Market by giving useful information

On the web, you market best by giving users the factual information they want as easily and quickly as possible. Because web users see so much less at a time on the screen than on a piece of paper, there isn't the same room for non-factual "happy talk" as there is in a brochure or advertising flyer. And because web users are so often goal-oriented, they don't want to be distracted by information that isn't relevant to gathering up all the facts.

In Figure 6-7, the credit union is using lots of space at the top of the page for text that adds nothing to the information in the table. Most web users will go right to the table. What users need at the top are explanations of the terms such as APR and Loan to Value. (Don't expect web users to notice the asterisk in an online table or to scroll to the bottom of the page to read a footnote. That's a major difference between paper and web pages. On the screen, very few people connect an asterisk with footnotes or think of footnotes at all.)

This paragraph takes up information to the table.

( space but adds no

This sentence is important, \ • • J but it should be closer to the table.

Many people looking for a f ji i car loan won't know what ^«X "loan to value" means.

This paragraph takes up information to the table.

( space but adds no

This sentence is important, \ • • J but it should be closer to the table.

Many people looking for a f ji i car loan won't know what ^«X "loan to value" means.

©The asterisk after APR is telling you that there's an explanation at the bottom of the screen. Most users don't realize that.

Figure 6-7 People come to financial sites to look up facts. They don't usually read the marketing blurbs on pages like this. They just want the rates. www.wsecu.org

All sites sell - products or themselves

Some sites sell products. The main purpose of an online store or a travel site or a hotel site is to derive revenue from online sales. E-commerce sites sell best by

• helping site visitors find what they want

• giving them the information they want about the products

• getting them through the buying process effectively and efficiently

Other sites sell themselves. Information-rich sites that aren't primarily "commercial" may not derive direct revenue from their online presence.

But they are, in fact, marketing themselves - usually as the place to go for whatever information they specialize in. And they succeed best when site visitors get what they want: reliable, credible, up-to-date, factual information that is easy to find, easy to understand, and easy to use. That's more important to most site visitors than a mission statement, organization chart, or detailed history.

The web is primarily a "pull" technology; marketing specializes in "push"

On paper, companies market by sending information to people. The company starts the conversation. That's a "push" technology - the company is pushing information out to potential customers.

"Push" does exist in the web world. When people register at a site, they often agree to receive notices that come to them in email. Many sites invite people to sign up for newsletters on specific topics that then also arrive "pushed" to them in their email.

Most web contacts, however, are "pull" technology. People come to your web site on their own initiative to "pull" information from the site. As we've seen throughout this book, the web is most often used as a conversation started by the site visitor. If site visitors start the conversation, you must satisfy the need they came for first - before you try to market to them.

Marketing departments are accustomed to thinking in terms of how to draw people in. On the web, however, your primary worry should be how not to drive away the people who have chosen to come to your site.

Take advantage of "marketing moments" - market after the visitor is at least partially satisfied

The time to market on a web site is after your site visitors have satisfied at least part of their need. Many online bookstores are particularly adept at taking advantage of "marketing moments," as in the example from Barnes and Noble in Figure 6-8.

The Founders credit union (Figure 6-9) does a great job of getting people directly to the facts; but then it misses the opportunity to market to them from the facts.

A "marketing moment" is a time and place on the web site when site visitors are ready for a marketing message. A marketing moment is not meant to distract your site visitor. A marketing moment is a natural follow-on or complement to what your site visitor is doing.

When it shows the price, ' the site suggests you become a member and

Will the offer of free f ^J delivery lookers into buyers?

Figure 6-8 Barnes & Noble, like other online bookstores, takes advantage of marketing moments - when site visitors are at the information they came for. www.bn.com

When it shows the price, ' the site suggests you become a member and save 10 percent.

Will the offer of free f ^J delivery lookers into buyers?

convert some

©Don't you want what others are also buying?

Figure 6-8 Barnes & Noble, like other online bookstores, takes advantage of marketing moments - when site visitors are at the information they came for. www.bn.com

This web page is very clean yyJ and clear. It gives the basic facts.

But what do you do if you are interested in one of these loans? The table has no links to further information.

, To get more information, 1 you have to select from the tabs at the top.

, Site visitors get no help with 1 technical terms like "Fixed APR" and "Variable APR."

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About Founders

Loam - Ratee Effc ctive: 5/25/2006

About Founders

Loam - Ratee Effc ctive: 5/25/2006

Auto Loans

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3.95% - 17.50%

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Figure 6-9 This credit union has made the rates easy to see, with no marketing fluff before the numbers; but it has also stranded its visitors. It could market to them now by making the types of loans into links or by putting inviting links next to the loan names.

www.foundersfcu.com

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