Marketing on the InternetEditor's note: Steven Sheiner is a direct marketing consultant and managing partner of DC/CHIROWEB, an online chiropractic resource on the World Wide Web. He can be reached at (818) 505-8207 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Using Your Web Page to Support Your Marketing/Advertising
It is fairly difficult for an advertiser to tell its story in 20 words or less. A striking headline can generate interest, but unless your selling proposition is very simple, it takes more than a headline to get the consumer to take action. With the exception of direct response advertising with its long copy and strong selling proposition, most advertising is designed to generate awareness in the hope that the consumer will then go the extra step to acquire the product, either through trial or by requesting more information.
"The times they are a-changin'" sang Bob Dylan. Take a look at the advertising you see on television and in print. From the auto companies to UPS, just about every ad contains a web site address. These companies have learned that they can get more mileage out of their advertising by making it possible for consumers to conveniently get the information they want about products online in the comfort of their homes. By directing the consumer to a web page, advertisers can showcase all of their products and services in far greater detail then either print or television advertising allows.
Recently I purchased a new car. While I did not buy the car on the Net (though I could have), I did use the web to do the research. After narrowing the field to a half a dozen models, I went to each company's web site and looked at the information on the cars that I was considering.
A few years ago, to learn about each model, I would have had to drive to each dealership and been subjected to their sale pitches. This time I reviewed the data, and compared the features and prices all in the comfort of my home. It wasn't until I narrowed the choice to two cars that I walked into a showroom for a test drive. The only issue after the test drive was negotiating the price, and even there the web was helpful. There are a number of sites that can help you determine what the best deals are on various cars.
I mention this story because it illustrates the power of the World Wide Web and how it can be used to help just about any company (or individual) who is interested in selling something to the consumer or another business. A web site allows you to expand your advertising effectiveness, by providing interested parties with more information on which to base their decisions.
We've all seen classified ads with phone numbers offering a free recorded message. They have been around for years because they work. A web site is a natural extension of that form of advertising. The only difference is that a web site contains words and pictures, order forms and multiple calls to action, and unlike a toll free phone number, there are no long distance charges.
With over 50 million consumers online, a web site should be part of your communication program. Every yellow page, magazine, or radio/television ad should contain a web site address. The beauty of this medium is that you don't have to explain it. Simply placing http://www.yourwebsite.com in the ad is enough. Everyone who can access the medium understands what it's for and knows what to do.