In this new Internet era business has undergone a fundamental
change; websites, networking, data storage and even telecommuting
are changing the face of business in ways that even the science
fiction writers of the Thirties never dreamt of.
The common denominator
among all businesses large and small is the absolute necessity
for a proprietary website. This website serves as the core marketing
identity of the business around which all other aspects of the
The primary goal off
all advertising today is to attract the largest possible number
of viewers to your website.
is not to get them to remember your phone number or street address
so they can call or buy in person at some point in the near
or distant future as was the case before the Internet Era.
must reference your business name and Internet address (It helps
if the names are identical or at least similar).
website is the core of your marketing message. It is an online
brochure that allows customers to comfortably search for and
receive any desired information about your business 24 hours
a day, every day.
saves time and the expense of taking phone calls for mundane
information such as your address or hours. It qualifies
customers in just seconds; if they dial
a phone number that is only published on your website,
you know that it is an incoming call from a motivated
have judged for themselves that you are or that you have
what they're looking for. It removes much of the anxiety
suffered by customers who fear high pressure salesmen.
Internet can deliver an unoppressive and unassuming sales pitch
that says who you are and what you do, while offering descriptions
of your products and/or services and every method of contacting
or visiting you. It can do so in any and, indeed every
language in the World. Multiple websites can accommodate various
monitor sizes and modem speeds. Multiple domain names can target
different markets. Photo albums can show off a family business
or corporate culture while multimedia presentations can awe
properly designed website will answer nearly every business
question and offer online orders or payments. Would you
believe that Caterpillar sells multimillion dollar giant
trucks and earthmovers online?
Internet can be anything you want it to be for your business
and customers. If you choose to ignore its potential, your competitors
certainly will not. There is no valid excuse to avoid the eCommerce
era; especially when the cost of a developing a professional
website is so inexpensive, more or less equal to a single newspaper
a typical website is just twenty five or thirty dollars a month.
Compare that to printing a catalogue or brochure that is dated
from the day it comes off the presses and priced by volume and
quality. A sizable ad in your local phonebook can run hundreds,
even thousands of dollars each and every
month including the
long months after you realized not one call came in from the
ad during the first half year.
website is a live brochure that can be updated regularly and
in real time offering product and service information, scheduling
business counted on advertising and word-of-mouth to attract
new business. Word
of mouth is as important as ever though you can’t count
on it to get you by, especially if yours is a new company.
These days it is far more likely that the “word”
will pass via Email, including clickable links to what else?
Your website(s) of course.
all, the fuel behind the historic economic bubble was driven
by the incalculable savings and profit potential of the virtual
nature of business including electronic mail and commerce. True,
the bubble has burst; but not because the potential of the Internet
was invalid. It was just premature. eCommerce sales are rising
not in terms of percentages but in multiples (as in ten times
and twenty times previous numbers).
is being transformed as network connections and the World
Wide Web reach to, through and around every aspect of
human communication. Children’s dolls will hold
two-way conversations via speech recognition processed
through a wireless connection through the Internet. Refrigerators
will order your milk for you when you do not return the
empty carton. Your home’s doorbell will signal an
incoming video conference to your cell phone or Dick Tracy
Watch that will let you unlock your door remotely. This
is already happening today. Where will we be in five years?
communications concept is affected the greatest by the World
Wide Web? Marketing.
in all of its many and varied forms broadcasts your message
to the buying public. Unfortunately, much of it costs more than
you can afford. For instance, a single newspaper advertisement
in a local paper can cost thousands of dollars for a black and
white add large enough to catch the reader’s eye. A major
metropolitan paper can cost exponentially more. A long term
advertising campaign can cost a fortune.
similar budget awaits the business considering a direct
telephone or mail campaign. A list of current addresses,
and maybe pre-qualified to fit your target market may
cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and are often “rented” for
one time use. The labor for these marketing solutions
can be costly, often including a fat commission. Of course,
the cost of office space, phone lines and postage adds
up exponentially with the scope of the project.
A wildcard is the new
national "do not call" list. It may spell the end
of direct marketing as we know it.
and radio cost much more; a properly structured advertising
campaign can cost tens to several hundreds of thousands of dollars.
This concept is reserved for the serious advertiser who understands
the direct correlation between advertising investment expense
problem today, however, is that the Internet has fundamentally
changed the way people seek, investigate and transact business
across all industries.
advertising can produce immediate results, but most rely
on customer recall at a future time of need. Unfortunately
there are thousands of advertisers both locally and nationally
peddling millions of goods and services. The sheer volume
simply drowns out your message.
obtain maximum benefit from your advertising dollars, you need
a point of reference for customers to obtain further information
without having to pick up the phone to call a sales or marketing
rep. People just won’t do it. They are intimidated by
the person on the other end whose sole purpose is to get an
order from every caller.
by chance a customer does want to call, is the business
open? Do they remember the name or phone number from the
ad? Do they speak your language? Are they interested in
talking to a cliché-spouting
salesman like that that from a used car lot or health club?
anyone, for any reason wants to follow up after reading, hearing
or seeing an advertisement, they can easily type the domain
name referenced in the ad for more information. A good website
will answer every possible question, display every possible
product or service and maybe even process orders then and there
for eager spontaneous buyers.
anyone for any reason search the Internet for your business,
they must find their target. Otherwise they are bound to find
a 3rd party business listing your company’s name just
for the purpose of attracting your customers to their website.
For example, there is a dry cleaner in Silicon Valley who has
listed every business in the San Francisco Bay Area in a database
directory. The information may be wrong or outdated, but the
search engines find these businesses every time, especially
when the company has no website of their own. It is a marketing
ploy that is very effective at driving local web surfers to
their dry cleaning business, no doubt paying for their minor
expense and trouble several times over.
will use your business name in the code of their website to
attract your customers looking for your products or services.
Why not? It is not illegal unless your name is trademarked.
Use Google.com, the number one search engine and search for
your business name, adding some extra terms like name + city
or name + phone number. See what you find. That is exactly what
your customers find. If they don’t find your “.com”,
they will find another.
then there are the chat rooms and websites expressly for
the purpose of sharing opinions about local businesses.
You might look up a restaurant in a search engine and
opinion about the good, bad or ugly of a place. It may say
that the restaurant is “pricey” or that a dish
is excellent or disgusting. They can say that they found
a cockroach in their salad whether it’s true or
not; perhaps they work at a competing restaurant. Maybe
they were embarrassed by their credit card being declined… Maybe
they are a disgruntled ex employee.
is little or no recourse for the restaurant and the anonymous
information will remain posted indefinitely for all web
surfers to read including existing and potential customers.
is a waste of expensive advertising dollars and effort
if you don’t offer a website for customers to follow
up with. It is still worse, even counterproductive if
customers search for you and find negative or unrelated
websites like the above samples. If they find your ".com"
they won't even notice the other listings that follow.
bottom line is that if a [potential] customer wants to
obtain information or place an order with your business,
they better find your company website and no other. They
should see who you are, what you do, what you’ve
done and how to reach you. They should see this information
in your words and your pictures.
cost is minimal to own your own domain name and have a website
hosted; perhaps just $250 per year. To have a “brochure”
website created for you costs about the same as a single small
advertisement in a newspaper or phonebook, or printing a color
brochure. The miniscule costs of multiple language versions
of a website command the appreciation and respect of your local
customers, and mean expanding a previously local business to
global proportions. eCommerce-enabled websites with databases,
shopping carts and payment processing that open your market
to the entire Earth may cost a few thousand dollars and up depending
on the scale of the business you want to build.
point to consider is that an AOL or Yahoo Email address
is unequivocally negative. It is cheap. Every
mail you send advertises another business and not your
own. Use your own Me@My.Com Email address. Create an Email
stationary that matches your website and use a signature
block referencing your website address to promote your
business identity. It all adds up.
is inexpensive and can save and
And finally: After just
ten short years, the term eBusiness is redundant. All business
is eBusiness. Even a gas station needs a website. If your company
does not have an Internet presence another company will. Who
do you think your customers will find?