Internet marketing advice, web site design tips and general Internet predictions from our resident guru Doug Champigny. Co-founder & designer of the famous Cyber Surfer and Market My Dot Com! web sites, Champigny shares his views on everything Internet!

Internet consulting, web site design, web site promotion, Internet marketing


How does one become an Internet marketing guru? In the case of Doug Champigny, it took almost 30 years... Starting as a reporter/photographer in the early 70's, he soon realized the real money was in advertising - and made the switch as quickly as possible! After stints as advertising manager of various print publications, Champigny jumped to the Advertising Agency arena, founding two retail agencies over the years... Fascinated by the mass-communication potential of the fledgeling Internet, Champigny took a 2 year sabbatical in the 80's, returning to college to study computer programming full time, joining the online 'geek' community in 1982. How the 'Net has changed since then!

Returning to the advertising industry, Champigny founded The Cyber Surfer in 1993 as a retail advertising 'boutique', creating print, radio and TV campaigns for local and national accounts while monitoring the growth of the World Wide Web. By 1996 the decision was made to switch the agency's focus from traditional media to the Web, and Champigny's never looked back! To date The Cyber Surfer has erected its own massive (20,000+ pages) web site, built numerous B2B & B2C client sites, promoted sites for everything from bikinis to bail bonds, run combined online/offline promotion campaigns for clients up to and including Yahoo!, won over 50 national and international design awards, made thousands on various affiliate programs, and has been spotlighted by publications like Law Practice Today and Entrepreneur magazine, etc. Here, Champigny shares a few words of wisdom gleaned from this incredible journey to the top, and makes a few predictions for the future...

TCS: Why the switch from traditional media to the web?
Champigny: The web is so much more dynamic, and offers a whole range of options for the designers, marketers, online professionals and businesses - options that just don't exist in offline media. For example, a professionally designed and promoted web site can reach a global audience for less than the cost of a national print campaign. Also, most online traffic arrives at your site already knowing what the site deals with, whether through search engine results, clicking on banner ads and e-mail links, or actually typing in your URL - so you can measure TARGETED traffic. With traditional media, your efforts are shotgunned to their audience, regardless of their current interest levels.

TCS: What excites you most about your work?
Champigny: Two things stand out... One is the constant challenge and learning curve - since the technology continues to evolve, so must we. It can be exhausting, but at least you're never bored!<g> The second exciting experience is watching your work open up a global market for local companies - especially when a small regional distributor mushrooms into a major worldwide supplier through the synergy of their quality products and services and our design and marketing... It truly is quite satisfying to help good people do well!

TCS: What bothers you most about the industry?
Champigny: Today's version of the charletons and snake-oil salesmen of old - inexperienced 'web designers' and 'web marketers' that pretend to have a far greater web expertise than they really do - and bilk their clients of vast sums for work that won't do the job! These 'designers' run the gamut from those just starting out in the field to many of the big traditional-media ad agencies.

The latter are infamous for charging tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars for sites with all of the latest bells and whistles - heavy use of the latest technology with no thought to or knowledge of web site marketing principles. As a result, you get a very pretty site that can't cut it in the search engines - where most of the traffic originates! Next time you do a search at any major engine, glance over the first few pages of results looking for the big, international companies you see advertising on TV all the time... Yet they spend more to build and promote their sites than almost anyone else!

Perhaps the greatest problem they create is lowered expectations of what the web can do for businesses of any size. We've had a national muffler chain tell us there's no market for car parts online, and a national theatre chain tell us their existing site was 'performing really well' because they got 3,000 visitors a month - about 1/20th of our traffic - yet they advertise their URL in every major and most secondary-market newspapers in the country!

Granted, very few individuals worldwide have the level of experience and insight we've gained from building and hosting a 20,000 page web site, or from refining their promotional skills 'til they've achieved over a million page views per quarter, without spending a cent on offline advertising. When combined with our experience running e-mail newsletters and e-mail ad campaigns for ourselves and our clients, plus running major online/offline promotional campaigns for those clients with deeper pockets<g>, it's easy to see why we have a major advantage - but that doesn't mean a company with lesser credentials can't do an adequate job, provided they possess and can demonstrate those skills and abilities needed for online success!

TCS: What advice would you offer businesses in general?
Champigny: As effective as it currently is, the web is still in its infancy - today we're experiencing the early stages of an emerging technology that will eventually have major implications for everyone worldwide. If your business doesn't already have an Internet presence, get one now! Otherwise, you run the risk of playing catch-up for a long, expensive time - NOW is when the would-be giants of the 'new economy' MUST sew their seeds - 10 years ago, there was no Yahoo!, no Yet today they are household words - and many people's first stop when looking for things online!

This applies to those with underperforming sites as well. Be critically honest with yourself - does your site look as good and work as well as the best in your industry? Are your search engine results amongst the best within your competitors? Are you systematically promoting your site each month? Keeping it updated? Responding to each and every e-mail inquiry? If not, start NOW - either learn to do it yourself, or hire a pro to do it for you. If your commitment to online success is unwavering, contact us to see how we can aid you in your goals...

"Doug - awesome job! I know our client
will be most happy
to see this report!
Thanks again."

David Burrows
Yahoo! Broadcast

"The Crafter's Marketplace would like to express our gratitude to
The Cyber Surfer
for the exceptional support and results 'hits' that we have received. Since we began using your services, we are receiving triple if not more responses off our web site, which is a huge improvement from the past. Many of the inquiries coming in are for both Canadian and American franchise information, which is simplifying our expansion into the US a great deal. The over all design and look of the site has improved immensely because of
The Cyber Surfer's
knowledge and expertise and finding our web page on any search engine is now easier than ever. You can't miss us!"

Christina McInall
Crafter's Marketplace

"In the four months since you redesigned my site, I've had over 1,500 catalogue requests - thanks
so much!"

Jeanette Russell
Simply Trends

"Before you started I was only getting about 60 hits a month. Since you started the number of hits I am getting has doubled every month. Some months 10 times the previous month. You are easy to work with and have given us good advice."
Jay Dingle
Bikini USA

"You promised - and you delivered. Now let's see how you do with our clients' sites!"
Mark Garfinkel


Why is this so important? Because soon the changes will be coming at you so fast you'll have to run just to keep up - there won't be time for the average business to initiate an Internet presence of any import unless they have a VERY large budget - both for building a site AND for promoting it sufficiently to attract traffic and customers away from the online buying patterns they're establishing today. Broadband access by cable, satellite and high-speed landlines is already making headway in many countries - soon, enough penetration will be achieved to allow sites to use more and more full-motion video and digital sound to tell their story... Already many traditional radio stations also broadcast online; this wider delivery channel will allow television stations to go global as well!

Once this happens, why keep up TV and radio as we know them today? The convergence will be rapid as the stations vie for the worldwide audiences - suddenly you'll have thousands of TV and radio stations to choose from, in just about any language you can name... And what about communication? Already more and more people are using MSN Instant Messaging or AOL's IM for both type and voice communications, avoiding any long-distance charges... With webcams well under $100 already, you'll see almost all communications done through audiovisual hookups on your new computer/internet/TV/radio/phone unit. And with wireless communications advancing as quickly as they are, shortly thereafter you'll have all of these features on small portable units as well - more advanced than the sci-fi communicators, linked globally in real time... And you wonder why you'll need that competitive foot in the door before that?<g>

Protect your current business -
Aggressively gain market share!
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