to put your business on the WWW
Establish A Presence
Approximately 40 million people worldwide have
access to the World Wide Web (WWW). No matter what your business is, you
can't ignore 40 million people. To be a part of that community and show
that you are interested in serving them, you need to be on the WWW for
them. You know your competitors will.
A lot of what passes for business is simply
nothing more than making connections with other people. Every smart
businessperson knows, it's not what you know; it's whom you know.
Passing out your business card is part of every good meeting and every
businessperson can tell more than one story how a chance meeting turned
into the big deal. Well, what if you could pass out your business card
to thousands, maybe millions of potential clients and partners, saying
this is what I do and if you are ever in need of my services, this is
how you can reach me. You can, 24 hours a day, inexpensively and simply,
on the WWW.
To Make Business Information Available
basic business information? Think of a Yellow Pages ad. What are your
hours? What do you do? How can someone contact you? What methods of
payment do you take? Where are you located? Now think of a Yellow Pages
ad where you have instant communication. What is today's special?
Today's interest rate? Next week's parking lot sale information? If you
could keep your customer informed of every reason why they should do
business with you, don't you think you could do more business? You can
on the WWW.
To Serve Your Customers
Making business information available is one of the
most important ways to serve your customers. But if
you look at serving the customer, you'll find even
more ways to use WWW technology. How about making
forms available to pre-qualify for loans, or have
your staff do a search for that classic jazz record
your customer is looking for, without tying up your
staff on the phone to take down the information?
Allow your customer to punch in sizes and check it
against a database that tells him what color of
jacket is available in your store? All this can be
done, simply and quickly, on the WWW.
To Heighten Public Interest
You won't get Newsweek magazine to write up your
local store opening, but you might get them to write up your Web Page
address if it is something new and interesting. Even if Newsweek would
write about your local store opening, you wouldn't benefit from someone
in a distant city reading about it, unless of course, they were coming
to your town sometime soon. With Web page information, anybody anywhere
who can access the Web and hears about you is a potential visitor to
your Web site and a potential customer for your information there.
To Release Time Sensitive Materials
What if your materials need to be released no
earlier than midnight? The quarterly earnings statement, the grand prize
winner, the press kit for the much anticipated film, the merger news?
Well, you sent out the materials to the press with
"The-do-not-release-before-such-and-such-time" statement and
hope for the best. Now the information can be made available at midnight
or any time you specify, with all related materials such as photographs,
bios, etc. released at exactly the same time. Imagine the anticipation
of "All materials will be made available on our Web site at 12:01
AM". The scoop goes to those that wait for the information to be
posted, not the one who releases your information early.
To Sell Things
Many people think that this is the number 1 thing
to do with the World Wide Web, but we made it number seven to make it
clear that we think you should consider selling things on the Internet
and the World Wide Web after you have done all the things above and
maybe even after doing quite a few more things from this list. Why?
Well, the answer is complex but the best way to put it is, do you
consider the telephone the best place to sell things? Probably not. You
probably consider the telephone a tool that allows you to communicate
with your customer, which in turn helps you sell things. Well, that's
how we think you should consider the WWW. The technology is different,
of course, but before people decide to become customers, they want to
know about you, what you do and what you can do for them. Which you can
do easily and inexpensively on the WWW. Then you might be able to turn
them into customers.
To make pictures, sound and film files available
if your widget is great, but people would really love it if they could
see it in action. The album is great but with no airplay, nobody knows
that it sounds great? A picture is worth a thousand words, but you don't
have the space for a thousand words? The WWW allows you to add sound,
pictures and short movie files to your company's info if that will serve
your potential customers. No brochure will do that.
To reach a highly desirable demographic market
demographic of the WWW user is probably the highest mass-market
demographic available. Usually college-educated or being college
educated, making a high salary or soon to make a high salary, it's no
wonder that Wired magazine, the magazine of choice to the Internet
community, has no problem getting Lexus and other high-end marketer's
advertising. Even with the addition of the commercial on-line community,
the demographic will remain high for many years to come.
To Answer Frequently Asked questions
answers the phones in your organization can tell you, their time is
usually spent answering the same questions over and over again. These
are the questions customers and potential customers want to know the
answer to before they deal with you. Post them on a WWW page and you
will have removed another barrier to doing business with you and freed
up some time for that harried phone operator.
To Stay In Contact With Salespeople
employees on the road may need up-to-the-minute information that will
help them make the sale or pull together the deal. If you know what that
information is, you can keep it posted in complete privacy on the WWW. A
quick local phone call can keep your staff supplied with the most
detailed information, without long distance phone bills and tying up the
staff at the home office.
To Open International Markets
may not be able to make sense of the mail, phone and regulation systems
in all your potential international markets, but with a Web page, you
can open up a dialogue with international markets as easily as with the
company across the street. As a matter-of-fact, before you go onto the
Web, you should decide how you want to handle the international business
that will come your way, because your postings are certain to bring
international opportunities your way, whether it is part of your plan or
not. Another added benefit; if your company has offices overseas, they
can access the home offices information for the price of a local phone
To Create a 24-Hour Service
you've ever remembered too late or too early to call the opposite coast,
you know the hassle. We're not all on the same schedule. Business is
worldwide but your office hours aren't. Trying to reach Asia or Europe
is even more frustrating. But Web pages serve the client, customer and
partner 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No overtime either. It can
customize information to match needs and collect important information
that will put you ahead of the competition, even before they get into
To Make Changing Information Available Quickly
information changes before it gets off the press. Now you have a pile of
expensive, worthless paper. Electronic publishing changes with your
needs. No paper, no ink, no printer's bill. You can even attach your web
page to a database, which customizes the page's output to a database you
can change as many times in a day as you need. No printed piece can
match that flexibility.
To Allow Feedback From Customers
pass out the brochure, the catalog, and the booklet. But it doesn't
work. No sales, no calls, no leads. What went wrong? Wrong color, wrong
price, wrong market? Keep testing, the marketing books say, and you'll
eventually find out went wrong. That's great for the big boys with deep
pockets, but who is paying the bills? You are and you don't have the
time or the money to wait for the answer. With a Web page, you can ask
for feedback and get it instantaneously with no extra cost. An instant
e-mail response can be built into Web pages and can get the answer while
its fresh in your customers mind, without the cost and lack of response
of business reply mail.
To Test Market New Services and Products
into the reason above, we all know the cost of rolling out a new
product. Advertising, advertising, advertising, PR and advertising.
Expensive, expensive, expensive. Once you have been on the Web and know
what to expect from those who are seeing your page, they are the least
expensive market for you to reach. They will also let you know what they
think of your product faster, easier and much less expensively than any
other market you may reach. For the cost of a page or two of Web
programming, you can have a crystal ball into where to position your
product or service in the marketplace. Amazing.
To Reach The Media
kind of business needs the exposure that the media can bring, as we
touched on in reason #5 "To Heighten Public Interest", but
what if your business is reaching the media, as a newswire, a publicist
or a public policy group. The media is the most wired profession today,
since their main product is information and they can get it more
quickly, cheaply and easily on-line. On-line press kits are becoming
more and more common, since they work with the digital environment of
more and more pressrooms. Digital images can be put in place without the
stripping and shooting of the old pressrooms and digital text can be
edited and outputted on tight deadlines. All these can be made available
on a Web page.
To Reach The Education and Youth Market
your market is education, consider that most universities already offer
Internet access to their students and most K-12's will be on the
Internet within the next few years. Books, athletic shoes, study
courses, youth fashion and anything else that would want to reach these
overlapping markets needs to be on the Web. Even with the coming of the
commercial on-line services and their somewhat older populations there
will be nothing but growth in the percentage of the under 25 market that
will be on-line.
To Reach The Specialized Market
fish tanks, art reproductions, and flying lessons? You may think that
the Internet is not a good place to be. Well, think again. The Internet
isn't just computer science students anymore. With the soon-to-be 7
million and growing users of the WWW, even the most narrowly defined
interest group will be represented in large numbers. Since the Web has
several very good search programs, your interest group will be able to
find you, or your competitors.
To Serve Your Local Market
talked about the power to serve the world with a Web page. How about
your neighborhood? If you are located in San Francisco Bay Area, the
Raleigh NC area, Boston or New York, there is probably enough local
customers with Web access to make it worth your while to consider Web
marketing. A local Palo Alto, CA restaurant even takes lunch orders
through the Internet! But no matter where you are, if the big client has
Web access, you should be there too.