Can a web site help your business?
You're a small business owner. You may be just
starting out or you've been in business for a few years. You're aware of the constant need to market your company. True, referrals from happy customers are the life blood of many businesses but for a company seeking to improve market awareness, referrals may not be there for your new products and services yet. Can a web site on the Internet really help?
Marketing is the means of creating demand of your products and services through
educating the Market Place. By educating the potential consumer, you can transform them into a customer when you convince them to select you as a vendor. In doing so you need to do three things:
- The customer first had to grow to like you. Experts say that customer's only do business with people they like.
- You have to convince them that you understand their problem and can supply a solution. This requires that they put trust in you.
- You have to display knowledge and expertise about the product or service you are selling.
Once all three factors exist, the preference, the trust, and the problem resolution then the customer is happy to pay and your price does not have to be the lowest on the market.
So can a business accomplish these things without using the Internet and setting up a web site there? Yes, but the question remains can they do it as well and as quickly as someone who does leverage the power of the Internet?
The internet is one of the most efficient means to get your message out to the consumer, Direct mail for example would allow you to reach 10,000 potential
customers at a cost of $3000.00 for the cost of postage. You also had to acquire a mailing list which relied on accurately compiled data for an additional $500 cost. Additional costs are required to target the list to small businesses in your service area. This approach is also time and labour intensive and if you can't do it all yourself you have to hire someone to do it for your. Your message will be
constrained to something the size of a postage card that contains 150 words and since the information is unsolicited you have a 1% to 2% chance that your message has arrived in front of a motivated customer.
An equivalent advertisement in your local news paper would cost $3000.00. It has a much large general audience but your message is diluted in comparison to direct mail. Potential customer must turn to your specific section in the paper
that is full of other ads. You're response rate is even more poor. 1/500,000. Or whatever the ratio of response to the papers circulation is.
The Internet permits you to build a 10 to 20 page web site with the average page containing 200 words, plus have a database to capture potential customer information, provide a contact page to submit email requests directly to you. You
could even have staff assigned to field live chat requests from web site visitors. In addition you have the potential to display your expertise. You can fill the pages with useful information that can help your potential customer. You can publish your success stories and your testimonials. You can even enable the site for e-commerce and take orders over the internet right away drastically shortening the
sales cycle. And best of all, all of the web site visitors that came to your site were actively searching for a solution. Everyone of them was searching for an answer to their problem using keywords that are relevant to the problem domain.
Your opportunity to leverage your expertise in that area of expertise is greatly magnified by the use of a web site. Even if you feel that you don't have much to
say, when compared to people who have specialized Knowledge in other fields , you are an expert in the field with valuable knowledge to pass on.
All other forms of advertising including telemarketing, faxing, news print, radio and television interact with a passive consumer. The internet is one of the first means that a motivated customer in search of a solution can seek out potential solutions providers and be able to research them or purchase from them right away.
But once the customer arrives on your site, you have full control. As long as your message is clear and delivers the right amount of information that considers your customer's needs then you have the ability to educate the consumer, establish preference, and encourage trust that you will be able to satisfy their needs.
The cost is less per customer than any other medium and your potential audience
is informed, affluent, motivated and active. They are the ideal customer for your product or service.
You ability to compete in this relatively new arena requires that you acquire the services of a web site design and promotion company. It is far more cost efficient than first building a site and then modifying it for promotion purposes. The promotion quotient should be built in from the very beginning and should never be
an afterthought. Some compare the internet to a forest full of trees. You tack up a brochure on a tree and hope that someone finds it. The odds would be slim. 1 in 3,000,000,000 by recent estimates. However if you have carefully selected keywords that are known to your target audience and you have used them in the right concentration on your site. If you have also submitted your site to the
search engines and have also promoted your site with reciprocal links to and from other relevant site. Then traffic will come; 100's of potential customers per week.
An informed, motivated customer, who has put trust in your expertise and is convinced that you have the solution to their problem is your best customer and your surest revenue stream. The internet helps them to seek you out more cost effectively than any other advertising medium ever invented.
Can the internet help your small business? Yes, so what are you waiting for? Embrace the web before your competitors do.
R. Reid, Director,
Reid Technologies Inc.