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The Web As A Marketing Tool

The Web is the greatest marketing vehicle in the history of the world. Every business that wants to survive and grow needs a Web site. Business clients and prospects will increasingly use the Web for information and commerce. Not having a Web site now is like not having a telephone, a computer, a copier, or a fax machine. It is or will soon be an indispensable business tool.

Marketing Is What The Web Is All About.
Business Web sites are about marketing products and services. Business Web sites are not, as many people think, graphic design heaven. Business Web sites are not about giving viewers migraine headaches with color explosions, animation, images flying across the screen, rock music, blinking text, and trumpet fanfares. Business Web sites are not about winning awards or providing entertainment. They are about providing the information needed by customers and prospects. The key to a successful Web site is meaningful content, not entertainment or graphic design pyrotechnics.

Marketing is all about communication. The communication might be between a company and its current customers, potential customers or even former customers that the company would like to regain. To be effective, firms should send different messages to each of these audiences. The message could describe a new product, suggest new uses of existing products, or describe specific improvements that have been made to a product or service.

For an effective marketing strategy, even though your company might not be the only one in your industry, you can create a unique presence in your market. Your company's marketing strategy is an important tool that works with your web presence to get your company's message across to your customers and prospective customers.

An important dimension of marketing is promotion. That includes spreading the word about your products or services. On the internet new possibilities abound for communicating with customers and potential customers. One of those for example, is how companies are using the internet to engage in meaningful dialogue with their customers using e-mail and other means.

The issue of place becomes an interesting mix to the whole marketing scenario. For years companies have always dreamed about scenarios in which instant deliveries would give all customers exactly what they want when they want it. This is the issue of place or distribution. That is the need to have products or services available in many different locations. The challenge of getting the right products to the right places at the best time to sell them has plagued companies for a long time. Although the internet does not solve all of those logistics and distribution challenges, it can certainly help to alleviate them.

Most companies, like yours, offer a variety of products or services that appeal to different groups. When creating your marketing strategy you should consider the nature of your product and the nature of your potential customers. In this context it is appropriate to think of your business in terms of the products and services that you sell. This will help in how your eventually categorize your products or services for your different customers on your website, as when customers buy they are likely to shop or buy within a specific category just as they do in the brick and mortar stores.

Customer Based Marketing Strategies
As mentioned earlier, the Web creates an environment that allows buyers and sellers to engage in complex communication modes. The communication structures on the Web can become much more complex than those in traditional mass media outlets such as broadcast and print advertising. When your company takes it's business to the Web your can create a website that is flexible enough to meet the needs of many different users all at the same time. Instead of thinking of your Web site as a collection of products of just web pages, you can build your site to meet the specific needs of various types of customers.

A good first step into the process of building a customer-based Web marketing strategy is to identify groups of customers that share a common set of characteristics. For example, the customers of an Insurance company may include; individuals, small businesses, larger companies or different types of organizations like schools, gyms, or other sports facilities. You can actually use your experience in selling in your particular industry to identify those groups and then develop a marketing strategy and tactics that will reach customers in each group.

Communicating With Your Market Segments
Identifying groups of potential customers is just the first step in selling to those customers. An equally important component of any marketing strategy is the selection of communication media to carry your marketing message.

Media selection can be a critical decision especially for online firm that do not have a physical presence. The only contact a potential customer might have with an online firm could well be the image it projects through the media and through its website. The same can apply even for businesses with a physical presence especially if your web presence is the first point of contact they might have with your company.

The impression that your prospective customer might have of your website will be the impression they will have of your business, and as the saying goes; "first impressions can be lasting impressions". The challenge for your online presence would be to convince customers to trust you even though you may not have an immediate physical presence. The right message communicated in the right way will make all the difference between whether you have won or lost a customer. Always remember, that the next competitor is only one click away.

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