In this current age of digital superpowers, I think it negligent for organizations to steer clear of eMarketing (or digital marketing). Typically defined as the utilization of the internet, and related electronic mediums, for marketing purposes including, but not limited to, communicating a message, targeting a specific segment (often more specific than traditional marketing) and facilitating a consumer-organization dialogue.
The first portion of my e-marketing series examines The Website. This multi-part series will be entirely dedicated to what I believe are the essential aspects that make up the whole of eMarketing.
I like to refer to the website as the Godfather of online, the end all and be all, the first and last segment of your eMarketing circle.
Strategically, eMarketing initiatives should be built upon a solid foundation, and your organizational -- or personal -- website is where you should begin. It is your digital home. Where your brand lives and evolves. Where you live and evolve.
Corporate - Designed with the sole purpose of relaying organizational information to the public.
Blog-based - An organizational (or personal) website that centers on a blog format where all news, commentary, multimedia, general and product information are communicated.
eCommerce - Website based on a purchase mechanism for goods and/or services directed by the organization with the possible inclusion of third parties.
These are my BIG 3. Of course, we could also venture into the nitty gritty discussing content management systems, flash and the like but they don't actually count as 'types' of websites in my book but rather what goes on behind the scenes.
Access - to information, products, services and thought-provoking content. Anyone interested in anything nowadays is more likely to try out Google first than other traditional methods of research (No stats to back this up but we all know its true). Do not be one of the few that cannot be found.
Branding - As with all things that will be parsed out in this series, it often boils down to branding. The message. The look. The intrigue. And so on. Your website should be the first point of entry, and you have complete control. Honesty and creativity are key. Remember your audience and embrace the ability to make changes and evolve online.
Geographic, Demographic & Psychographic - Your audience is now only a few clicks away. That goes both ways. The transaction ends up being mutual. They get to learn about you and IF you are a smart marketer you get to learn about them. i.e. measurable and trackable.
ROI - You can actually track this!
Everybody's Doing It - Think about your competition. Do they have a website? Is it a good website? (The answer to this one may not be as obvious as you think). Regardless, the equation is simple. If 'they' have a website, you should have one. If they don't have a website, you should have one.
Saturation - A direct offshoot of "everybody's doing it" since your competition more likely than not does have a website, ergo, your website requires a strategy of its own. Differentiate? Cost-leadership? Focus? Well, you know what I mean...
Originality - Don't be a copycat. And don't forget to create a creative and original online presence. This is certainly most difficult. Outline the purpose of the website. What the audience is looking for and what you'll be giving them. Design. Design. Design.
Header + Sidebar + Content + Footer = Website.
This is true BUT I've never believed that marketing was about standardized mathematics. Take a risk.
Time - Dedicating time and energy to your website is critical to developing and maintaining it as a success. It is not, and should not be, an overnight HTML Quickie -- give it the respect it deserves and it will return the favour.