by Sheila Millar
When I recently commented to a friend that his choice of coffee was the 'in' drink of the season, he replied that he had followed the way of fashion unknowingly! It seems that many trends just happen that way and yet for others, there are the 'dedicated followers of fashion' who know just what's in at the right time. This is also the case with advertising, and as we watch the global increase in the use of the Internet, we can see a whole new, developing arena for marketing in business. Let's examine some of the values of advertising on the Web.
The Web Spreads Out!
Whatever type of business we're involved in, the establishment of a Website is one more way to get our name 'out there' and let people know what we're about. No matter whether we are a small gift shop in Oxford, England, or an accountant in California, advertising on the Internet can give us worldwide presence. And an added benefit is that it could cost far less than placing an advert in our local newspaper.
Advertising on the Net holds to the same principles of advertising in general. We will want to target a specific audience who are interested in what we have to offer. To do this, we would choose an Internet address. For example, some friends of mine are creating a website for their company which manufactures custom-made badges. In order to find them within the mass of worldwide information available, they simply use a site address which is simple and relates to what they do. Thay call it "badgesunlimited." Then the search-engines can easily find the word 'badges' even though there might be other similar names and the potential customer is one step closer to being in direct contact with them from anywhere in the whole world. Giving ourselves an easy name to recognise will help the people who are looking for our products or services, to find us.
The Changing Face of Business
More and more companies are expanding their business through the Internet. Online purchases and transactions are becoming increasingly common as the concept of 'mail-order' shopping takes on a more advanced format. Like any form of advertising, the web-site needs to be as attractive yet as professional as possible. It is the place where we can get known, where we can publish our promotions and announce our special offers. One company who advertises on the Web says:
"Ours used to be a conventional high-street bookshop. After just a few hours we'd built ourselves an exciting, effective, professional Website. One that's changed the face of our business and the way we do business forever."
One way to follow up advertising on the Net is to maintain an e-mail list of everyone who visits the site. With this, one could send details of promotions directly to them without any further costs involved thus making it a cost-effective way to advertise a business.
Could It Be For You?
The main factor in using the Internet as a marketing tool, is the 'knowledge' of how to create and maintain your online message. Even in this world which has become so dependent upon the computer, there are many people who are not literate in this area. Therefore it will take time and patience to learn how to use this media if you choose to do it yourself OR the financial cost involved if you hire someone to create your site (there are now many companies whose service is to do just that).
Not everyone who could be a potential customer has access to the Internet at this stage in time. However you would have to choose whether this could be the most effective route to promoting your business or whether another medium would be better suited. Only you can decide that!
As far as global communications go, the widespread use of the Internet whether it be on a business or pleasure scale, appears to be the system of the season. Just as my friend's coffee tastes are moving rather unknowingly with the modern trends of the caffine drinking populace, so we too in our advertising, can be involved in the most up-to-date and evolving communication method. Communication is afterall, what advertising is all about!
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