Here are a number of considerations for your interactive marketing plan:
Pull vs. Push – The web medium is a pull medium not a push medium. This means the presentation to the viewer has to be stimulating enough to attract and build interest but not too stimulating such that the viewer is confused and put off. “Call to action” text and images are important tools used to pull the viewer further into the site and have them register or purchase. The web site and email are always asking the viewer to interact. If the viewer does not interact the perspective customer is lost.
Usability – Once the viewer is interested, the web site or email has to be designed extremely simple so that any type of user would be able to figure out how to either contact the company or to fill out a registration process. When a viewer is completing a process it is important that the user understands why the information is needed and what it will be used for. The simplicity of the site and learn-ability of the site allows a user to easily flow through the site and find what they are looking for as well as know where they are on the site without getting lost. A user is only on a page for an extremely short period of time. If a viewer becomes frustrated they we will be off to another site in one click.
Content is King – The content is important on a site for a number of reasons. The most important is the education of perspective buyers. Often a perspective buyer may not know they are looking for your business until they learn more about what you can offer and why it is important. An educated buyer shortens the sales cycles allowing for more sales opportunities. Depending on the information the site or page will be spread to others seeking the same information. This helps in the branding of your company and product. The second reason is the ability to place the site on search engines. When done correctly the web site can be placed extremely well compared to a site that has no content.
Advertising – The greatest company or product will never succeed without marketing and advertising. Whether the adverting is viral “word of mouth” or direct “email and snail mail” or passive “search engine placement”. Unfortunately doing only one of the above will not work either. One of the first tasks for a new site launch is to place the site on search engines. The search engines are like yellow pages for a phone number. Depending on the other tactics being used, a simple submission of the company name may suffice. In other cases, especially more commodity type industries, the advertising must target specific product categories. Being placed on a search engine under a specific name can be expensive so do your homework and analyze your payback. Also write the description for the search engine such that only qualified buyers will click on the link. Remember your search engine campaign needs to correlate with your other advertising campaigns to truly be successful.
If the site is to have an email newsletter then the site should have opt-in and opt-out forms. Collecting email addresses of perspective buyers is extremely valuable and will take time.
Know your customers – The more personal the presentation is with perspective customers the more your company will be a step above the competition. Everyone likes to be treated special. Create your campaign so that it truly targets the perspective customers likes and personality. Getting inside their head is key. This effects how the copy is written to the graphic images, colors and style. What concepts and images are your perspective customers going to resonate with?