PDQ Library:  Web 102 - Marketing

Business On The Web


WHO uses the Internet to market their business?

Statistics show that business use of the Internet has been doubling every 6 months! Today's busy consumer is balancing both time and money. Thanks to technology, retail is changing to e-tail where shoppers online visit malls without walls. In the global marketplace, the Internet marketing strategy is faster, cheaper and more effective than any other available today.

WHAT is the Web?

Short for the "World Wide Web", it is an invisible network of electronic documents that are transmitted via the Internet, which connects the world very much like the telephone network. The Web distributes your marketing strategy to millions of consumers here at home and around the world, giving them access to a "Web site" with information about your business from the comfort of their homes, any time of the day or night.

WHAT does it cost?

Prices vary widely as with any marketing strategy. A basic Web page can be purchased from a local directory or community website at very low cost, while a large website with an online store can cost up to the limits of your budget for design, programming, and ongoing credit services, site hosting and maintenance.

A website can be created (one-time fee) for much less than brochures, radio or TV ads or newspaper ads. The annual cost to register a domain name is as low as $10 - even free with some web hosting packages. Website hosting (storage and access to your website) fees of $50 to $150 per year are common for a basic site. An e-commerce site with secure order processing and payment services would cost much more.

WHEN is a good time to get on the Internet?

Right now! The Web is already the accepted marketing strategy in today's world. Your Website can easily be redesigned and updated as your business grows.

WHERE can I find out more information?

There are many services that can create your Website, get your business, help it get found online, and sell you domain name registration and Website hosting. If you buy these from different companies, search for good web hosting services first - you can buy the domain from them.

WHY would I use the Internet if I'm happy with my current marketing strategy?

You get more value for your money on the Web! Where else can you reach so many potential new customers for so little cost? What other service allows you to help your customers without spending any time or staff? How else can you sell your products and services while you sleep?!

The 'if you build it they will come' philosophy only works with an effective marketing strategy. Print, radio and TV are themselves marketing via the Internet because its interactive capabilities, unlimited options and convenience get the best results. Let's face it: The bottom line is, a marketing strategy that offers the best price, performance and popularity simply makes good business sense.

HOW do I get started?

Identify goals and plan a web marketing strategy before you talk to any web service providers. Do you want to attract new customers, give information about products and services, do market research, provide customer support, to entertain, or perhaps something else? To start, you need at least a domain, a website, business email address (start with info@YOURDOMAIN), and accounts with social media services.

Business on Social Media

I don't offer Web 103 about social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, ..), because there are thousands of web pages that can help you use it effectively. I have only one thing to add: Do not use social media to "advertise"! You will lose all followers and friends and "likes". Used properly, social media will complement your business, polish your brand, provide customer service, and reach potential customers. Abuse it and it will harm your business. Enough said.

Websites and Online Marketing

If you build it, they won't come! It isn't enough to simply get your business online. You also need a good marketing strategy to ensure that people searching online for your products and services find your business instead of your competitors'.

Get listed in a local community business directory - especially those you find with Web searches for local information. Though consumers search the world for information on a product or service, statistics show they like to shop at home.

A professional Web designer creates a Website that is worth visiting. It is:

  • a well-organized, easily navigated marketing tool that showcases products and services in a broad range of relevant browsers;
  • an interactive marketing strategy, frequently updated, which serves current client needs and attracts new business.

Important things you might forget

We all know you've got to spend money to make money. The most important thing is spending wisely. A business with a good online marketing strategy will do all these things:

  • Create a Web presence, a Web address and become part of a local business directory;
  • Target a larger number of Web search engines to market your products and services as widely as possible.
  • Ask your Head Office, your suppliers, and even your customers to provide a link to your Website. Request or buy links in important directories, where your future customers will see it. The more links to your site, the better your search rating will be - so your business gets "found" rather than your competitors.
  • Don't forget to add your new domain or Web address to all your business communications and advertising - even on company cars!
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