance can both stymie the results. For
instance, if offered location choice by continent, you would not be
able to target properly by geography. Likewise, if you offered
location by every major city on the planet, the visitor would be
forced to scroll through a long list and you would not have added
substantial value to targeting. Aim for common ground.
- Layout is pinnacle. Appeal and ease of use are very important to
your visitor. As you would with any web presence, you have a short
period of time to communicate your message, so get to the point.
Results show that people are more likely to fill out a
twenty-question form if it is spread over four pages, rather that if
they have to scroll down a single page. Take this to heart if you
want good results.
- Thank the visitor for their time in helping you. Even though you are
offering an incentive, you want to give a good impression to the
visitor. Let them know that their opinion does matter and that you
will be in touch with them in the future. Build relationships, not
just a list.
Finally, announce the winner(s) of your promotion to the world.
Someone just won something, so this is a big deal for them. Help the
winner to celebrate their triumph by publicizing it on your web site
and via email. It is said that every new beginning comes from some
other beginning's end. Your promotion may now have experienced
closure, but building relationships with the leads that you have
generated now takes precedence and will require your ongoing
uPromote specializes in driving traffic to your web site through creative
promotional campaigns. Let us know how we can help you. Fill out a
no-obligation enrollment form and one of our professionals will assist
http://www.uPromote.com/custom for details.
First published in WebPromote's June 1998, Vol. 3 newsletter.