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Thursday, Jul 7, 2022

Advertising

Advertising on the Internet

By Madeleine Juarez

Internet advertising continues to be a hot topic of discussion, capturing the attention of traditional and new direct marketers, and for

good reason. The size of the Internet market is enormous and growing

at double-digit rates as both individual companies and on-line service

providers rush to make their connections.

For the advertiser, costs of on-line advertising can be extremely nominal while the returns can be significant. However, since the Internet advertising market is so new, it can be very difficult to predict rate of response or the return on investment on the advertisement without first testing a variety of on-line vendor services and staying with them for prolonged periods of time.

There is even a more difficult question facing advertisers: How do I

get my audience to see my product on the Internet? The purpose of this

article is to examine some simple and economical methods for advertisers to test this growing market, without spending an extensive amount of time or money.

Until recent years, navigating the Internet meant you had to learn UNIX,

the operating language of the Internet, along with its essential

navigating commands. Now, software makes this challenge less difficult. Still, the vast majority of potential Internet users that make

up this growing market don’t know how to get around on the Internet.

Many of the internet’s advertisers are drawn in by hype regarding response and by the reported size of the audience on the Internet at any given time. It’s easy to get carried away into believing that just because you advertise on the Internet that 20, 30, or 40 million people are going to see your ad, just because it’s there.

The truth of the matter is that it just isn’t so. First, people have

to know your ad exists and the locations where you can go and find it.

Secondly, people have to have the ability to go and read it. It will

still be some time before a large enough segment of the market

possesses the software and becomes familiar and comfortable with its

usage. Advertisers are beginning to realize that not everyone’s an

expert.

As you plan your Internet advertising strategy, it’s worth knowing the

least common denominator of on-line proficiency among computer users

today. Ask yourself what kinds of software, hardware, and level of

usage skills does the largest and broadest segment of on-line users

possess.

One of the main reasons that an ad doesn’t work is that the advertiser does not properly estimate the audience’s size and proficiency with on-line usage. For the advertiser to ignore this basic principle would be like choosing to place a billboard on Mount Everest because it’s the tallest mountain in the world, and so anything you put on it must be visible to millions of people.

If it’s true that the Internet is used by tens of millions of people,

but by the same token the vast majority don’t know the first thing

about navigating it or even have the right software to use, how do

companies use it cost-effectively?

While there are various kinds of options and sources you can access

that will give you information about how to go commercial on the

Internet, one advertising method that is easy to use and is used by

thousands of companies is known simply as auto-response e-mail.

Instead of trying to direct your audience to your ad, auto-response

e-mail allows your ad to come to them instead.

Moreover, users don’t need to own any sophisticated software, graphical interfaces or high-speed modems. All they need to do is simply address an e-mail message and their work is done. Using auto-response e-mail allows businesses to tap the enormous populace that is not connected through one source or another to the Internet. A business can set up numerous addresses, each of which is preprogrammed by the advertiser to send a different file or document back to the requesting party. This is much the same as fax-on-demand. Naturally, you’ll want to provide your prospects with both your e-mail address, along with your telephone number and physical address as well.

By using auto-response e-mail, an individual simply addresses a piece

of e-mail and sends it to an address, which may look like info@xyz.com.

Nothing more has to be said in the body of the e-mail message because

the receiving reply to that e-mail is preprogrammed to reply to the e-

mail address of “info,” by sending back a specific document or file to

the person who sent the request. No one on the receiving end will ever

even see the e-mail request or have to manually answer it.

This makes sense for two reasons: One, there is no danger of information getting lost in the overload of data already stored in the thousands of Internet user groups; and Two, auto-response e-mail needs no special skills because the information is sent directly to the party who requested it, no matter where they are. A potential respondent or buyer can access your information from virtually any bulletin board system, commercial on-line system, university campus, or on the Internet through an independent access provider. No technical skills, Internet navigation skills, nor Unix skills are needed.

Your recipients don’t even need to type I-N-T-E-R-N-E-T.

There are basically two ways to incorporate auto-response e-mail into

your operations. First, there are a number of Internet providers at

this time that can offer you this service. Some have fixed rates while

others have rates based on the number of requests made for your document or your file. This is a popular method because it prevents the auto-response provider from taking a financial bath if his system were

to send out your document to one million people who requested it.

Remember, in addition to supplying equipment and the know-how, the

Internet provider is also paying for the telephone time to transmit

your document to the requesting party each time.

Another alternative is to use the services of a company that has

established a track record with auto-response classified advertising.

Using this approach, your ad or information will be packaged along

with others in a similar category, so that everyone requesting ads

dealing with your product or service will also receive information

for other products and services as well.

In addition to a much lower price, this alternative also requires you

to be far less proficient in knowing how to navigate the Internet.

Additionally, a professional classified provider will normally help

create and type in your ad so you don’t have to figure a way to upload

your information to him.

Once you begin using auto-response e-mail, you’ll appreciate how it

can effortlessly speed up your operation of sending information to

potential customers and receiving responses from the customers to the

supplier.

Below are some do’s and dont’s for Internet advertisers.

DO:

1. Examine the skills and computer equipment belonging to your

friends, business associates, neighbors, and people with whom you

work.

2. Examine your own proficiency with the software and the on-line

service. Do you really know how to use your software and can you

find your way around the various areas of your favorite on-line

service?

3. Examine Your Product. Are you selling a minicourse on quantum

physics to thousands of scientists who navigate the Internet

regularly, or, a product that appeals to someone like yourself?

Observe methods employed by other advertisers with similar pro-

ducts.

4. Quantify your audience. How many people do you need to reach, what

percentage of the market does your favorite on-line service

actually address? Tailor your message as closely to your audience’s

demographics as possible. (When Pizza Hut started advertising on

the Internet, it was probably because they wanted to reach the

majority of Internet users who are male university students who

are apt to become hungry while doing project research late at night

on the Internet).

5. Define your objectives. Are you willing to give less or more time

to tests, compared with your other media? Will the exposure combined

with the image your product conveys play a role in your

upcoming on-line campaign?

DON’T:

1. Place an ad on the Internet if the audience cannot conveniently

access your ad at a particular location.

2. Assume that most people have the navigational skills to access your

ad.

3. Overestimate the attention span of your typical on-line respondent.

Most users will willingly download text if you don’t overload their

senses.

4. Underestimate the message. Clarity, brevity, realism, and a trust-

fully restrained sales pitch should be sent to your audience.

5. Be unaware of your audience’s idiosyncrasies regarding viewing

commercial messages.

Don’t assume that all on-line advertising is unobtrusive to users.

Using methods such as auto-response e-mail can increase the chance

that your audience will read your message by giving respondents the

feeling of control to select only that product information that they

feel has considerable value.

Madeleine Juaraez is an independent web page designer based in Thousand Oaks.

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