When a potential customer or client sees a print, billboard or TV ad, reads an article, or hears word of mouth about your wonderful business offerings, what do you think is that person's next action?
Chances are high that a new prospect for any product or service will look up the business on the Internet.
Additionally, traditional desktops and laptops now have younger siblings in the house thanks to the Internet's fastest growing delivery mediums: tablet and smartphone devices.
For these reasons – and these reasons alone – every business should take steps to be found on the web quickly and easily, and in all the right places.
The Internet Offers Three Primary Uses for Businesses:
- Online advertising and information about a brick and mortar establishment;
- Online lead generation and/or sales via an electronic catalog and shopping cart;
- A combination of brick and mortar advertising and online lead generation / sales.
Running a successful business on the Internet, or simply integrating the Internet into a traditional business strategy, requires the same rigor, attention to detail, regular maintenance and financial sensibility as running a brick and mortar operation.
|HOW TO MAINTAIN A STRONG WEB PRESENCE:|
WARNING: The most critical NON-action is to fall prey to the "get rich quick," "going viral," "huge IPO" mythology that misleads many business owners into thinking they have failed on the internet when in reality no such thing has happened.
The big time success of dominant internet players like Facebook, Google, Bing, and Yahoo, and the massive internet popularity of politicians and celebrities like President Obama, Lady Gaga, and kittens, etal, though fabulous for the parties involved, ranks with winning the lottery in the real world of online success. In other words, runaway online success doesn't happen to every enterprise.
Most Internet Success is Built the Same Way as Good Old-Fashioned Brick and Mortar Success…
- Diligent Work;
- A Profit-Based Revenue Model;
- Quality Offerings;
- Sound Business Management.
The work of maintaining a healthy web presence may seem hard, but much of what needs to be done requires only the time and labor involved, a minimal investment in quality software, and general comfort with technology.
Small business owners and professionals who are not inclined towards tech DIY can generally get the bases covered by hiring one or two savvy administrative staffers dedicated to the mission. Larger enterprises most likely will require more staff.
Multiple software programs that are easy to master can be used to manage website content, online catalogs, customer data and conversion analytics.
|TIP: Cloud based applications that offer continually updated business and creative software as well as unlimited storage are a great way to manage software requirements in a cost effective manner.|
If staffers also know-how to design and code, great, but for those who don't, more difficult development tasks in the design and coding arena can be outsourced to one of the many gifted web developers seeking work out here in cyberspace.
At a minimum, every business should have:
- A branded domain name and website, preferably with a Word Press or other type of blog attached;
- A LinkedIn profile;
- A Google+ profile;
- A Facebook business page;
- A Yelp business page;
- A Google Analytics account;
- An AddThis account;
- Google and Bing webmaster tools accounts;
- A Klout account.
If television advertising is part of a company's marketing strategy, post online versions of the same ads via YouTube and other top video channels.
Companies that possess original images or set up promos for products, or that plan to proactively publish articles and promotions on the web, can establish even more far-reaching presence via other popular social media and microblog channels, like Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter.
With social media and microblog sites especially, ongoing updates (once a day or every few days is best practice) will keep followers mindful of the business. Product promos and special offers should be posted more frequently to capture the widest possible audience.
|HOW TO USE THE INTERNET TO GROW A BUSINESS:|
|FOOTNOTE: Ichitect.com’s article, Top Seven Email Marketing Services, provides a solid list and reviews of the most popular email delivery programs used by businesses.|
Laura Mauney specializes in organizing and managing online businesses. Please contact her by email if you need that!