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Must-Knows if You Market on the Internet

By: Susan Dunn

Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, coaches individuals and executives in emotional intelligence, and offers workshops, presentations, trainings, Internet courses and ebooks.  She is a regular presenter for the Royal Caribbean and Costa cruiselines.  Visit her on the web at www.susandunn.cc and mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc for FREE ezine.

If you market exclusively through the Internet, or mainly through the Internet, you need to work on your communication style and develop one compatible with the Internet.

Here are some tips:
  1. Who owns the internet?

    We the people. What does that mean? Well unlike other means of communicating, the Internet started with a bunch of guys messing around, and it still has that flavor to it. It's hard to find a really "high brow" site, although they exist. The Internet very much belongs to all of us, the individuals in the world, and this egalitarian and inclusive ambiance is part of it because that's who designs websites, and writes for the Internet, as well as visits it! There are probably millions of websites designed by individuals, and many articles circulating the Internet are written by people like you and me. Some are more credentialed, some less credentialed, but everyone's welcome.

    Consider how your newspaper was even a decade ago. There were paid writers, who had titles and specific education, and only they were "allowed" to write for the publication. There was a letters to the editor section which was limited, and that was about it.

  2. How do we like to interact on the internet?

    Very actively, thank you very much. We want dynamic websites that are changing and offer us chances to take polls, respond by email, fill out forms and send them in, give feedback, interact! We want a blog!

  3. Who is on the internet?

    It started out as a US thing, but other countries are quickly gaining ground. I've read various predictions as to what country will come in #2 - India? Spain? Spanish-speaking users are leading in use of Instant Message. It's becoming more international all the time.

    The Internet started out as a thing for people with money, but as price goes down, and computer access goes up, participation becomes more broad.

  4. Who buys on the internet?

    This is like a marketers dream come true. Latest reports say that individuals with incomes over $100,000 lead in buying off the Internet, and more women than men. It's a generally affluent market as to purchasing online. How does that grab you?

  5. How do people act on the internet?

    We are on the Internet for speed and access. Time spent on any website can be as short as 20 seconds. If your site doesn't load in that amount of time, forget about it. 20 seconds is a VERY long time on the Internet. In no other medium is there such a need to get it across fast and accurately.

    We want our information fast and in bullets. We aren't particularly fond of graphics and noise, though photographs (particularly of human faces) will always be the first thing to grab anyone's attention). Many people still must access through their computer at work, and they don't want music playing or other things to alert their supervisor that, yes, well.

    Of course there are beautiful artistic sites out there, where you're happy to spend the time it takes; in fact that's why you're there. But for information and purchases, we want speed.

  6. How should you write on the internet?

    At about the 8th grade level. Not because we're dumb, because we're busy. Most people read on the Internet for quick information. Save your long sentences and big words for another venue. Work in bullets. Keep it brief. Be to the point.

  7. How do we want it to navigate?

    Like a knife through butter, like a ship through a glassy sea. We want it handed to us on a silver platter. That is, make sure all the buttons work, the navigation is easy to figure out, it loads fast, and it's super easy to purchase things. Just the click of a button! We expect to be catered to and to not have to 'work' at it. And have a good refund policy. Take credit cards and put PayPal on your site.

  8. What else do we expect?

    We expect the Internet to be inclusive. Use words like "we". Don't give orders as if you were an authority, or an expert, even if you are. Soften your tone, and don't be excessively academic.

    Sprinkle your web copy and articles with inclusive statements. Notice how I've used "We expect the Internet to be inclusive," instead of "People / They expect the Internet to be inclusive." I draw you right in. You like that, yes?

  9. One last thing -- cater!

    If you have an international following, Put a time zone chart on there, and a currency conversion chart. Announce that you take money orders and bank transfers. Give a discount for Canadians, who will always ask for it. Do some reading about the way other countries do things -- for instance, many more countries than not are used to bartering for everything. A fixed price to them is just the starting point for a negotiation, so be ready.

  10. And last but not least, how do you learn how to do this?

    Visit other sites regularly and read their copy, or hire a marketing service to write for you.

© Copyright 2004, Susan Dunn

Other Articles by Susan Dunn

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.

 

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