Volume 43, Issue 7 - July 2008
Building an Online
E-media, short for “electronic media,” is the Internet’s equivalent to traditional, offline media. For instance, you might have a billboard along Interstate 90 near your hometown. You may also engage in online banner ads, the Internet’s billboard counterpart.
You may send postcards, coupons or other advertisements through the mail. The E-media parallel? E-mail marketing. Not just e-mail—but a professionally designed, strategically scheduled group of e-mails designed to turn prospects into customers.
What about television advertising, one of the last traditional marketing methods not yet seized by Internet giants like Google? Though not quite the same in its focus or how it’s targeted, online video advertising is working to become television media’s equal.
The obvious question, then, is why are these important and how can you use them for your business?
You can build your own banners with various computer art programs, find free banner programs like www.abcbanners.com or have a professional web developer create one for you. Fees for professional banner creation can range anywhere between $50 and $1,000, depending on who builds it and the complexity of the banner itself.
Deciding where to place a banner can be tricky, and will take some research to determine which sites will likely deliver the best value. A banner can be placed on any site that accepts them, but fees will vary greatly. Some sites charge based on views, or how many times your banner was displayed. Others charge for clicks, similar to a pay-per-click campaign (see April 2008 USGlass, page 12).
But will you have success from banner advertising? Banners are wonderful for gaining brand awareness and driving traffic to your site. The cost per visitor is also, typically, quite low. However, conversion rates on most banner ads are poor at best. It may be worth testing with a small budget.
E-mail marketing should only be used to market to current or previous customers, or those that have given their consent to be sent e-mails from your company. Never buy a list or send mass e-mails to another company’s address list.
The ability to build a prospect list, communicate to them quickly and regularly, and track the exact ROI are among the top benefits of this form of marketing. In many cases, it will cost less than $0.10 per recipient, far less than the paper, printing and mailing costs of traditional mail.
There are some additional costs involved, however. For instance, you will need a professional e-mail marketing program, typically in the form of an online subscription. These programs manage your growing address list and help create professional, graphical e-mails designed to entice customers to buy from or contact you. Fees for these services can range anywhere from $5 to more than $1,000 per month. They will also charge a per-e-mail fee, usually between $0.02 to $0.20, depending on the number of e-mails sent. Companies such as www.ConstantContact.com may be a good place to start, with plans as low as $15 per month.
Take a minute to visit www.YouTube.com and you’ll see how popular video is online. Pick just about any video, whether it’s a commercial, how-to or music video. Notice how many thousands of times each video has been watched. Now imagine if you could utilize this type of mass exposure to drive traffic to your site, or use it on your site to communicate with an engaged audience and build retention.
For the glass industry, I highly recommend how-to and/or explanation videos on your website. For example, place a how-to video on your site if you sell to residential installers. Help them understand how to install your product the right way. Or place an explanation video on your site if you sell to consumers. Show the care and pride your team takes in installing a new product. The possibilities are endless.
Cost for production and placement are so wide spread it would be impossible to estimate, but I recommend looking at your own marketing plan to decide how video might work best in your company. You can produce a video on your own, hire a local company or go all the way with a national production company. Either way, uploading a video to the web and linking to it is simple and inexpensive—and can boost your online presence beyond even your biggest competitors.
Scott Orth is the director of Internet marketing services at GTS in, Portland, Ore. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. Orth’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.