Dallas Business Consultant Elijah ClarkDallas Business Consultant Elijah Clark

Internet and Social Trends

The development of the internet has shifted businesses from paper-based and people-intensive purchasing frameworks toward electronic frameworks. In 2016, U.S. electronic commerce transactions accounted for $394.86 billion (11.7%) of total retail sales.[1] Online sales have seen a significant growth because of the internet. The progression of the internet and technology will continually add value to business and customer relationships and provide material for future marketing research.

Customers are moving toward the internet to develop knowledge, business insights, and for other personal reasons. Research has shown that businesses that utilize traditional marketing techniques and advertising methods have seen a decrease in revenue because consumers are moving online to search for businesses and make purchases. Considering the exceptional growth of the internet, businesses without a viable marketing strategy embracing the internet witnessed a lack of marketing effectiveness, product sales, and brand awareness. To counter the effects of the interpersonal communication that the internet presents, your business should obviously develop strategic marketing communication for targeting internet-based customers.

Using the internet to gather information aids in collecting pertinent data for better comprehending the perceptions of your customers toward your business. Given the development of the internet, you can utilize technology for storing and accumulating customer information. Likewise, because of the significant influence of the internet, you can also use the internet to help with establishing relationships with business partners and customers.

The internet affects individuals in their daily lives and can produce challenges for your business due to the accessibility of social media. Online networking has revealed an entryway for customers to express their concerns directly to your business, and this method of correspondence encourages interaction between your business and your customers. Subsequently, customers appreciate having their sentiments validated. However, the immediate and open forum of communication could present challenges for your business if you are not prepared to manage and grow with the online trend.

Customers have a significant influence on the brand awareness of your business as the opinions of customers can propel your brand reputation. For instance, inquiries, comments, and reactions on discussion boards often affect brand loyalty, social following, and purchasing habits. Given the internet, you have to carefully monitor your brand, public activities, and reputation if you want to stay ahead of customer concerns and problems that could impact your sales and business growth.

 

[1] https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2017/02/17/us-e-commerce-sales-grow-156-2016/

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

The Internet and Marketing

With the internet changing and advancing to web 2.0 technologies, your business has the opportunity to be marketed on broad online networks including social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. To create success within the web 2.0 market, you need to join online social environments and create brand awareness in a positive way. With thousands of social networking sites, blogs, and forums across the internet, you have a great opportunity to build your brand. With the development of new website techniques and the growth of online networking, the internet has become the largest marketing tool to build and grow businesses. You can create success with the internet through a combination of online marketing, customer referrals, and through satisfied customers promoting your brand online through social media.

Internet marketing gives your business the advantage of appealing to customers in a medium that has the power to deliver results instantly. Internet marketing is the key to having your website found by customers. Without marketing, your website may randomly be found once everyone couple of days or months, but it will not generate high revenue. You need to create as much exposure as possible to gain more customers. Just like a great job resume, it’s no good if you don’t send it out to employers. The same goes for creating a great website and not marketing it. If you can’t be found, you will not gain new customers. Internet marketing is relatively inexpensive, and your business can reach a wide audience at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising budgets.

Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization for a Small Business

Marketing is necessary for any small business if they want to build a strong online presence. While bigger businesses are going to be successful because of their name and more money invested, small business owners can still compete in the growing Internet market. There are many different non-expensive ways to make an online business have a big presence. The keys to understanding how an online business works is by researching the industry and the target audience. “Once you know what you should be looking at, your online business will thrive with just a little effort. You’ll be less ‘in the dark’ about what is and isn’t working for you” (Hill, 2009, p. 4). There are many free and non-expensive tools to help any business within the online and offline market. Along with knowing the industry and the target audience, an online marketer must also know where to find marketing venues and an effective audience.

In a research done by writer Carrie Hill, she mentions that there are at least four important metrics when it comes to understanding the how to gain new online customers. The first of those metrics is understanding conversion rates. “By measuring your conversion rate, analyzing sticking points, and clearing the paths to and through your sales pages, you’re making sure your conversions are on their way to being the best in the industry” (Hill, 2009, p. 7). The next metric mentioned is referring sites & keywords. This consists of using popular relevant affiliate sources for marketing to new customers. It also consists of knowing what keywords to use in order to create an effective advertisement. Bounce rate is also mentioned as the third of the four metrics. Bounce rate is used to determine if a page is being effective. A great example to understanding bounce rate is someone going onto a website, not seeing anything they like and immediately leaving the site without clicking on any link within the site. The final metric mentioned is measuring the number of unique visitors. This “gives you a better idea of the ‘people visits’ to your Web site versus the number of pages they viewed on the site” (Hill, 2009, p. 18).

Writer Michel Martinez mentions search engine optimization tactics consisting of Visibility, which he mentions “is an intangible aspect of search engine optimization” (Martinez, 2006, p. 2). Another mention is organizing the websites content to help the visitors and searchengines better understand the site. Almost all websites have embedded keywords in them and Martinez mentions that keywords are relevant but that they are “meaningless until you know how they fit into the big picture” (Martinez, 2006, p. 4). He continues by stating that “keyword research is fundamental to understanding what potential visitors need to draw them into a site” (Martinez, 2006, P. 16). His study also shows that site links are most important and should be organized just as well as the site content. He mentions segue points as being incidental content that is not indexable. This includes images, tables and boxes, which can clutter a web site and drive potential customers away.

Michael Rappa has a great article on the topic of running a business on the web. His article discusses that “a business model is the method of doing business by which a company can sustain itself — that is, generate revenue. The business model spells-out how acompany makes money by specifying where it is positioned in the value chain” (Rappa, 2009, p. 2). His research further states that many web marketer’s work together to create a broader range of customers. This includes using affiliate programs and advertising on one another’s site. An example of this would be one site owner being a web design company and the other being a search engineoptimization company. They can both offer the others services to their customers.

According to writer Jon Rognerud, he believes that social media marketing is a great way to better market an online business. He mentions how getting out in the social network arena and interacting with potential customers is a great way to get a business name out on the market. “Social media marketing (SMM) is a form of internet marketing which seeks to achieve branding and marketingcommunication goals through the participation in various social media networks”. Rognerud believes that “you can convert traffic if you target appropriately (research needed), and do not spam” ( Rognerud, 2008, p 10). This method can be very time consuming and can ultimately be a fulltime job with the extensive maintenance and updates that need to be made.

A Writer from Thomas Reuters website says that “Business owners should carefully plan their marketing strategies and performance to keep their market presence strong” (Reuters, 2009, p. 1). Without planning, there could potentially be lots of time and money wasted targeting the wrong audience or not targeting effectively. “Marketing is based on the importance of customers to a businessand has two important principles.

1. All company policies and activities should be directed toward satisfying customer needs.

2. Profitable sales volume is more important than maximum sales volume” (Reuters, 2009, p. 2).

“Market research will also identify trends that affect sales and profitability. Population shifts, legal developments, and the local economic situation should be monitored to quickly identify problems and opportunities. It is also important to keep up with competitors’ market strategies” (Reuters, 2009, p. 4). Keeping up with competitors strategies can be very effective and can save from potentially wasting time and money. This can be affective, not only by studying what competitors are doing right, but also what they are doing wrong.

There are plenty of ways to better market any business online. Most programs that can help do this are free of charge and have a very reliable technique that can only help any business. These methods aren’t just used by small businesses, but they are used by anyone who is looking to better market their online business. Even with the amount of tools to help market these businesses, it is very time consuming. There is no one method to use to create a flawless online marketing plan. The most effective method that any business can use to better their business is to take the time by researching and staying updated on the market and the target customers.

 

Credits

Hill, C. (2009). Taking the fear out of web analytics for your small business. RetrievedNovember 8, 2009, from http://searchenginewatch.com/3634179/

Martinez, M. (2006). Four fundamental principles of seo. Retrieved November 15 2009, from http://www.seomoz.org/blog/four-fundamental-principles-of-seo

Rappa, M. (2009). Business models on the web. Retrieved November 8, 2009, from http://digitalenterprise.org/models/models.html

Rognerud, J. (2009). Social media marketing beginner’s guide. Retrieved November 14, 2008, from http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2008/04/social-media-marketing-beginners-guide.html

Thomson Reuters. (2009). Marketing basics. Retrieved November 8, 2009, from

Analyzing the Context of Internet Marketing

Mobile vs. Traditional Internet Context

CompanyEC (CEC) currently does not have a mobile based website. While its current website does fit a normal touch screen mobile device, it is not built for mobile devices at all. The biggest concern from some mobile device users who have tried to view the CEC website, is that they are getting slow loading times for the website. What CEC should do to fix this issue is create a website made specifically for mobile devices (FairWinds Partners, 2007). What this mobile website should include is a link to the about us, testimonials, portfolio, contact us and make a payment. Each of these pages should also be optimized for mobile browsing to allow for faster speed, better graphics and a small amount of clicks to help navigate the user quickly. In addition to creating a mobile website for consumers mobile devices, creating a new marketing plan aimed at mobile devices could also benefit CEC’ mobile marketing (Fairchild, 2009).

Cultural Uniformity Within a Country vs. Cultural Variation within your country: 

I believe that the United States does have cultural differences. These differences include consumers locations, lifestyle, income and many other psychographics and demographics. Being that CEC is an online business located in Dallas, TX, we have to direct our marketing toward consumers within the area. These consumers are normally different form those within other parts of the country. Being that I have personally lived up north and now down south, I have seen many differences in the culture of these consumers. Our normal consumers from up north are normally focused more on design and price, while our consumers from the south are concerned about building a relationship and trust with our company. We have had to change the way that we did business once we moved locations. Nonetheless, being that we work with customers all throughout the country, we try to keep our business practices universal to all customers.

I believe that Internet Marketers target specific ethnic groups. While I believe this, I believe that sometimes, it is necessary based on the target market that the particular business would like to attract. For example, CEC has never had a Middle Eastern customer. Knowing that most of our consumers are African American, Hispanic or White, we target our marketing efforts toward these individuals and businesses because it has a better chance at success as it is proven. Nonetheless, being that we do want all customers and ethnics to purchase services from our company, we may need to look into our marketing strategy and find out a way to make it attractive toward all ethnicities.

Credits

Fairchild, T. (2009). Matching mobile ads to consumer intent. Retrieved May 28, 2010, from http://searchengineland.com/matching-mobile-ads-%20to-consumer-intent-24647

FairWinds Partners LLC. (2007). Mobile web: what is the mobile web? Retrieved May 28, 2010, from http://www.fairwindspartners.com/en/newsroom/perspectives/vol-2-issue-7/mobile-web

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