Dallas Business Consultant Elijah ClarkDallas Business Consultant Elijah Clark

Using CafePress.com to help Market your Business

Revenue Generation

The best way to build revenue with CafePress.com would by opening  a shop for your company. How revenue would be made is by selling products to customers with their company name and brand image on the products. Customers may also like to have their graphics printed on merchandise.


Building Online Community

How you could use your company and CafePress to build an online community is to create a shopping section on your company’s website with items that can be ranked by the users. Cafepress.com also has a network already built with users, which include rss feeds, social networking links and blogs. By joining your company into their already built community, it will help to expand your company brand name. Also by creating newsletters with product updates would help to build a network that merges cafepress.com and your brand.


Incentives, Rewards and Special Promotions

Your company could reward customers with special discounts or free products from our cafepress.com reseller store. A way to make this work would be to offer packages with graphic art work. An example would be a customer purchasing a new logo from your company. With that logo purchase, you can also offer specials and discounts on mugs, calendars, mouse pads and other products built through cafepress.com.


Viral and WOM marketing efforts

By getting involved with the current blog on cafepress.com and joining their social networking sites, your company could easily expand its brand name and image. Simply leaving comments and post within their already built community will easily expand the name of yourbrand through the networks of CafePress which are currently Facebook, MySpace, twitter, Flickr, YouTube and their own web blog.

Using Ning for Your Business

Ning allowed for its users to create custom social networking sites that could draw in new members. With these custom sites, Ning was able to find out what their users liked so that they could advertise directly toward them. While many other social networking sites have broad universal advertising, Ning has created the ability to advertise to its users based on their social network. This technique can be of great benefit to investors wishing to advertise on Ning. Ning ways of gaining new users is somewhat like a pyramid scheme, in the manner that it only succeeds by word of mouth from user to user.

Ning actually just made it so that if its users want to be successful, they would have to socialize. They would have to tell their friends about their new discovery and then have their friends sign on. The fact that a Ning user has to sign up and create their account to their custom liking, this method made its users get involved. Now once a user has completed its profile and new network, they now had to market it. After putting that kind of time into creating the network, users wont let it fall apart without at least trying to get others on board. Once those others came on board and saw what was going on and how easy it was, they too would want to create their own network.

Ning launched its website so quickly because of word of mouth. Each user became an advertiser for the website. Ning didn’t need to market because its users wanted it to grow just as badly as they did.  Just as many other social networking websites, Ning used the best marketing technique of all, word of mouth. Making your current customers happy will in turn bring more users.

Ning has the advantage of finding out what its users like. By allowing users to create their own networks, it allows Ning to advertise toward that particular network. I personally think that is a genius tactic to use. I can’t see how Ning could fail in trying to use this method. It only makes sense and sounds like a win for the company. However, my concern with this is that social networking users hate to see ads and they hate to spend money. Knowing that your network can get crowded with ads, it will throw many users away from using the system.

MySpace and facebook have tried to better their revenue by allowing advertisers and outside developers to come in and market on their sites to their members. While MySpace actually fell because of this technique that eventually felt like users were being spammed, facebook has created better control over its advertising techniques by keeping it clean (off of wall post and inboxes) and rather placed in away from its users and allowed them to opt out of certain advertisements.

I don’t believe that Ning does have enough to become so huge that it surpasses the competitors of MySpace and Facebook. Facebook now has it so that you can create your own networks of family and friends and when you don’t want someone in your network, you block them off. Your profile is your network. Ning will be attractive to many at the beginning because of its ability and new outtake on the social networking market. However, the reason that facebook became a success over MySpace is because Facebook has the most limits. The more you allow personalization in a social networking site, the worst off it is as many have seen with MySpace which had very little restriction on customizing everything. Facebook and Twitter allowed more time to socialize which is all that many users want. Designers will love Ning for its customizable features, but many who aren’t tech savvy, wont want to touch it. Less is better. Take it from Facebook and Twitter. Ning doesn’t have much opportunity to grow for the average unimportant user. A celebrity or news broadcasting network might have more use from using Ning, but the average person with less than 20-30 people who care enough to join their network, wont find much use in Ning. Ning doesn’t just take a username and picture upload like MySpace, Twitter and Facebook. It’s asking much more from its users and only time will tell if users feel like putting in that time.

The article speaks of Ning being like a Tupperware party. Just like a Tupperware party grows stale after the first person throws the party and cant throw the same party to the same people every week. Ning will also fail to this method. After a while it will only become a stalemate, as its users will realize that a social networking site has to be maintained regularly. A social networking site is a part or full time job; it doesn’t take a two-sentence tweet or status update to keep it going. It takes news updates, articles, podcast, videos, and lots of research. Many users just will find that they don’t have the time to maintain a Ning account.

A benefit of Ning is that those wishing to put together a social networking site =, can do so at an affordable price without having to pay a web developer thousands of dollars to do so. Ning actually just seems like a do it yourself social networking website.  Ning isn’t much more than a website building software program. The question is, how many people actually care to build their own website.

Web Site Privacy Policies – Example

Example of Privacy Policy:

We Collect

We consider “Personal Information” means any information that is linked to your identity such as your name, street address, telephone number, screen name, age and/or email address. CompanyEC.com may collect some or all of these types of Personal Information through a survey, questionnaire, promotions, or a registration form. CompanyEC.com requires registration in order for you to use your products and services or other activities such as viewing invoices or updating contact information.

In order to register on our site, we require you to disclose your name, street address, and email address. CompanyEC (CEC) will not collect any Personal Information from your visits to our sites unless you provide your Personal Information to us voluntarily, and we will not require you to provide more information than is necessary to participate in our web sites’ activities. We also do not collect financial or other sensitive data information about our users unless that information is voluntarily given during the ordering process.

Reason – We Collect

This statement is necessary as it describes what type of information we collect from our users when they are completing forms within the site. The reason for choosing this is that it is important information for CEC to have when processing customers orders. CEC makes all transactions online and through its website. In addition, it also collects information to monitor statistics and user activity throughout the website.

While CEC does mainly offer online services, the personal information is needed for invoices and for the sending of products to the customers via one of these methods mentioned above.

This portion of the policy is great to have to allow users to know what it is that we collect, why we collect it and why it is needed.

Security

All personal information, such as your name, postal and e-mail address or telephone number is considered private and confidential. This personal information is stored in a secure location, is accessible only by designated staff, and is used only for the purposes that you have given us permission for e.g. provision of services.

CompanyEC guarantees that no personal information will be released to an individual or corporation except when client authorization is received allowing the information to be released.

  • We employ reasonable and current security methods to prevent unauthorized access, maintain data accuracy, and ensure correct use of information.
  • Your personal data will be stored within a database that is located behind a firewall for added security. The server housing the database is physically protected at a secure, third party site and is monitored by security personnel twenty-four hours a day. Only authorized personnel can access the data center and the particular server housing the database.
  • No data transmission over the Internet or any wireless network can be guaranteed to be secure. As a result, while we try to protect your personal information, we cannot ensure or guarantee the security of any information you transmit to us.
  • We do not encrypt your normal web sessions with the Service using SSL. Any transmission to the CompanyEC website or service of credit card information uses SSL encryption.

Reason – Security 

“If you use SSL to transmit sensitive data, mention it here. Also, mention any steps that you’ve taken to protect customer data from hackers” (Allbusiness, 2010). With following this method mentioned above, this section is great to have as it allows for our users to know what it is that we secure and what we do not secure. In addition, it allows for our users to understand how we go about securing their personal information.

By users having a good understanding of what is considered personal information that will be secured, it will allow for them to make the select decision on whether they want to submit that information and other information. CEC collects lots of information from its users and not all of it is considered private and we do not go about securing it all. Being that a majority of the information isn’t going to affect the users security, we don’t secure it and through this section we inform the user of what it is that we will mark as personal and place it within our secured data center.

Third Parties

In the course of doing business, we employ other companies to perform a variety of functions on our behalf. For example, at times we may retain third parties to analyze, update and correct data we collect on our web sites, including Personal Information, to help us improve our products, our database and our web sites. In addition, we may share Personal Information with agents, suppliers, fulfillment houses and other third parties to allow delivery of information, products or services. These suppliers and other third parties may have access to your Personal Information if it is needed to perform their functions for CompanyEC, but they are not authorized by us to use your Personal Information in any way other than the intended use.

Reason – Third Parties

I chose this selection because it mentions that while we don’t sell information, we do have to hand some of it over to third parties to complete some orders. An example of this is when shipping items purchased through third parties for customers. I recently had to create a digital piece of work for a customer and then had to have that digital image blown up to a 36”x48” poster. The poster company that I utilized needed to know the customers information so that they could ship the poster to her location. The information that they needed to collect was her name, phone number and address.

“In some cases, depending on the nature of information, these third parties will also need to have a privacy certification” (eTrust, 2010). Once we hand over the information to these third party suppliers, it is out of our control on what they will do with that information. This policy statement allows for us to inform our users that we are not responsible for third party sites or company’s privacy policies. However, we will do our best to make sure that these companies are not soliciting our customers.

Contact Information

Should you have any questions or concerns about this Privacy Policy or the collection of information, please contact us at:

CompanyEC LLC. PO Box …

admin@CompanyEC.com

Reason – Contact Information

The reason for including the contact information is “If [the customers] feel that [our] privacy policy has been broken in any way, or if they have questions about [our] policy, they will want to reach [us] and should be able to do so easily” (Allbusiness, 2010).

This information is simple, but I find it to be an important aspect of the privacy policy as it allows for our users to easily contact us at the company for any concerns they may have.

Privacy Policy Changes

CompanyEC may change its privacy policy, but all changes made regarding disclosure of Personal Information to third parties will be made after notification through electronic means prior to the date the modified policy takes effect. Any new policy will have effect only, to information previously gathered without your express consent.

Reason – Privacy Policy Changes

Stating changes can be made at anytime to the privacy policy is the correct way to let users know that they should continue to view the privacy policy to be sure that they are up to date.

In addition, this section also allows for our users to know how they will be contacted and that they will be contacted when changes are made to the old policy that they agreed to.

By adding the date in which the policy was updated, it allows for users to stay informed on whether we made changes to the policy.

 

Credits

eTrust (2010). Privacy policy requirements. Retrieved September 17, 2010, from http://www.etrust.org/certification/privacy/privacy_requirements.html

Leiber, Nick. (2009). Why your web site’s privacy policy matters more than you think. Retrieved September 17, 2010, from http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/running_small_business/archives/2009/08/why_web_site_pr.html

Allbusiness. (2010). What a business web site’s privacy policy covers. Retrieved September 17, 2010, from http://www.allbusiness.com/legal/contracts-agreements-internet-legal/2639-1.html

Internet Consumer Behavior and Analysis – Case Study

Unaware of Need:

Through the use of social networking, PPC, referrals, and directory listings, CompanyEC can generate awareness to its brand. Currently, it uses each of these marketing techniques besides that of PPC. Organic results for the keyword “Dallas Web Design” shows CompanyEC between the first and second pages of Google, first page of Yahoo and second page of Bing. There is far greater potential for implementing a PPC campaign so to address additional keywords to target. Previous statistics have shown that a majority of customers find awareness about CompanyEC through previous customer referrals. Getting involved within online networks, referral programs and campaigns will successfully and inevitably generate awareness of the brand name and image.

Aware of Need:

Potential customers will find awareness of CompanyEC and its services through the use of search engine marketing, affiliate marketing and online directories. The main focus to generate the correct awareness is by the use of relevant keywords and placing the company’s name within niche directories and affiliate websites. This campaign will need to explain to the user why CompanyEC is the best and why they should choose this company over the competitors within the market. In addition, this campaign will need to address the needs of the potential customers. To do this, keywords or key phrases could be used to draw-in the potential customers to the company.

Supplier Search:

Lead generations will come through directories, referrals, and other intermediaries. While directory leads help to generate leads, they will not be the main focus as they only generate a very small percentage of leads. Because most leads come through referrals of previous customers, including a referral program within the website may be a great way to reward previous customers for their referred lead. This reward system may also inspire more leads. Referral programs may also work best due to previous customers satisfaction of the service that they will sell to the potential customers. If CompanyEC focuses more on making sure that current customers are being satisfied, then this referral program will bring endless success.

Evaluate and Select:

CompanyEC will use its most popular and relevant content to persuade users in their purchasing decision. Statistics show that the most popular content visited by users consist of the web design portfolio page, the testimonial section, and the company’s “About Us” page. By making these pages with easy access and usability, this will allow for users to find what they are looking for with ease. In addition to making these pages relevant for usability, they will also include quick links to the “Free Estimate” form and the telephone number to contact the company for further details and to receive an estimate for services. The main pages of the website are designed to get the user to where they want to go within one or two clicks.

Purchase:

In order to facilitate a purchase, customers will first complete a free estimate form. This form is needed in order to create an accurate estimate. Those customers who have additional questions, may call in using the telephone number on the website. Nonetheless, the estimate form will be completed either by the user on the website or by the telephone representative that the potential customer gives the service details to. Once this form is completed, the customer will be sent out an official estimate email that will include a link to make a down deposit payment to get started on the project. This payment system is done either on the website or via PayPal.

Post-Purchase Evaluation & Feedback:

Once the user has completed purchasing their services, they will be offered a discount on their next purchase. This discount will be in a percentage depending on a date and service type. In addition, completing a feedback survey will also allow for the customer to express any concerns or testimonials that they have about their service. This will be beneficial for use with future customers and business practices. Another option to add as a reward for previous customers is the option to receive a cash or money-back reward for a service referral in which they will receive once that referral purchases and completes a service.

Conclusion:

CompanyEC’s current online marketing strategy is to first aim at being amongst the first page of Google’s organic results under the keyword of “Dallas Web Design.” Once this is accomplished and proven to generate more site visitors, the next step is to put focus on previous customers and referral programs. This marketing strategy will work best in this order as it allows CompanyEC to focus on one marketing avenue at a time without being overloaded as it currently builds its in-house team of designers. While focusing on progressing organically within the search engines, CompanyEC is also partnering with local companies to offer more services to its customers. Once these agreements and expansions are created, CompanyEC will then focus on heavy marketing through PPC, email marketing campaigns, referral programs, offline paper marketing and offline networking. Previous studies have shown that while this marketing strategy is successful, it isnt beneficial to gain too many customers until the company first expands on the inside. Once CompanyEC is ready to expand on the outside with its marketing strategy, using this consumer behavior and analysis chart will create an excellent guide to creating a successful marketing campaign for understanding its customers.

 

Credits

Richarme, M. (2005). Consumer decision-making models, strategies and theories, oh my!. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from http://www.decisionanalyst.com/Downloads/ConsumerDecisionMaking.pdf.

Future Now. (2002). The buying process leads to a decision to buy. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from http://www.grokdotcom.com/index10-15-2002.htm

Cheung, C. Zhu, L. Kwong, T. Chan, G. Limayem, M. (n.d). Online consumer behaviora review and agenda for future research. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from http://ecom.fov.uni-mb.si/proceedings.nsf/0/c9beda3ca328c8b7c1256ea1002c72b8/$FILE/16Cheun g.pdf.

Constantinides, E. (2004). Influencing the online consumer’s behavior: the web experience. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from http://www.utwente.nl/nikos/research/publications/ecpapers/constantinidespaper influencing.pdf.

Harris Interactive. (2008). Digital influence index study. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from http://technomarketer.typepad.com/FH/DII_2008.pdf

Chaffey et al. (2009). Internet marketing. (pp. 57 – 87). Upper Saddle River, NJ. Prentice Hall

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