Web Marketing Today
Issue 18, July 27, 1996
Welcome to Issue 18 of Web Marketing Today, sent to nearly
9,000 subscribers throughout the world.
In this issue
by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Getting people to your Web site is important. But selling them
something during their visit is even more important. If direct
on-line sales is your objective, at least four elements are vital
for you to consummate a sale at your Web site:
Reason to Buy Now
Your shopper will need to find a reason to buy now. These reasons
are both positive and negative.
On the one hand you'll need to anticipate your shopper's objections.
Is she concerned you won't ship in time to wrap a sliver tray
for her friend's anniversary party? Describe your shipping policies.
You might include a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for
issues that come up again and again.
One of the chief reasons people hesitate to do business with Wilson
Internet Services, for example, is the perception that they can't
easily work with a business half a continent away. We use a map
to highlight our clients in 24 states, three provinces of Canada,
and Indonesia. We point to our on-line worksheets and contracts,
provide a hot-linked list of our clients, and try to respond to
contacts quickly by e-mail or telephone. We anticipate a customer's
But negatives don't sell a product; you need to give your visitors
some compelling reasons to buy. One way, of course is to
describe your product as fully as necessary to acquaint your customer
with its benefits and features. A catalog like L.L. Bean's makes
me want to purchase a heavy flannel shirt. Sure, everyone
knows what flannel is. But hearing about its fiber-dyed, heavy
cotton fabric with a hand-sewn lining for long life makes it much
more compelling. While graphics are important, you have to help
your customer rub the flannel between his fingers and feel its
softness through your own words. Tell him how warm it'll make
him feel on cold winter nights under the twinkling stars.
It's one thing to make your customer want to purchase, it's another
to give him a compelling reason to purchase now. Retailers
have always been holding sales, and offering "limited quantity"
items "only while supplies last." Direct mail marketers
get you involved making choices, placing stickers, and looking
at the inevitable folded note to be read only if you're not sure
you should purchase this limited set of four golden oldies CDs.
Cyber merchants need to learn the on-line equivalent of end-cap
displays, two-for-one offers, etc. Right now, retail sales on
the Web are in a state of adaptation and experimentation. Don't
be afraid to explore -- and keep exploring until you hit upon
a winning formula.
Ultimately, your customers will purchase for a combination of
three reasons: value, price, and convenience. Because on-line
costs may be lower than either storefront or catalog merchandising,
you may be able to compete strongly on the basis of price. Small
businesses do well to specialize in products in a particular niche,
like gymnastic equipment or quilting supplies, then offer their
customers the very best products, values, and selection that can
be found anywhere. But if purchasing is a hassle, you still won't
consummate many sales.
Ease of purchase
Think of the Web as the equivalent of the ultimate catalog sales
destination of the next decade. Your customer doesn't have to
leave her home, she can look at a wide variety of products, and
browse shops up and down the bandwidth. To get her to make a purchase
in your store, you need to make it extremely easy to make
a purchase when she's ready.
It is inherently inconvenient to force your customer to
move from her computer to her telephone to order. Most people
at home use the same line for their modem as they do for their
telephone, so ordering will mean going off-line. Printing out
a form to fax or mail necessitates the same diversion from a smooth
ordering process. Whereas on-line ordering takes advantage of
the customer's spur-of-the-moment desire to buy, forcing off-line
order completion allows the ardor to cool or the buyer to become
distracted. To sell consumer products successfully you need to
allow them to order on-line.
This means giving real attention to the ordering process. How
hard is it to place an order? Is the order form clear? Do you
require the customer to write down product names from one Web
page and enter them on the order form on another, or do you provide
a shopping cart program so a customer can place an order from
the page on which he sees the product? Ask Internet-newbie friends
to make practice purchase on your Web site, and then solicit careful
feedback about their points of confusion. Make it simple!
Give must them a reason to buy -- now -- and make it easy. But
to get them to plunk down their money, they need to trust you.
In Walt Disney's "The Rescuers," the cruel villainess
Madame Medusa explains softly to her intelligence-challenged sidekick,
"Snoops, you don't have a way with children. You must
gain their confidence, make them like you
"Yea, how do you do that?" he asks innocently.
"You force them to like you, Idiot!" she screams.
You need to gain your customers' confidence. After all, if they
send you money and you don't deliver as promised, it'll be a big
hassle to recover their money despite of the legal protections
of credit card purchases. How do you "force" your customers
to like you? Chat with them. Don't write in stiff formal sentences,
but in short, informal language, just as if they were sitting
across the table from you.
The larger corporation garners trust by name recognition and listing
achievements in the marketplace. The small business person gains
trust by just "talking" to Jennifer about the business.
Tell her your story. Explain how you and your partner have dreamed
of making highly refined emu oil available to customers around
the world. Tell them a bit about yourself, your background, your
experience, your experience with emu breeding during a college
semester in Queensland, or whatever sparked you to be in this
Unless you are intensely ugly, a photo might help Jennifer feel
that she knows you and you'll treat her right. Ask some satisfied
customers to write a few lines about their experience doing business
with you. Testimonials enable customers see you as an honest,
reliable, person, and are the next best thing to word-of-mouth.
But unless Jennifer trusts the safety of her credit card purchase,
she won't complete the transaction even if she likes you.
In 1995 the media went out of its way to warn the public of evil
hackers prowling on the sidewalk just outside your on-line store
waiting to grab your customer's credit card numbers as soon as
an order was made. It didn't matter that robbing Swiss bank accounts
would be more lucrative for cyber thieves than lurking outside
Goldfish Online. Nor did the lack of verifiable incidents credit
card theft on the Internet deter the media. It's the perception
of danger, not the reality that faces the on-line merchant.
But the perception has become the reality for your customers.
By the end of the year I expect the credit card companies' SET
standards to be in place and hyped by a carefully orchestrated
media blitz. But right now there are two things you can do to
help your customers feel secure enough to place an order:
- Run your store on an SSL secure server. This is much
more widely available now than it was a few months ago. Expect
to pay your ISP $20 to $50 more per month for this feature, in
addition to a hefty set up fee to cover the $290 VeriSign
RSA security certificate you'll need.
Face it. You have to get a secure server if you're serious
about on-line sales.
- Provide an encrypted method to transmit the order to you.
You can secure your front door with a dozen locks, but if you
don't latch the back door, a burglar has easy access. It's amazing
that many store owners offer SSL encryption of orders from the
customer to the store, but absolutely no encryption when the order
is e-mailed from the server to the store owner's personal e-mail
access. To act with integrity we must encrypt the information
whenever it is passed via e-mail. Fortunately, Phil Zimmerman's
PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) is easily available in North America
both as freeware
for non-commercial use and as well-supported commercial software from ViaCrypt.
Then once you secure your front and back doors, be sure to explain
to Jennifer how really safe her credit information is.
If you can make Jennifer feel secure about ordering from you,
"force" her to trust you, make it simple for her to
select your products, and give her a good reason to buy now, your
Web site sales are likely to skyrocket.
We invite you to react or read reactions to this article on the
Web Marketing Forum at http://www.wilsoninet.com/HyperNews/get/forum/money.html
New readers to Web Marketing Today will find a wealth of
information available at our Web Marketing Info Center. The following
articles, many of them from former issues of WMT, are linked
- 12 Web Page Design Decisions Your Business Will Need to Make
- Can Small Office, Home Office (SOHO) Entrepreneurs Compete
with Big Corporations on the Web?
- Does Your Business Need A Custom Domain Name?
- Does Your Company Need Its Own Web Server Computer?
- Getting Customers to Plunk Down their Credit Cards
- Give Something Away, Sell Something: the Classic Web Marketing
- How Does a Shopping Cart Program Work?
- How to Attract Visitors to Your Web Site
- How to Shop for an ISP for your Business Web Pages
- Is Your Product a Good Candidate for Web Success?
- The Link Site Marketing Strategy
- Marketing via E-Mail Newsletters and Mailing Lists
- Multiple Doors of Entry: A Strategy to Increase Visitors to
Your Web Site
- Niche Marketing on the Web
- Outgrowing a Simple Order Form, or How to Know Whether You
Need a Shopping Cart Program
- Questions Small Businesses Ask about the Internet
- Should You Locate Your Store in a Mall?
- Should You Outsource Your Web Pages or Do Them Yourself?
- Software Needed for E-Mail Conferencing
- Using Banner Ads to Promote Your Web Site
- What a Web Site Can Do for Your Business
- What Is the Purpose of Your Web Site?
- Why in the World Should Anyone Come to Your Web Site?
Single copies are free. Contact us concerning a license to reprint
an article for circulation within your organization. If you're
looking for an article for your industry periodical, I might be
induced to adapt one of these for your particular field. As dates
firm up I'll also let you know about conferences where I will
be speaking this fall and winter.
You'll find several threads being discussed in our new Web Marketing
Forum. This two-week-old infant is growing well.
But please: this is to be a discussion of topics. Don't
abuse us all by using it to blatantly push your product or service!
Be possessed of proper netiquette by learning to use a creative
"signature.". And please post your comment in only one
of the topic pages. Thank you.
You'll find these references hot-linked in the on-line version
of this newsletter,
as well as by topic in the Web Marketing Info Center.
In response to several Mac readers we are now enclosing URLs in
angle brackets instead of parentheses. Enjoy!
- Jim Conaghan, "Tracking Audience on the Web: The Conaghan Report",
Newspaper Association of America site. Info and links to Web counting
efforts, with a focus on the newspaper industry.
- GKB Advertising Directory. Links and resources for the advertising
- National Address Server. Returns a ZIP+4 address,
give you an opportunity to view a map from either Yahoo or MapBlast.
- Lycos Road Map.
Enter a domain name or address and see a map of its location (US
- Business to Business Mag.
issues, presenting business strategies for marketing, money matters,
environmental issues and other relevant business concerns
- Internet Banner Network.
A Web ad broker who pays a Web site
owner $5/1000 impressions. If no paid advertisers have been secured,
other IBN members' banners are displayed.
- Internet Link Exchange,
a free public service that lets you advertise your web site free
in exchange with other members. Site includes a newsgroup to discuss
linking. From Internet Marketing Solutions.
- Bill Roberts, "Enabling the Banks,"
Web Week, July 8, 1996, p. 4. VeriFone ships standards-based
payment system. SET standards are beginning to be put in place.
- Ellis Booker, "Its Feet No Longer Cold, Sun High-Steps Into E-Commerce,"
Web Week, July 8, 1996, p. 21.
- Sun Microsystems, A Guide to Web Style.
If you've wondered how much is too much, etc., this guide will
help you get a feel for what should be on a Web page.
- Direct Email Marketing Association (DEMA),
an information center for everyone using e-mail and the Internet
to market their company, guidelines for direct e-mail marketing,
a moderated news group DEMA-LIST.
- Free Online Marketing Guide
(for Small and HomeBased Businesses)
- Steve Outing, Internet Publishing Successes and Failures,
Planetary News, Boulder, Colorado, notes from London, England
speech, May 16, 1995.
- Kenneth R. Churilla, "Secrets of Searching the Web & Promoting Your Website,"
Mentor Marketing Services.
- Business on the Net: Commerce Case Studies,
Interactive Age Digital. New section of updated Web site.
Contains case studies of businesses on the net.
- Leslie Goff, "Online computer store forecasts growth,"
Interactive Age Digital, undated. NECX Direct predicts
revenue generated from its Web site will hit $50 million this
year. Interesting information on costs.
- Jane Hodges, "Revisiting the Net numbers game,"
Ad Age, July 22, 1996. Intelliquest, Nielsen tally traffic
- Jane Hodges, "Content sites enjoy benefits of licensing,"
Ad Age, June 10, 1996. Web syndication creates revenue,
builds traffic for online brands. Purchasing syndicated content
for your Web site.
- Kate Maddox, "Online marketers look past the Web,"
Ad Age, June 3, 1996. Newsgroups and targeted e-mail
present big opportunity to Net biz.
- Charles Waltner, "Bookseller focuses on e-mail to move product,"
Ad Age, June 3, 1996. Amazon.com gives customer control
over sales messages. Customers subscribe to book update lists.
- Susan Moran, "Sweet, But Can It Turn a Profit?"
Web Week, July 22, 1996. Matchmaker sites attract growing
- P.J. Benedict O'Mahoney, The Copyright Website
seeks to encourage discourse and invite solutions to the myriad
of copyright tangles that currently permeate the Web.
- Wayne Bremser, "Chat Areas Require More Than Lip Service,"
Web Week, July 22, 1996. Ease of use and novel are technology
key to user appeal.
- Whit Andrews, "Maintaining Decorum in the Forums,"
Web Week, July 22, 1996. Report on use of Web Boards.
- Thomas E. Miller, "Segmenting the Internet,"
American Demographics, July 1996.
- Charles Rubin, "The Virtues Of Online Convenience,"
Weekly Guerrilla, June 24, 1996.
- Charles Rubin, "Maintaining Your [Online Marketing] Attack,"
Weekly Guerrilla, July 15, 1996.
- Carla Tishler, "Online 101: Avoiding Legal Headaches,"
Inc. Online, July 17, 1996. Web page creators, particularly
those with interactive pages that encourage reader participation,
have legal obligations similar to those of their standard media
- Ben Narasin, "Is Anybody Really Making Money Online?",
Inc. Online, July 3, 1996. Internet Fashion Mall's CEO
- Lynda Radosevich, "Retail Retold,"
Webmaster Online, July 1996. Last year, there were too
many obstacles for online retailers. That was then, this is now.
- Neil Monnens, "What makes a Web site commercially viable?"
WebRep, May 1, 1996.
from SoftVentures is a shareware listserver/mailing list program
($20) which runs on Windows 95 and Windows NT Web servers.
- Al Bredenberg, "10 Tips for Selling on the Internet and the World-Wide Web"
- Al Bredenberg, "8 Ways to Get Results from Your Web Site"
- Al Bredenberg, "How to Write an Autoresponder Message that Gets Results"
- Al Bredenberg, "7 Myths of Internet Marketing ... and Why You Shouldn't Fall for Them!"
- IESS - Internet Entrepreneurs Support Association
offers a number of articles by members on Internet marketing.
- Michel Bauwens, Cybrarian's Guide to Cyber-Marketing. A related resource is
Net.Business Daily, a free
electronic newsletter for cyber-marketeers.
- Directrix Advertising Agency,
a Web ad broker.
- NarrowCast Media,
another Web ad broker.
- Charles Sayers, "Days And Nights At The Banner Races,"
Who's Marketing Online, July 1, 1996. Info about banner
- "Building Banners that Will Take a Clicking,"
Who's Marketing Online, July 1, 1996, on constructing banners
- "Birth of a Sales Team,"
Who's Marketing Online, July 1, 1996, on the development
of Web banner brokers, with a helpful synopsis of services offered
- Garrett Wasny Trade Page.
A resource for US small businesses planning or doing business
in Canada, the site has over 350 pages of Canadian trade tips,
leads, contacts, and links.
- Electronic Access '96 (EA '96).
Coopers & Lybrand Consulting Study Reveals Winners and Losers
in the Evolution of the Internet and the World Wide Web.
Give something away
- Web Marketing Info Center. Links to nearly 350 articles and resources of interest to Web
marketers. The biggest collection of its kind -- by far -- on
the Internet. In addition our Web site is populated by many articles
I have written.
- Web Marketing Today Newsletter.
A free bi-weekly e-mail newsletter currently sent to nearly 9,000
subscribers throughout the world. Back issues are available on-line.
"Web Marketing Today is a straight-talking, idea-sparking,
lead-generating, myth-erasing, tank-filling wellspring of common
sense and sound advice on Internet marketing. An outstanding resource
for Web marketers at all levels." -- Garrett Wasny
- Web Marketing Forum.
A new Web board feature to enable Web marketers to share questions,
tips, and opinions.
- Standard Web site packages.
Prices are: single page Web site, $275; 6-page Web site, $795;
12-page Web site, $1,330; 20-page Web site, $1,895.00. We try
to include everything the small business will need except for
Internet Service Provider fees.
- On-Line Retail Stores. Our stores feature state-of-the-art Mercantec SoftCart shopping
cart software and ViaCrypt PGP encryption (if you desire to receive
orders via e-mail).
- Consulting for Corporate Solutions. When your needs exceed small business packages, we'll tailor our
services to help you provide custom solutions. We offer telephone
consulting, as well as a limited amount of on-site consulting.
This fall and winter we will be speaking at several conferences.
We hope you'll become one of our valued clients. You'll find that
our philosophy is to delight the client, to give you more than
expected. Please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone
us at (916) 652-4659, Monday-Friday, 7 am to 4 pm Pacific Time.
© 1996, Ralph F. Wilson, all rights reserved. Please do
not reprint or host this information on your Web site without
specific permission from the copyright holder. Thank you.
- Back issues archived at http://www.wilsonweb.com/wmt/
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