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					                                Participant Notes – Using the Internet

                                Taking the First Steps
Today, a person’s business      Email
card might list a phone
number for office and home,     Email means electronic mail, and is by far the most popular service used on the
a fax number, an e-mail         Internet.
number, and Internet
number, and car phone           It’s a facility whereby people all over the world can send messages and files to
number. But in the not too      one another in a digital format. It is really like an online postal system, except it
distant future each person      only takes minutes (or even seconds) to send and receive a message as opposed
will have a lifelong number     to a traditional postal system, which can take days or weeks, or not at all—
that goes with him wherever     depending on which area of the world you are in! At much less than a cent per
he goes. His personal           message, email is quicker and far cheaper than using a fax machine, or your
computer assistant – which is   postal system, and is much more flexible. It gives you the facility to communicate
always with him – will sort     and exchange material with suppliers, customers, partners, and colleagues
out what messages go            quickly and cost-effectively.
where. Individuals will phone
other individuals wherever      One of the major advantages of using email is that in addition to sending simple
they are in the world –         text messages, complete files (for example, word processor documents,
without knowing where they      spreadsheets, images, graphics, etc.) can also be sent as an attachment to the
are.                            actual email message. The person receiving the email and attachment can then
John Naisbitt                   open the attachment in the appropriate program (e.g. Microsoft Word, Excel,
American social forecaster,     Paint), modify the document and send it back, also via email.
visiting professor, speaker
and author.                     Statistics New Zealand recently reported that seventy-nine percent of New
                                Zealand businesses regularly use email. The most common uses of email are
                                communicating with customers and suppliers (69 percent); and transmitting and
                                receiving data files (50 percent). So even if you don’t want to communicate with
                                others via email, they want to communicate with you (it’s the power of networks
                                again!).

                                How to Write Great E-mail

                                Alex Garden

                                IDC has forecast that an average of over 36 billion person-to-person emails will
                                be sent daily by 2005. Already businesspeople online now receive more
                                messages by email than by in-person exchanges, telephone calls, and voice-
                                mails combined.

                                Email is of course still a relatively recent phenomenon but a medium that needs
                                special attention because of its increasing importance and because its
                                characteristics distinguish it from other forms of communication. New skills and
                                sensitivities are therefore needed. Email is different because:

                                        It is asynchronous, meaning that the communicators don't have to be
                                         present at the same time
                                        It is easily stored if any party decides to preserve it. In fact it can be
Useful Tip:                              stored on mail servers at any point along its delivery path
BCC means Blind Carbon                  It can be forwarded to any number of recipients almost as easily as
Copy and has the effect that             sending it to a single person
email receivers will not know           It is very easy to send and the message reaches the recipient very
who else has been sent the               quickly
message.
Just enter the addresses as
normal in the BCC section       So how do you make sure your email gets attention and respect rather than being
and put your own email          ignored or overlooked, particularly in a business situation?
address in the ―To‖ box. You
will receive a copy of the      THE SUBJECT LINE
email sent.
This is very useful for
                                The subject line is of critical importance. It should grab attention and tell the
sending out email to more       recipient why they should open your email. With the huge amount of spam people
than one address where the
                                receive, many will simply ignore email that they don't notice or recognise or that



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receivers do not necessarily     looks like spam. How you phrase the subject line will depend on the situation but
know each other. In fact it is   some tips are:
possible that in certain
cases, not using the BCC
                                         Skip leading articles like "the" and "a" in email subjects
option may be contrary to
privacy law in your country!             Don't use teasers that try to entice people to click to find out what the
Alex Garden                               email is about
Net Insites                              Write in plain language i.e. don't use puns or "clever" headlines
                                         Clearly explain what the email is about in terms that relate to the user

                                 A couple of good examples of informative email subject lines are:

                                 "Candidate David Brown, Referred by John Jones"
                                 "Music Boulevard Order Shipped to You Today"

                                 THE FROM FIELD

                                 If you have a relationship with the recipient or are attempting to establish one,
                                 then it is fine to refer to yourself in this field e.g. "Alex Garden" rather than
                                 alex@netinsites.com. However if it is a customer service response then I think
                                 "NetInsites Support" is preferable to support@netinsites.com purely because it is
                                 more readable.

                                 Aha! I hear you say, you don't follow this advice with your newsletter! The key
                                 here is consistency as a recipient may want to find correspondence from you and
                                 will often alphabeticalise the 'From' field. A lack of consistency makes this difficult.

                                 THE CONTENT

                                 Keep your font and typeface reader-friendly and avoid a headache-inducing
                                 colour background. A black, 12-point font is a good start as basic as this sounds,
                                 it relaxes your readers.

                                 If your spelling is not great, use the spell check (in Outlook Express 'Tools',
                                 'Options' and the 'Spelling' tab). If you reckon your spelling is good, use the spell
                                 check! In a business situation poor spelling and punctuation will create a negative
                                 impression. If the email is important paste it into a word-processor like MS Word
                                 and do a spelling and grammar check.

                                 Like most writing for the Web it is best to put the summary information at the top -
                                 what is the essence of what you are offering? If this first paragraph is rambling or
                                 ambiguous, recipients may not read further - make it concise and easy to read.
                                 Look to create lots of white space. Lots of long paragraphs can be daunting, split
                                 them up if you can.

                                 When you send email, you don't know when the message will be read or what the
                                 mood of the recipient will be when it's received. Tone is very important. So after
                                 you've written a missive, pause for a moment and consider how the way you've
                                 phrased it is going to be received.

                                 An inviting and informative automatic signature (in Outlook Express 'Tools',
                                 'Options' and the 'Signature' tab) is a worthwhile addition to all emails. Include
                                 relevant contact information that recipients can easily save into their address
                                 books, making sure your Web address is highlighted. Have a brief but lively
                                 description of what you do, and what your company does, included within your
                                 signature. A well-constructed email signature will greatly increase your chances of
                                 being contacted again in the future and is an easy way of marketing yourself
                                 and/or your company for free!

                                 A final point about the security of email. Don't write emails that give out highly
                                 secret information, severely criticise others or reveal personal details. As noted
                                 above, email is very easily stored and can therefore end up residing in a number




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of places, forever.

Making Search Engines Work for You

Yellow Biz

Search engines and directories are a fast, efficient way for internet users to find
web sites that match their requirements. In fact, US statistics show that search
engines generate up to 7% of traffic to web sites* - not surprising when you
consider they're the most commonly used information resource in the US with
84.8 percent of people using search engines to find new web sites!

* Source: www.searchenginewatch.com statistics

In this story we outline the difference between search engines and directories,
profile the best of each and detail how to register, measure and improve your
listing - including paying for listings.

How Do I Get My Web Site Listed…In Search Engine Results?

Here are some tips for getting your web site listed in the results pages of key New
Zealand and international search engines, such as www.altavista.co.nz,
www.ask.com (or www.askjeeves.com), www.google.co.nz, www.google.com,
www.metacrawler.com, search.xtramsn.co.nz and www.searchnz.co.nz.

1. Establish Links To Your Site
The best way to get your web site listed free on a search engine is to establish as
many links as possible to your site from other sites. That's because most search
engines 'crawl' the web by following links, scanning site content for matches to the
user's keywords.
You can link to other sites through directories, reciprocal links (either via personal
contact or sites such as www.linkexchangespecialists.com), or industry sites (for
your specific trade). See 'Tip of the Month; for an easy way to see which sites link
to your competitors'.

2. Submit Your Site
Most major engines have a page where you can submit your site for listing. (You
only need to submit your home page and one or two inside pages.)

        Visit Alta Vista's Add URL page
        Visit Google's Add URL page
        Visit SearchNZ's Add Site page

The key details to submit are keywords, page titles and headings on your pages.

You'll find comprehensive tips on writing for search engines at:
http://www.rankwrite.com/

And advice on selecting keywords at:
http://www.searchengineguide.com/keywords.html

Once your pages are accepted, expect a delay of one month or longer before they
appear in search results.

3. Pay For A Listing
With the number of search engines increasing exponentially, more users are
demanding relevance in the results each presents so paid search engine listings
are really coming into their own.

Paid exposure in search engines works one of two ways - either you pay a set fee
for a prominent listing in results or you pay for each time someone clicks through




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to your web site from a search engine.

Google and AltaVista both have 'paid inclusion' programs, guaranteeing listing of
your site within a week to two weeks from submission.

If you're interested in finding out more about paying for search engine listings,
visit:
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/resources/paid-listings.html or
http://www.searchengineguide.com/payperclick.html


4. List In A Directory
If your site is listed with and linked to a major web directory (such as Yahoo and
Internet YELLOW PAGES®) it's more likely that crawlers will find your URL - see
below for more information on directory listings.

How Do I Get My Web Site Listed…On A Directory?

Listing with key internet directories such as www.yellowpages.co.nz,
www.yahoo.com and www.looksmart.com is essential because their listings are
seen by so many people.

Directories differ from search engines because they are powered by human
beings - editors who compile the listings. Some directories charge a fee for listing.

Before submitting your web site, most directories require you to prepare a 25
word (or less) description of your site. That description should use some of the
keywords people use to search for your site.

Be sure to keep your description clear and simple - don't waste time with
descriptive words like 'largest', 'best' or 'lowest prices' - these aren't common
search terms. Instead use words directly related to your product or service.

More advice on writing site descriptions is available at:
http://www.write101.com/webprom.htm

You can then submit your web site details (including the description you've
written) to each directory.

        Suggest Your Site To YAHOO
        Link your site to the Internet YELLOW PAGES®
         (Please note a monthly charge applies)

It could take a couple of months for your site listing to be edited, processed and
added to any given directory, however some offer paid submissions which speed
up the process immeasurably. Internet YELLOW PAGES® also offer a range of
cost effective packages to improve the prominence and frequency of your listing
in search results.

For paid submission to Yahoo, use the Yahoo Express Submission Form

How Do I Get My Web Site Listed…By Someone Else?

If you're too busy to make your own submissions, or if you'd rather have someone
else take care of it, there are agencies or online 'multiple submitters' which submit
your site to search engines and directories on your behalf.

However, you will get a better response from search engines if you take the time
to submit your own.

For more information on search engines visit searchenginewatch.com. This



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comprehensive guide lists the main search engines, with detailed advice on
submitting to each. You'll also find interesting statistics on search engine and
directory usage and up-to-date rankings of each.

Case Studies

Needlecraft Distributors
www.needlecraft.co.nz

Plenty of room for niche marketing opportunities online
Needlecraft Distributors are suppliers of embroidery and patchwork requisites,
based in Palmerston North. They pride themselves on being the largest specialist
stitching supplies retailer in New Zealand.
They currently have three supply channels:
   The local retail store
   The mail order business
   Online web site
Their web site has been developed as an electronic catalogue to display
patchwork fabric and embroidery supplies to their customers. An electronic
catalogue has several distinct advantages over the more traditional tabloid
publication Needlecraft News, which is published bi-monthly with only some
pages in colour.

Benefits include
   Being up to date: changes can be made instantly
   Full colour throughout the entire web site
   No chance of the web site being misplaced, unlike the printed publication
   The format allows Needlecraft to note which product lines attract the most
    interest.


   Valuable feedback to the business.
One other benefit of having an online business is that other designers can find the
web site and approach Needlecraft to stock their products. This allows
Needlecraft to expand their product range without the added costs of travel. The
owner used to have to travel to America on a regular basis to secure new
products.
The Internet has helped Needlecraft to expand business by reaching out to
additional customers locally, nationally and internationally – at the same time
helping to reduce printing and travel costs.

Points of interest:
   The Internet allows niche marketing opportunities a huge chance to reach
    more target customers
   The Internet can make it more convenient for your customers to do business
    with you
   The Internet allows you to research the behaviour patterns of your customers
   The Internet can increase profits by increasing sales and reducing costs
Web site access logs allow Needlecraft to view this sort of information, which


Talbot Plastics
www.talbotplastics.com

The Internet allows businesses to find new customers and help overcome
distance barriers
Talbot Plastics Ltd provides specialist custom injection moulding and tool making




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services. Talbot was originally set up to serve the South Island market, but now
over half of the company’s output is exported. Their customers now range from
Auckland to Invercargill, as well as Singapore, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia,
USA, Australia and the Pacific Islands.

The Internet has become an important marketing and sales channel for Talbot
Plastics. They admit that their web site is not flash, in fact it’s rather crude – but
functional.

They use the Internet extensively to research and attract new customers by cold-
calling them via email, with the success rate being quite high. The initial cold calls
include a simple company profile that is delivered in MS Word. They also attach
photos of the factory and the staff to help personalise the approach.

Once they have attracted the interest of the potential customer and they have
been able to convince the customer to send a digital design file or plastic part that
they want priced, Talbot aims to get a quote back to them by the very next
morning. They use the strategic advantage of being awake whilst the customer is
sleeping.

Talbot can usually get a prototype made and delivered to the customer anywhere
in the world within 10 days – using the services of a reputable courier service.

It takes time to nurture an Internet relationship, but once it becomes established it
becomes a steady one, where you often get to know your online customers better
than your local ones – thanks to the power of email.

The Internet has proven itself to be a great leveler if used correctly, allowing the
customer to fit their own image to a supplier based entirely on performance.

Points of interest
   Email communication is a powerful sales and marketing tool if used correctly.
   You do not need to have a million dollar web site to generate million dollar
    sales.
   You need to be proactive with marketing your business online.
   The Internet allows business to compete on a level field.




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