Invite A Friend

Invite A Friend is a feature created on web pages purposely, to relate ones experience about product or service and recommend same to interested friends for a trial. It is another internet marketing strategy that niche market web owners takes advantage of, to generate viral effect for maximum gain in their business ventures. Business promotion via this medium, is not limited to online campaign.

Information sharing about products and services also thrive offline, at friends or group discuss forum. The end result of offline information sharing of common interest issue, lead to exchange of address (e-mail or website). Membership sign-on is a common feature on most websites, being a strategy to enlist as many as possible loyal customers for viral effect purpose. These website members are the potential instrument of information spread about website with unique contents. All the instances mentioned, are attributes of Invite A Friend scheme.

This feature also called, “Tell A Friend” or “Share with Friend” is targeted at patrons of product, service or lovers of social website, by webmasters to attract more visitors traffic through these loyal customers. Facebook, Twitter and other social network websites uses this method approach to build their vast network of membership. Recommendation of products or services by people with first-hand knowledge adds value, because it is a testimony of an experienced consumers. This make the feature, one sure way of converting new customers that merchants can reliably capitalize on for good returns on investment.

Merchants apt of the importance of the viral effect of information spread, are quick to appreciate their customers value, and readily reward loyal customers for recommending their products or service. Invite a friend can be looked at as, an extension of Affiliate Program in the sense that, a product value is share with friends or an acquaintance of similar interest. Information spread through this medium, quickly result to conversion of targeted audience because, they will arrive at the product website with a mind-set to purchase without hesitation.

Invite a friend is a piece of prepared short message script, send to friends e-mail address by a consumer, affirming product usage and recommendation of its trial by the recipients. The patrons only enter the e-mail address of receiving friend, that the message is meant for. The message contains a web-link that take the recipients to the recommended product website by clicking-through the link.

As mark of appreciation and to stimulate participation, compensations are awarded referrals in the promotion campaign scheme. When referred visitors purchase, coupon or percentage discount, are some of the alternate compensations awarded the referral loyal patrons in their subsequent future purchases.


Opt-In E-mail Listing

Opt-In e-mail listing may be describe as an “add-on” application, complimenting the effort of affiliate program campaign in online business. Often, most targeted web visitors rarely have the compulsion to purchase at their first visit to a web-store. Opt-in e-mail listing software is installed on web pages to extract visitors e-mail address details, with a view to keep these visitors abreast of related update on visited websites. Various ideas are explore by webmasters to get visitors opted into e-mail listing campaign. For example, web owners may offer free e-book relating to, or a trial period of their products to lure targeted consumers into parting with personal data and e-mail address on their websites.

Typical e-mail listing campaign will request visitors to register by filling-out some boxes provided with personal information and functional e-mail address on the website. The information is purely required to ascertain where correspondence will be directed and to whom it will be address. To ascertain the veracity of an e-mail address, the software may be programed to direct visitor to his or her e-mail address for confirmation link message.

In volunteering personal data and e-mail address, assurance of privacy of volunteered information is rest assured not to be divulge to a third-party. However, one is also refer to the “Privacy Policy” guiding the website operations.This assurance is purposely to protect your e-mail address from spamming correspondents.

It is advisable that web visitors go through the privacy policy of any website to appraise the content before divulging any information. This is important because, there is no blanket assurance for the privacy of your personal information. Reason is that, the prevailing laws in any country, override whatever policy operated by an individual or corporate entity with regard to some security laws. Therefore it will do well, if you get to know what guaranty and circumstances that may lead to the release of information about you to a third-party in any privacy policy.

Usually, when a visitor enlist his or her name and e-mail address at a website, an instant message response is sent to the e-mail address in-box by the website auto-mail responder. The mail is about welcoming the visitor and probably, give more information about the website operation. Afterwards, the visitor is regularly receive newsletter review, products or services update in his or her e-mail box.

Opt-in e-mail listing campaign strategy relies on the believe that, a visitor that willingly volunteer his or her personal information and e-mail address must be looking for something. Such visitors are considered targeted visitor that e-merchants look forward to convert to customers. So, an e-mail auto-responder is programmed to send correspondence, relating to products or services on offer at merchants website, to all enlisted visitors e-mail addresses in the merchants web database on regulated intervals.

The ultimate aim is the hope that, either of these informative correspondence on related products or services, will meet the needs of these targeted audience. And the content will be appealing enough, to prompt the mail readers to click the back-link embedded in the message body, and re-direct them to the merchants website for a purchase.

However web surfers particularly, the newbies in internet browsing, need to tread carefully when registering to opt into an e-mail listing program. It is one source of mail spamming. It is better to indulge in correspondents that has direct value to ones need. Otherwise, your e-mail box will be flooded with unsolicited nauseating mails that will irritate you. And the rate at which such mails were sent, is so disturbing that you will have a lot on your hand in getting them deleted. Although every e-mail send comes with a footnote that gives you an option to opt out through a link provided. The truth is that, most of them fail to comply. You may have to resort to reporting mail spamming to the appropriate authority to get yourself out of the wood.


Affiliate Program

E-commerce merchants are consistently concern about an exposure for their online goods or services, to the relevant market. Similarly affiliate marketers are constantly on the prowl for merchants with relevant market to promote on
their niche websites. So it is common to locate “Affiliate program” among the browsing links of some business website.

Affiliate program is a business partnership relation, between merchant and an affiliate marketer, where the marketer mutually agree to divert targeted traffic to the online business site of the merchant.

This is another angle to internet marketing promotion, base on generation of in-bond links from affiliate marketer’s website to the business website of their merchant partners. In affiliate program, the affiliate marketers and their merchant partners enter into contractual agreement on commission payable, for each consummated dealing with customers, coming from the affiliate marketer’s website link to the merchant website.

This implies that, an affiliate marketer make profit, only when visitors that landed on his merchant partner’s website via his own, purchases product or service offer by the merchant. This is a contrast to what obtain in Google’s Adsense, PPC or CPC marketing campaign, where the publisher get commission for every click on advert published on his websites, irrespective of any purchase or not.

In order to identify potential customers coming from an affiliate partner, each affiliate marketer is assigned a unique hyper-link by the merchant, which the affiliate partner paste in his web text-editor for appropriate recognition.

Affiliate program is essentially good for online merchants store with low descriptive web content site, because such website hardly get ranked by search engines. In a quest to generate the much-needed targeted web traffic, these merchants sort the partnership of affiliate marketers to help promote their products or services via related content-rich websites, linked-back to the merchant website. To achieve this feat, an affiliate marketer equally, must have in-depth knowledge of the market he’s being promoted in order to feed his web visitors, relevant information and tips they’re probably coming across for the first time.

When visitors derive satisfaction from information obtain on a particular website, they appreciate and naturally come back for more in future. The conviction in information derive by these visitors lead confidence in the perfection of the article writer such that, they’re willing to accept the suggestion or recommendation from the author. It is this trust that web owner, takes advantage of and utilize in turning his website to an affiliate business site. And the consequent result is, the all important click-through to the merchant partner’s website.

Consumers appreciate the distinction between, a relevant keyword focus content pages and sales page, fill product hypes campaign. Surfers searches the web purposefully for something, and are more dispose to content pages that provide precise information on products or services that they’re looking for. Sales page, pitch-up with a hype contents, tend to annoy rather than convert visitors. Information has reveal that, conversion rate of hype content websites are far below in ranking to keyword focus content websites because, visitor feels uncomfortable with the swindle-like coordinated approach, of authors of such website.

Typical affiliate website therefore, discusses topical issues of interest on any subject matter that the author is familiar with. Entertainment, Technology, Fashion, Business, Economy… are just few among topic discussions that web visitors found on an affiliate program website. And the authors, in chosen their topic, ensure its center around popular keyword. Wikipedia is one example of a perfect content website that is rich in diverse, topical information, on various aspect of life. Although it remain an uncommercialize website, it remain one of the best online knowledge-base one book shelve, where authors contribute immeasurable information that enriches the knowledge of internet visitors. Their is hardly a keyword search that Wikidepia will not rank high in the first page.


Shop Listing Portal

Shop Listing Portal is another internet marketing option for promotion of e-commerce market presence round the world. It is an online business directories, providing information on business in classified categories. Major online marketers, like in SEM are the major driving force behind directory listing advertisement campaign. There are also other private marketers in the directory listing business.

In typical online business directory, merchants register their business URL (domain name), with marketer of their choice for listing in the marketer directories page. The portal lay-out is arrange in categories alphabetically. Each text-linked category group, takes visitors to the respective simplify pages of the categories, where products and services are break down to a component list available under a category. This process gives web browser a friendly searching experience in arriving at their search destination quickly.

For example, lets take “Computer and Internet” as a category under it, we’ll have hardware product like; HDD while Web Hosting, Internet Connectivity, E-mail as some of the services offer by the advertisers. Merchants need to familiarize themselves with how businesses are categorized to understand where his business will be relevant and visible in the directory to online visitors. Otherwise, an advert will just get buried and generate near zero traffic, when place in an irrelevant category page of a directory. After confirmation, the business name and its brief description, together with the business web domain name, are submitted in a form for processing by the marketer.

A click on appropriate category link, will lead customers to a subcategory page list, and another link-click on desire subcategory, will finally land the visitor on the page of advertised companies, engaging in one or more businesses of that category. The visitor browse through the array of listed merchant sites until she arrive at one that best suit her want. Products and services offer, brief description of the business and domain name link of the business web site and in some cases, company logos are included on the page list.

Yahoo! MarketPlace is one of the major online business directory companies that thrive in providing, in-depth profile information and feedback on companies advertising on its stable. Google’s acquired DoubleClick is another online directory company that’s giving Yahoo! run for its money. When customer is satisfy with her findings after browsing through the various advertised companies, she make the next move to click-through to the landing or sales page of the merchant of her best choice. At this point, extraction of comments from old customers familiar with products or services has an advantage. Testimonies from old customers, publish on merchants web site pages goes a long way to buoy-up assurance of products or services quality and stimulate new visitors conversion to customers.

Shop listing portal over the years, have proven to be one of the best online marketing program for merchants to advertise their business. This is so because,  concentration of products and services in one marketplace makes things easy for consumers to do their search and findings quicker and give room for choice preference.

Business directory service is relatively cost-effective. Service charge plan can be peg at monthly, quarterly or bi-annually basis. There is also the option for “Cost per Click”, base on volume of impressions by visitors click on an advert per day. You choose the payment plan suitable to your pocket affordability considering the business size and experience.


Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing (SEM), is a paid marketing campaign alternative for e-commerce market. Even those  web sites that ranked high in SEO, still take advantage of other marketing strategies for maximum exposure of their online markets. Online marketing is dynamic. Highly ranked sites may not rank forever in the top position if, they’re not updated in tune with continue review of search engine algorithm operations.

Search Engine Marketing is sponsored advert, listed separately, in the result pages of search engines under “Sponsored Ads” acronym. These adverts are not part of the ranked websites result but, one or two of the text-ad links may be seen highlighted in transparent colour, on top of the ranked websites. Other ad-links are placed at the far right side of the search engine result page(s).

Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft pioneer SEM campaign, to shore-up online market visibility of merchants seeking exposure for their products and services world-wide. “Yahoo! Search”, Google “Advertisers” and MSN “adCenter” are trade-names of these major search engine marketing companies. With the rise in internet exploration, Google brought an innovation to SEM campaign, with its introduction of Adsense program, bringing in, private website owners as publishers.

Adsense program enable private web site owners provide space on their web pages for advert publication to further expand the visibility horizon of online marketplace. Owners of niche market with relevant products, cross-products and services are the target of Google’s Adsense marketing campaign. This program succeeded in expanding the advert space beyond the search engine marketers and becomes, a lucrative extra income source for private website owners. Website with high volume web traffic will easily qualify for Google Adsense registration.

To fund the marketing program, advertisers deposit certain amount of money in their accounts with the major marketers. A predetermine commission is paid to marketers or publishers (web owners) from these accounts to settle service render as agreed. Thus, each time web visitors click an ad-link, and landed on the website of an  advertiser, the publisher on whose site visitors click the ad-link get paid, irrespective of outcome of the visit. This mode of payment is termed, Pay per Click (PPC) or Cost per Click (CPC).

Websites that meet Google’s criteria are notified after its findings. Further interactive correspondence then follow on how the program is easily set-up following Google directive. Thereafter, Google start directing relevant adverts appropriate to the publisher website, base on keyword or phrase search. Today there are other marketers replicating the Adsense program, to deepen the competitiveness of internet marketing program.

eCommerce Solution

Web Hosting

Having get a web site structure ready, the next step is, launching the web structure for the world attention. Web hosting means, making website accessible world-wide, via the internet. Internet connectivity access is available to all size of online business. All that is needed is registration of the website domain name with a web host company.

Web hosting entails provision of server space to host, clients files and data storage. The service provider should have capacity to accommodate all size of business website such that, a growing business concern can easily upgrade its data base conveniently in future.

Well establish hosting firm must have in place, standardize business plan to meet clients need in terms of size and price affordability. For instance, an up-and-coming small-scale online store, may need small band-width space just enough to propel the business in the interim, while big companies can afford to stand alone, and maintain a standard hosting server conveniently.

Standard web host service providers must offer three to four package of the service. They should be able to give professional counseling to clients about the service that’ll suit a particular business need.

Web hosting solution is categorized. Primary web hosting service, combine many small-scale web sites in one web server. These websites are allocated small bandwidth size each, on the same serve, enough to carry their business requirement. Single-server hosting numbers of web sites is ideal only for websites with minimal update, or non-profitable websites.

Reason is that, all serves are prone to break down with increase in web traffic flow or short-down for regular maintenance service. Since websites on a primary web host runs on a single server, anytime this server is down, all websites on it will be down until the serve runs again. This may constitute a nasty experience to web visitors and discourage a return visit.

Medium grade hosting service plan include, dedicated web server and database allocated to one web site. Websites with this hosting plan, singularly maintain its server. Thus, giving room for bigger bandwidth to accommodate higher web traffic flow and enough database size. Visitors are able to load to web sites faster and the server will hardly crash due to large traffic flow. But, maintenance issue is still an inevitable challenge of this service plan as it has to undergo the check routing once-a-while.

If as a result of business growth, the single-server, medium host service becomes inadequate to accommodate visitors rush to the web sites then, a higher grade plan becomes a necessity.

Higher web host plan, is an upgrade, combining two or three web servers including application servers that is dedicated to one web site. This type of hosting service, is capable of handling heavy web traffic flow, such as social network sites and corporate organization with large clients. This category of host plan will withstand any size of visitors traffic at anytime of the day without experiencing a break down. If any of the server is shut-down for maintenance, load on the down server can be spread on order servers without itches to the web visitors.

Many e-commerce solution providers offer web hosting service. But it’s advisable that one looks or conduct a due diligent search, to ascertain a service provider that merit the highlighted criteria above. But Google and Yahoo! are two major, and highly reliable, “One-Stop-Shop” for e-commerce solution service available world-wide.

eCommerce Solution

Payment Gateways

Payment gateway is an infrastructure installed by Payment Service Providers (PSPs), in merchant web stores to facilitate e-commerce payment transaction. For secure online payment transaction, PSPs incorporate security seal in merchants payment gateway system in compliance with PCI rules, to ensure data security.

The system gather essential personal and card data supplied by cardholders, en route them through to the e-commerce payment process, for verification of information supply. Result of the transaction is equally channel back through the payment gateway system, for the merchant to decipher and take final decision.

Google Checkout is one example of an online payment processor, that facilitate acceptance of credit/debit cards in “card not present” transactions.

Cardholders in some countries around the world, enjoy further security service advantage, offer by Visa card and MasterCard, to protect payment cards data from unauthorized person access. Cardholders should visit website of their card brand issuers, to sign-up their cards for activation. Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode, are unique password code, drawn personally by cardholders during their card registration.

This password, apart from the Card Verification Value (CVV2) and Card Validation Code (CVC2), that comes with Visa and MasterCard respectively, narrowed cardholders in online payment authentication, to an affair between cardholders and their card issuers.

Payment Service Providers runs verified by Visa and SecureCode logos on merchants payment gateways system, in countries where these additional account protective service are available. Consumers purchasing at online stores bearing logos of either Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode, may have their transaction stalled, until they get their cards activated. Customers purchasing at any of the participating stores, are prompted to enter their secure code at the check-out stage of payment process.

PayPal is another payment gateway that facilitate PayPal account holders online payment transactions including, other virtual payment options. It also process credit and debit cards in online payments transaction.