Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa.

This website is a compilation of Ray's 10 years on the Web.

Baker's Dozen INDEX

13 Web "DO's" for 2003 ... and beyond

In 1999 I pulled together a collection of "Do's and Don'ts" for your web site. It's time for an update.

For the vast majority "business as usual" is still happening. And will. For a while longer. Oh sure, the web is becoming more important - it has not taken over. Yet.

My earlier article said this:

" . . . in less than half a generation -- 10 years from the time the

Web really took off, you had better be in line. What I am saying is

if you are not involved with the Web as a marketing and business

tool by 2004, or sooner, you will be leaving money on the table."

Generally, I still believe this. Yet, before I begin this laundry list ... a side note:

Some of you reading this should NOT have a Web site!

What? Yes, just as some of you are not on television or using radio, many of

you are not using outdoor posters or bus cards, some of you should not be on the

World Wide Web.

Heresy, you say. The Web is "the" door for everyone to walk through. It makes

us equal. It offers more opportunities and benefits than any other tool.

My response; Hog wash! The WWW, as a marketing tool, is nothing more than another way to communicate your message to your marketplace. For many of us it is wonderful. For some it is not today -- and may not be tomorrow -- for you.

Still, if you are on the web, or will be soon, I've created a marketing list of

13 DO's. If you have a site you may find several of these thoughts useful. If you are yet to join the revolution, you may wish to take notes.

WWW Idea #1: DO know the WWW isnow ready for prime time

Audio and video and everything in color is here. For home and business.

High speed is here. Not everywhere - still, if you live in a place of 100,000 or more you probably have your choice of several Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who offer speed. For a price. The web has grown up - and done so much faster than any tool ever invented by we humans.

Yet, interestingly, your audience still expects a selection, just as they always have;

a). meaningful content - quickly presented and easy to understand

b). interactive content -- although for some this is waaaay down

the priority list, more and more like some "action" online

c). an opportunity to participate -- meaning at a minimum e-mail,

maybe a survey,and a reason to return to your site

It's unlikely these ideas are going to change. As each is a "people" thing. For both business and consumer marketers, you'll be wise to remember it is people who buy what you sell.

WWW Idea #2: DO adopt and adapt traditional Direct Response Marketing techniques

The single biggest mistake is thinking the Web is "different". And thus

forgetting -- or ignoring -- Direct Marketing basics. The principles. Do not do that. Please don't do that.

Aim your message to the right audience. Present a sound offer. Offer value. Understand timing. Know that featureswith benefits sell. And that brand and image DO make a difference.

Present DM principles on the Web as you do in other media. Mail, print, broadcast.

They apply equally in this "new" medium, too.

WWW Idea #3: DO make it easy to "see" your site

You have8 seconds to capture your audience. Period!

You may think this is a such a basic, a slam-dunk, it's not important to include. I think it is still very important. Why? Because, even today, not everything happens at the speed of light. And remember ... with direct mail you have only 2-3 seconds to grab the reader.

In print it's less than 4 seconds ... for newspapers and magazines. And between 12-15 seconds on an outbound telemarketing call.

Web sites that take too long to load lose. So, being "creative" is AOK -- as long

as you include substance. Meat and potatoes. Useful knowledge. With graphics that are quick, clean, clear ... andfast!

Audiences today are VERY impatient. And because there is so much choice on

the Web, if you fail to be good quickly, you fail! Your competition will get your business.

WWW Idea #4: DO build your site with foresight -- think ahead -- think tomorrow.

As with any marketing effortCThink, Plan & Organize. The Web has many

"moving" parts. It is growing and changing constantly. Just like the "other" children in your life. And just as fast, too.

First, know your objectives. Know where you have been before your Web

presence. Know where you are today. And know where you are going. As in sport, politics, manufacturing and most endeavors, you must plan ahead. Today you must think about tomorrow.

Have a plan. Write it in "pencil" ... as youwill change it. Still, without a plan you'll have nothing to change. Think ahead.

WWW Idea #5: DO design your site to be interesting

This relates to Idea #3. Yet, it is more than speed.

Make your site easy for your audience to find. To use. To get around, to understand. And to return to.

A Web site should not be a chess match. With a zillion options and a path that

wiggles in a "S" fashion. Instead, make your message clear. Allow your audience to dig in and find what's important for them.

An internal search engine is almost mandatory. A clean navigation bar, most often in more than one place, with degrees of detail, helps, too.

Remember, you are not trying to win -- you are trying tomake a customer.

WWW Idea #6: DO think traditional creative ... with a web twist

The Web is marketing tool when I write about it. Meaning tradition wins out over inventive. Or "new" for the sake of new.

The Web is a way for you to get, to keep, to service and sell a customer. It is another venue for you. And for your prospect and client, too. Nothing more.

The WWW is a delivery system. It delivers news, information, knowledge.

It delivers services and products. It delivers convenience and customer service. Fast - yes. Better, only maybe. Different, absolutely.

All of which meanseveryone involved with your Web objectives MUST

be involved from the beginning. And stay involved thought-out the process. So your delivery is what it needs to be. This means management, marketing, creative and the techy folks making it happen.

Remember ... your Web site is not "creative" -- it is marketing.

WWW Idea #7: DO spread your creativity around

Sure, your Home Page and Splash Page are important. It's what your audience

sees first. So, it must be interesting -- it may need to be creative to be interesting.

Yet, "inside" is important, too. Until you know better, ALL elements are

equally important. ALL!

Why is this so? Because you do not know where your marketplace will dive

first. History, over time, will teach you things. Still -- share your creativity within each

section, each page. Spread it around.

My favorite marketing word is "interesting". Because, if it's not interesting your prospect will never become a customer. Be creative everywhere.

WWW Idea #8: Yes, DO be creative ... and make your unique ideas abenefit to your readers

"Shock" for the sake of shock is not the point. "Creative" and "unique"

must perform. Have a reason for their being.

One way to be both creative and offer benefits is with short bursts of ideas. Bits

of knowledge, meshed with a sound offer. Presented "interestingly". So your reader has a reason to return. Again and again.

Much like comic strips in newspapers. The good ones keep you "hooked" so

you'll come back to them again and again. Ditto the serial movies run Saturdays in theaters across America pre-television. And today similar to the afternoon soap operas

on television. There is always a reason to return.

That's real creativity ... getting people to visit you over and over. Again and again.

WWW Idea #9: DO offer what you sell ... sell what you offer

"Sell" may not always be an exchange involving money. It may be an inquiry,

a question, a request for more information, a soft response.

Do on your Web site what you do in all your advertising, public relations,

sales promotion, merchandising and marketing. If you sell nuts and bolts, present nuts

and bolts. If you sell financial services, share those services.

Sell the value you offer. Not what you might do next -- instead what you do

now. Remember delivery, mentioned earlier? Deliver!

Your WWW site should compliment, not compete, with what you already do.

For max results it must "work with" all your marketing.

WWW Idea #10: DO learn, Learn, LEARN!

The Web is so new there are no experts. There are many, many opinions.

Today the Web is a teaching tool as well as a marketing medium. So, learn, learn,

learn. Study, read, listen. Try anything that makes common sense.

And always remember "there are no failures, only lessons". When you're down,

success will come from getting up and starting again.

Do whatever you do again. And again. Yes, learn, Learn, LEARN!

WWW Idea #11: DO know that yesterday it was, today it is, & tomorrow the WWW will be a "read" tool

Although changes happen rapidly, today the WWW is more text than graphics

when it comes to marketing and sales.

This will not always be the case -- today the Web is for reading. At least until it

changes in a wholesale way -- which will definitelynot be before the magical half generation year of 2004. So, you must write to be read.

Know how surfers read. Here's what they tell us about what they expect when

they get to your Web site:

... an easy entry and easy to get about,

... crisp, clean, clear language and message,

... a few sound choices, not dozens,

... a meaningful offer,

and ... thatyou will fulfill your promises - promptly.

DO it!

WWW Idea #12: DO present a "seamless" message

What you do everywhere you do on the Web, too. When it comes to presenting

your message to be read ... follow these basics and win on the Web, too;

a). tell your story in words ... it is copy that sells

b). present your message in short bursts, with short words,

short sentences, short paragraphs

c). keep your graphics "simple", as a strong support to your text

d). "demonstrate" your product & service with stories & examples

e). ask for something to happen, urge action, request a response

f). recognize privacy IS an issue - use common sense in gathering

and using data of all types

g). it's NOT an option ... offer superior follow-up & back-end

customer service

h). avoid "cob-webs" ...keep your site up to date, in synch with the

times and your marketplace, "anticipate" and make

changes quickly

I). set a schedule so your readers know what to expect from you,

and when - this guy recommends weekly-updates.

Do it!

WWW Idea #13: DO know these to be facts -- be ready for the opportunity

These are "facts". Know them. And plan to be in position to take advantage

of opportunities now and deep into this new 21st Century:

* today everyone has a "snail-mail" box

* today nearly everyone has a "wireless" radio

* today almost everyone has a telephone, pager, beeper - or all

* today most people have local television, cable, satellite - or all

And very soon ... in YOUR lifetime ...everyonewill have an E-mail address and be surfing the World Wide Web.

Know this ... and all 13 Web "DO's" for this first decade of the 21st . Get ready!

Baker's Dozen INDEX

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