What Is eMarketing? – A New Discipline Is Evolving

What Is eMarketing? – A New Discipline Is Evolving

Before trying to define the term of eMarketing (or electronic marketing, so to speak), we should first take a look at the premises of its apparition and development.
The theories concerning eMarketing have not been unified yet, due to a large diversity in specialists’ opinions. Still, one of the aspects that is established and has ceased being discussed in contradictory, is the fact that electronic marketing first appeared under the form of various techniques used by companies distributing their products through online channels (Internet – based). That happened back in the pioneering age before 1995. These companies that opened the road were called “e-tailers”, as opposed to the traditional retailers (also known as “brick-and-mortar” retailers). During their limited life, these electronic retailers began to develop and frenetically introduced new marketing techniques based on the support offered by the internet.
The online technologies mentioned above developed in the context created by the e-tailers, they are widely used these days by B2C and B2B organizations. In other words, they evolved towards what we call now eMarketing (you can also spell it e-Marketing if you wish, the “e-” stands in both cases for “electronic”).
You might find as extremely useful and suggestive the perspective offered by the eMarketing Association (eMA). You heard a lot, especially over the past 2 years, about the decline of online businesses (or the decline of dotcoms), but this temporary difficulty can be viewed as a similarity to the impasse of Columbus during his expedition that made him famous more than half millennium ago. The initial “business plan” with which Columbus started this trip (that of bringing the Asian resources in his country and getting fabulously rich) was a complete disaster: catastrophic estimations, not enough resources allocated, total lack of information upon the environment he will develop his “business” in, but… he discovered America instead and changed the world for ever. In a similar manner, we can say that the dotcoms, despite their terrible strategies (if any), “discovered” by mistake the world of eMarketing.
As we already noticed, defining eMarketing is still highly problematic. Still, what do we mean when we use this term? As many other English words, the term was born by adding the prefix “e-” to a term already known and used, in this case “marketing”. The prefix “e-” is actually the extreme contraction of the word “electronic” and is quite omnipresent in today’s language of many people: “e-marketing”, “e-business”, “e-mail”, “e-learning”, “e-commerce”, “e-“, “e-“, “e-“…
The simplest definition of eMarketing could be that suggested by Mark Sceats: the eMarketing that uses internet as manifestation channel.
A more comprehensive, practical definition is the one formulated by specialists of CISCO company: eMarketing is a generic term utilized for a wide range of activities – advertising, customer communications, branding, fidelity programs etc. – using the internet. More than the simple development of a website, the eMarketing focuses on online communications, direct dialog with consumers who thus participate to the creation of new products, finding efficient methods to win customer’s fidelity and ease their business-making process. eMarketing is the sum of activities a company makes with the purpose of finding, attracting, winning and retaining customers.
At last, for those of you interested in a more scientific approach, we could say that eMarketing allows relational exchanges in digital, networked and interactive environments (acronym: DNI environments). Earlier in the history of eMarketing, it was conceptualized as being focused upon the exchanges, but today’s theoreticians suggest the exchange paradigm is a limited modality to define eMarketing.
Whichever definition you will choose to use, will depend on where exactly you need to use it and for what purpose. You can probably formulate a definition yourself, according to your own knowledge, experience and view upon what is eMarketing. However, one conclusion needs to be drawn in connection with eMarketing: it has developed over the past few years into a standalone discipline, with its own conceptual apparatus, tools and laws, but with a still-to-be systematized knowledge.

4 Steps To Success In Web Development

4 Steps To Success In Web Development

If you are planning to become a serious player in the webdesign world, you should now what to learn and discover. Here’s a short list that gives you an overview of your needs.

1. Learn HTML
Before you start creating websites you should master HTML. This is the key element to even start publishing documents on the web. This sounds pretty obvious but there are some elements that you should understand like the label element which will add great usability to a form.

2. Master Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
I can’t stress this enough. DO NOT USE TABLES FOR YOUR LAYOUT!

Is it clear? Don’t, just don’t. Why? Because they work against you instead of for you. You can have so much more control of your layout, design and colors if you use 100% CSS.

1. CSS is easy
2. CSS is fast to create
3. CSS is lightning fast when your website loads
4. CSS is easy to modify

So forget table layouts and start using stylesheets. You will really like the things you can accomplish once you master them.

3. Learn A Server Side Language
This is needed to make dynamic websites like forums. PHP and ASP are a great example. You will need to understand what you can do with these languages and start using them.

Without a server side language your websites are really hard to maintain and will give you a hard job in creating an efficient website structure.
4. Learn A Database Language

I recommend learning MySQL since this is an open source database and is installed on most hosting providers in combination with PHP.

A database is nothing else then some tables with data. You can select data with queries like:

SELECT * FROM table WHERE ID = 3;

Now everything is selected from table when the ID equals three. It’s not hard to understand SQL, you just need to know how it works. PHPMyAdmin can help you a lot when you are creating your database.
So, start with step 1, and stick with CSS as long as you don’t master it. CSS is huge, and you will love it once you know how it works.

For application development you can’t do without a language like PHP and a database like MySQL.

e-Marketing Strategy

e-Marketing Strategy

What is e-Marketing?
e-Marketing is still quite a controversial subject to talk about, since no one succeeded to unify the various theories around it; however there is one thing upon which there is no doubt – that e-Marketing first appeared under the form of various techniques deployed by pioneer companies selling their products via the internet in the early 90’s.
The frenzy around these new marketing techniques created by e-tailers and supported by the internet rapidly gave birth to a new dimension of what we knew as Marketing: the e-Marketing (electronic Marketing).
There are many definitions to what e-Marketing is, the simplest and shortest one being formulated by Mark Sceats: e-Marketing is Marketing that uses the internet as manifestation media. A working definition is that coming from a group of CISCO specialists: e-Marketing is the sum of all activities a business conducts through the internet with the purpose of finding, attracting, winning and retaining customers.
e-Marketing Strategy
The e-Marketing Strategy is normally based and built upon the principles that govern the traditional, offline Marketing – the well-known 4 P’s (Product – Price – Promotion – Positioning) that form the classic Marketing mix. Add the extra 3 P’s (People – Processes – Proof) and you got the whole extended Marketing mix.
Until here, there are no much aspects to differentiate e-Marketing from the traditional Marketing performed offline: the extended Marketing mix (4 + 3 P’s) is built around the concept of “transactional” and its elements perform transactional functions defined by the exchange paradigm. What gives e-Marketing its uniqueness is a series of specific functions, relational functions, that can be synthesized in the 2P + 2C+ 3S formula: Personalization, Privacy, Customer Service, Community, Site, Security, Sales Promotion.
These 7 functions of the e-Marketing stay at the base of any e-Marketing strategy and they have a moderating character, unlike the classic Marketing mix that comprises situational functions only. Moderating functions of e-Marketing have the quality of moderate, operate upon all situational functions of the mix (the classic 4 P’s) and upon each other.
1. Personalization
The fundamental concept of personalization as a part of the e-Marketing mix lies in the need of recognizing, identifying a certain customer in order to establish relations (establishing relations is a fundamental objective of Marketing). It is crucial to be able to identify our customers on individual level and gather all possible information about them, with the purpose of knowing our market and be able to develop customized, personalized products and services.
For example, a cookie strategically placed on the website visitor’s computer can let us know vital information concerning the access speed available: in consequence, if we know the visitor is using a slow connection (eg. dial-up) we will offer a low-volume variation of our website, with reduced graphic content and no multimedia or flash applications. This will ease our customer’s experience on our website and he will be prevented from leaving the website on the reason that it takes too long to load its pages.
Personalization can be applied to any component of the Marketing mix; therefore, it is a moderating function.
2. Privacy
Privacy is an element of the mix very much connected to the previous one – personalization. When we gather and store information about our customers and potential customers (therefore, when we perform the personalization part of the e-Marketing mix) a crucial issue arises: that of the way this information will be used, and by whom. A major task to do when implementing an e-Marketing strategy is that of creating and developing a policy upon access procedures to the collected information.
This is a duty and a must for any conscious marketer to consider all aspects of privacy, as long as data are collected and stored, data about individual persons.
Privacy is even more important when establishing the e-Marketing mix since there are many regulations and legal aspects to be considered regarding collection and usage of such information.
3. Customer Service
Customer service is one of the necessary and required activities among the support functions needed in transactional situations.
We will connect the apparition of the customer service processes to the inclusion of the “time” parameter in transactions. When switching from a situational perspective to a relational one, and e-Marketing is mostly based on a relational perspective, the marketer saw himself somehow forced into considering support and assistance on a non-temporal level, permanently, over time.
For these reasons, we should consider the Customer Service function (in its fullest and largest definition) as an essential one within the e-Marketing mix.
As we can easily figure out, the service (or assistance if you wish) can be performed upon any element from the classic 4 P’s, hence its moderating character.
4. Community
We can all agree that e-Marketing is conditioned by the existence of this impressive network that the internet is. The merely existence of such a network implies that individuals as well as groups will eventually interact. A group of entities that interact for a common purpose is what we call a “community” and we will soon see why it is of absolute importance to participate, to be part of a community.
The Metcalf law (named after Robert Metcalf) states that the value of a network is given by the number of its components, more exactly the value of a network equals the square of the number of components. We can apply this simple law to communities, since they are a network: we will then conclude that the value of a community rises with the number of its members. This is the power of communities; this is why we have to be a part of it.
The customers / clients of a business can be seen as part of a community where they interact (either independent or influenced by the marketer) – therefore developing a community is a task to be performed by any business, even though it is not always seen as essential.
Interactions among members of such a community can address any of the other functions of e-Marketing, so it can be placed next to other moderating functions.
5. Site
We have seen and agreed that e-Marketing interactions take place on a digital media – the internet. But such interactions and relations also need a proper location, to be available at any moment and from any place – a digital location for digital interactions.
Such a location is what we call a “site”, which is the most widespread name for it. It is now the time to mention that the “website” is merely a form of a “site” and should not be mistaken or seen as synonyms. The “site” can take other forms too, such as a Palm Pilot or any other handheld device, for example.
This special location, accessible through all sort of digital technologies is moderating all other functions of the e-Marketing – it is then a moderating function.
6. Security
The “security” function emerged as an essential function of e-Marketing once transactions began to be performed through internet channels.
What we need to keep in mind as marketers are the following two issues on security:
security during transactions performed on our website, where we have to take all possible precautions that third parties will not be able to access any part of a developing transaction;
security of data collected and stored, about our customers and visitors.
A honest marketer will have to consider these possible causes of further trouble and has to co-operate with the company’s IT department in order to be able to formulate convincing (and true, honest!) messages towards the customers that their personal details are protected from unauthorized eyes.
7. Sales Promotion
At least but not last, we have to consider sales promotions when we build an e-Marketing strategy. Sales promotions are widely used in traditional Marketing as well, we all know this, and it is an excellent efficient strategy to achieve immediate sales goals in terms of volume.
This function counts on the marketer’s ability to think creatively: a lot of work and inspiration is required in order to find new possibilities and new approaches for developing an efficient promotion plan.
On the other hand, the marketer needs to continuously keep up with the latest internet technologies and applications so that he can fully exploit them.
To conclude, we have seen that e-Marketing implies new dimensions to be considered aside of those inherited from the traditional Marketing. These dimensions revolve around the concept of relational functions and they are a must to be included in any e-Marketing strategy in order for it to be efficient and deliver results.

How to Install and Configure Drupal CMS

How to Install and Configure Drupal CMS

Drupal is a feature rich Content Management System (CMS) which allows webmasters to run dynamic website without PHP knowledge. Publishers can add website content through admin interface. Thanks many modules it is possible to install a lot of additional features like spell check, displaying banners or AdSense ads, chat, mailing list, e-commerce modules etc. Drupal CMS was written in PHP and can be downloaded free of charge. In this article I will explain how to install this script and describe the configuration basics.

Web hosting requirements for Drupal CMS

Before you start the installation process, ensure that your web host offers PHP support, cron jobs and MySQL database. Drupal requires PHP version 4.3.3 or higher (Drupal 4.5 and earlier versions will not run on PHP 5), PHP XML extension and MySQL v3.23.17 or higher. If you are not sure which version of PHP and MySQL your web hosting provider currently uses, contact their help desk and ask them first.

How to install Drupal CMS

First download the latest Drupal release from developers website. Use software such as WinZip or Total Commander to extract downloaded archive to your hard disk. Edit the file called settings.php located in sites/default folder. Set up your website url and basic MySQL database variables like username, password and database server. Use any ftp program to upload extracted files to your web host. In case you have never set up MySQL database, login to the web hosting control panel and create a new one. Now login to your phpMyAdmin and create MySQL tables using the database.mysql file located in “database” folder. Now open your browser and point it to your website. Create a new account — the first account you will create will automatically become the admin account with full admin rights.

Another and easier solution how to install this PHP script is to sign up for a quality web hosting service which offers pre-installed PHP scripts. Then easily go to your control panel, find the section with pre-installed scripts and select Drupal. The installer will do all the job for you. All you need to do is to choose the script you want to install.

How to configure Drupal CMS

The script was successfully installed and now is the time to do some additional settings. Optionally, you can create in your Drupal installation directory folder where will be stored files such as custom logos and user avatars. Create this subdirectory and set up “read and write” permission. Many Drupal modules have periodic tasks. From this reason you will need to setup cron jobs. Call the cron page by visiting cron.php file in your root directory.

Now browse the admin control panel. Consider to enable some new modules and edit menus. Open “theme manager” to change the theme. Set up welcome message for your users. Modify meta tags for higher search engine placement. Check settings and make sure that everything fits your needs. And if you will need to help with some specific problem visit support forum where you will find thousands of interesting threads. Good luck!

WordPress Marketing Explained-Used By Growing Numbers

WordPress Marketing Explained-Used By Growing Numbers

One of the best things you can use for the success of your online business is WordPress marketing. WordPress got its start in 2003, and was used mainly by bloggers. Since that time it has become one of the most popular tools for building a website. Sure, bloggers still use it, but so do a growing number of website owners.

WordPress has changed internet marketing by making it easier for people to quickly set up websites. The WordPress platform is free and easy to install. You don’t need to know any coding to be able to use it, though some knowledge of CSS will allow you to make alterations to your site. However, there are so many themes (website designs) and plugins (add-ons that do different things) for WordPress that you may not ever need to go into the CSS anyway.

One of the main reasons for the success of WordPress is that it is open source. This means anyone can access the source code and develop products for WordPress. So, instead of just relying on the WordPress development team to figure out what users want, the users themselves can decide, and then create the themes and plugins that fit their needs.

The flexibility of WordPress marketing makes it an easy choice for setting up a website. Just about anything you need for marketing purposes can be added on to the basic installation. Plugins are easy to find, and easy to install. Once installed you need to activate them, but most plugins only require you to click a button for activation. There are some that require you to get an activation key, but this is also a simple process.

Even though it’s open source, not all themes and plugins are free. There’s nothing wrong with someone wanting to make something for all of the time and effort they put in to creating a good product, so don’t assume everything will be free. Of course, being in business you understand that no money is made until something is sold. And, just as you would like people to send you money if you provide something of value to them; so too should you be willing to make a small investment for something of value to you.

There are a few basic types of plugins you should have for WordPress marketing. The most important is getting a security plugin. Unfortunately, because WordPress is so popular, it makes sites using it a popular target for hackers. The good news is that there are plenty of plugins that cut off the typical exploits used by hackers. Search engine optimization (SEO) plugins are also a good idea as they will help your site look more attractive to the search engines; and thereby–in theory–increase your rankings when people are searching. The other type of plugins you will want to look into are those designed for e-commerce. Simply put, these are plugins that make it easier for you to sell whatever it is that you’re offering.

Best Blogging Software

Best Blogging Software

The blogging platform wars are getting really interesting and much of the discussion I find myself in lately revolves around what is happening with various CMS systems. The market can essentially be defined into 3 major camps: remotely hosted, self hosted, and community based systems. I have used pretty much every blogging platform available and each of them has its ups and downs. In this article I will cover the best options for each area taking into account price, usability, market share and of course SEO potential.
All of these products are either open source, completely free or have a functional free version.
Remotely Hosted Blogging Software
(Note: I cannot really recommend any of these from an SEO stand point as optimizing a domain you do not own or control is obviously not a good marketing plan.)
Blogger
Blogger is completely free and currently owns the majority of the remotely hosted user base, but not by a land slide . Bought out by Google in 1999, Blogger essentially fired up the blogging trend we see today. It is by far the easiest overall solution to use and if you are a novice user looking to throw up some recipes or poetry, this is for you. Blogger is completely free and includes some great features like comments, photo blogging, and a basic community feel with user profiles. Because it is so dumbed down there are some features you may not find with Blogger that are only available through 3rd party add-ons. As a side note Blogger weblogs do quite well in the search engines and this was recently exploited with it being the first choice for spam blogs or splogs. A splog is a weblog used for the sole purpose of gaining inbound links or generating thousands of keyword stuffed pages with Adsense and the like. The recent Google Jagger update cleared a large portion of this up. Free.
Typepad
Released in 2003 Typepad is a product of Sixapart, the makers of Movable Type. it is largely based on MT but there are some major enhancements and differences. Your blog can accomodate one or more photo albums with auto thumbnail generation. You can easily add music, books, and other media to Typelists, which grab a thumbnail from Amazon and other retailers for easily displaying in your sidebar. Typepad is also a great deal more technical than Blogger so a bit of HTML know how is recommended. On that note editing your blog to look the way you want it also quite easy and Typepad blogs are known for being very eye pleasing, intuitive and easy to navigate. In Sixapart’s business model Typepad is aimed at regular home and small business users while Movable Type is targeted at larger businesses or for internal intranets. Price: Basic, $4.95 a month; premium, $8.95 to $14.95 a month.
Xanga
These guys originated back in 1999 as a site for sharing book, music and movie reviews. Although it quickly morphed into a full blown blogging tool Xanga still maintains the ability to run a powerful review site. Xanga pulls data from several retailers like Amazon.com including thumbnails, pricing and a cover. The software also is very usable by novices with a powerful WYSIWYG editor allowing for easy HTML editing, adding smilies, links, and other symbols. By using Blog rings it is also easy to interface with Xanga’s other 3 million users to share interests, ideas, and of course traffic. Xanga comes in a free and $25 flavor.
Mentions: Blogsome, Blogster, MindSay, Multiply,
Self Hosted Blogging Software
WordPress
WordPress originally began as a mod of an older open source package known as B2. WP is MT’s biggest competition and is often the bain of endless WordPress vs Movabletype style threads around the internet. Although launched just over a year or so ago WP has really taken the blogosphere by storm. And with good reason – WordPress is completely free under GNU licensing and is packed with many featured you will not find anywhere else. It is also much easier to install and get blogging for novice users and has a very large and helpful community. WP runs on PHP/mySQL and is quite scalable judging from some of the very large and trafficked sites I see using it. It also sports utilities to import files from Movable Type, Textpattern, Greymatter, Blogger, and b2. WordPress recently upped the ante when Yahoo recently included them on their hosting packages, in addition to MT. I have to admit I am finding myself more and more digging WP and will likely convert Profitpapers to WP as I get time (it can be a biznitch). WordPress is free.
Movable Type
Aside from maybe Greymatter (the original open source blogging tool), Movabletype dominated the blogging market share in 2002-2004. Released in late 2001, Perl based Movable Type by Sixapart has maintained a large portion of the blogging market share, due mainly to the fact that there is a free version (supporting up to 3 weblogs) and that it is incredibly powerful, intuitive and easy to customize. Template driven Movable Type also sports one of the largest communities of developers and blogging enthusiasts around, meaning lots of support, idea sharing, and of course plugins. Movable Type can be configured to dynamically generate HTML, PHP or any other kind of pages you like, meaning it is incredibly scalable, fast, and loved by spiders. It is perhaps the most well known blogging software for SEO purposes and it what currently powers Profitpapers and several of my other projects. Moveabletype is either Free with 3 authors, 1 weblog, and no support or $69.95 with unlimited weblogs, authors and full support.
Textpattern
Textpattern is the brainchild of Dean Allen and was written to ease publishing of content for those not inclined to learn HTML. Like WP and MT Textpattern runs on PHP and mySQL for easy administration, backups, and power. What really sets textpattern apart from the others is the integration of Textile. Textile is a tool for easily formatting content for those who do not know HTML. WP & MT have modules for textile as well but it is native to the Textpattern system. Another bonus of the app is its superior handling of comment spam due to its smaller market share. On a blogs I maintain running WP and MT I often find myself clearing out spam every day, whereas on some very busy textpattern sites I receive only manual comment spam (not bot driven). TP is open source.
Mentions: Blosxom, LifeType, Serendipity.
Community based Blogging Software
Slash
Waaaaay back in 1997, Rob “CmdrTaco” Malda launched a website known as Chips & Dips, supplied via his student account at Hope College in Michigan. In 1999 Andover.net acquired Slashdot. Shortly after, the underlying code was released as open source software called Slash. Like Movable Type and Greymatter, Slash runs on Perl, but it also has established hooks into MySQL and a very strong track record of scaling to enormous traffic levels. To give you an idea, the term ‘slashdotted’ originated from acquiring a link on this now infamous and very popular tech news website – and consequently watching your servers melt. If you have never messed around with Slash, you really should as it is quite a powerful platform. Slash is open source.
Scoop
Another well known Perl based community blogging software is Scoop. Scoop is the software that powers Kuro5shin, DailyKos and many other busy community weblogs. Scoop took the Slashdot idea and expanded on it, making the discussion rather than the news the focus of the application. Where Slashdot entries tend to have a link with added commentary pointing readers off the site, Scoop points to stories written by members of the community keeping the reader within your own weblog. Scoop is also well known for handling large volumes of traffic and a large very technical community. Scoop is free .
Drupal
Drupal is a well known open source community blogging platform with a very large community of users and developers. Not only is Drupal free but it is damn powerful. Instead of Perl, which is quite hard to decode at times, even if you are a fluent coder, Drupal uses a PHP/mySQL platform. Drupal is also a very community focused application with a built in forum, download area, and hundreds of other home brewed mods and hacks. If you are looking for a lot of functionality give Drupal a check – the project has become quite mature. It is also much easier to use and customize than either Scoop or Slash. Drupal is also another open source project.
Mentions: LiveJournal, PHP Nuke.