Click-throughs. Hyperlinks. Search engine registration. Banner ads. Companies taking their businesses on the Internet to get a share of the $1.4 billion in online revenues--or the projected $3.3 billion expected in online transaction revenues by 2000--are being forced to learn a whole new marketing vocabulary.
For many newbies on the Web, these terms sound more like a foreign language than marketing strategies. And talking the talk is only the beginning--to make a company's presence on the Internet profitable, it's got to learn to walk the walk and market aggressively on the Net.
Few Web site managers or small-business owners have the time to tackle the task of marketing on the Web, spelling disaster for many companies' Web sites. After spending thousands of dollars launching their sites, far too many companies sit back and wait for customers to rush in with orders. When that doesn't happen, they complain of low traffic and meager sales and declare the new medium a bust.
Charles Sayers, publisher of the online magazine Who's Marketing Online? (http://www.wmo.com), calls that strategy--or rather lack thereof--a recipe for disaster. "You can't just launch a Web site without a marketing plan specifically geared for the Web," he says. "You need to approach marketing on the Web the same way you would approach marketing an offline business."
Rushing to the aid of businesses such as these are a new crop of companies helping businesses with all aspects of Web marketing: designing sites, increasing traffic through site registration and links, tracking and analyzing hits, creating and placing banner ads, distributing press releases online and more.
Frances Huffman, a freelance writer in Pacific Palisades, California, is a former senior editor for Entrepreneur.