December 10, 2000

San Francisco-based web consulting and marketing firm Marketleap released guidelines for any company wanting to improve its web presence.
The guidelines are offered by Marketleap as a ready-made New Years resolution and focus on the need for measurable website customer acquisition strategies.

"Looking back on last year many bright companies operated not so bright websites," said Marketleap president Noel McMichael. "There is a lot of room for improvement in 2001 for many companies in terms of running smarter websites and improving investment decisions relative to qualified consumers visiting those sites."

For any company doing business online - whether pure Internet or brick-and-mortar, an important investment decision concerns how much it spends to reel in qualified, as in likely to buy the product, visitors to its site.

For example, a $10 million Super Bowl television advertising campaign is worthless if company X did not ultimately find customers buying at its site as a result of the campaign. Today the phrase "customer acquisition cost" is abuzz around
the Internet as belts tighten and companies need to track closely these types of investment decisions.

In order to succeed with a "New Year's resolution for running a smarter business website through measurable customer acquisition strategies," a company will need to evaluate its web strategy focusing on:

o Search Engine Marketing - With millions of venture capital dollars going into ineffective TV ads last year, results continue to show search engines are a great cost-effective strategy for targeting new customers. In fact, Forrester
research reports that 81% of people today find sites via search engine. Search engine marketing refers to maximizing website referrals from search engines using a mix of both paid placement and optimization.

o Performance-Based Media - Everyone is advertising on the web. We can glimpse a preview for an upcoming motion picture or get a new credit card by clicking on a banner online. What makes this new ad medium so unique are the new pricing models it offers. No longer are advertisers limited to cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) pricing. The closed-loop
environment of the Internet now allows advertisers to purchase media based on performance. Imagine a closed bubble where consumer behavior is completely tracked. Performance can be anything from a click to a sale.

o Affiliate Networks - By sharing a percentage of a sale or offering a cost-per-lead, companies can enjoy ad placements that produce sales at a low fixed cost by building an affiliate network. By teaming up with affiliate technology providers such as BeFree, Linkshare, and Commission Junction, for example, companies are realizing a decrease in customer acquisition cost and increased brand reach.

o Intelligent Tracking - Just knowing the number of visitors to your website isn't good enough, understanding what visitors are doing on your website is critical to your ongoing success. Employ technology that will help in smarter
decision-making such as marketing tools like Coremetrics, Ad Relevance, and WebTrends.

o Internal Communication - Last but not least, stay abreast of all facets of your company's business by talking with individuals throughout various departments consistently. This produces a better understanding of your customer's
needs and challenges.

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