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Five last articles
  • Building a Web Store on Shoestring Budget in less than Four Hours

  • Thursday, May 12, 2005
  • Effective Web Search with Google's "My Search History" Tool

  • Monday, April 25, 2005
  • Beware of Spyware

  • Thursday, April 7, 2005
  • How to Build a Business Website

  • Tuesday, March 22, 2005
  • Effective use of your online time

  • Saturday, March 5, 2005
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    Attracting traffic with banner ads Thursday, September 30, 2004

    Attracting traffic with banner adsInternet is an ever evolving business platform. Doing business on the Internet differs in a number of ways from every day brick and mortar business. Change here is more frequent, more dramatic and may have greater impact than in a conventional business. Success in this climate can only come from quick response to the changes. Look at web advertisement! Just in a few short years, we have seen rise and fall of banner advertisement, email marketing, pop-ups, pop-unders and number of other marketing tools.

    Consider banner advertisement. In the beginning of Internet era, banner advertisement was one of the primer methods of online marketing. There were not many quality sites in those days. In search of good feature and content filled websites visitors were clicking through banners aggressively. Today, things are totally different! Over using of banners on the web pages forced to train our eyes not to notice banners any more. Visitors tend to avoid clicking through the banners unless there is a very compelling reason to do so. Does that mean the banner advertisement is dead? Not so soon!

    Although, banner click through rate is quite low in comparison to what it used to be, depending on your objectives banner advertisement can still be very effective. Banner ads are used today, either for creating brand recognition or for bringing in more traffic to the website and consequently generating more sales.

    Brand recognition

    As an overall brand awareness campaign, companies place banners on targeted websites.
    Banners of products with mass appeal are frequently posted on high traffic portals. If your goal is to make any of your products or services popular to certain niche market, you should find websites catering this particular audience and post banner ads. When visitors see your banners, whether they click on it or not same like traditional bill boards and TV advertisements it helps you building consciousness to your brand.

    According to a recent study, online banner ads can be as effective as television advertising as far as brand recognition is concerned. A survey was conducted among members of American Online who saw an ad of a product as a banner on the website and on TV commercial. The result indicated that 40 percent of the audience remembers the static banners and 41 percent remembers the TV commercial at the time of the poll conducted a few days later.

    Forester Research claims that you can get similar brand recognition effect from online ad campaign in comparison to traditional forms of advertisements for around 60 percent less cost. However, same like offline ads, in order to create a sustainable brand recognition, your online advertisement campaign also needs to run for a prolong period of time.

    Generating traffic

    Banner ads could be a good source of high quality traffic for your website if you manage your banner ad campaign wisely. If your main purpose of the campaign is to generate more sales by attracting traffic - which is any way should be the main goal of any e-commerce site you have to select sites to post banners where you target audience frequently visit. Pay per click search engines like Overture or Google Adwords are good options for your textual banner ads. Since the visitors are already looking for a website like yours by searching for the keyword that you have selected to place your ad, you get highly targeted traffic from this.


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    There are no fixed rules of effective banner ads campaign. You have to learn the program works best for you by trial and error. The principal idea behind any advertisement is to grab viewers attention, ignite their curiosity and motivate them to act. For banner ads it is no different!

    Do's and don't's of banner ads

    The following tips should help you getting better result from your banner advertisement campaign:

    1. Choose an attention grabbing content. Space is so limited in a banner same like newspaper headlines you have to come up with something that really gets viewers attention. Since you have to do it in one or two sentences, try using something funny, outrageous but intriguing. You can also use pictures, which deliver similar effect.
    2. Call to an action. Many people like to be guided. Tell them what to do such as Click here or Go to the website.
    3. Focus on one offer. Your banner ad should carry one single message. By including several offers in one ad, chances are you will confuse viewers rather than intrigue.
    4. Make it readable. Even a greatly designed banner will fail to motivate a viewer if the text on it is not readable.
    5. Avoid information overload. Too many pictures, colors and texts make banners look clumsy. Viewers tend to ignore this type of banners. Animated banners should have less than four frames.
    6. Dont use heavy banners. Make sure that your banner file size is less than 5K. Bigger files take longer time to load.
    7. Test your banners before publishing. Check how your banners will look with different browsers. Verify that the banner link URL is correct and linked to the right page on your website. Whenever, you make changes to your website, make sure to double check your banner ads.

    Recent practice shows that a banner, which looks like a text has 4 times more click through rate than a conventional banner. So use text banners to increase efficiency of your banner ad program.

    Since advertisement is the main source of income for many websites banner ads are here to stay. Although, there is no doubt that their look and use will constantly be evolved.

    How to implement e-business solutions successfully Thursday, September 9, 2004
    How to implement e-business solutions successfully

    Getting your business processes online is not an easy job! According to Gartner Group, a renowned research firm, a full 75 percent of all e-business projects fail due to poor planning and unrealistic expectations of new technology. The productivity gains and cost savings promised by e-business solutions are often lost not because of the technology itself but because of improper management of their implementation. In most of the cases, when a massive e-business solution installation goes wrong, the management of the business is to blame. Failure to understand the scale of the project, oversimplification of the project, inappropriate expectations and lack of resource commitment are few of the mistakes made by management that debilitate the implementation and use of the systems.

    Pitfalls of E-business solutions installation process

    A large distribution company has decided to use a new online supply chain management solution. The people – those who were supposed to use the system – were quite skeptic about the ability of the system, as they did not have enough knowledge and had very little or no training in using a similar system. As a result, it took over a year for the company to bring the solution to its full operation. Productivity suffered severely. The final implementation cost came out to be several times more than initial budget.  A large number of companies are reporting to face similar difficulties with the implementation of their e-business solutions.

    The problems that occur while a company tries to implement e-business solutions, most likely, include:

    • Senior managers do not spend enough time and efforts to learn and understand the solutions. As a result, they have no idea how their workers will adapt to this new solution; and fail to set forth quantifiable objectives for them in terms of efficiency and productivity.
    • The end users do not receive required training. As a result, treat the new solution as an added burden rather than a tool to increase efficiency and productivity.
    • In many cases, IT infrastructure is not up-to-date enough and lacks power to support the new solution.
    • Due to inadequate understanding by the management of the e-business solutions that they plan to adopt, often, the time and money allocated to the project are far less than required.
    • Often the advanced Internet based e-business solutions require to be integrated with portion of old systems that the company is presently using, which in turn, sometimes generates software and system incompatibility.
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    How to avoid pitfalls

    E-business solutions are sophisticated systems that encompass significant areas of the company and its relationship with customers. That’s why implementation of these projects should be carried out according to detailed plans.

    Preparation

    Create a well developed scope. In creating the scope involve all end-users of the solution, not only the technical and business model experts. Get answers to the questions like:

    • What is the single most important goal that the company is planning to reach thanks to this solution?
    • What critical problems the solution is meant to solve?
    • Are the time and money spent justifies its implementation?
    • What are the implementation milestones?
    • How you will know that you have reached those milestones?

    Once you got all the relevant people of the company involved in the process, choose an implementation taskforce of experts from all required sections. This team should be responsible for developing the implementation plan. According to this plan assign resources and deadlines. Upon completion of each stage of implementation get senior management involved in order to review the progress.

    Education and Training

    Education should cover the “why” side of the solution and training the “how” side.

    • Identify the people that required getting trained and educated.
    • Define objectives
    • Define training and education criteria and select syllabus
    • Set the evaluation method
    • Conduct the actual learning process
    • Assess their progress

    Implementation

    Implementation of the solution should take place according to the strict predefined stages.

    Upon completion of each stage of implementation get senior management involved in reviewing progress. Conduct reality check!

    • How does the solution meet your expectations so far?
    • Is it doing what it’s supposed to do?
    • Do you need to revise any of your priorities?

    Once the implementation is over, set up a thorough post implementation meeting with the taskforce and the relevant end-users. The important thing here is to identify if everybody involved with the project is satisfied with the result or not.

    In order to successfully implement e-business solutions, it is very important that you fully understand the technologies behind it. If require hire a consultant and work closely with her. In the long run, this might save you substantial time and money.

    Here are other things to remember:

    1. E-business solutions are mere tools. Don’t expect them to radically change everything that you learnt about business processes.
    1. E-business solution implementations like any other project require strict step by step project management.
    1. Before considering an e-business solution, make sure that there is a sound business need to get it. E-marketplace, Private exchange, Business portal are few of the e-business solutions that help you attracting new customers and markets. These solutions also allow streamlining many of the vital business processes. In your e-business strategy these solutions should be at the top of the list.
    1. Keep track of the new technologies and keep an eye to your competitors’ e-business strategies. E-business is an extremely fast moving segment; you should be ready for changes and embrace them whenever it’s necessary.

     

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