Your Website Is One of Your Most Important Investments
The Internet offers an extraordinary opportunity for business owners. When compared to other forms of advertising (newspapers, coupon books, TV, radio, billboards), the cost-value relationship of owning a web site is considerably better.
A web site can do far more than sell products; it can also make your message easily accessible, reduce publishing, marketing, and communication costs, increase your customer base, increase sales, expand your marketplace, reduce support costs while improving quality, enhance your image and stay ahead of the competition.
Make Your Message Easily Accessible
A web site provides the opportunity to publish the Who, What, and Why, of your business in a powerful and effective manner. Not only will your web site be available 24 hours a day 365 days a year, but now your customers are able to contact you outside of your normal business hours.
Reduce Publishing Costs
One of the largest expenses a business can incur is designing, printing, and delivering marketing materials. It can prove to be quite expensive. With a web site you can instantly publish that same information: new services available, new product announcements, employment opportunities, contact information, coupons, almost anything, without material or delivery costs. People can learn about it instantly just by visiting your web site.
Reduce Marketing Costs
Advertising space; whether it’s a newspaper ad, coupon book, or radio spot, etc., can be expensive. Adding to the burden are the hours spent trying to figure out the perfect set of words to say everything you want within the limited time or space of your ad. A web site is an unlimited number of full-page ads!
By advertising your web site in addition to your services, you give potential customers the opportunity to learn far more about your company than you can ever place in an ad.
Reduce Communication Costs
Just about any printed matter can be converted to a web page and distributed by email at far less cost and time than by fax, mail, or courier.
Increase Your Customer Base
When you place a print advertisement it’s likely the only people to respond are those who have definite interest in securing your services.
But how many other potential customers might be swayed if they could learn a little more about you, your company, your services, etc., without having to phone or taking the time to meet with you in person?
Do you sell spotters and other products? An online store might be a wise and inexpensive investment. You can sell to your existing customers 24/7 and expand your reach to a market that may have been difficult or expensive to reach through traditional advertising. (You’d be amazed how much shopping occurs on the World Wide Web overnight!) With an eCommerce site you can even make sales when your offices are closed.
Currently over 75% of the people in the US access the Internet, up from over 40% at the end of 1999. Increasingly, people search the Web rather than the Yellow Pages when looking for a service or product.
Expand Your Marketplace
The Internet can also enhance your traditional advertising, such as the radio, television, yellow pages, etc., by expanding the number of potential customers you reach. Your web site can reach millions of potential customers.
Reduce Support Costs While Improving Quality
A web site will allow you to publish your support information. If the web site doesn’t offer the answer, an online feedback form can be provided for your customer to ask questions. This is perhaps the most underrated usage for business web sites.
Enhance Your Image
A web site can help you to establish a credible, professional image. Since every web site starts as an empty pallet, the Internet offers the opportunity for a smallbusiness to portray itself as a big-business. (Or, for the big-business to fall flat by having a web site that poorly represents itself.) How will your business be perceived?
Stay Ahead Of The Competition
75% of Americans use the Internet to research information about the products and services they buy, and the companies that provide them – can they find your business? If they don’t find your business, they will find your competitor’s.
With more and more companies making a web presence, the companies that lose business to their competitors will most likely be those who fail to represent themselves on the Internet. If a potential customer can leisurely browse your company information online but cannot find your competitors information, your company now has an additional edge.
Don’t Put It Off Any Longer
Anybody with a business, of any kind, has something to sell online. It may not be obvious, but you have to sell yourself and your business, not just your product or service. Doing it online is one of the most cost-effective and beneficial ways to sell yourself. Like a fax machine or telephone: a web site is a necessary tool for your business. Are you taking advantage of the millions of people surfing the Web right now? If not, you are throwing money out the window.
Odds are, your competition is online already and reaping the rewards of providing a web site for their customers. What are you waiting for? The Internet is offering you an extraordinary opportunity for your business, take advantage of it.
If you have any questions, comments, or need a web site for your business, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Cermak Webmaster for OCIBR.com – The Marketing Club for Carpet Cleaners
Copyright 2003 Mark Cermak. All rights reserved. Used here by permission of Mark Cermak.