Web Marketing Tips from Target Marketing

Jim Sterne answers the question: Is there stupid … dumb … bad marketing on the Web

Sleepless in Seattle asks:

Stupid . . ., Dumb . . ., Bad? marketing on the Web? Is there such a thing?

Well, Sleepless, if you were really spending your evenings awake you’d discover there is more stupid, dumb and bad marketing on the World Wide Web than any other kind. With the possible exception of annoying.

Bad Web marketing is generated by a couple of errant synapse misfirings, the most common of which is the thought that a Web site is just an electronic brochure. A flat, tell-all, sell-all, hype-it-up document that can be put up and forgotten.

As proof that this is really BAD marketing, I offer up the following e-mail I received a couple of months ago:

Dear Mr. Sterne:

I really enjoyed your seminar and got a lot out of it. One of your Web site rules really hit home recently. You said a Web site should be kept up to date and fresh. Well, when I went to visit YOUR Web site, I found the information old and out-of-date.
Thanks for the lesson.

I keep this as a memento and as a creative juice maker whenever I am in need of a handy excuse. “I’ve been so busy” is getting way too old. Now, I read this and can quickly come up with “My Web site host lost my directory and didn’t have a recent back up,” or “I just got back from a trip to the Australian Outback where my satellite up-link batteries had overheated.”
A Web site is an on-going relationship with your customers. Keep it alive. Keep it fresh. Keep it up-to-date!

The second most common mistake made by Web builders is thinking that this on-going relationship is a one-way street. The Internet is a communication medium, not a broadcasting medium. That means people should exchange ideas, not just spray them out.

The Web is not a television. People can talk back. It’s your job as a Webmaster to invite them to do so. Look at the Ragu site (www.eat.com). The folks at Ragu give you more ways to talk back than a radio talk show. Besides the expected survey (which, by the way, goes on and on) they invite visitors to tell stories and review restaurants. This is the right way to bring people into the fold and make them a part of the action.

So, Sleepless, if you’re building a Web site, remember that the Internet is for INTERaction and INTERface. Think of it as an INTERcom to help create INTERest.

Adamantly yours,

Jim Sterne
Target Marketing