Part VI - Marketing Concepts

SIGNATURE LINES - Every E-mail you send out should contain a signature line at the end. You will see many examples of signature lines ranging from the plain to the complex. The signature line offers you the chance to give out your E-mail address and point people to your web page without seeming intrusive. IMHO your signature line should be short, friendly, professional and informative. Most new E-mail programs (Outlook Express, Netscape Communicator, Eudora Lite, etc.) provide a button or menu selection to add your signature line. Some of them allow you to automatically add it to every E-mail you send. Look for these capabilities in the help area of your program.

There should be some sort of break character to separate the E-mail body from your information. To show you an example of what a signature line looks like I have included mine below.

Sincerely,

Harry Patterson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
--------------------------------------------------------------
Vision Technology Management < http://www.visiontm.com >
Web Presence, On-Line Malls, & Business Cards

I like to have the Sincerely and Name line above the break character "----" because I think it provides a more personal touch, but some may say it makes the signature too long. Look around your E-mail folders and the newsgroups to see what style you like. Just make sure you include it on your E-mails so that you can have a mini-advertisement on every message you send

MAILING LISTS - You'll keep hearing me mention mailing lists over and over again. You can use them to solicit advertising, send out helpful information, or create a newsletter. It's a great way to maintain contact with regular and potential customers. We'll cover specific tools in later issues.

SEARCH ENGINES - There are now over 500 search engines available for surfers to find the information they are looking for. It would be nice to be able to put your listing in each one to get the most traffic to your site. The top 8 account for over 85% of the traffic from search engines and I would suggest a careful understanding of each one before you go through their FREE submission process. The top 8 in no special order are Infoseek, Alta Vista, Excite, AOL Netfind, Yahoo (really an index not a search engine), Northern Lights, Hot Bot, and Lycos. The <title> tag is very important to most search engines, because this is what is normally used when your site is displayed in the search results. Some search engines use meta tags to help narrow a person's search and are briefly discussed below.

META TAGS - There are certain pieces of information within HTML coding that are not always visible in the browser window. Some of these are called Meta Tags. Meta tags work in conjunction with your page title and content to tell some search engines what is important and should be used in their search criteria. The exact content, style and format changes constantly as the search engines try to present the best searches possible. The two Meta Tags we need to review are the DESCRIPTION and KEYWORDS tags. The description tag needs to have as many of your keywords as possible and be descriptive of your site. There are many theories on how to write descriptions, but basically you want something much more than "My Home Page", which is probably used on a million pages. The second tag is KEYWORDS and is used to list all the words that best describe your site, product, and market. There are ever changing rules on keyword usage which you can find in the help areas of the search engines and in various E-zines in the links section of this newsletter.

The meta tags need to be in the <head> elements. I have included excerpts from my page to show you an example of what they look like. I took out most of the content and replaced it with "....." so that it would fit in the newsletter. I would suggest you find the sites that are listed on the top of the search engines for your categories and select View/Source from your browser menu to see what they have for meta tags.

<meta name="DESCRIPTION" content="Let us help..... you.">
<meta name="KEYWORDS" content="technology,business,education,.....system">

FREE LISTINGS - There are many sites out there offering areas where you can add your Free links. Every time you come across one (there are many lists of Free lists) add your link to the site.

BANNERS - As your site grows and things settle down to where you have some time, create a banner for your site. You will see banners everywhere on the net including various pages on the Vision and Beaufort On-Line Mall sites. The banners you create can be put in to service at various banner exchange networks on the net, such as <http://www.linkexchange.com/> which you will see on my sites. Don't forget to put your own banners on your own site to help lead traffic to various areas of importance.

AWARDS - I'm not sure when awards were first introduced and for what purpose, but a great majority of awards are now given as a way to attract traffic to the award givers site. This is not necessarily a bad idea and some awards are apparently more prestigious than others. It may be a good idea to apply for some awards and then display them on your site. For a starting point on lists of Awards try typing site awards in your favorite search engine. For example type +site +awards in to Infoseek to get a listing of all links with site AND awards at Infoseek.

MUTUAL LINKS - There are many times that you will come across sites that share a mutual interest. You can simply ask the site owner to share links so that yours is on their site and their's is on yours. Some statistics are starting to point to mutual links as a fast growing segment of the "How people find sites".

PAID CLASSIFIEDS - Last on our list of marketing ideas for today is to pay for classified ads in popular newsletters and E-zines. I would suggest that you carefully select a newsletter that matches the target audience of your site, watch the content for a while, and then carefully word your ad so that it will stand out.