1. Online Marketing (overview)
a. Operating Systems (OS): software that supports a computer’s basic functions, such as scheduling tasks, executing applications, and controlling peripherals.
• iOS—ONLY on Apple devices
• MS Windows—available for most computers, PCs and mobile devices except Apple
• Android—(Google’s mobile OS), available on cellphones and tablets from every manufacturer except Apple
• Linux—UNIX open source development platform
b. Browsers: a computer program used for accessing sites or information on a network (as the internet, or intranets, i.e. within a company)
• iOS—Apple (only)
• Solaris—Sun Microsystems (UNIX base)
• Opera—Scandinavian company
c. UI vs. UX:
• UI (User Interface)—The means by which the user and a computer system interact. The goal of this interaction is effective operation and control of the machine on the user’s end. Operating systems to websites to online advertising all must have a UI.
• UX (User Experience)— This term is still evolving, however, current venacular refers to interactive site engagement—keeping users engaged with website with polls, quizzes, games, contests, giveaways…etc. UX also focuses on emotional response, i.e. pleasure and value rather than on interface performance as with UI, however, UI and UX are intricately connected.
►Read: Good vs Bad UI’s: http://www.dburnsdesign.com/blog/2014/05/the-difference-between-good-ui-and-bad-ui/
►Watch: UX and UI, Chicken and Egg:
• Navigation—effective UIs begin with navigation. Trending now is Tile navigation because it is RESPONSIVE— the UI responds to the size of the screen it is being displayed on. (A cellphone screen looks is very different than a large computer monitor. Also trending is the “MORE” symbol, as cellphone UIs are too small to put a lot of site links on.)
►Watch: Web Navigation Layout Examples:
d. E-Commerce: Commerce conducted online (or electronically). E-commerce transactions require a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) for safe transfer of $$$.
►Watch: What is E-Commerce: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhgtoQIfuQ4;
►Watch: Secure Socket Layer Explained:
• Shopping Cart—software that allows online shopping customers to accumulate a list of items for purchase, described metaphorically as “placing items in the shopping cart” or “add to cart”. Upon checkout, the software typically calculates a total for the order, including shipping and handling (i.e. postage and packing) charges and the associated taxes, as applicable.
• PayPal is an e-commerce business allowing payments and money transfers to be made through the Internet. PayPal performs payment processing for online vendors, auction sites, and other commercial users, for which it charges a fee. Merchants using PayPal—Directory.
• Security—Transport Layer Security (TLS), and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), are cryptographic protocols (such as key agreements like passwords…etc.) that provide e-commerce security over the internet.
• Creating an e-commerce site—You’ll need a Merchant Bank Account to accept on-line credit card payments as well as a payment Gateway to securely process card data. Some banks have very strict standards for shopping cart sites. Others are more realistic. Either way, you need to use a shopping cart that meets Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance and is also compatible with your Gateway.
Popular Card Processors:
Popular Shopping Cart Solutions:
Adobe Business Catalyst—Built-in turn-key e-commerce: http://www.businesscatalyst.com/
Ton of ecommerce hosting solutions out there. WordPress handles only small to medium transactions, while Google and Amazon Cloud Ecommerce solutions handle much more!
e. Cloud computing: Using a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server. Cloud service has three distinct characteristics that differentiate it from traditional web hosting. It is sold on demand, typically by the minute or the hour; it is scalable, i.e. elastic—a user can have as much or as little of a service as they want at any given time; and the service is fully managed by the provider (the consumer needs nothing but a personal computer and internet access).
A cloud can be private or public, or “virtually” private, as in a VPN (virtual private network), an organization’s internal cloud. A public cloud sells services to anyone on the Internet. A private cloud is a proprietary network or a data center that supplies hosted services to a limited number of people. When a service provider uses public cloud resources to create their private cloud, the result is called a virtual private cloud (VPC).
Cloud computing services are broadly divided into three categories: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), like Amazon Web Services, provides cloud computing that allows a company to pay for only as much capacity as is needed, and bring more online as soon as required. This pay-for-what-you-use model resembles the way electricity, fuel and water are consumed, it’s sometimes referred to as utility computing.
Platform-as-a-service in the cloud is defined as a set of software and development tools hosted on the provider’s infrastructure. Developers create applications on the provider’s platform over the internet. PaaS providers may use APIs (application programming interface), website portals or gateway software installed on the customer’s computer. Force.com, (an outgrowth of Salesforce.com) and GoogleApps are examples of PaaS.
Software-as-a-service cloud model, the vendor supplies the hardware infrastructure, the software product and interacts with the user through a front-end portal. SaaS is a very broad market. Services can be anything from Web-based email to inventory control and database processing. Because the service provider hosts both the application and the data, the end user is free to use the service from anywhere. Adobe software is now SaaS.
►Watch: What are the Business Benefits of Cloud Computing, IaaS, PaaS and SaaS:
• Middleware—software that connects computers and devices to other applications such as software drivers; gaming rendering.
• Virtualization—simulating a hardware platform, operating system (OS), storage device, or network resources.
• Runtime—the time at which a software or multimedia program is running.
2. Online Marketing Best Practices
a. Online Design Development: Digital venues are a lean-launch solution, and they work, but only if you work it effectively! ALL online marketing material, from ads to landing pages, to microsites should SELL features and benefits fulfilling a need of your target audience.
b. Call to Action: Words that urge the reader, listener, or viewer of a marketing message to take an immediate action. “Write Now,” “Call Now,” or (online) “Click Here” are DIRECT CTAs. However, CTAs can be IMPLIED, as in a hashtag.
• Two clicks should be maximum required of users to purchase or follow additional instructions (such as click on the link, or take the poll, or respond to a query). All marketing material should have a direct or implied CTA!
• What is the objective of your CTA?
—To sell directly (on or offline, i.e. brick & mortar)
—To spark interest and generate further investigation
c. Exploring Resources: find competent marketing, graphic and production professionals:
• Place ads on Craigslist under Gigs (where it’s FREE to place), for qualified pros. Work with LOCAL vendors, not overseas, to keep communication simple and cost effective.
• Post ads on LinkedIn groups, or any groups or forums that are applicable to your business needs.
Make sure to review portfolios of previous work when hiring professionals. Ask vendor for the results of their projects, i.e. how well the marketing piece performed. If they don’t know, you don’t want to hire them. Use the knowledge you are gleaning from this course to instruct hired pros to produce effective marketing materials for you. Most professional designers need your marketing guidance to produce quality, effective marketing.
3. Website Development (overview)
a. Effective websites:
• UI ease of use— the more user friendly the UI, the greater likelihood people will engage with your site longer, and act on your CTAs.
• Navigation— Setting up an effective UI means funneling viewers to CTAs!
►Watch: Mobile Navigation
• Readability—site must be readable. Effective UIs funnel the user to the CTA using techniques like eye tracking, and visual command.
• Relevance— site content should be to-the-point, i.e. putting your best differentiator first, AND entertaining! If users are bored, they’ll click off your site fast, and never get to your great offer.
• UX—interactivity IS engagement. Create polls, games, contests, giveaways, to get users to interact with your site often.
• E-commerce/online sales—for lean-launch roll outs, use referential purchase links to outside vendors—Amazon; Google Play; iStore
b. Typical Website Components—Website components are INDUSTRY SPECIFIC (targeted). CNN has very different site components than Guitar Center, which is very different from Remax Real Estate.
• Home Page—your company’s storefront. Components: Image/Video; Headline; CTA, and relevant links (or 3-bar “more” symbol for links) to inside your site. Headline IS the greatest differentiator of your company. CTA is generally ‘learn more,’ (though CTA should SELL, as in ‘Experience the Magic…’) to motivate users to enter your site. Parallax scrolling should be on the homepage for easy screen swiping to additional information below the “fold line,” i.e. the bottom of the UI screen, regardless of the device. Optional additions to homepage: testimonials; twitter/fb/news-feed widgets; site stats and related widgets; fill-in forms…etc.
• About company—About pages not only inform, but should SELL the company/startup. Provide information with this in mind. Use colleges, if they are known (Stanford, Harvard) of the management, and accomplishments (of known companies they’ve worked for), not only to imply staff excellence, but also to increase SEO ranking. About pages help BRAND a company. Use them to announce your philanthropy, causes and charities your company supports. Components: Image; Headline; Bodycopy; CTA (implied or actual)
• Products/services (one or multiple pgs)—Each product or service your startup offers should have a separate webpage. Product pages SELL the offering. Focus imagery and copy on features, benefits, and differentiators of your offerings. Components: Headline; Bodycopy is features & benefits in BULLETED points, after 1-3 lines of bodycopy detailing the features and solutions your offering provides; CTA (real or implied).
Website Builder Templates:
►Wix— registar (no outside host required)
►Weebly— registar (no outside host required)
►WordPress.com— VAR webhosting (wp acts as host)
►WordPress.org— CMS system. Webhost required
►Watch: WordPress for Beginners:
• On-site Blogs— used for engagement [for branding, and funneling conversion/sales], and SEO ranking. (Sites more interested in conversion—motivating purchases, i.e. Nike, Apple, generally don’t need a blog.) Blog components: Headline; Bodycopy about your company, employees, your perspective as CEO, or anything related to your products and services in any way you can create a tie-in; CTA (usually implied).
• E-Commerce/Purchase—Shopping cart pages and Check-out pages should SELL more than the user’s pick of purchase. Think of your purchase pages like the candy and the magazines in a supermarkets check-out aisle. Use recommendations, related products and services, warranty contracts, low price guarantees to motivate completion of sale, and sell more. Components: Headline is often the upsell to concertize sale, as in ‘FREE Shipping’; Subheads are offers and recommendations; Bodycopy is offer details and legalize; CTA is usually the Buy button.
• Contact/Locations—no need for a street address unless you are brick & mortar business, or the local reference serves your targets. Always provide an email address that someone in your organization responds to with each legitimate query. Provide personal emails for contacting managment with website roll out where applicable, i.e. while startup is small, to build relationships.
b. Responsive Design—responsive web design (RWD): websites coded to provide an optimal viewing experience across a wide range of electronic devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Responsive_web_design
c. Infinite scroll—UIs that scroll vertically and continually add new material instead of having to click on older pages, i.e. Pintrest, Twitter, FaceBook.
d. Horizontal infinite scroll—UI scrolls horizontally instead of vertically.
e. Parallax scroll—Trending for mobile UIs: scrolls vertically with specific stops. Good for mobile devices for swipe control on small screens.
►Explore popular parallax templates: http://themify.me/themes/parallax;
►Watch: Key Elements of Website Design:
4. Online Advertising
a. Landing Page— online marketing tool that promotes individual campaigns with ONE main message and CTA. Landing pages are single campaigns, sometimes used to sell directly, but they’re also a part of the conversion process to purchase. They are often used to garner email addresses. CTAs usually bring viewers to a website, microsite or sales page. Landing page best practice components: Image/Video; Headline; CTA.
►Read: 35 Beautiful Landing Pages to Drool Over: http://unbounce.com/landing-page-examples/built-using-unbounce/beautiful-landing-page-design-examples/
►Watch How to Write a Landing Page that Converts:
b. Email Marketing: email is one of the most effective marketing tools to motivate SALES. Users are more likely to open and respond to an email than any other form of online marketing.
• E-blasts— sending landing pages and microsites as emails.
• Personal Letter form— writing a personalized email to recipients. Use applications like Mail Chimp to maintain your email lists, and electronically personalize each mailing to the name of the email recipient.
• E-zines— online magazines that are emailed monthly, weekly, even daily (for daily offers and specials). E-zines, like business blogs, should be TIGHTLY TARGETED, from a specific organization or company, as in a vineyard recommending food combinations for different vintages, or recipes that go well with their wine.
►Read: Best Email Marketing Software of 2016: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2453354,00.asp
►Read: Why the Worst Day of the Week is the Best Day to Send Emails: https://customer.io/blog/timing-week-day-email-sending-schedule.html
• SPAM filters— as effective as email marketing it, the downside is SPAM filters on email clients will likely put your email in JUNK, or worse, not deliver it, without permission from the email recipient. To avoid your emails landing in JUNK, or the recipient not even getting it, make sure the email was garnered from a user who filled in a form on one of your landing pages, or signed up directly to receive emails from you. ALWAYS remove email addresses of people who request you to stop sending to them. Google “Triggers for SPAM filters, 2016” (or the current year, even month), as these algorithms are changing all the time to catch advertising SPAM and prevent it from annoying users.)
►Read: Subject Line Spam Trigger Words: http://www.mequoda.com/articles/audience-development/subject-line-spam-trigger-words/
►Watch GetResponse, Automated Email Marketing:
c. Text Ads:Text Injection ads are all text ads where specific keywords within the text of a webpage are matched with advertising and/or related information.
d. Display Ads: Banner ads, Skyscraper (along the side of a webpage), variable size display ads from platforms like Facebook and Twitter, to affiliate marketing advertising on websites, blogs and vlogs.
e. Pop-up Ads: (aka fancybox): those annoying pop-ups that covering 2/3 of the page the moment we land on a website or blog, and until we click it off, it won’t let us get to the webpage.
f. Video Marketing:
• Commercials— video commercials, like TV commercials, are between 10-30 seconds, and tell a story, visually, verbally, or both. Video ads should be designed to SELL offering, even if implied selling (as in most cereal commercials show lifestyle around the breakfast table.) Video ads on social media platforms like Facebook should be kept short, and INSTANTLY captive visually, since many users have the sound muted because they are viewing at work or school, or other inappropriate venue.
• Social Media marketing—SMM videos are more personal. Clips from the office, even if it’s the garage; funny things staff finds on YouTube; sports or outdoor activities, and skills like playing guitar, painting or building, that staff, especially management engage in. Even parenting of kids and pets can be captured through cellphones and used as Social Media content. SMM videos are used to build brand awareness, and to personalize (endear) your startup’s relationship with users.
►Read: Video Ads Go Live Because Everything Good Must Come to an End: http://techcrunch.com/2014/10/30/instagram-video-ads-go-live-because-everything-good-must-come-to-an-end/
• Infomercials—typically between 15 and (more commonly) 30 minutes in length. Used a lot for Direct Response TV (DRTV), but shorter forms of 3-5 min long are used during station breaks on local channels (see KRON4 Morning News).
g. Business Blogs & Vlogs (aka commercial blogs and video blogs): mommy bloggers; news blogs; entertainment; how-to…etc. To be successful (get a lot of views and subscribers, then charge $$$ for affiliate ad space on your page), commercial blogs MUST BE tightly targeted. Not ‘Mommy blog,’ but ‘San Francisco Mom Managing Triplets,’ with the tagline ‘Place to go and things to do with 3 kids through their stages, and spaces to indulge YOU.’ BE SPECIFIC, especially at roll out of your blog or vlog! Effective business blogs are TIGHTLY TARGETED.
►Read: How the Simple Dollar Works: http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/The-Simple-Dollar/2010/0823/How-The-Simple-Dollar-works
►Read: 15 Most Popular Blogs: http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/blogs
►Read: 50 Successful Blogs : http://www.sparringmind.com/successful-blogs/
►Read: Top money earning blogs: http://onlineincometeacher.com/money/top-earning-blogs/
• Free Blog Platforms: (a few popular sites among many)