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Electronic Commerce Marketing Communication

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Topic X E commerce 9 1. 2. 3. Marketing Communications LEARNING OUTCOMES By the end of this topic, you should be able to: Identify the major forms of e-commerce marketing communications; Describe the major advertising methods used on the web; and Discuss the ways in which a website can be used as a marketing communications tool. X INTRODUCTION Have you come across an advertisement in online? What makes you to buy a product or service advertised in the advertisement? In this topic, you will learn on brands as a set of expectations that consumers have about products offered for sale.

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It elaborates on marketing activities that companies engage in order to create those expectations. This topic will focus on understanding online marketing communications – all the methods that online firms use to communicate to the consumer and create strong brand expectations. All these below questions will be answered as we go through this topic. (a) (b) What are the best methods for attracting people to a site and converting them into customers? How does the design of a website affect sales? TOPIC 9 E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS

W 285 9. 1 ONLINE MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS Have you ever heard of online marketing communications? If yes, name two types of online marketing communications that you know. Marketing communications have a dual purpose: (a) Branding One purpose of marketing communications is to develop and strengthen a firmEs brands by informing consumers about the differentiating features of the firmEs products and services. Sales In addition, marketing communications are used to promote sales directly by encouraging the consumer to buy the products. (b)

The distinction between the branding and sales purposes of marketing communications is subtle but important because both are different in terms of: (a) Branding communications rarely encourage consumers to buy now, but instead focus on extolling the differentiable benefits of consuming the product or service. Promotional sales communications almost always suggest that the consumer „buy now,‰ and they make offers to encourage immediate purchase. (b) There are many different forms of online marketing communications, including online advertising, e-mail marketing, and public relations.

Even the website itself can be viewed as a marketing communications tool. In the following sections, we will look in detail into all these components. 9. 1. 1 Online Advertising Advertising is the most common and familiar marketing communications tool. Advertising is an attempt to disseminate information in order to affect buyer-seller transactions. In traditional marketing, advertising was impersonal, one-way mass communication that was paid for by sponsors. Online advertising has grown over 200% in the past five years as advertisers are increasing their online spending by reducing the amount spent on the traditional advertising.

Even though online advertising is growing rapidly, it still remains a small part of total advertising spending. It is expected to reach only 15% of total advertising in 2012 (source: eMarketer 2008). 286 X TOPIC 9 E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS Online advertising (defined as a paid message on a website, online service, or other interactive medium such as instant messaging) has both advantages and disadvantages when compared to advertising in traditional media, such as television, radio, and print (magazines and newspapers).

The biggest advantages of online advertising are the ability to target advertisements to narrow segments and track performance of advertisements in real time. Online advertisements also provide greater opportunities for two-way interactive communication between advertisers and the potential customer. EXERCISE 9. 1 Do you think online advertisement is cheaper and more effective than general advertisement? Discuss. Let us look at Table 9. 1 which summarises on the other reasons of why online advertising is growing rapidly. Table 9. : Rapid Growth in Online Advertising Reason Cost Description Online advertisements are sometimes cheaper than those in other media. In addition, advertisements can be updated at any time with minimal cost. Web advertisements can effectively use the convergence of text, audio, graphics and animation. In addition, games, entertainment and promotions can easily be combined in online advertisements. Internet advertisements can be fresh and up-dated regularly. The web is a participatory tool. Many people can communicate with each other in the context of an online community.

Using wireless technology, web advertising can be location based; Internet advertisements can be sent to consumers wherever they are in a specific location. Richness of format Timeliness Participation Location-basis The following are the disadvantages of online advertising: (a) (b) Its cost versus its benefits; No adequate measurement to view its results; TOPIC 9 E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS W 287 (c) (d) No clear standard or language of measurement; and Difficulty in measuring the size of market, therefore it is difficult to estimate rating, share, or reach and frequency.

Currently, the heaviest online advertisers are computer hardware and media companies, followed closely by financial services companies. The InternetEs ability to deliver information-rich messages lends itself well to high consideration, information-intensive products (i. e. , products that consumers typically research before purchasing). Packaged goods (which buyers typically purchase based on brand rather than research) are expected to have smaller shares of online advertising until significant broadband and alternative advertisement platforms are widespread enough to allow rich media advertising.

There are a number of different forms of online advertisement: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) Display advertisements (Banners and pop-ups); Rich media / Video advertisements; Paid search engine inclusion and placement; Sponsorships; and Referrals (Affiliate relationships marketing). Let us look at the explanation provided for each form of online advertisement. (a) Display Advertisements (Banners and Pop-ups) Display advertisements are the first Internet advertisements. A banner advertisement, as shown in Figure 9. , displays a promotional message in a rectangular box at the top or bottom of a computer screen. A banner advertisement is similar to a traditional advertisement in a printed publication, but has some added advantages. If clicked on, it can bring a potential customer directly to the advertiserEs website. It also is much more dynamic than a printed advertisement as it can present multiple images or able to change its appearance. 288 X TOPIC 9 E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS Figure 9. 1: Banner advertisement Source: http://www. rosetta. om/WhatWeDo/InteractiveMarketing/ AcquisitionMarketer/Pages/Display101. aspx Banner advertisements typically feature Flash video, animations, or animated Graphics Interchange Formats (GIF), which display different images in relatively quick succession, creating an animated effect. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), an industry organisation, has established voluntary industry guidelines for banner advertisements. A full banner, which is the most common, is 468 pixels wide by 60 pixels high with a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi ) and a maximum file size of 13K.

The IABEs original guidelines listed specifications for three types of buttons (a button is essentially a permanent banner advertisement) and four types of banner advertisements: (i) (ii) Full; Half; (iii) Vertical; and (iv) Micro bar. In February 2001, the IAB added specifications for a variety of new types of advertisements: (i) (ii) Skyscrapers is a tall, narrow banner advertisement almost three times the height of the traditional vertical banner advertisement; Rectangles of various sizes; and iii) A square pop-up (refer below) which opens in a separate window. TOPIC 9 E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS W 289 Pop-up advertisements (refer to Figure 9. 2) are those banners and buttons that appear on the screen without user calling for them. One type of it is the pop-under advertisement that opens underneath a userEs active browser window and does not appear until the user closes the active window. The advertisement remains visible until the user takes action to close it.

Pop-ups can appear prior to display of the consumerEs target page, during, or after the display on leaving. Figure 9. 2: Various pop-up advertisements Source: http://cbsfilings. com/site/Pop-up_ad. html These new types of advertisement allow marketers to develop advertisements featuring enhanced interactivity as well as expanded creativity. These advertisements are designed to help advertisers to break through the „noise‰ and clutter created by the growing number of banner advertisement impressions that a typical user is exposed to within a given day. b) Rich Media/Video Advertisements While traditional banner advertisements will undoubtedly remain the dominant form for some time to come, the use of rich media/video advertisements (advertisements employing Flash, DHTML, and Java, and streaming audio and/or video) is the fastest growing form of online advertising, even though its current total revenue is only a fifth of that of search engine advertising. 290 X TOPIC 9 E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS Rich media/video advertisements are interactive, seeking to involve users to interact with the advertisement in some fashion, i. . , clicking on the object. Rich media/video advertisements tend to focus more on branding rather than sales. Interstitial advertisements are considered a type of rich media advertisements. What is an interstitial advertisement? If you do not know what it is, refer below to equip yourself with the definition provided for it. An interstitial advertisement (interstitial means „in between‰) is a way of placing a full-page message between the current destination pages of a user. Interstitials are usually inserted within a single site, and displayed as the user moves from one page to the next.

The interstitial typically moves automatically to the page the user requested, after allowing enough time for the advertisement to be read. Interstitials can also be deployed over an advertising network and appear as users move among sites. Since the web is such a busy place, people have to find ways to cope with over-stimulation. One means of coping is known as sensory input filtering. This means that people learn to filter out the vast majority of the messages coming at them.

Internet users quickly learn at some level to recognise banner advertisements or anything that looks like a banner advertisement and to filter out most of the advertisements that are not exceptionally relevant. Interstitial messages, just like TV commercials, attempt to make viewers captive to the message. Typical interstitials last ten seconds or less and force the user to look at the advertisement for that specific time period. To avoid the users from becoming boring, interstitials typically use animated graphics and music to entertain and inform them.

A good interstitial will also have a „skip through‰ or „stop‰ option for s users who have no interest in the message. One disadvantage of interstitials is that users may not understand that the advertisement they see on their screen while they are waiting for a page to load is using „dead time‰; d meaning the advertisement is not taking any extra time period. Instead, they may think the interstitial is slowing the arrival of the page they have requested and thus, become annoyed. Well, we have learned on interstitials, now let us move on superstitial. TOPIC 9 E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS

W 291 A superstitial (also called as Viewpoint or Unicast Transitional with Flash) is a rich media advertisement that can be any screen display size up to full screen 900 x 500, and with a file size of up to 600 KB. Superstitials, which were created by Unicast Communications, differ from interstitials in that they are pre-loaded into a browserEs cache and do not play until fully-loaded. When the file has finished downloading, like an interstitial, it waits until the user clicks to another page before popping up in a separate window. However, video advertisements are slowly displacing superstitials.

Regardless of the type of online advertising, most large advertisers have intermediaries such as advertising networks (i. e. , DoubleClick) or advertising agencies who act as brokers between advertisers and publishers, placing the advertisements and tracking all activity related to the advertisement. Other options include the following: (i) Banner Swapping Banner swapping is an arrangement among firms who allow each firm to have its banners displayed on another affiliate site at no cost. Advertising Exchange While advertising exchanges arrange for banner swapping among firms, usually small firms cannot afford expensive advertisement networks.

Thus, small firms have the alternative to place their banner advertisements using Yahoo Advertising, Google Advertising and MicrosoftEs Digital Advertising Solution, which are inexpensive. (ii) SELF-CHECK 9. 1 What are the differences between an interstitial advertisement and a superstitial advertisement? Which one is more effective? (c) Paid Search Engine Inclusion and Placement This form of marketing communication has been one of the fastest growing, in which revenue generation has grown from 1% of total online advertising spending in 2000 to over 40% in 2008.

The audience for search engine sites is huge, almost equal to that of email user population. Today, there are 292 X TOPIC 9 E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS many search engines, but 95% of total searches are concentrated on the top 20 sites, with Google, Yahoo! and MSN being the top three search engines. Search engine sites originally performed unbiased searches (called as organic search) of the webEs huge collection of web pages and derived most of their revenue from the banner advertisements.

Since 1998, search engine sites have slowly been transforming themselves into digital yellow pages, where firms pay for inclusion in the search engine index (which was formerly free and based on „objective‰ criteria) and/or pay for specific location-placement or rank in the results of searches. There are three types of search engine marketing: (i) Keyword Paid Inclusion or Rank Most search engines include paid inclusion programmes which, for a fee, guarantee a website inclusion in its search results, more frequent visits and suggestions for improving the organic search results.

Some search engines do not have a paid inclusion programme but instead charge for placing small text advertisements in sponsored link areas. For instance, Google allows two to three sponsor links at the very topof their search result pages as clearly illustrated in Figure 9. 3. Figure 9. 3: GoogleEs sponsored links Source:http://www. small-biz-marketing-tips. com/advertisingwith-google-adwords. html TOPIC 9 E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS W 293 (ii) Advertising Keywords Keyword advertising (refer to Figure 9. 4) is where merchant purchase keywords through a bidding process at search sites.

The merchantEs advertisement will show up somewhere on the page whenever a consumer searches for the word. The more the merchant pays, the higher the rank and the greater the visibility of the advertisement on the page. For instance, the following keyword advertisings such as GoogleEs AdWords, Yahoo! As PrecisionMatch and MicrosoftEs asCenter. Figure 9. 4: Keyword advertising Source: http://marketingestremo. com/Keyword-Advertising. php (iii) Advertising Networks Network keyword advertising (also called as context advertising) is introduced by Google in 2002.

It differs from ordinary keyword advertising. It consists of network of publishers who accepts the advertisements placed by Google on their websites and receives a fee for any click-throughs from those advertisements. Google called this advertising as AdSense. Both AdSense and AdWords generate about the same amount of revenue of advertising for Google. (d) Sponsorships You may wonder what is meant by the term „sponsorship‰. Let us look below to find out its meaning. 294 X TOPIC 9 E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS

A sponsorship is a paid effort to tie an advertiser Es name to a particular information, an event, or a venue in a way that reinforces its brand in a positive, yet not overtly commercial manner. Sponsorships typically are more about branding than immediate sales. A common form of sponsorship is an advertorial (in which editorial content is combined with an advertisement message to make the message more valuable and attractive to its intended audience), such as CrayolaEs sponsorship of an arts and crafts column on a parenting site. According to eMarketer, sponsorship accounted for about $535 million in online advertising revenue in 2007. e) Referrals (Affiliate Relationship Marketing) What is an affiliate relationship? Refer below to find out its meaning. An affiliate relationship permits a firm to put its logo or banner advertisement on another firmEs website from which users of that site can click through to the affiliateEs site. Affiliate relationships are essentially strategic partnerships in which the interests of both parties are advanced and there is no direct exchange of money. Such relationships are often called as tenancy deals because they allow a firm to become a „tenant‰ on another site without charge. In 2008, referrals generated about $2. million revenue in the US. Several types of affiliate relationships are common. In some cases, the firms share a single corporate parent or investor group that is seeking to optimise the performance of all its sites by creating links among its „children‰ sites. In other cases, two sites may sell complementary products and the firms may strike an affiliate relationship to make it easier for their customers to find the products they are looking for. Perhaps the largest and best-known affiliate relationship involves Amazon and Toys R Us as shown. TOPIC 9 E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS W 295

Amazon, seeking to become a general merchandiser, recognised that it did not have the expertise to purchase, warehouse, and fulfil orders for toys, which is one of the fastest growing product categories on the web. While, Toys R Us at that time was in a pitched battle with eToys. com and recognised that it did not have the web presence to compete with eToys. Thus, Amazon and Toys R Us struck an affiliate deal. The Toys R Us logo and front-end ordering machinery is available as a button on the Amazon site. Toys R Us accepts and fulfils orders for toys, and performs all the back-end purchasing and warehousing.

While, Amazon receives a commission on sales. Both firms gain the benefits from their relationship, as do their customers. ACTIVITY 9. 2 Among the five online advertising methods, which has been discussed by marketing communication tool on the web? Why do you say so? ACTIVITY 9. 3 E-mail advertisement is very popular. What are the benefits of using e-mail to advertise? 9. 1. 2 Direct E-mail Marketing E-mail marketing messages sent directly to interested users (direct e-mail marketing) have proven to be one of the most effective forms of marketing i communications.

The key to effective direct e-mail marketing is „interested users‰. Direct e-mail marketing is not spam, which involves sending unsolicited e-mail to a mass audience of Internet users who have expressed no interest in the product. Instead, direct e-mail marketing messages are sent to an „opt in o audience‰ of Internet users who have expressed at one time or another, interest in receiving messages from the advertiser. 296 X TOPIC 9 E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS By sending e-mail to an opt-in audience, advertisers are targeting interested consumers.

E-mail messages may be combined with brief audio or video clips promoting a product and with on-screen links that users can click on to make a purchase. Response rates to e-mail campaigns range from 3% to 10%, depending on the targeting. E-mail also is an interactive medium, and it can combine advertising and customer service. Because of the comparatively high response rates and low cost, direct e-mail marketing is the fastest growing form of online marketing. The primary cost of e-mail marketing is for the purchase of the list of names to which the e-mail will be sent.

Usually, sending the e-mail is virtually cost-free. Due to the cost-savings possibility, the short time to market, and high response rates, companies are expected to increasingly use e-mail to communicate directly with consumers. The downside of this growth is that e-mail response rates are expected to decline as competition for consumer attention becomes fiercer, and as users become annoyed by their bulging in-boxes e-mail. Users can employ software filter programmes to eliminate those unwanted e-mail messages. ACTIVITY 9. 4 Is spamming ethical? State your reasons. 9. . 3 Online Catalogues Online catalogues are the equivalent of a paper-based catalogue. The basic function of a catalogue is to display the merchantEs wares. The electronic-version catalogue typically contains a coloured image of each available product, a description of the item, as well as its size, colour, material composition and pricing information. While simple catalogues are technically, hard-coded HTML pages and graphics displaying wares, most sites with more than 15-20 products generate catalogue pages from a product and price database that can be easily changed.

Simply by clicking on an order button at the site, customers can make a purchase instantaneously. For more detail information, refer to online catalogues from Amazon. com and ParksonOnline. com. TOPIC 9 E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS W 297 ACTIVITY 9. 5 Online catalogues are more dynamic than print catalogues. Do you agree with this statement? Discuss. 9. 1. 4 Social Marketing: Blogs, Social Networks and Games With the creation of Web 2. 0 technology, user-generated content and the use of the Internet for socialising and sharing have undergone tremendous growth. According to eMarketer, 57. % of Internet users, or 127 million people in the US will visit a social networking site at least once a month in 2010. MicrosoftEs interest in Facebook and GoogleEs purchase of YouTube indicate the potential of social networking site as marketing communication tools for businesses and advertisers. In 2009, all forms of social marketing were expected to generate $2. 8 billion in revenues, and it is expected to reach $4 billion in 2012. Social networking advertisements adopt many kinds of approach using the Internet technologies to spread messages far, wide and quickly as compared to the traditional viral marketing or word-of-mouth marketing.

There are three main types of social networking marketing: (a) Blog Advertising In 2009, blog advertising generated about $549 million of revenues and is expected to grow to $746 million by 2012. Blogs are typically difficult to produce revenue as very few blogs attract large audience and the central theme of most blogs is highly personal. Nevertheless, blog creators and audience are ideal targets of many products and services as they are more educated, have higher income, and are opinionated individuals.

Social Network Advertising In 2009, social network advertising generated $2 billion in revenue although it is still in its infancy stage. However, most of the advertising activities focus on the leading sites such as MySpace ($850 million), Facebook ($305 million), and Youtube ($130 million). All these revenues accounted for 94% of total social network advertising. Social networking sites offer advertisers all sort of advertising format, including banner advertisements and (b) 298 X TOPIC 9 E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS sponsorship. For instance, Adidas, Burger King, General Electric have profile pages on MySpace.

Let us look at the advertisement placed on Facebook, a very famous social networking site, as shown in Figure 9. 5. Figure 9. 5: Advertisement on Facebook Source: http://mashable. com/2008/06/24/facebook-and-visa-teamup-to-target-small-businesses/ Even though search engine sites have audience which is twice the size of social networking site, it is expected that the audience size will equal between the two types of site in the next five years. Therefore, advertisers should not underestimate the potential of social networking sites as an effective marketing communication tool. c) Game Advertising In 2009, video in-game advertising generated $510 million in the US, and is expected to reach $650 million in 2012. Most games are played in social environments with multiple gamers in the same room or over the Internet. Over 800 million games were downloaded in 2008. Coca Cola, Burger King and Taco Bell have used „adver-games‰ (a combination of advertisements and games) to promote brands as shown in Figure 9. 6. TOPIC 9 E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS W 299 Figure 9. 6: Games combined with advertisement Source: http://jasonlog. supersized. rg/plugin/tag/advertising The limitations of game advertising are the game content which tend to be attractive to younger generation by additional aspects such as violence, mayhem, and war-like scenarios, or sexual content. The advertisers do not want to be linked to such aspects which commonly appear in games. 9. 1. 5 Mixing Offline and Online Marketing Communications The most successful marketing communications campaigns have incorporated both online and offline tactics, rather than relying too heavily on one or the other. Thus, it managed to drive a heavy traffic to a website.

The objective is to draw the attention of people who are already online and persuade them to visit a new site, as well as to attract the attention of people who will be potentially going online in the near future in order to suggest them visit the new site as well. Several research studies have shown that the most effective online advertisements were those that used consistent imagery with campaigns running in other media at the same time. Offline mass media such as television and radio have nearly a 100% market penetration into the 140 million households in the United States.

More than 35 million adults read a newspaper everyday. It would be foolish not to use these more popular media to drive traffic to the online world of commerce. 300 X TOPIC 9 E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS In the early days of e-commerce, the Internet audience was quite different from the general population, and perhaps was best reached by using online marketing alone. This is no longer true as the Internet population becomes much more like the general population. Many online ventures have used offline marketing techniques to drive traffic to their websites, to increase awareness and to build brand equity.

For instance, Martha Stewart includes advertisements in her magazine, Martha Stewart Living (refer to Figure 9. 7), directing readers to the Martha Stewart website. A picture in the magazine may show a recently redesigned kitchen with a listing of the manufacturers of the kitchenEs appliances. For more detailed information and web links to the manufacturers, readers are directed to www. marthastewart. com. Such „tie-ins‰ between a print product and its website have proven to be very successful in driving web traffic. Figure 9. 7: Martha Stewart Living magazine Source: http://designinspiration. typepad. om/design_inspiration_ planet/2008/08/martha-does-stencilling. html Another example of the online/offline marketing connection is the use of print catalogues by the online ventures. Some online ventures have created paper catalogues and mailed them to their customers to improve their relationship with that particular group. Amazon has one, and so does Unilever, a consumer product company. In 2000, Unilever took its database of customer addresses, which had been collected online, and mailed a paper magazine filled with cooking and cleaning tips to that list. Although an electronic magazine would have been less costly,

TOPIC 9 E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS W 301 Unilever believed a paper publication to be better suited for providing the information. ACTIVITY 9. 6 What kinds of products are most suitable to be advertised online? EXERCISE 9. 1 1. 2. 3. Explain the differences between branding communication and sales/promotional communications. How is the interstitial advertisement different from the superstitial advertisement? Explain how e-mail is used for advertising. You can visit the following websites to get more information on: (a) Online advertising: x https://www. google. com/adsense x https://adwords. oogle. com Example of an interstitial advertisement: x http://marketingsolutions. com/interstitial. htm Tips for improving a siteEs listing: x http://www. searchenginewatch. com (b) (c) 9. 2 THE WEBSITE AS MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS TOOL One of the strongest online marketing communications tool is a functional website that customers can easily find. In some ways, a website can be viewed as an extended online advertisement. An appropriate domain name, search engine optimisation, and proper website design are integral parts of a coordinated 302 X TOPIC 9 E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS arketing communications strategy and ultimately, necessary conditions for ecommerce success. 9. 2. 1 Appropriate Domain Names One of the first communications an e-commerce site has with a prospective customer is via its URL. Domain names play an important role in reinforcing an existing brand and/or developing a new brand. There are a number of considerations to take into account in choosing a domain name. Ideally, a domain name should be short, memorable, not easily confused with others, and difficult to misspell. If possible, the name should also reflect the nature of the companyEs business.

Companies that choose a name unrelated to their business must be willing to spend extra time, effort, and money to establish the name as brand. Dot. com domain names are still considered the most preferable, especially in the United States. Today, however, it may be difficult to find a domain name that satisfies all of the above criteria. Many of the „good‰ dot. com domain names have already been taken. 9. 2. 2 Search Engine Optimisation Despite the fact that major search engines are moving toward a „pay for p inclusion/ranking‰ model, it is still advisable to take the steps needed to objectively improve a siteEs visibility to search engine.

The major search engines still accept non-paying sites, and still send crawler programmes around the Web to index and include pages in their databases free of charge. There are hundreds of search engines in the world, most of which do not charge for inclusion or placement. Also, given that 42% of shoppers find a vendor entering the name of a product into a search engine, optimising the firmEs ranking in search engines becomes an important element in a website marketing campaign. Search engines produce lists of „hits‰, sometimes hundreds of them.

Refer below h to find out the meaning of hit. A hit is the result of a search engineEs investigation of its database of indexed web pages. TOPIC 9 E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS W 303 Websites appearing at the top of these lists, especially on the first page, are more likely to be visited than those further down the list because they are assumed to be more relevant to the searcher. Consumers may never become aware of sites that are listed later in a search engine report.

Only 7% of consumers look any further than the first three pages of results. So, how to make your websites to appear in the first few pages rather than at the last few pages? The following steps will help you in your quest to make sure your websites gain the prominence of the search engine: (a) Register with Many Search Engines In order to improve a firmEs search engine ranking, the firm should register with as many search engines as possible, so that a user looking for similar sites has a chance of coming across that particular site.

Ensure your Keywords Match the Prospective Customers Keywords Ensure the keywords used in the website description match with the keywords likely to be used as search terms by the prospective customers. Using a keyword of „lamps,‰ for example, will not help your search engine ranking if most prospective customers are searching for „lights. ‰ Search engines differ, but most search engines read homepage title tags, metatags, and other text on the homepage in order to understand and index the content of the page. Keywords are contained in a siteEs metatag (refer below). b) Metatag is an HTML tag containing a list of words describing the site. Metatags are heavily used by search engines to determine the relevance of sites to search terms used frequently by users. The title tag provides a brief description of the siteEs content. The words in both the metatags and the title tags should match words on the homepage. (c) Link the Website to Many other Websites Link the website to as many other websites as possible. Some search engines, such as Google. com, rank sites based on the number of links from other websites.

The Internet is a highly-interconnected series of sites, surrounded by a set of isolated sites that are not well-connected. Search engines such as Google are guessing that when you enter a query for a product, chances are good that the product is located at one of the highlyconnected websites. 304 X TOPIC 9 E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS The assumption is the more links there are to a site, the more useful the site must be. How can a firm increase links to its site? Placing advertising is one way: banner advertisements, buttons, interstitials, and superstitials are all links to a firmEs site.

Entering into affiliate relationships with other sites is another method. While the three mentioned steps are a beginning, increasing a firmEs ranking is still a bit of an art form and usually requires a full-time professional effort to tweak metatags, keywords, and network links before solid results are obtained. The task often requires several months and is complicated by the fact that each search engine uses slightly different indexing methods. Search engines fail to find millions of web pages, and are biased toward large firms that place advertising on other sites.

A recent survey by CyberAtlas Research found that over half of the firms polled work on search engine optimisation monthly. Many commercial sites rely on ranking specialists who, for a fee, will create metatags and descriptions that will push a siteEs ranking toward the top. Some specialists even guarantee a top position, although how near the top is the key question. Being in the top 100 is not as valuable as being in the top 10, or even top 25. 9. 2. 3 Website Functionality Attracting users to a companyEs site is the objective of marketing, but once a consumer is at a site, the sales process begins.

This means that whatever brought the individuals to the site becomes much less relevant, and what they find at the site will ultimately determine whether they will make a purchase or return. These seven basic design features, that were necessary from a business point of view, help to attract and retain the customers: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) Make it as an informative site; Employ simple navigation (ease of use); Use redundant navigation; Make it easy for customers to purchase; Feature multi-browser functionality; Apply simple graphics; and Use legible text. TOPIC 9

E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS W 305 Researchers have also found a number of other design factors that marketing managers should be aware of: (a) Compelling Experiences Sites that offer a „compelling experience‰, in the sense of providing entertainment with commerce or interactivity or human interest or that is perceived as „fun‰ to use, are more successful in attracting and keeping the visitors. Fast Download Times Long download times frustrate consumers and lead to high rates of abandonment, although this can be mitigated with online amusement to distract the consumer.

Easy Product List Navigation The most important factor in predicting monthly sales is product list navigation and choice features that save consumersE time. Few Clicks to Purchase AmazonEs „one click‰ purchase capability is a powerful tool for increasing sales. Customer Choice Agents Increasingly, sites are using interactive consumer decision aids to help the consumer to make choices. Recommendation agents (also called as configurators) help the consumer to make quick and correct choices. Dell Computer uses an online configuration to help consumers to decide on what computer to order.

Refer below to know more on recommendation agents. Recommendation agents are programmes that can recommend a product based on either a consumerEs completed survey or a review of a consumerEs profile. (f) Responsiveness Responsiveness to consumer inquiries through automated customer response systems has been found to affect return visits and purchases. (b) (c) (d) (e) No matter how successful the offline and online marketing campaign is, a website that fails to deliver information and customer convenience spells disaster. Attention given to site design features will also help to ensure success. 06 X TOPIC 9 E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS ACTIVITY 9. 2 In your own words, list and describe some website design features that give an impact on online purchasing. EXERCISE 9. 2 1. 2. Explain the ways in which a website can be used as a marketing communications tool. What are the key attributes of a good domain name? You can visit these websites to get more information on: (a) Service personalisation: x http://www. ecommerceandmarketing. com x http://www. personalizationmall. com Promotion ideas for the web: x http://www. selfpromotion. om Enhancing the popularity of a websiteEs link: x http://www. marketleap. com (b) (c) x Marketing communications include promotional sales communications that encourage immediate purchases and branding communications that focus on extolling the differentiable benefits of consuming a product or service. There are many different forms of marketing communications: (i) (ii) Banners; Rich media/video advertisements; x (iii) Interstitial advertisements; TOPIC 9 E – C O M M E R C E MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS W 307 (iv) Paid search engine inclusion and placement; (v) Sponsorships; vi) Affiliate relationships; (vii) Direct e-mail marketing; (viii) Online catalogues; (ix) (x) x x Social network advertisements; and Offline and online marketing communications. A functional website that customers can find is one of the strongest online communication tools. The integral parts of a coordinated marketing communications strategy are: (i) (ii) Appropriate domain name; Search engine optimisation; and (iii) Website functionality. Affiliate relationship Banner Blog Game Interstitial Pop-up customer retention costs Rich media/video Search engine Social network Sponsorship Superstitial

Cite this Electronic Commerce Marketing Communication

Electronic Commerce Marketing Communication. (2019, May 01). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/electronic-commerce-marketing-communication/

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