TO ESTABLISH AN INTERNET PRESENCE
It is estimated
that approximately 1.7 billion people
worldwide are Internet users (in 2009). No matter what your business is,
you can't ignore1.7 billion people! To be a part of that community and show that
you are interested in serving them, you need to be on the Web for them. You know
your competitors will.
A lot of what passes for business is simply nothing more than making
connections with other people. Every smart business person knows, it's not what
you know, it's who you know. Passing out your business card is part of every good
meeting and every business person can tell more than one story how a chance meeting
turned into the big deal. Well, what if you could pass out your business card
to thousands, maybe millions of potential clients and partners, saying this is
what I do and if you are ever in need of my services, this is how you can reach
me. You can, 24 hours a day, inexpensively and simply, on the Web.
TO MAKE BUSINESS INFORMATION AVAILABLE
What is basic business information? Think of a Yellow Pages ad. What
are your hours? What do you do? How can someone contact you? What methods of payment
do you take? Where are you located at? Now think of a Yellow Pages ad where you
have instant communication. What is today's special? Today's interest rate? Next
week's parking lot sale information? If you could keep your customer informed
of every reason why they should do business with you, don't you think you could
do more business? You can on the Web.
TO SERVE YOUR CUSTOMERS
Making business information available is
one of the most important ways to serve your customers. But if you look at serving
the customer, you'll find even more ways to use Web
technology. How about making forms available to pre-qualify for loans, or have
your staff do a search for that classic jazz record your customer is looking for,
without tying up your staff on the phone to take down the information? Allow your
customer to punch in sizes and check it against a database that tells him what
color of jacket is available in your store? All this can be done, simply, quickly
and inexpensively, on the Web.
TO HEIGHTEN PUBLIC INTEREST
won't get Newsweek magazine to write up your local store opening, but you might
get them to write up your Web Page address if it is something new and interesting.
Even if Newsweek would write about your local store opening, you wouldn't benefit
from someone in a distant city reading about it, unless of course, they were coming
to your town sometime soon. With Web page information, anybody anywhere who can
access the Web and hears about you is a potential visitor to your Web site and
a potential customer for your information there.
TO RELEASE TIME-SENSITIVE MATERIALS
if your materials need to be released no earlier than midnight? The quarterly
earnings statement, the grand prize winner, the press kit for the much anticipated
film, the merger news? Well, you sent out the materials to the press with "The-do-not-release-before-such-and-such-time"
statement and hope for the best. Now the information can be made available at
midnight or any time you specify, with all related materials such as photographs,
bios, etc. released at exactly the same time. Imagine the anticipation of "All
materials will be made available on our Web site at 12:01 AM". The scoop
goes to those that wait for the information to be posted, not the one who releases
your information early.
TO SELL THINGS
people think that this is the number 1 thing to do with the Web, but we placed
it at number 7 to make it clear that we think you should consider selling things
on the Internet and the Web after you have done all the things above and maybe
even after doing quite a few more things from this list. Why? Well, the answer
is complex but the best way to put it is, do you consider the telephone the best
place to sell things? Probably not. You probably consider the telephone a tool
that allows you to communicate with your customer, which in turn helps you sell
things. Well, that's how we think you should consider the Web.
The technology is different, of course, but before people decide to become customers,
they want to know about you, what you do and what you can do for them. Which you
can do easily and inexpensively on the Web.
When you are ready to sell, make sure you have the best in current
ecommerce technology without paying so much that you won't make a profit
until the next century. That's smart business.
TO MAKE IMAGE, AUDIO, AND VIDEO FILES AVAILABLE
if your widget is great, but people would really love it if they could see it
in action? The album is great but with no airplay, nobody knows that it sounds
great? A picture is worth a thousand words, but you don't have the space for a
thousand words? The Web
allows you to add audio,
image and video files to your company's info if that will serve your potential
customers. No brochure will do that!
TO REACH A HIGHLY DESIRABLE DEMOGRAPHIC MARKET
of the Web
user is probably the highest mass-market
demographic available. Usually college-educated or being college educated,
making a high salary or soon to make a high salary, it's no wonder that Wired
magazine, the magazine of choice to the Internet community, has no problem getting
Lexus and other high-end marketer's advertising. Even with the addition of the
commercial on-line community, the demographic will remain high for many years
TO ANSWER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
answers the phones in your organization can tell you, their time is usually spent
answering the same questions over and over again. These are the questions customers
and potential customers want to know the answer to before they deal with you.
Post your FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) on a Web
page and you will have removed another barrier to doing business with you and
free up some time for that harried phone operator.
TO STAY IN TOUCH WITH YOUR SALES STAFF, RETAILERS, OR DISTRIBUTORS
Your employees on the road (or your retailers
or distributors) may need up-to-the-minute information that will help them make
the sale or pull together the deal. If you know what that information is, you
can keep it posted in complete privacy on the Web,
in the form of your own company intranet. This intranet can be a password-protected
portion of your otherwise public website (e.g., retailers.yourcompany.com). A
quick local phone call can keep your staff supplied with the most detailed information,
without long distance phone bills and tying up the staff at the home office. Consider
using different subdomain names for each group: sales.yourdomain.com, retail.yourdomain.com,
distributors.yourdomain.com, etc. Our hosting branch,
can make such subdomain sites readily available to you.
TO OPEN INTERNATIONAL MARKETS
not be able to make sense of the mail, phone and regulation systems in all your
potential international markets, but with a website, you can open up a dialogue
with international markets as easily as with the company across the street. In
fact, before you go onto the Web, you should decide how you want to handle the
international business that will come your way (shipping fees, etc.), because
your postings are certain to bring international opportunities your way, whether
that is a part of your plan or not. Another added benefit: if your company has
offices overseas, they can access the home office's information for the price
of a local phone call. Plus, you can find markets for your products that could
never reach you before at a reasonable cost. (You may want to consider putting
some marketing effort into getting yourself listed on some major foreign
TO CREATE A 24 / 7 SERVICE
you've ever remembered too late or too early to call the opposite coast, you know
the hassle. We're not all on the same schedule. Business is worldwide but your
office hours aren't. Trying to reach Asia or Europe is even more frustrating.
But the pages of your website serve your clients, customers and partners 24 /
7. No overtime either. Your website can customize information to match needs and
collect important information that will put you ahead of the competition, even
before they get into the office.
TO MAKE CHANGING INFORMATION AVAILABLE QUICKLY AND CHEAPLY
Sometimes, information changes before it gets off the press. Now you
have a pile of expensive, worthless paper. Electronic publishing changes with
your needs. No paper, no ink, no printer's bill. You can even attach your web
page to a database which customizes the page's output to a database you can change
as many times in a day as you need. No printed piece can match that flexibility.
Click here for
a range of options for regularly updating your site.
TO ALLOW FEEDBACK FROM CUSTOMERS
out the brochure, the catalog, the booklet. But it doesn't work. No sales, no
calls, no leads. What went wrong? Wrong color, wrong price, wrong market? Keep
testing, the marketing books say, and you'll eventually find out went wrong. That's
great for the big boys with deep pockets, but who is paying the bills? You are
and you don't have the time nor the money to wait for the answer. With a Web page,
you can ask for feedback and get it instantaneously with no extra cost. An instant
e-mail response can be built into Web pages and can get the answer while its fresh
in your customers mind, without the cost and lack of response of business reply
TO TEST-MARKET NEW SERVICES AND PRODUCTS
Tied into the reason above, we all know the cost of rolling out a new product.
Advertising, advertising, advertising, PR and advertising. Expensive, expensive,
expensive. Once you have been on the Web and know what to expect from those who
are seeing your page, they are the least expensive market for you to reach. They
will also let you know what they think of your product faster, easier and much
less expensively than any other market you may reach. For the cost of a page or
two of Web programming, you can have a crystal ball into where to position your
product or service in the marketplace. Amazing.
TO REACH THE MEDIA
Every kind of business needs the exposure that the media can bring, as we
touched on in reason #5, "To Heighten Public Interest", but what if
your business is reaching the media, as a newswire, a publicist or a public policy
group. The media is the most wired profession today, since their main product
is information and they can get it more quickly, cheaply and easily on-line. On-line
press kits are becoming more and more common, since they work with the digital
environment of more and more pressrooms. Digital images can be put in place without
the stripping and shooting of the old pressrooms and digital text can be edited
and outputed on tight deadlines. All the these can be made available on a Web
TO REACH THE EDUCATION AND YOUTH MARKET
If your market is education, consider that most universities already offer
Internet access to their students and most K-12's will be on the Internet within
the next few years. Books, athletic shoes, study courses, youth fashion and anything
else that would want to reach these overlapping markets needs to be on the Web.
Even with the coming of the commercial on-line services and their somewhat older
populations there will be nothing but growth in the percentage of the under-25
market that will be on-line.
TO REACH THE SPECIALIZED MARKET
Sell fish tanks, art reproductions, flying lessons? You may think that the
Internet is not a good place to be. Well, think again! With 1.7
billion (and growing) Internet users, even the most narrowly defined interest
group will be represented in large numbers. Since the Web has many very good search
engines (check out our search
engine promotion services), your interest group will be able to find you,
or your competitors.
TO SERVE YOUR LOCAL MARKET
We've talked about the power to serve the world with a Web page. How about
your neighborhood? If you are located in San Francisco Bay Area, the Raleigh NC
area, Boston or New York, there are probably enough local customers with Web access
to make it worth your while to consider marketing your website locally. A local
Palo Alto, CA restaurant even takes lunch orders through the Internet! But no
matter where you are, if the big client has Web access, you should be there too.
You can make the Web a cost-effective retail location no matter where your market
THAT YOU KNOW WHY IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO HAVE A WEBSITE . . .
Us tells what you'll
be getting, through the words of satisfied clients, awards,
reveals hard-earned trade secrets you won't read anywhere