Reducing your online customer acquisition costs

Reducing your online customer acquisition costs – the cost of Internet advertising is rising, how does your business position itself to acquire customers smartly and at a lower cost

Top 10 rules of best practice website design

Web visitors are global Netizens

Reducing your online customer acquisition costs – the cost of Internet advertising is rising, how does your business position itself to acquire customers smartly and at a lower cost

Responsive, Responsible Online Ads


Rising Costs Smart Web Solutions


The Internet has become an integral part of the media consumption of an increasing percentage of almost all targeted audiences – B2C buyers or even B2B traders. To en-cash this popular trend, web media owners have raised media rates. While Internet advertising may have become more expensive, intuitive technology and innovative planning enables advertisers to boost the conversion rates and overall advertising return on investment, enhancing the overall effectiveness of advertising spends. There are primarily three kinds of internet advertising: PPC (Pay per Click), banner and sponsored web advertorials/whitepapers/research results. Smart advertisers are benefiting by adding ‘intelligence’ to all three kinds of advertising. While banner advertising has become more IP sensitive/responsive, PPC advertising is more responsible, leading click throughs to compelling landing pages and sponsored advertorials/whitepapers/research capitalising on customer impulsiveness leveraging a latent/perceived need.

Intelligent Interactive Advertising


Online advertisers have gained tremendously by adding ‘intelligence’ to the regular banner advertising on different online portals. Advertisers are deploying banner advertisements that add value to web visitors and not just some gimmickry through flashy ‘info-tainment’. By using the latest web tracking techniques like using free tools from Google Analytics, advertisers ascertain the regions that attract heavier traffic and their consumption habits too. Different banner advertisements targeting different regional needs are then served to visitors depending on the region (IP address) of the web visitor. Banner advertisements are also interactive, i.e. they have sales forms and ordering functionalities too. This enhances the conversion rates thanks to their abilities to effectively attract and close sales. This way fewer advertisements can close more deals. It is their focused messaging that successfully enhances their overall effectiveness. In case of PPC advertisements, the copy needs to have well researched keywords/keyphrases which should lead to compelling landing pages (rather than generic web pages). Behaving like convincing sales agents, landing pages have proven to be highly effective in boosting conversion rates.


Info-Led Effective Advertising


The web lacks the tangibility of offline interactions; however this gap can be bridged by custom web content that is written in a credible, case study manner. Thus the reader/prospect is convinced by real life examples in white papers, case studies, advertorials or even research results. This replicates the offline ‘touch and feel’ effect as readers are convinced by ‘real life walkthrough’ narratives backed by appropriate testimonials or appreciative user feedback. These compelling content based promotions can be placed in popular ‘knowledge-portals’ or even as links in your own site. To help build effective brand appeal the placement of these info-advertisements depends on web visitor analytics. They are placed on those sections of the website which attract the heaviest ‘web-movements’. This ensures optimum exposure and click throughs too.


Analytical Intelligence

The collated results of at least a quarter (3 months) of web traffic tracking should help build the core of the advertisement creative and execution strategy. This will ensure that subsequent interactive advertising initiatives display only that content that was popularly consumed by web visitors. And since different geographies had different (popular) choices of information/product/service categories, the advertisement display strategy should always be (geographic) IP sensitive, serving information that is relevant to a particular region. Advertisers should then devise optimum bundling / co-branding of numerous offers, again based on web analytics results on the popularity of specific offerings to further enhance consumer appeal of web offers. In fact such smart interactive advertising moves have yielded better conversion rates to consistently boost marketing ROI/conversion rates. This offsets the rising costs of media exposure as enhanced value realisations can easily justify enhanced web media spends.

10 Commandments: Good Website Design

Web usability experts, marketing strategists and business thought leaders have converged to formulate simple yet effective website design best practices. These not only enhance website attractiveness but also sales conversion rates by enhancing the web-visit experience significantly. These tips will help everyone to develop extremely popular and functional web-pages. These are:

1. Make web pages for multiple web browsers’ viewing to enable easy access to majority of the web visitors. The Internet remains non-browser specific and a multi-platform medium. It is your web visitors who choose the platform based on their individual needs and are not compelled by your website medium’s choice. Thus they could be using any one or even different types of web browsers like Explorer, Netscape, Linux, Lynx, Opera, WebTV, Mobile Telephones, NetPhonic’s Web-On-Call, or Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs, or palmtops). Each browser needs to serve your informational web pages without any viewing problems.

2. Test your web pages in different web browsers as every visitor will see your pages in different browsers differently. For example, test pages in a browser like Linux to see how the “text-only” world finds your web-documents, as search engines are text-only browsers. Make documents Linux-friendly. Try different preferences, colour & font settings, and the window sizes too. Also remember to see how webpages look with lower/ higher monitor brightness settings.

3. Put your Web pages through a validator test to measure their compliance with common HTML specifications. You need to modify web-pages till they validate, since compliant pages always stand a greater chance of being rendered by different Web browsers, as it was originally intended. It is always better to work with the strengths of HTML rather than trying to incorporate a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) page design system.

4. Keep the content crisp and to the point to fit the needs of a busy web visitor of today. Following the usual journalistic ‘inverted pyramid’ style, of starting the content with the conclusion first is a great way of ‘hooking’ the choosy web reader and being more ‘info-relevant’ right from the start.

5. The web today is more conversational from a written content perspective (unless you are design dependent business like a photo studio/fashion designer). Even search engine spiders can only interpret written content, besides heavy images make the website painfully slow to download and function further. Hence it is advisable to always have small, byte wise graphics so that the website loads more quickly in browsers that are graphics-capable. Please remember that is not a good idea to use GIF images for all graphical tasks. Ideally you should choose between JPEG and palette based formats. Stop blindly selecting GIF images to save yourself from many graphic related problems.

6. Always remember to provide textual alternatives when using graphics. This is to provide for text-only or image-disabled Web browsers & indexing agents. Besides there may be cases where some web visitors may never turn your website images on.

7. Specifying a background colour or image? If you do not specify link and text colours, the web visitors’ link and text colours will be used against your background. In some cases, there may not be a contrast between the user’s text & link colors and your background colour / image, making your text and links disappear! Remember that if you do set one colour then you will need to set them all.

8. Be careful about the many pitfalls of special character sets – like the currency signs, it can create unnecessary confusion. It is always safer to write the currency in full with the concerned country too. For example you mention $25.00 without the geographic qualification. Well its actual (local) value in different browsers globally would be different across many international locations such as in a browser in Australia, Hong Kong or Canada.

9. Eliminate errors, like spelling mistake, grammatical errors and also routinely check & locate internal and external broken web site links too. Always remember to add your updated copyright on all web pages.

10. To add presentational effects for the future and for a friendly web page style, simply validate documents at HTML 4.0 level for a cleanest possible markup. This way your web pages will contain little/ no HTML 3.2 presentational markup or proprietary stylistic hacks, and use the World Wide Web Consortium’s Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) language to add stylistic effects to your pages.

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