in-the-loop Ezine
Clíck to visit Business Building Roundtable
Note from Editor...



Hello


Good to see you again. I hope you are enjoying our no-fluff format for in-the-loop.

At eMasters, we are re-energized with new vision and direction. IML is now a monthly, so we have more time to work with our writers, and it is going to be slowly changed into a lifestyle portal. Do visit us there and get to experience the change as it happens.

I hope you also enjoy Ray's article today.

eMasters' new service: Check out our new package deals for Print-Ready Designs! (custom designs at off-the-peg prices) if you're looking to have your business logos, business cards, print ads, postcards, brochures, flyers and other promotional print materials designed/re-designed.


Till we next touch base...

Have a good day.


Shoi
Shoi - Editor
in-the-loop

Email Shoi Email Shoi
Clíck for advertising info



It's My Life! Ezine
eMasters' Free
Lifestyle Ezine


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Feature Article
Raymond Siew Are We on the Wrong Side of the Tracks?
Ezines, Portals, Page Ranking and More...

© 2008 Raymond Siew



I would like to express my thanks to Tom Hernandez of XLNTads - www.xlntads.com - for an education into the corporate advertising world.

During the conversation a penny dropped, and I have started re-looking at how we have configured IML — I was the business development stategist of a lifestyle portal, based in the US, in late 2006. And yet, when I structured IML I forgot the lessons. Not totally, as IML is structured as a sub-domain and as such is a website on its own, but the structure remains essentially one of an ezine.

So I've spent time last week refreshing my memory on the structure of a portal (or ezine website, as some call it). I then integrated our existing knowledge of SEO and spoke to an SEO specialist as well as our web hosts. Together with insights from Tom and research into portals like Martha Stewart and Oprah etc, I now see a way forward from the woes of ezine bulk deletes that I spoke of last issue.

I think my concern still stands... but this may be a way around it.

But before I talk more about it, let me say something about the strategy we are pursuing — This stems partly from who we are. eMasters is a fully online entity and as such, international in essence. So the solutions we seek must not be dependent on localised mass media within national boundaries. We are also constantly looking for ways to move up the value chain by focusing on our processes in order to give value to our clients. A lot of our time is spent on working with our partners and amongst ourselves on issues of..... Can we do this better, in less time, by cutting out this non-essential step? How can we be more effective and efficient? We spend time talking about our values..... How we are going to get there by gaining our clients' trust. By weeding out the BS. By only giving solutions that work, by checking and re-checking our facts. I would say we spend more than 70% of our efforts in that direction - below the surface.

This is what I see — The bulk of the WWW is dysfunctional and provide solutions that do not work. However, there is a small break out group with real businesses, that are searching for real solutions, and we would like to work together with them.

There is another distinction I would like to make. There is a marked difference between B2C sites and B2B sites — One sells products and the other sells services. This distinction is not so apparent on the WWW, and is the cause of much confusion. Hence IML is B2C, eMasters is B2B, and ITL is B2B - and so, how we promote each is different.

Note: Currently eMasters is essentially a web design contracting company selling services - within a defined scope of services. We are gradually adding consulting services. We now offer a small suite of consultation.

In a B2C portal, there is some justification for page ranking, reciprocal linking, freebies, etc. (within caveats).

eMasters started out in 2002 by going into affiliate programs. But after being scammed and having our business virtually controlled by unscrupulous affiliate program owners, we strove to establish independence for ourselves. During that time, we achieved the top 100,000 most visited sites on the WWW - with 30,000 visitors a day and 2,000-3,000 downloads of our Viral eCourses - but sold vitually nothing. Over the years, we kept discarding what didn't work and developing what did. We designed our own "products", launched them out into the market, dissected the results, and learned over and over again.

Why am I saying this?

Tom pays out USD $5,000 to $20,000 for a 30-second online ad. Martha Stewart charges over USD $100K/year for her advertising real estate. That's where I want to go, and we've been taking little baby steps.

So do we have anything to offer? Is there a meeting point between the essentially offline world with the online world?

Do you know that IML is highly placed on Page 1 of Google and Yahoo when I last checked the search term "lifestyle ezine"? Where is Martha and Oprah on the search engines? And we only spent 2 days on SE submissions. IML ezine also enjoys on average 80-100% opening rates.

According to Tom, there is a terrible cry for ad agencies to find integrated solutions for their advertisers. The mass media of yesteryear is no longer that massive. Now, I wonder who has the solutions? Have we spent all these years on the WWW... and have nothing to contribute? Do any of our lessons on the WWW count? Can we move from virtually valuless real estate, products and services to the world where Tom and Martha thrive? Is there a meeting point?

To undertake IML's journey into a portal, we will have to integrate all we have learnt about internet marketing. To do this, we will have to integrate all the lessons we have learnt about web design, navigation, finding the right partners, management of writers and sub-contractors flung far and wide throughout the world. I've been getting the feeling over these last few weeks that we've come full circle - through many dead-ends - and arrived at the same place where we first started out... and perhaps beginning to understand internet marketing for the first time.

I think this journey into making IML a portal - and one that does not depend on the mass media within national boundaries - is going to be quite an exciting ride. A truly international vehicle driven largely by the internet, and one that can provide promotional solutions as well as advertising solutions. To do this, we will still need to check out more known unknowns as well as embrace the unkown unknowns. Yikes!

I will write more as we move along.


Raymond Siew
Raymond Siew



About the Author: Raymond Siew is the CEO and business development strategist for eMasters as well as her two online publications: It's My Life! (lifestyle ezine) and in-the-loop (business ezine). eMasters' core business is Design, Advertising & Promotions — Visit www.eMasters.info to view eMasters' suite of products & services, or to read Raymond's bio.


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