HOW TO TELL
IF YOUR BUSINESS CAN BENEFIT FROM AN INTERNET PRESENCE by
Grace A. Cheeseman
I'm curious about setting up shop on the Internet, but I know some
people who've spent a lot of money on web sites and it's not doing
them a bit of good. Don't all the dot-com failures show that the
Internet is just a bunch of hype anyway? And if not, how can I tell
if a web site would help my business?
Excellent questions. First, let's clear up the dot-com part. When
the media refers to "dot-com failures", they are generally
referring to public companies that were able to generate large sums
of venture capital money during the recent boom. Uninformed investors
poured millions into bad projects just to get in on the Great Internet
Gold Rush. When these projects failed to generate the expected windfalls
within impossibly short time periods, those same investors got spooked
and yanked their money out of Internet companies and stocks - both
good and bad. The same force that created the boom also caused the
bust; the get-rich-quick investing mentality.
business continues to do what small business does; build steady
growth on a solid foundation. The Internet is a marketing and communications
tool, just as direct mail, catalogs, and radio advertising are tools.
The big difference is in the tremendous number of people you can
reach for very little money by comparison. But marketing principles
still hold true - you must reach the right people, at the right
time, with the right message in order to be successful. The magic
is not in the tool; it's in the use of the tool.
can benefit from using the Internet, but you have to have two things
firmly in hand: 1) a professional-looking site that is built from
the beginning with marketing, not design, as its main focus, and
2) the correct Internet marketing strategy for your business. Contrary
to popular belief, there are not one, but three basic types of business
sites on the Web today. They are the e-commerce, the ad-driven,
and the credibility (also called demonstration) site. Each type
measures success differently. Many sites considered failures were
actually successes, just in a different way than the owner was expecting!
site, in which sales are generated completely online, is the
most well known type. It is also the most costly to build, the most
difficult to maintain technically, and the most vulnerable to security
risks. (There is, however, one huge exception; selling information.
If you're interested in this lucrative niche business, click
here.) Only one thing matters on an e-commerce site: sell-through
rate. Many well funded Internet ventures of this type have failed
simply because the cost to obtain customers was higher than the
sales revenue generated.
site lives and dies based on traffic. These sites tend to be
huge, ever changing resource centers based on the "content
is king" theory. As the number of site visitors clicking from
page to page for information, gameplaying, or entertainment increases,
advertisers become interested in reaching your particular demographic.
However, these sites have also proven very expensive to maintain.
In addition, web-based advertising has yet to prove itself as a
revenue generator for the advertisers. As a result, ad space, particularly
banner ad space, is selling for far less than it did at its peak
If you have
a real-world business, and are looking to use the Internet to reach
your local market, I recommend the Credibility site. Much
more than simple brochureware, this site is an interactive source
of information about your business that allows people to answer
some of their own questions - and come to you much more qualified
and ready to buy. It also gives you the ability to stay in touch
with your client base, giving them reasons to come in and giving
you top-of-mind status when they are ready to do so. It turns out
most sales over $39.95 require some type of personal contact anyway,
either by phone or in person, to complete. Take advantage of this
reality by using your site to drive people into your place of business,
rather than trying to complete the entire sale online.
A well thought-out
marketing strategy is critical for the success of your online venture.
Using your web site as a centerpiece, and integrating it with your
current marketing strategy, can produce immediate and amazing results.
Most businesses are already utilizing various offline marketing
tools, i.e. postcards, yellow pages, newspaper ads, cable TV, etc.
Correctly combining just one of these mediums with the power of
email and a strong web presence will generate a "spiral
marketing" effect that builds momentum each time you
take your prospects through the cycle.
didn't really change the rules; it just makes it much easier to
get the rules working in your favor. Commerce using the Web is at
record high levels, and accelerating. As usual, big business may
dominate the news - but small business dominates the landscape.
Upgrade your web presence as soon as you can, and make it central
to your marketing mix. Don't let media sensationalism or the "other
guy's" mistakes cause you to miss out on your share of the
additional business that's yours for the asking.
Web Design provides marketing consulting, web development,
and Internet business services to small and medium sized businesses.
They have been developing income-producing online properties since
1998. Contact the development team at: www.skyvaultwebdesign.com.
Free Report Reveals Secrets of Their Successful Marketing Strategy: