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Can it be summed up in one sentence?
What is the most important aspect of internet marketing

 9:32 pm on May 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hello everybody.

What I am trying to find out is what is the most important aspect of marketing a website. I am going to be teaching a workshop at a university later this month and I want to get some opinions of what you all think is the most important facet of marketing a website on the internet.

I know that there are hundreds of different answers depending on the site, product, budget, etc. I am looking for some simple general ideas that could apply to a wide range of projects.

I guess I will go first:

For me the most important factor I can think of would be ROI. If I make more money than I spend and can maximize that I think the site will be successful.

Any other thoughts?



 9:50 pm on May 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi DrC,
I think, for me, it would have be getting visibility (what a lot of eyes, LOL).

After all, the ROI, and every other benefit, relies on people seeing the website. Getting sites into the paths of 'qualified' surfers I would put first and getting them to see/read what the site has to offer must come second.

Excellent question my good Doctor.....:) I was thinking of giving a kamikazi chat on SEyouknowwhat at the local computer club (biggest in europe at one time I'm told) hoping to pick up the odd contract ;)

(edited by: oilman at 3:28 am (utc) on May 11, 2002)


 9:58 pm on May 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I would say it's the site-user relationship. This of course is just a heading for hundreds of other small aspects of a website, but essentially what youw ant to do is establish a stong relationship with your user - whether it be by providing them with a tool that makes them want to come back, or likewise a service (whether it be humor, information, or whatever)


 10:02 pm on May 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

>Getting sites into the paths of 'qualified' surfers I would put first and getting them to see/read what the site has to offer must come second.

I agree. My whole philosophy has been to build somewhat generalized traffic first, then see what I can do with it... ways to refine or drill down to my target audience. I'd add that, if at all possible, the developer needs to think of how to make the site viral or at least recommendable as a resource. If you can just manage to get even only the edge of that it can pay off incredibly well -particularly in these days of .15 CPC.


 10:07 pm on May 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

The phrase "The customer is always right" has been turned into a cliche, but it originally comes from Chicago retailing magnate Marshall Field at the start of the 20th century.

My father, who spent his full career as a reference librarian in Chicago, said that Field's original statement was slightly different. It was then transformed by the marketing execs of the day into a slogan.

Supposedly, Field's original statement was "The customer is always right, but you have to have the right customers."

This turns what seems an unconditional fawning on the consumer into a savvy awareness of your market and its needs.

In web-land this means that more traffic isn't necessarily right, unless it's targeted traffic. More traffic does not always equal better traffic.


 10:07 pm on May 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

All good points, however for me it is site usability, if they see your site but have a hard time navigating, they will go elsewhere.
I also think secure checkout can fall into usability.

brotherhood of LAN

 10:08 pm on May 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

ROI yes, but branding isnt bad either. You cant actually quantify all those people who get to see or hear about your site but never get "registered" by you, the statician. I used to run 3rd part ads, and many of the Cost per click banners were useless, and basically promoted the web site for free. For them, that cant be a bad thing.

Another thing, cost per user. You definetely want to go into great detail about that before you even talk about PPC or ROI :).

Also, alot of perspective when talking about your site....like how you intend your site to co-exist in a particular niche ( then suck up all the traffic in that niche :)

I have to do a 10 minute presentation at college, maybe I can talk about this, and all the scandals, trials and tribulations of the SE and marketing world online :)


 10:13 pm on May 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the replies. Great info. It is good to hear from others. Too often I get trapped in my own way of thinking that has worked well when there are other things that can work better. Keep it coming.


 10:14 pm on May 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Everything I've read in this thread comes back to ROI. That's what every business is about, and internet businesses are not *that* different from real ones.

I suppose ROI could be defined as a great many things, depending on what your site's purpose is: a commerce site would want to see profits that outweigh their expenses, and would be best off with highly-targeted, easily converted traffic, even if they didn't have tens of thousands of vistors per month. For some high-end, specialized businesses, fewer than a dozen sales per year might be an excellent ROI for their site. A non-profit organization, OTOH might be primarily interested in as many pageviews as possible, to "get the word out" about their cause or organization.

Decide what the goal/intent of your website is first, and then make sure your results justify your investment.


 10:17 pm on May 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Giving useful / relevant information to as many site visitors as possible.
On commercial sites this will be easy to measure as sales.
On all sites it will result in better placement on serps without the need for devious SEO tactics.
(Content is King)


 10:20 pm on May 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

>Decide what the goal/intent of your website is first

Hmmm, now why didn't I think of that¿?¿


 11:26 pm on May 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Know thy Visitor.

Who is it that wants what you have to offer? For me that's the key.

Before ROI I have to get the right guy through the door and to do that I need to know who that visitor is. Once I know them, really know them - then I can offer them an environment that works for them. When I first meet with a client the biggest essay I want from them is in essence if not in fact, the 250-500 word report on “Who is your ideal visitor?” That leads me to the keywords and the little extras each site needs to make it unique. That leads me to the layout and the content. That helps me determine what it is about the visitor that I need to know and then do > to convert.

Yep, it’s Know thy Visitor!


 11:35 pm on May 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

>one sentence??

For me it is really basic. "Have something somebody wants," be it information, product, whatever. If you don't have that, you have no basis for a site in the first place.

All the rest, ROI, Demographics, Usability, Content, Design, whatever, come next in no specific order.



 12:12 am on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

<<All the rest, ROI, Demographics, Usability, Content, Design, whatever, come next in no specific order. >>

I'm reminded of the question, "Which link in a chain is the most important?"

Everything matters!


 12:50 am on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

Everything is important, but for me it's customer service. If they buy something once they might buy again if the experience was right.


 1:18 am on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

I agree with Woz and txbakers, that providing value and service come first, ROI will follow.


 3:28 am on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

How about one word - or three..?

Position Position Position

The Web is perhaps the most powerful international niche marketing vehicle ever, beating print based trade and specialist magazines advertising and directories for value, and often international reach.

All the methods that marketers have tried to use that assumed erroneously that the Web is a mass marketing medium have died out or in their twilight - general banner ads served from third parties, generalist portals, mass emailing. Niche methods are finally getting the success they always had the potential for - vortals, relevance-based SERPS, relevant linking, relevance based PPC, tight spcialised content on web sites,. etc.


 10:10 am on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

assuming you want a summary of how Internet/web marketing differs from other marketing...it has to be precision...you can target potential customers very precisely


 2:28 pm on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

The most important aspect would be appropriate targeting. ROI follows that nicely.


 8:46 pm on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

Ritual coffee - exactly. The question was
>what is the most important aspect of marketing a website

To me that means - how should you go about getting people to see your web site - marketing.
What happens when they get there is another question. Equally as important, but, IMHO, it is second in the pecking order.
If no-one comes to the show it don't matter what the show was like, except for the performer.


 9:05 pm on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>"Have something somebody wants," be it information, product, whatever. If you don't have that, you have no basis for a site in the first place.

Woz, I'm with you.
People sometimes forget that the 'net is basically just an information medium and good marketing is at the core of success. Good basic marketing, and market research should be the first step.

Next would be ROI, however it is arrived upon - SEO investment in ranking, content, email campaigns, affiliate programs, graphics whatever. Some cases will be different... Maybe a community drives the best and most convertible traffic, maybe a two page sales letter site, maybe a huge Overture account. I believe it would require testing, on each individual case.

I agree with B_of_L regarding branding, but the absolute NET effect needs to be ROI. Perhaps a long term ROI based on increased branding, but ROI nonetheless. Test and measure everything

As Claude Hopkins (Scientific Advertising) said:

"Almost any question can be answered cheaply, quickly, and finally by use of a test campaign.... Go to the court of last resort. The buyers of your product."

"Whatever works best" is next in line after selling something ENOUGH people want.


 9:10 pm on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

tbear - I still mean targeting is the most important part of marketing your website. If you don't know what your website should be targeting you will have no idea the best ways to go about getting your site out there.


 9:21 pm on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm with you, as MIVOX said decide on your goals, which should give you your target, then plant your seeds where that target audience is. Know your potencial client, and throw your groundbait accordingly, then, when they have arrived the site design should come into it's own. But only once they are there. You will have of course designed your site for those particular visitors, i.e. interested in all that lovely content/product that you told them you have.
IMHO, that gives quite a good conversion of visitors to enquiry. Your e-mail reply (not auto-response, if you can avoid it) to the enquiry is the next important link in the chain 'of events'. Be a person, we buy/deal with people, not machines (generally).
But your site must be found first, and by the right people, for it to be of any real purpose.

Don't mean to go on, but I've just had 12 hours of power cuts 'cos of torrential rain and I gotta let it out someplace, and I'd rather be with friends when I do. Sorry :) and thanx


 2:08 am on May 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

It's funny, but targeting is indeed important as well on the marketing side.

Which is why I'm not that concerned with getting a top ranking in Google or having millions of hits. I target my mailings and target my marketing to the niche I need.

Anything else is wasted money.


 1:04 pm on May 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

In the following order.

1) Site Creation: What is your Point-of-Difference(POD)? No POD, STOP! Go no further!

2)Position. Site has to be found in first 3 pages of a search. Get listed in the RIGHT spots as much as possible.

3) Site: MUST be (Easy to Nav, Have Good Content and have the Correct message to product (from user point of view)).

4) Understand competition. What they're doing, and how does it effect you.

5) A dash of Good Luck (ok ok, more like a small pale)

6) Low on fluff.

That order and I believe you'll have a good success position. ROI falls into play.



 1:37 pm on May 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

To successfully sell something we first must know are market; our product and our competition and our demographics.

From this we can derive a "niche" from this niche will drive the content.

In my opinion "Content is King". Second to this would be ease of use and navigabiltiy.

Everything else will fall in place.


 1:55 pm on May 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

I will agree that ROI is important. However, I find that knowing the objective of the site and determining the target market helps to define how the site should be marketed.

cyril kearney

 2:58 pm on May 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

The first step is to define success. In a commercial site this is usually ROI.

Traffic and content are not ROI but needed to get your return.

So traffic and content are part of overhead as are the products sold. They must all be figure into the cost of goods sold.

To succeed one must be able to classify and measure each of these. Traffic MUST be able to be tracked to sales. Email 123 produced x amount of sales. Paid placement at SE xyz produced y results.

Content abc cost x dollars and was viewed by y number of people that bought so much.

Webmasters usually balk at the monetizing of traffic and content. Often that is why their contribution to the bottom line is not well understood or properly valued.

In all businesses not just ecommerce sites success is just not running out of money. No matter how good a product or site it must earn more than it spends or face bankruptcy.


 3:42 pm on May 8, 2002 (gmt 0)


I would have to say traditional marketing! And NETWORKING!! Come on lets face it if we don’t toot our own horn we can’t expect Google or something automated to do it for us right?

Physical Marketing:
This topic is so overlooked anymore. So many of my site contacts come from people I spoke with, handed a card, consulted in short… So here I go with some of the things I do.

Snail mail still rules all! People get enough spam in their e-mailbox. Holiday cards, and “Just Checking in” type kind of cards work great also because it give the clients or potential customers the feeling that you keep them in mind also known as the “Warm Fuzzy”. Invite customers to fill out “How are we doing” surveys… This is a great reminder about their working experience with you which keeps your business fresh in mind for possible referrals.

Finally, be an active member in your community such as: Sponsor a local little league softball team (pizza party, uniforms, trophy (even if they come in last), etc…) Lions club, sponsor a highway, lead a community clean up project. You get the picture.

Networking ideas...
1.) Ask everybody – friends, colleagues, suppliers, clients for referrals.
2.) Ask people who are pleased with you services to talk to others people about it.
3.) Always keep your brochures, samples, or presentation book with you.
4.) Offer a special price or special services to people in your buzz network.
5.) Keep track of the people who send you referrals and of how those referrals turn out.
6.) Set specific goals for meeting specific people.
7.) Write and practice a short introduction to use when you meet a new group or customer.
8.) Volunteer for service-group assignments.

Don’t misunderstand me, the web is great and can provide a lot of business on its own…(umm well in some cases). But if you are an IP of any kind you will know that physical marketing rules all! People believe in people and they still like to exchange business the old traditional way… Sign the contract, actually hand you the money, and know that you will show up in their office to provide the materials. If you doing the work long distance, try to close the gap the best you can!



 4:09 pm on May 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

The question is "what is the most important aspect of marketing a website...the most important facet of marketing a website".

I haven't heard "budgeting for ongoing maintenance", so I'll add that answer to the great replies we've had so far. A small firm, especially, needs to develop its Website budget with ongoing maintenance/editing accounted for. The maintenance could be putting up seasonal products (if ecommerce), updating graphic design, adding content (however that's defined for the site purpose) on a regular basis, and --of course-- ongoing SEO. I think it's realistic to increase the projected site development cost by 30-50% to account for the first year's maintenance. For example, if the site cost $2,000 to "get off the ground", then budget at least $600 to $1,000 additionally for the first year's maintenance.

Good luck with the course, DrCool!

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