I learned a ton about online marketing and website development this week. During college, my only website design/building experience was building a simple website using HTML as an assignment for my computer progamming class in freshman year. I remember back then it was quite fun to play with different features and designs. Before starting my internship, I was mainly looking at websites from an end-user’s view. The website project I am working on right now gives me a completely new perspective on successful websites, especially good business websites. Following are several things I learned about online marketing this week:

1. Messaging

Even for people who are very familiar with a product and a company, messaging is a time-consuming and difficult process. It is not unusual to see developer, managers and PR agencies meeting for hours discussing messaging and positioning. How to send the right messages to the right audience is critical for online marketing. As I was thinking through the messaging for the Syncplicity website, I realized that it is tied to pretty much every aspect of business development, including product development, marketing, and public relations. The content, which speaks for the product to the target customers, ties all the pieces of the business development of a product together. I was reading the book Four Steps to the Epiphany, which talks about product development strategies, one of which is speaking to the right audience at the right time. For me, it is a great exposure to see how messaging is done in real time for a real business.

2. Search Engine Optimization

My first impression of SEO after reading about it on online forums is that there are hundreds of factors that determine rankings/visibility on search engines. SEO experts have come up with various ways to imporve SEO for SMB website, such as keywords, paid ads, blogs, forums, etc. I played with Google Keywords for the first time, and it was a fun experiment to see which keywords people search for the most among the ones that have similar/same meanings. At the beginning it was dazzling to see so many different tools and tricks for SEO. I think it will be interesting to see which one(s) are the most effective SEO tools for a business website.

3. Sales Leads

I run a small online food delivery company on NU campus that operates on a basic website. I was quite surprised once when a customer complained that the picture of a Chipotle veggie burrito looks like it has chicken in it, which greatly discouraged him from purchasing it. At the time, I thought it was very trivial. Now as I am learning about business websites and how a great website is one that informs and educates users of a certain product, and then populates qualified leads that are well-informed of the product, I began to realize that the misinformation on the food delivery website could be a long-term problem to our future development, esp. in a competitive market. A good website should help identify qualified sales leads, and the right information is an important first step.

Of course, a more interesting problem is to define qualified leads for a company/product. I’m excited to explore different approaches to defining qualified leads.

The 4th of July weekend was really fun! Fireworks at Ghiradelli Square on Saturday night was def the highlight of my weekend.

On Friday, I went to Angel Island, which was a 20-min ferry ride from SF downtown. The weather was amazing, and I got a great view of SF downtown, Golden Gate Bridge, and Oakland Bridge.