Online Marketing

How buyers pay online

1. Optimize For Clarity & Usability

Whether you employ a single page or a multi-step checkout process, online shoppers will eventually encounter your payment page. Nobody really likes parting with their money, so it makes a lot of sense to optimize the page design to improve the user experience.

Keep Your Payment Form Short, Simple And Clear. The first step in minimizing friction is to make it appear very fast and simple to enter payment details. Perception is critical. If your page layout looks confusing and your forms ask for too much information, you’ll discourage customers from going further.

Reduce clutter on your payment form by including only elements that are absolutely necessary for the transaction. Then, once you’ve visually convinced buyers that the payment step will be quick and painless, make it so.

Don’t require special formats for credit card numbers — if they want to enter their card number with hyphens (or without), let them. Your form should be very accepting of how users enter their data. Help shoppers by auto-populating information where possible (e.g., pre-filling the address field for visitors that are signed into their accounts, or automatically choosing the card type based on the customer’s credit card number).

Example of auto-populating form fields

Cosmetics retailer allows users to automatically populate a billing address with the shopper’s shipping address.

Anticipate And Reduce Frustration From Errors. As an online shopper, I find it extremely annoying when a site wipes out the entire form after I inadvertently type in wrong information in one field. Clearing a form is the easiest way to turn off customers, especially when they’re inputting their credit card details. Luckily, you can easily solve this by submitting your form in AJAX, which allows you to preserve form information without storing sensitive financial data in your servers.

2. Address Security Concerns

Shoppers’ awareness of online shopping-related risks is naturally heightened at the payment stage, so go the extra mile in reassuring them.

Make sure your payment page looks consistent with your entire website and is professionally designed. The last thing you want is to trigger alarms in your shopper’s brain with a payment page that looks nothing like the website they just visited. Any visitor would also balk at giving personal and financial information to a poorly-designed form for fear of an insecure transaction.

Improve shoppers’ perception of security by displaying trust badges and encryption information prominently and in close proximity to sensitive form fields (where credit card information is required, for instance). A study conducted by Baymard Institute shows that the presence of security icons on certain parts of a checkout page served as visual reinforcements for shoppers, which tended to view these parts as more secure compared to the rest of the page.

Using seals to show trust on the payment page

Notice how prominent the Norton seal is on Home Depot’s payment page. Pre-checkout, the seal is tucked away in the footer, but it takes center stage once buyers enter the checkout process.

3. Offer Multiple Ways To Pay

Accepting a variety of payment methods on your site ensures that your visitors will have at least one viable option at checkout. In addition to major credit cards, consider expanding payment options to include PayPal, Google Wallet, Amazon Payments, Bill Me Later, or BitCoin.

Of course, your decision on which payment types to accept should be based upon your audience profile. For instance, BitCoin may not be used by a large percentage of your visitors, and if you know you get a lot of visitors using iOS devices, you might consider implementing Apple Pay.

Example of offering multiple payment methods offers Amazon Payment and PayPal in addition to major credit cards. For buyers who are reluctant to enter payment information, having the option of using their existing payment accounts is reassuring.

There is a caveat, however. Increasing the number of payment methods can also increase the complexity of your payment page. Too many choices can hinder decision-making and lead to choice paralysis. So, before you rush into adding a bunch of payment methods to your page, plan your design carefully. Pay attention to steps you can take to nudge users into quickly choosing the most appropriate payment method for them. Then, minimize confusion by showing only the fields relevant to the shopper’s chosen payment method.

4. Fix Fat Finger Challenges

Payment pages are especially tricky on smaller screens. According to research done by SeeWhy, 99.5% of mobile users will bail out before buying. And a major cause of friction is any place where the user is required to enter information.

Here are some things you can do to improve the payment process for mobile buyers.

  • Don’t require your customers to create an account to check out, but if you do remember customers’ account details (as is the case with Amazon), give them the option of logging in so they can access stored payment methods, shipping address and other account details.
  • Minimize the customer’s effort by using technology to pre-fill information. For example, instead of asking for postal code as the last part of the address, put it before the city and state, and then pre-populate those fields based on the data entered for the postal code.
  • Visually reinforce mobile shoppers’ sense of security with well-placed badges, icons and copy.
  • Provide shoppers with several payment methods. According to SeeWhy’s Mobile Playbook 2014, mobile consumers are twice as likely to convert when given alternatives to entering credit card details.
  • Show progress indicators to set customer’s expectation of how long the process will take, and to let them know where they are in the process.
  • Error handling is an even bigger issue given how tedious it already is to enter information on small screens. Minimize frustration by having bigger text fields and buttons and clearly indicating which fields are causing errors.

5. Understand The Needs Of International Customers

If you sell to customers outside of your home country, you probably already know how challenging it can be to process international payments. Credit cards can be hard to authorize for international addresses. And even preferred payment methods will vary depending on the customer’s country.

According to eConsultancy’s “Internationalisation of E-commerce Best Practice Guide,” Germans prefer to pay through ELV and debit card, while Scandinavians prefer to pay by cash on delivery. Not surprisingly, customers will also want to pay in their local market currency, so you will need to work with your payment service provider to make this possible.

Bonus Tip: If you currently don’t process international orders, say so upfront. Don’t wait until customers are deep into the checkout process before telling them that you don’t accept non-U.S. cards or don’t deliver to other countries.

6. Speed Up Payment Processing

Even after your customer has entered his or her payment details, your optimization job is not complete. Payment processing and authorization speed is just as crucial as getting the customer to fill out the payment form.

When customers finally click that “place order” button on your site, do they end up watching a spinning circle for 5, 10, even 15 seconds before being taken to the confirmation page?  The longer the spinning circle goes on, the more anxious customers get.

A study from the Aberdeen Group reveals that a one-second delay in page load time decreases customer satisfaction by 16%. Imagine how much worse this is for people who have just given away their credit card information.

The time between clicking the “place order” button to the confirmation page should almost be instantaneous. Check how long it takes for your payment processor to authorize and confirm payments on different internet providers and devices, and address any performance issues you notice. If necessary, get a new payment processor.


Optimizing your payment process may be one of the least exciting projects you take on during this final pre-holiday push, but it can easily deliver the most impact. With all the effort that goes into offering the right products, optimizing conversion funnels, designing campaigns and driving targeted traffic, you owe it to your company, and your visitors, to make it as easy as possible for buyers to give you their money.


Advantages of online market research

  1. Faster

The time span needed to complete an online survey project is on average two-thirds shorter than that of traditional research methods. Because information is being gathered automatically, you don’t have to wait for paper questionnaires to come back to you – response time is almost instant. Online marketing experts say that more than half of responses are received within the first three days of the research project.


  1. Cheaper

Using online questionnaires reduces your research costs. You will save money on postage and you don’t have to allocate time and resources to enter the information into a database. Responses are processed automatically and the results are accessible at any time.


  1. More accurate


The margin of error is greatly reduced with online surveys because participants enter their responses directly into the system. Traditional methods rely on the attentiveness of staff to enter all details correctly, and naturally human error can creep in whenever a person has to perform a repetitive task.


  1. Quick to analyse

The results of the online survey are ready to be analysed at any time. View results in real-time so you can act quickly, create graphs for reporting, export data for further analysis and share your results with anyone.


  1. Easy to use for participants

The majority of people that have access to the Internet prefer to answer surveys online instead of using the telephone. With an online survey, participants can pick a moment that suits them best and the time needed to complete the survey is much shorter. Questions that are not relevant to a particular participant can be skipped automatically using SmartSurvey’s Skip logic feature.


  1. Easy to use for researchers

The main benefit of online surveys for researchers is that they increase productivity by saving time. Data is instantly available and can easily be transferred into specialised statistical software or spreadsheets when more detailed analysis is needed.


  1. Easy to style

An online survey is an opportunity to imprint your brand in the user’s mind and remind them of the benefits you provide. Your survey can be styled to match your business website with customised backgrounds, images, logo, fonts, final re-direct page and even the URL of your survey. Ensure that your online survey provider supports mobile responsive surveys, enabling you to increase your reach, whilst maintaining your brand across all platforms.


  1. More honest

Market researchers have found that participants overwhelmingly prefer to complete online surveys rather than take part in written questionnaires or telephone interviews and usually provide longer and more detailed answers. By designing and sending relevant and targeted surveys, people are more likely to respond with honest answers.


  1. More selective

With an online survey you can pre-screen participants and allow only those who match your target profile to complete the survey. SmartSurvey’s Live Audience service can help you reach a specific target audience with relevant questions that will apply to them.


  1. More flexible

The order of the questions in an online survey can be changed, or questions can be skipped altogether, depending on the answer to a previous question. This way, a survey can be tailored to each participant as he or she proceeds.



Building customer Relationship based on one to one marketing:

  1. Build your network–it’s your sales lifeline. Your network includes business colleagues, professional acquaintances, prospective and existing customers, partners, suppliers, contractors and association members, as well as family, friends and people you meet at school, church and in your community.

  2. Communication is a contact sport, so do it early and often. Relationships have a short shelf life. No matter how charming, enthusiastic or persuasive you are, no one will likely remember you from a business card or a one-time meeting. One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they come home from networking events and fail to follow up.

  3. E-mail marketing keeps relationships strong on a shoestring budget. Build your reputation as an expert by giving away some free insight. You have interesting things to say! An easy way to communicate is with a brief e-mail newsletter that shows prospects why they should buy from you. For just pennies per customer, you can distribute an e-mail newsletter that includes tips, advice and short items that entice consumers and leave them wanting more. E-mail marketing is a cost-effective and easy way to stay on customers’ minds, build their confidence in your expertise, and retain them. And it’s viral: Contacts and customers who find what you do interesting or valuable will forward your e-mail message or newsletter to other people, just like word of mouth marketing.

  4. Reward loyal customers, and they’ll reward you. According to global management consulting firm Bain and Co., a 5 percent increase in retention yields profit increases of 25 to 100 percent. And on average, repeat customers spend 67 percent more than new customers. So your most profitable customers are repeat customers. Are you doing enough to encourage them to work with you again? Stay in touch, and give them something of value in exchange for their time, attention and business. It doesn’t need to be too much; a coupon, notice of a special event, helpful insights and advice, or news they can use are all effective. Just remember: If you don’t keep in touch with your customers, your competitors will.

  5. Loyal customers are your best salespeople. So spend the time to build your network and do the follow-up. Today there are cost effective tools, like e-mail marketing, that make this easy. You can e-mail a simple newsletter, an offer or an update message of interest to your network (make sure it’s of interest to them, not just to you).



Market segmentation

What is Market Segmentation?

It may be defined as a process of splitting or dividing potential customers into certain groups or segments sharing similar levels of needs. The definition explains that the process is simply a division of markets into target groups. It is creating sub-sets of a market based on similar characteristics of consumers with similar demands and providing them with a product to satisfy their need in a much better way than it could have been otherwise. In this article, we explain the importance of the concept giving examples wherever necessary.


Diagram of Market segmentation

Bases for Market Segmentation

Markets may be divided into several sub-markets on several bases. We will discuss the most general and popular variables here.

1. Geographic Segmentation

A market segmented into sub-markets on the basis of geographic location is known as Geographic Segmentation. Examples of such division are nations, states, regions, provinces, districts, counties, cities or even neighbourhoods. An international firm may divide its market on the basis of nations and then move further down to the level of cities and neighbourhoods. A national company may start with at the level of counties/regions and move down to cities and other sub-levels. Geographic segmentation is important as there are many factors contributing to the varying needs of consumers across different regions of the world. What is considered as a need in the US may be a luxury in Singapore. What is a luxury in India may be something redundant or useless in the UK. The customer needs and wants, the ways and means to satisfy them may be entirely different in one country from those who in another.

2. Demographic Segmentation

A market split into sub-segments on the basis of variables such as age, gender, sex, family, income, education, religion, culture, occupation, profession, ethnicity etc is known as demographic segmentation. To make it simpler, it is the division of market on the basis of demographics. We will discuss each variable briefly here.


This is one of the most effective ways of demographic segmentation. Modern firms use this as a very useful marketing tactic to create and retain their customers right from birth to death. At the age of 1 to 2, firm shall try to offer stuff like nappies for new born, baby cream, anti colic, baby clothes etc. With the passage of time, these may change to toys ( a lot of sub-division) then bikes, balls, sport, jeans, school, then college, then University, car, insurance, employment, then retirement, pension and even death (funeral services!)

McDonald’s different ads and media campaigns target people of different ages such as children, teens, adults and senior citizen. Insurance companies announce special packages and offers for people over certain age. Theme Parks offer kids and infants deals.

Ethnic Segments:

The multi-cultural societies’ potential customers may all be located in the same geographic location but their needs and wants and ways to satisfy these needs and wants are different. Companies have successfully segmented their markets on ethnic basis all over the world in areas where the demand needs to be met that way. HFA (Halal Monitoring Authority) in the UK makes sure that Muslim consumers are provided Halal foods (food that is processed, or meat that is obtained and sold in the market per Islamic regulations of slaughtering). HMC (the Halal Monitoring Committee) in the UK even goes a step further by providing halal meat only to specific grocery stores after these shop meet very strict and stringent.
Indian restaurants and clothes shops around Europe and America are some of the best examples of Market Segmentation based on ethnic grounds.


Gender segmentation is another powerful and successful segmentation and can be seen in areas like clothing, cosmetics, beauty products, hair styles, careers, cars, insurance and now even education. Perfume companies target men and women separately with their various model and brands. Sheila’s Insurance provides insurance only to women while other companies specifically target only the young drivers (who may have just recently passed their driving tests). Girls like pink bags while boys may go for blues or blacks. Subtleties do make difference. There are several separate male and female schools. Again in Europe, schools for girls only have successfully targeted the part of the ethnic population who are averse to co-education. Car designers know that subtleties make difference, so Nissan’s Micra and Mini Cooper have special attractions for ladies.

There is a huge scope of demographic segmentation and is not limited to age, ethnicity and gender only. Other bases for this type of segmentation are like Life Cycle Stage, Income groups, sexual orientations, family size, education and many others.

3. Psychographic Segmentation

Life style, social class and personality may the basis for psychographic segmenting of markets. Examples of life styles segments would be people drinking decaf coffee or tea, weight watchers, seekers of less fatty food. Products based on life styles may be highly customised to appeal to a particular way of life. Younger people’s life-style requirements may be a great deal different than of those who are above their age group.
Examples of social class segments are holdiays, hotels and air travel tickets targeting people of a particular class.
The consumer in psychographic segmentation may have the same income level and gender but they may have different inclinations and a unique style of living. They may have different personalities determining their likes and dislikes for a particular class of products.

4. Behavioural Segmentation
Behavioural segmentation is based on the variables of the actual behaviour of the consumer. For instance, some users may be classed as heavy users while others as light users. Some may be just first time user while other are occasional users only. To summarise the behavioural segment may consist of the following variables.
User status
Usage rate
Benefits sought
Brand loyalty
Attitude towards product
Readiness to buy

5. Other Variables

Marketers have even further dug the subject and provided some other variables. Briefly these are:
Distribution segmentation
Media segmentation
Time segmentation

Industrial (Business) Market Segmentation

Industrial Market Segmentation is division of the Market on Business or industry basis. This kind of division occurs in Business to Business Marketing. B2B Segments may have the following variables. These may be used as additional variables along with B2C segmenting as discussed above.
Company Size
Power structure
Business Type
Customer Type
Product type

Advantages and Benefits of Market Segmentation

Following are some of the benefits as cited in leading marketing books.
1. Customer needs
It is easier to understand the exact needs of the customer and target the marketing strategy at a particular group. It is much easier and more successful to create and promote specific and customised products and services.

2. Profit Potential
Mass marketing is a strategy of the past. Target marketing and positioning creates new potential customers and new ideas for new products and services. Companies can create better products and hence maximise their potential profit.

3. Growth
Segmenting the markets creates further opportunities for business growth. Specific groups require specific products.

4. Retaining Customer
It is a great way to retain customers. Firms can establish a life-long relationship with their consumers via formulating an effective market segmenting strategy.

5. Right Target Market
The company’s resources are utilized for producing the right product for the right customer.

6. Market Share
Segmenting business and consumer markets is important to maintain existing market share and expand it. A successful company needs to gain competitive advantage by looking closely at the specific needs of customers and devising strategies to provide maximum benefit and value.

Considerations and Pre-requisites

Before jumping into a segment, it is important to understand a few important features of that particular market.
1. Identifiable
The market must be identifiable. It is important to identify the market and its potential. The plan must identify the goals and objectives.

2. Accessible
The  segment must be accessible so that various marketing channels can reach  it such as communication, distribution etc.

3. Size
It should be large enough to save the company’s resources saved from being wasted.

4. Unique Needs
This is, perhaps, the most important of the requirements. By its very definition, segmenting is necessary because of the customer’s unique need. If a market segment does not justify a unique offering, there is no need to open a new area.

5. Durable
It refers to the stability of the segment. The more durable the segment is, the lesser the cost of production. Instability due to frequent changes produces negative impact.

Positioning Versus Segmentation

“Positioning is not what you do to a product; it is what you do to the mind of a prospect.” Ries and Trout (1972). So positioning is basically identification of a market niche and utilization of marketing strategies to create a mental impression about the brand. Segmentation is the process of separating customers while positioning is providing those customers the right product at the right time.

Limitations (Disadvantages) of MS

Market segmentation has its own limitations and marketers have pointed certain disadvantages.

1. No highly customised product. Only group served not individuals.
2. No link to competitive advantage
3. Lack of suitable process

Others have identified limitations such as:

Infrastructure Barrier: The firm may not have suitable infrastructure to make the right product. This may result in loss of profits, market share, failures etc.

Process Barrier
The process of creating segments may not be followed correctly or the segments may not be created at all.

Implementation Barriers
The company fails to implement the market segmentation strategy.



Data Mining and Marketing Research


Marketing Research

Traditional marketing research uses tactics such as surveys, via techniques like mailing questionnaires to customers and conducting focus groups. On-site observation and tracking results from mailings, advertising campaigns and call centers provides more research. Some companies still sift through this information by hand, tabulating results from surveys and observations to better understand their target market and how to persuade people to buy from them.


Role of Data Mining


Data mining uses computerized tools that rely on mathematical algorithms to analyze volumes of data gathered from numerous sources. For instance, data mining reviews information gained from traditional marketing research and census information as well as Internet data obtained from traffic reports, website analytics and cookies to identify patterns and relationships in the data. The results help companies decide what markets to pursue, the types of promotional messages required and the most effective methods of delivering the message.


Data Mining Capabilities


One of the major uses of data mining consists of using cluster analysis and computerized decision trees to review the buying habits of customers. These tools then help break down the market into different segments. For instance, if you sell fast food hamburgers, your target market may appeal to the local college students who need a fast meal, to local business workers who need to pick up lunch to take back to the office and busy mothers who need dinner to take home to their families. Data mining helps you identify the specific markets, so you determine how to market to each audience in a way they understand. You can figure out the best way to approach suitable prospects, such as determining the location of markets that rely on direct mail for learning about products and services. It also helps you predict customer loyalty.



New sources of market research from which data mining processes can be applied include smartphones, text messaging surveys and GPS-generated data that identifies and tracks the movements of prospective buyers. Mining the data identifies trends in a prospective buyer’s purchasing behaviors, habits and lifestyle. This information then helps companies identify ideal marketing messages and figure out how to deliver advertising, such as using location-based marketing.



Intelligent agents are first and foremost tools which can be applied in numerous and different ways. However, Intelligent agents, in the true sense of attributed functions such as autonomy and pro-activity, do not yet exist. There are agent-like applications like Web crawlers and search engines which sometimes include collaborative filtering; in spite of these advances a software entity that combines all of these functions into an intelligent agent has yet to be developed. Still, it is only a matter of time when intelligent agents will play a decisive role in the electronic marketplace and therefore in competition. This paper explores the boundaries of what might happen in markets when intelligent agents are introduced and used by market participants. It discusses existing commercial agent-like applications and treats models on how different functions of agents could affect different market stages. Two types of markets – travel and bookselling – are examined, focusing on consumers’ interests and the functionality of destination sites.


Intelligent Agent Competition Model

To establish the theoretical effect of intelligent agents on markets and competition, we assume that the functionalities of agents are connected to the market process, that is stages in the process. For each stage in the process we then can assess the effect on competition. This forms the basis for the Intelligent Agent Competition Model (Figure 1).



Start By Creating Your Scoreboard:

Your site’s scoreboard should be able to tell you everything you need to know about your traffic in one page. In the far left column are your different marketing campaigns. This may include your SEO (search engine optimization), Facebook campaigns, Google advertising, and email marketing traffic. Along the top are the different goals or outcomes you want people to take once they arrive on your site. It should look something like this:

This is now the basic framework. Now let’s fill it in.

Goal Completions:

This gives us the number of times traffic from a particular source completed a particular goal. This part of the scoreboard answers the “how much?” question. While it’s not great for deep analysis, this metric is helpful for keeping your finger on the pulse of what happens day-to-day. Adding this column to the chart above, we get something like this:

Website Goal Completion Report


If this were our only data, we’d conclude Google Advertising is the best campaign for generating leads, simply because it produces more than any other channel.

Conversion Rate:

Only reporting goal completions, as shown above, can be misleading because the number of visitors coming from each campaign can vary greatly. Conversion rate solves this problem.

Conversion rate tell us how effective each campaign is at completing our site’s goals. It’s calculated as (number of goal completions / number of visitors). All else being equal, this metric tells us which campaign is most effective at generating leads. Adding conversion rate to the chart above, we might get this result:

Website Goal Conversion Rate Report


The story is beginning to shift. While Google Advertising was effective at generating the most calls and contact submissions, it does so at a lower rate compared to other campaigns. Meanwhile, SEO and email marketing are beginning to look more attractive.

Cost Per Conversion:

Given the choice of one metric for measuring an online marketing campaign, I would choose “cost-per-conversion” almost every time. It’s one of the best ways to measure true impact because it takes into account the financial investment. Cost-per-conversion is simply (investment / number of conversions).

Website Cost per Conversion Report


Digital marketing evolves at a rate unlike any other industry. Over the past year alone we have seen radical changes in everything from online advertising to website design.


What digital marketing trends should you be watching out for in 2016? Keep reading to find out…


1) More websites will go responsive.

As the owner of a digital marketing company, the number one hesitation I hear from companies looking to redesign their websites is that they don’t want to be obsolete in a year. Who can blame them for being worried? Technology continually changes the marketing world. That’s why, in 2016, new websites will continue to be built responsively. A responsive website is one that adjusts to fit the width of the browser, making the viewing experience optimal for any device it is loaded on.


2) SEO will continue its shift to content marketing.

Search Engine Optimization isn’t dead, it’s just grown up. What was once seen as a shady, manipulative practice is now evolving into what many marketers are calling “Content Marketing”. This is because as the search engines algorithms become more advanced, they are constantly able to filter what content is trying to game the system and what is genuinely useful for the end user.


3) Video will become a much bigger content platform.

In 2015, as YouTube continued to dominate the web, video proved that it was a key player as a content platform. This goes to show that as the internet continues to advance, so will the ways that we consume content. While long form content, such as blogging, will always have its place as a content marketing medium, video is able to engage users at a much higher rate. In fact, studies have shown that visitors will stay on a site for two minutes longer if it has a video.


4) Design and speed will be a necessity, not a luxury.

As we watch the web mature, the websites that “win” are not just those that provide the best content but ones that do so in the most effective and efficient way possible. This means that the way that your site is designed and how quickly it loads play a key factor in whether the visitor becomes a lead. As old sites get redesigned in 2016 we will see a shift from just providing content that is just useful to providing content that is useful, visually attractive, and quick to load on the end user’s screen (no matter the device).


5) Content will become more interactive.

In 2013, what launched Buzzfeed to become one of the biggest sites on the internet? It wasn’t their clickbait headlines or list-style blog posts… it was their quizzes. Buzzfeed was able to take the simple premise of a personality quiz and turn it into a viral phenomenon by playing on people’s egos. Whenever someone would take a quiz, it would encourage them to share their results afterwards. In sharing, the user would be recommending the post and encouraging their friends to take it as well. This type of interactive content also led to one of the NY Times most visited post, a quiz about the regional variations of American English. This style works because it takes content to the next level by engaging the user in a way that their experience with the content is unique, making it a more personal interaction. In 2016 we will see more interactive content through the form of video (such as 360-degree video), virtual reality, and advertisements that are more two-way between the company and their target demographic.



Target Markets


Six steps to defining your target market

Whether you sell washing lines or wiper blades, you need to understand your customer if you want to maximise your sales. Who are you selling to? Why should they buy your product? What do they stand to gain? Grant Leboff, principal of Sticky Marketing Club explains how you can identify your target customer


  1. Understand the problems that you solve


The starting point in defining the target market for your proposition is to understand the problems that you solve. Once you have a good idea what these are, you can start to work out who is most likely to suffer from these problems.


  1. Paint a picture of the customer


Start to list all the different types of customers that suffer from the problems you solve. Once done, you can start to build up a picture of these customers. Group them by location – for example, high net worth individuals tend to live in certain postcodes. Group them by market sector – are they manufacturers, recruitment agents, and so on.


Ask yourself other types of relevant questions about these people. Are they married? Are they male or female? Do they play golf? Define them in as many relevant ways as possible.


  1. Who will gain from the value in your offer?


Ask yourself:


To whom will these problems be most troublesome?

Who will have the most to lose by not dealing with these issues?

If you can demonstrate that the cost of NOT sorting out the problems is GREATER than the cost of dealing with them, then your case becomes compelling.


Remember to take into account aspects like emotional upheaval, stress and the risk to reputation when implementing your solution, as well as a bottom line cost. It is all these factors that make up the value in your offering.


  1. Think about your market


Today we live in the world of niche. For example, we are no longer prisoners of television schedules. We can watch what we want at our convenience from almost anywhere in the world; meaning every person can enjoy a unique viewing experience.


The web is fantastic at delivering personalised products and services, cutting out many of the distribution challenges that previously existed.


It is these factors that mean it is a more effective strategy to be a big fish in a small pond rather than the other way round. It will be easier to build your reputation and gain referrals. You will also find you get more from your marketing endeavours.


Therefore, with the previous knowledge gained, start to segment your market. Do you want to work:


with particular types of people – high net worth individuals, men, women, golfers, and so on?

in certain geographical locations – Peterborough, The North West, and so on?

around tight market sectors – manufacturers or accountants, and so on?

  1. Look internally at your company


One way of deciding on the right markets to pursue is to think about your company and your business.


Do you have particular areas of expertise?

For example, have you a lot of experience in particular markets, such as working with lawyers?


Do you have unique knowledge of a specific geographical area?

Are you better at getting on with certain types of people?

All these factors could help you establish a particularly attractive offering.


Take an accountant working alone in Manchester, for example. For a start, working all over the country is probably not practical. They may therefore decide to only work with clients in the North West.


It may be that before going alone they worked in-house for a couple of different entrepreneurial businesses. Therefore, the accountant may decide to make their marketplace ‘Entrepreneurs in the North West’.


Suddenly, if you are an entrepreneur in the North West, this is an accountant probably worth knowing. By solely working in this area they are more likely to introduce you to the right people and have more market knowledge of schemes and funding available to entrepreneurs.


Meanwhile, by concentrating in this marketplace, the accountant knows which websites to look at and belong to, which publications to read and possibly write for, and which networks to attend. Within this market it will be quite easy for the accountant to become known. Without limiting their market it would almost be impossible to know where to start.


  1. What else is available?


Once you have decided the answers to some of these questions you must look at the market to see what else is available. The question you must have an answer to is:


Why am I uniquely placed to solve the problem?

It may be that for some marketplaces there is no answer. However, in certain sectors or geographical locations there may be a compelling response to that question.


If you are unable to answer the question, you either have the wrong target market or the wrong offering. In this case, more work will need to be done before you start targeting your potential customers.






Commercial internet has been around for over a decade. Many organizations used E-branding to promote their brands on internet. According to Kotler et al (2010, pg 255) e-branding is “the creation and development of communications strategies specifically for brands to have meaning and context on the web” and the brand stands for “a name, term, sign, symbol, design or a combination of these, that identifies the product or service of one seller or group of sellers and differentiates them from those competitors”.


The Internet is a tactic part of business strategy just like newspapers or direct mail advertisements or business cards. Therefore branding is an important part of Internet commerce, as branding allows companies to build up their reputations as well as expand beyond the original product and service, and add to the revenue generated by the original brand (Carpenter, 2000).


According to Kotler et al (2010) strong, successful brand can shift the competitive framework in the company favour, given it intangible, difficult to replicate, values with which to supplement its more basic products, price and distribution benefits.


Why is an effective email marketing strategy so important?

An email marketing strategy is part of your overall marketing strategy and business plan. It helps you market your products and services with the use of the email channel with the best chances for making a profit and reaching your goals. That is because any effective email marketing strategy takes into consideration what your target customers are, their preferences and benefits they are looking for as well as your products services and industry and which email marketing messages are most effective.

An effective email marketing strategy transforms ideas into actions

First set your business goals and ambitions with regards to email marketing, then take these 3 steps:
1. Email marketing strategy: How you are going to achieve those goals.
2. Email marketing tactics: How you are going to achieving them in more detail. Part of the strategy.
3. Actions: How you going to deliver on your tactics. Even more detail, the fulfillment of your email marketing strategy

By doing so your email marketing program is sure to have a strong bond between your strategy and the actions required. Which is one of the most important parts.

But why an email marketing strategy?

With email marketing as a channel you are holding all the cards for potential success.

  • Email marketing can have a big reach and put your message in front of a lot of people
  • The marketer has great flexibility in how they handle their email program
  • It is quite easy to start and you can start small
  • email marketing scales, the effort to send one or 100.000 messages is nearly the same.
  • Email allows you to target and segment your messages on individual level
  • There are little risks, the costs are relatively low and potential for upside is big.