This is a business report on e-marketing strategies for a local bookstore. In the last one decade, there has been a shift in the way business is done. Business owners have transcended their physical locations to reach out to clients elsewhere. This has been possible because of internet. Through internet, businesses increase sales as well as foot traffic. This report explores ways of increasing sales as well as bookstore visits. It explores various features of a website that make it possible to advertise. Secondly, it investigates other strategies of advertising such as use of key words and banner ads. Although the founders would not be comfortable with social media advertising, it is apparent that online success must include social media marketing. Thirdly, the report recommends ways in which the founders could enhance both local and international awareness and sales to their products. Lastly, the report tackles how different types of customer relationship management could be used to increase sales.
Marketing plays an important role in business success. Through marketing, customers are able to know about the products of a business. Therefore, a business is successful to the extent it invests in marketing its products. In the last one decade, there has been a shift in the way products are marketed. This is mostly attributed to the development of internet. Through internet, businesses overcome challenges of geography to reach out to customers in far away places. Even if there are no sales, the business owner creates awareness about his or her products. However, the development of internet has not been revolutionary as many business people would think. Internet arose in the early 1950’s (Huurdeman, 2003). It was invented out of the need to share information among computers. Therefore, it could be said that the invention of computers preceded that of internet. This brings about the aspect of electronic marketing. It means that computers and other electronic devices are used to create awareness of products. According to Huuderman (2003), websites were created by the 1990’s. It is crucial to note that online presence of businesses was not widely proliferated before 2002 which marked the creation of social media such as social networking sites and blogs (Shimp, 2010). Today, businesses that do not have online presence are recording dwindling sales. There is a need for businesses to adopt e-marketing strategies.
Features of a Website
The first step to electronic marketing is the creation of a website. It enables a business to expose products of a business to people all over the world. A website has serious features that make it possible to advertise. Firstly, a website has a domain name (Chaffey, 2004). In this case, an example of a domain is www. bookbunker.com or www.bbunker.net. There are companies with servers that host a website. These servers are the key to promulgating information to the entire world. Moreover, these are technical aspects that website creation experts launch. A business owner who is not an internet savvy employs an administrator who uploads information on the site and manages it. But business owners should also be familiar with features that are core to the marketing of the business’s products.
A website has a universal presence. It can be seen from anywhere across the world as long as there is internet connection. The other important feature of a website is the ability of clients to contact the business owner or administrator. This is possible through the ‘Contact Us’ option. After a clients clicks contact us, he or she is able to send an email requesting for information about products or placing an order (Shimp, 2010). In this case, a potential client could ask whether the business owners have a certain book that cannot be found in contemporary bookstores. If such a book is in stock, then they may place an order after which the book is shipped to them.
The other feature of a website is the ability of clients to chat real-time with the website administrator. Through chatting or instant messaging, clients are able to get information on the spot hence making a purchase decision. In addition, business websites have an option for paying for the product. Some of payment options are through Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal among others (Huuderman, 2003). Further, a website has a feature in which products are displayed. The Johnsons are able to upload photographs of the books that they sell under products overview tab. These products are also accompanied by prices and mode of payment. In this section, it is possible for the Johnsons to do promotions such as offers for certain books. In a website, Johnsons could include an option of newsletter. An e-newsletter would keep clients updated on the books in stock or new arrivals. Furthermore, a website has a tab that links it to a blog. This is addressed in the next part of the report.
How to Advertise Online
Book Bunker bookstore should be advertised in all the major search engines such as Google and Yahoo. Other than such engines, the website should be promoted in all major business directories (Chaffey, 2004). In addition, there are online forums that are peculiar to bookstores. The administrator of the website should make sure there are links of the website in online places where people talk about books. However, this cannot be done without effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This entails the use of key words which would lead to the website. In some cases, business owners pay for SEO. Some of the key words which could be used in SEO include ‘books, bookstore, rare books, old books, high quality books, novels, rare novels, ancient book’ among others. This means that when a customer types either of the words in his or her search, the link to the website is among the search results in search engine.
The other useful mode of advertising is use of banner ads and ad words. According to Shimp (2010), banner ads are static internet-based advertisements that resemble newspaper advertisements. These ads are linked to the website. Therefore, after a client clicks related link, he or she is taken to the website. For Book Bunkers, use of banner ads would be an effective way of e-marketing. Banner adds boosts traffic into a sire. In addition, Ad words are also useful. It is Google’s way of advertising. It uses a system of pay-per-click (Chaffey, 2004). Google uses key words and domain names to locate websites that are advertised on the search engine.
There are many places of advertising online. One of the most effective ways is through the use of social media. Although Mr. Joe Johnson is skeptical about it, it is the key to the success of their bookstore. A simple adoption of social media marketing could propel the business into a high level of profitability that has never been experienced in the last 20 years in the business. It is not an option today, it is almost compulsory for businesses to use social media to succeed. According to Shimp (2010), social media includes social networking site and blogs. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are one of the most efficient ways of other people talking about your products. This happens without business owner’s effort. In the long run, more people know about the product and are likely to buy or refer others. Blogs are also interactive ways of talking about a product. Clients interact with the administrator leaving comments and asking information about rare books. The options of blog, Facebook’s ‘share’ or Twitter’s ‘Tweet’ can be found in the website. This means that the couple must not do it themselves. Moreover, Johnsons could employ somebody to promote their books in social media.
Using Internet to Increase Sales and Foot Traffic
Online advertising is the only sure way of increasing book sales for the business. As has already been seen, this is done through exposing the products to many people who surf the internet. It can also be done by talking about the products on the internet. This creates awareness and also the need for the products. According to Shimp (2010), websites, social networking sites, blogs, e-newsletters, RSS feeds, online communities, discussion boards and other avenues enhance both international and local sales. Globally, clients in other parts of the world are able to learn about the products. Locally, clients get to know about the rare kind of business at their disposal. As a result, they are compelled to actually walk into the bookstore and see these rare products. Web-based methods of payment facilitate international sales. At the physical bookstore, the couple would continue to handle the increasing number of customers.
Customer Relationship Management Systems
Although Mr. Joe Johnson is skeptical about social media, it is a reality that technology is the solution to dwindling business sales. A new way of managing online customer interaction is called customer relationship management (CRM) system. It is used mainly to deal with automated customer relations online. According to Vogt (2009), CRM was derived from relationship marketing. As a result, softwares and information technology solutions were established as a way of making better customer relations via internet. Citing Gartner Group (2002), Vogt (2009) defines CRM as a strategy that is focused on the customer to produce customer satisfaction, business revenue and profitability. CRM also includes a system of getting information on the changing needs of customers. At an online platform, such needs may be quite dynamic. Therefore, Johnsons must establish a system of dealing with increasing numbers of customers. In the context of their bookstore, CRM would include a system of implementing systems that are geared towards supporting customer information and product needs.
CRM systems are useful in improving sales. For a bookstore, there are many ways of utilizing this concept for optimal profitability. Most of these ways are technological undertakings such as creation of databases, communication and information flow, market analyses, electronic transactions, billing, online resources and tools customer-company interfaces among other aspects (Vogt, 2009). For instance, creating a database of customer emails enables the bookstore to send information regarding new books which may boost sales. Further, an efficient billing method helps the bookstore owners to track trends in sales. They would also help in analyzing what market segments are more profitable. This is based on analyses of regional sales and characteristics of customers in terms of age and other socio-economic variables. Specifically, Johnsons should implement a system of sending appreciation messages to clients periodically such as after three months.
E-marketing is the use of internet and electronic devices to promote products. It is the modern way of increasing sales and both online and foot traffic to a business. This report was geared towards exploring some aspects of e-marketing. The report presented feature of a website that make marketing easy, ways of online advertising, how to use internet to increase traffic and how customer relationship management systems are useful in sales promotion. Although the founders of Book Bunker are skeptical about social media marketing, it is the main way through which they can boost their dwindling sales. Indeed, e-marketing is an effective way of taking business to the next level.