Internet Marketing - the Why's and Wherefore's

The Why's - Why Internet
A look at the reasons for and against taking space on the Internet
The Wherefore's - Tips for your page
Some useful tips and hints on web page design do's and don'ts
Using your space
Ways to use commercial and personal space on the Internet
With the UK in Mind
A look at the Internet as a marketing tool with particular reference to the UK retail market

These articles include a few of the ideas and criteria I work to at Bearpit, other people will have other and equally valid views. If you are contemplating putting your company on the Internet have a surf around and view pages from other companies - watch for points such as content, design and particularly download time - don't feel constrained to copy slavishly what another company has produced. Above all for company pages it does pay to employ professionals - as you would for any other service.

Your page can say a lot about your company - good and bad -
remember you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

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Internet Marketing - with the UK in mind

According to the latest census figures about 20 per cent of the UK population live in rural areas - that is they have to travel between 10 and 30 miles to their nearest town shopping area. A recent television programme ('The Clothes Show' - February 1, 1997) tested home shopping facilities including catalogue, cable television and Internet, one comment on the Internet test was 'it is easier to shop in the States from the Internet, UK retailers do not seem to have much presence here'. If the Continental European and American Internet shopping sites continue to grow at their present rate we could well see a development similar to that of the perceived threat offered by the out of town stores or as happened to the UK licensed drinks trade, but even more damaging to our high street traders. Shoppers would not need to drive down the motorway or cross the channel to do their shopping - all they need is a computer and a modem or even an attachment to their television and they can surf the world for the goods they want to buy from their living room. At present town shops and businesses are continuing with their battle against what they feel is the threat offered by out of town stores and business parks - the Internet does not appear to have entered into their 'line of sight', but like the outsider in a horse race, it is gaining on the rails and could well overtake both the out of town and high street traders before either have become aware of the danger.

In January 1998 it was estimated that UK Internet users numbered between two and three million (European Jan 26 1998) by January 1999 (IT News) it was estimated Internet users numbers about SEVEN million. In the UK many parents feel they need to buy a computer so their children are not educationally disadvantaged, the advances in computer technology mean that most, if not all, of these will have an in built modem and for as little as £80 a year (about the price of one beer a week) the modem can be connected to the telephone line and the WHOLE family is then on line to surf the net. If you are in business you probably see the BT special offers as being advantageous to you, but these can be helping your potential customers to shop away from home - the 'friends and family' offer and special weekend rates could mean that again for just the price of that magical pint of beer a week mum, dad, elder sister, granny, grandpa, and uncle tom cobley and all can surf the shopping sites on the net for between 3 and 4 hours a week - when was the last time you saw potential customers browsing the shops in your high street for that long?

Many of you may already have Internet connections, once you mastered the intricacies of surfing (which does not take very long!) what were the first ten subjects you searched for: your sport, hobby, HOME TOWN or COUNTY? This is a fairly well established pattern for first time users on the Internet - when they find a site that interests them they 'bookmark' it so they can return, the average Internet user regularly visits about 20 sites and will have anything from 50 to 150 sites of particular interest bookmarked.

The Internet is not just for mail order shopping, in fact the problems of security for confidential information, such as credit card numbers, have been highlighted recently with the position the US government took on proscribing software companies from exporting high security encryption programmes outside of America and Canada.

The high street trader can use the Internet to advantage by cooperating with other local businesses and organizations within a site so that visitors can find facts about the town or area, together with information on the consumer goods and services available. Regularly updated the site will be a stopping place for Internet subscribers to find out what is happening in their community and visitors from other parts of the country or the world will find a wealth of information readily available. The speed with which information can be fed to the Internet makes it a very viable medium for advertising local events or special offers in local shops - Bearpit offers the facility to make changes within hours - you are no longer tied to the deadline other media impose of having to finalize your copy a week, two weeks or even a month in advance.
Ieke, mcij, maip
Member, Association of Internet Professionals

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