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GUEST COLUMN: 13 ideas that could lead to successful Web marketing

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Many descriptions of marketing are on the World Wide Web. No matter the words, the process is important, and similar to marketing through any channel.

What follows are 13 Web marketing ideas:

1. Thinking, planning, organizing. And do all three first. Begin by asking: Why are you creating a Web site? Are you looking to acquire new customers? Serve existing customers? Cross-sell? Upsell? Fulfillment?

2. Your name and ease of access. Your name must make sense. And once visitors find your site, you have six ways to make it easy for them: Make it fast, quick, shorter, accessible, interesting and well written.

3. Type for readability. The same basics that apply to print marketing apply to the Web. These are non-debatable: ALL-CAPS decreases readership. Anything vertical is tough to read. Too much italics decreases readership. Too much reverse type decreases readership. Type size less than nine points is difficult to read. Indent the first line of each paragraph to pull the reader in. Write with short words, short sentences, short paragraphs.

4. Understanding the content. The cliche "content is king" is 100% true. Cool is out. Difficult is out. Wandering about is out. Your site must have direction, a purpose. Simple is in. Useful is in. And interesting content is in.

5. Graphics for support. Graphics on the Web are similar to graphics in print. They are there to get attention, to draw in. The copy then takes over and sells.

6. The marketing offer. An offer gets your prospects thinking, "Do I know all I should about this opportunity?" It stops them long enough for the sale to be made. Make an offer.

7. Ability and ease of response. Include several communication options. E-mail is obvious. Ask for a site evaluation. Ask those surfing to allow you to send your news to friends and co-workers who might also benefit from a visit to your URL.

8. Links for getting around. Your navigation bar must be everywhere and easy to use, with large type and descriptive copy. Navigation is an extension of ease of access.

9. Gimmicks for attention. Moving icons. Flickering banners. Items that change and run across the screen. They're all gimmicks, which are fine, as long as they do not become "the site." Use them early on to pull the surfer in. Use them sparingly to move the reader to the next page.

10. Bringin' 'em back. A good Web site is a "process, not an event." It moves, changes, grows. Offer articles, tips, special events, games that change every day or week or two weeks or month.

11. Marketing your site. There are as many ways to market Web sites as there are disciplines. The only absolute is you must go outside electronic media to build traffic to electronic media, which is why sites are listed in print, during broadcasts and in direct mail.

12. Measuring your results. Whatever your direction, there are four questions to ask and answer about measurement: What worked -- that is, what part of your site is getting the action you're looking for? What does not work? In both cases, why? Now that you have all this knowledge, what are you going to do with it?

13. Overall: What? or wow! OK, you've done it. Now what? Your Web site must get measured, evaluated and taken to the next level. Is it "what?" or "wow!"

Ray Jutkins is a principal at Rockingham*Jutkins*marketing in Roll, Ariz.

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