Top 10 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Website

1. Your Business is Open to the World 24/7, 365 Days a Year
Unlike your company’s office that may be open from 8-5, Monday thru Friday, your company ‘s website is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There are many different time zones that may affect your business, which is why being on the web makes it time convenient for everyone.

2. It’s Your Online Brochure / Catalog That Can Be Changed at Anytime
A website is easier, cheaper and quicker to update than print material. Its’ capacities are almost limitless which allow you to provide users with more comprehensive information. This will save you money on printing and distribution costs as well.

3. Reach New Markets with a Global Audience
On the Internet, you aren’t that local little business anymore. You have the potential to be seen by millions across the globe. Did you ever think your company would have the possibility of doing business around the world? Well, now you can. Without a doubt, the Internet is the most cost effective way to trade nationally and internationally.

4. Improved Customer Service
By providing answers to questions on your website, sales and information requests can be processed automatically and immediately, whether someone is in the office or not. Online forms can be used to allow customers to request quotations or ask further information. Save costs by allowing users to download invoices, proposals and important documents.

5. Present a Professional Image
For a small business, a well-designed web site is a great way of instilling confidence and looking bigger than you actually are. In this day in age, customers assume that you already have a website. By now, your primary competitors probably already have a presence on the Internet. If they do, keep up with them and find ways to make yours better.

6. Sell Your Products
Why pay expensive rent, overhead, electric bills, and all the other costs that go along with owning a bricks-n-mortar business? Selling in cyberspace is much cheaper and a good way to supplement your offline business. Providing secure online ordering is very affordable for even the smallest businesses.

7. Promote Your Services
Lawyers, doctors, financial consultants, entertainers, realtors and all service oriented businesses should let customers know that they have a choice. Millions of users are referring to the web and are using company’s websites to make major decisions when they need a specialized service.

8. Gather Information and Generate Valuable Leads
You can gather information about your customers and potential customers by using forms and surveys. Rather than going out and getting leads, let them come to you. This is a great tool for prospecting targeted customers looking to use your products and services.

9. Provides Instant Gratification
People are busy and don’t like to wait for information. Give them what they want, when they want it. If your product is suitable, offer them free samples or trials to download. This includes pictures, brochures, software, videos, Power Point slides, music and more.

10. Great Recruiting Tool
Whether you are looking for talent or posting job opportunities with your company, your website is a great recruiting tool for building your business.

More Great Tips!

The Do’s & Don’ts For Website Success!

  • Do invest in a secure online ordering system.
  • Do keep your audience in mind and create copy that personally speaks to them.
  • Do create a clear and compelling sales message.
  • Do update your site content and keep it fresh and current.
  • Do anticipate and answer your visitor’s questions.
  • Do check your site to ensure all forms and links are working.
  • Do include a call to action on each page. You won’t get business if you don’t ask for it.
  • Do include your contact information.
  • Do offer links to programs like Acrobat Reader needed to view your site information.
  • Do choose a Web host that provides exceptional service, minimal down time, and consistent site backups.
  • Do carefully check your content for spelling and grammar mistakes. Errors are unprofessional and show a lack of attention to detail.
  • Do title each page to be search engine (and bookmark) friendly.
  • Do use a URL and domain name that accurately reflects your business or company name and is easy to remember.

…and

  • Don’t confuse your visitor with too many topics on one page. Organize information logically.
  • Don’t let your site become outdated. Your credibility will disappear if you offer Mother ‘s Day specials just in time for Father’s Day.
  • Don’t include too many colors, fonts, or font sizes that distracts your visitor.
  • Don’t yell at your visitor by using all capital letters.
  • Don’t take your customer’s privacy for granted. Create a privacy policy and stick to it.
  • Don’t insult your customer by selling his information to third parties.
  • Don’t ignore or delay customer requests. Return all customer inquiries promptly because you never know whom they may recommend you to even if they don’t buy from you.
  • Don’t add a “visitor count” to your site. No need to brag how many or show how few visit.
  • Don’t include graphics that fail to add importance to your site.
  • Don’t use silly clip art unless absolutely necessary.
  • Don’t add unnecessary “extras” that will take a particularly long time to load.
  • Don’t ignore customer complaints, just because you’re on the Web doesn’t mean your business won’t be affected by dissatisfied customers sharing their experience with others.

Marketing Axioms

Author: Leanne Hoagland-Smith

Marketing Axiom 1-Greater Awareness Increases Sales

You can have the best product or service, incredible customer loyalty and the greatest ROI, but unless someone sees and more importantly wants to learn more about you, it truly doesn’t matter about your products or services.  Think about the good times that follow bad times.  People who previously would not spend their money are loosening up their purse strings.  They will go to the businesses they remember especially if they have no loyalty to a particular store.

In bad times, people shop where they perceive they are receiving the most bang for their buck.  Again, this perception is created by marketing through special offers to top of mind awareness (TOMA).

Marketing research suggests your potential customers and existing customers need to hear about your products or services at least 33 times in a given year.  Translated into a monthly number equals 2.75 contacts.  Between direct mail, e-mail, paid print advertisements, radio or television commercials to actual physical contacts through business events, you must connect with your target market almost 3 times every month if you wish to increase sales.

Additionally, new marketing research conducted by Pitney Bowes suggests direct mail is preferred by 70% over electronic mail.  Now direct mail (anything received through what many call “snail mail”) is postcards, handwritten notes to paid advertising in business journals or newspapers.

Now, awareness is not selling. Unfortunately, far too many in business perceive marketing to equal selling. These are the folks who always talk about their products and prices quickly followed by “Let me send you a proposal.”  By remembering this axiom, you may reduce your confusion about marketing and selling and truly be the Red Jacket in the sea of gray suits. The added value is you are now on a better path to actually increase sales.

Marketing Axiom 2 – AIDA Model Is Queen

Products or services only sell themselves only after these 4 actions have been taken, leading to an established relationship.

  • After Attention
  • After Interest
  • After Desire
  • After call to Action

People buy from people they know and trust.  Until you accomplish these four actions, the likelihood that you have the beginnings of a mutually agreeable relationship has been greatly diminished.

Take a moment to think about sales from the perspective of the game of chess.

Credit: TheChessWorld.com

There is a lot of thinking (strategy) taking place. The King is the Buyer and you as the seller are most like the Bishop where you advise the King. However, if you fail to establish a relationship, the game is lost and hence this is why the Queen is key.  For without the relationship, the buyer will go elsewhere no matter how great your advice is as the Bishop. Additionally, there is always the opportunity for someone else (think competition) to capture your Queen and leave you with checkmate (no increase sales).

Again, who else can get the attention, the interest and desire of the King?  The Queen is usually the best person to achieve those goals.  And usually she can be one to provide a call to action. For without the Queen (the relationship), the sale will languish far from the cash box.  (Translation, you will not increase sales.) To capture the Queen demands you must be the Red Jacket and the AIDA model will help you do just that.


Marketing Axiom 3 – Remember the 75/25 Rule

Business is at least:

  • 75% about marketing
  • 25% about selling

Unfortunately, for many the opposite is true with 25% or less time being devoted to marketing. Then when the business becomes busy delivering its products or services there is even less time for marketing.  When you think you do not need to market because business is good to great, then look to your nearest McDonald’s.  Has this business with impressive branding stopped its marketing?

Also returning to Axiom 1, did McDonald’s stop marketing during known turbulent economic times?  Absolutely, not! McDonald’s knows their target market can be fickle and easily motivated to go elsewhere for their fast food.

One of the reasons that so many businesses stop marketing during bad times is because they lack an overall strategic action plan as well as the subsidiary plans of marketing, sales, customer loyalty, growth & innovation, leadership & management and financials. What then happens is the Captain Wing It scenario where actions are being sprayed and prayed all over the place with the hope that something sticks.

Take action and determine where you are spending your time versus investing your time.  Make sure you continue to market your business. If it is good enough for McDonald’s it is truly good enough for you.

Marketing Axiom 4 – Heart, Head and Hands Prevail

According to Dr. Hartman and the science of Axiology, people make buying decisions with their heads, their hearts and their hands. To leverage (think influence) how people make these decisions requires a convincing message with these four elements:

  • Powerful Story
  • Cohesive Message
  • Emotional Exploitation
  • Targeted Audience

Your message is the first and most crucial step within the overall sales process. A weak message delivers equally weak results.  However, a message that fails to emotionally connect with your potential customers (a.k.a. prospects) will also deliver poor results.

Take a few moments to think about your existing marketing message and how it attracts your potential customers.  Are you sounding like all those other businesses when you begin speaking?  Have you ever considered you are playing a very worn record that drones on and on and one instead of one that literally stops your targeted audience in their tracks?

Since people hear words and think in pictures, you have far more control of the picture they are painting in their brains than you probably realize. When you begin to observe what words trigger an emotional response, you can weave those very same words into your story. Then all you need to do is to ensure your overall message is cohesive in that is has a beginning, a middle, an end and makes sense specific to what you do.

By remembering this axiom, will help you with Axiom 2 and eventually lead to more sales.

Guerrilla Marketing With Technology

by Jay Conrad Levinson (Abridged )

( if your not familiar with Guerrilla Marketing grab our short e-book here. It’s FREE )

The advances of technology and affordable computing has more than levelled the playing field for small business who can now not only compete with their bigger rivals, but are often able to so quickly adapt to business and technological change that they often overtake being able to acquire and service new customers.

Examining just those areas where technology adds potency to marketing, I find 25 that are especially intriguing to me and should be intriguing to you if you take seriously the business of earning consistent profits. Centric to the technology is use of what are now commonly accepted tools such as desktop publishing software, email and your business web site.

One thing you need to be aware of is that a website, email newsletter and the like cannot help you unless you know marketing. It is a marketing medium, perhaps the best and most comprehensive ever — but it is not marketing all by itself and it is no guarantee of success. You must have a good understanding of marketing in order to market online successfully. You’ve got to know how to market what you sell as well as marketing your website. The moment you think of going online is when to start thinking of promoting your website offline. That process should never stop.

To market online with the certainty of success, you must place equal emphasis on eight elements. Ignore any one of them and you’re doomed to cybergloom.

  1. Planning – which means you should know what you want your website to accomplish for you before you put it up.
  2. Content – because that’s what’s going to bring people back again and again.
  3. Design – because there’s a “stay-or-bail” moment where people see your site and decide in an instant whether to see what you have to say or get the heck out — and your design influences that decision.
  4. Involvement – which determines what you want visitors to do, dictates how they will interact.
  5. Production  – which simple software enables you to do yourself — putting all the elements together and posting it on the Web.
  6. Follow-up – which means responding instantly to those visitors who contact you.
  7. Promotion – which means letting the world know who you are and where you are in cyberspace.
  8. Maintenance – because a website is a living, breathing thing that should fascinate people into returning so they can see what’s up this week.

Marketing online doesn’t merely mean the Web. It means emailing, posting notices at forums, engaging in chats, accomplishing research, gathering market data and having a website. The keys to succeeding online are in creating compelling content, changing that content regularly, responding at nearly the speed of light, and by personalizing your messages. There may be 50 million people on the Internet but your prospects must feel you’re talking to them one at a time

I promised you 25 ways that technology helps you market and then I went off on a tangent because I want you to use technology the right way online.

I always want you to be aware of 25 ways technology can help you offline as well:

  1. Newsletters — Good ones are mailed to customers and prospects on a regular basis and follow the rule of 75-25.
  2. Flyers — Distribute them in a variety of ways, as signs, in orders, to fusion marketing partners to distribute as you distribute theirs.
  3. Direct mail letters –Have an inventory of proven letters in your computer, set to print, personalize and mail.
  4. Postcards — They take away from the recipient the decision of whether or not to open the envelope.
  5. Letterheads and envelopes — Desktop publishing lets you produce professional looking stationery, lowering the cost of gaining credibility.
  6. Business cards — Include your name, company name, title, address, phone, fax number, email address, website, logo, theme line; your card may open up to reveal a list of benefits offered and services available.
  7. Invoices & PO forms — These marketing opportunities should have valuable data in addition to names and numbers.
  8. Brochures — Perfect forums for including all the details; they should be offered for free in your other marketing and posted online.
  9. Catalogs — You can increase revenues through catalogs, now easy and inexpensive to design and produce, a potentially big profit-center.
  10. Invitations — Guerrillas print formal invitations to customers to private sales, parties and special events. They always play favorites.
  11. Gift certificates — People are on the lookout for gift ideas and a gift certificate might be perfect. Mention them on signs, in brochures.
  12. Coupons — Offer discounts, free merchandise, services, anything to intensify prospect’s desire for your product. Coupons are very versatile.
  13. Contest entry forms — Smart small businesses hold contests in order to get names for their mailing lists.
  14. Club ID cards –Form a frequent buyer club or VIP customer club: sealing your relationship with the customers with an attractive ID card.
  15. Greeting cards — Let anniversary cards celebrate the anniversaries of customers being customers, also for holiday cards and birthday cards.
  16. Signs — Because so many towns have community bulletin boards, guerrillas are sure to post their signs on those boards. Guerrillas know that computers can transform some signs into posters.
  17. Point-of-purchase materials — Guerrillas produce POP materials that tie in with their other marketing. Their computers do the hard work.
  18. Trade show materials –You can produce compelling graphic presentations of sales stories strictly for use at trade shows.
  19. Audio-visual aids — Create powerful AV support for presentations — diagrams, before-and-after photos, illustrations, and graphs.
  20. Flipcharts — Audio-visual aids are built-in and your sales story has an order and flow. These can be portable, economical, and flexible.
  21. Research questionnaires — Obtain customer data and simplify finding people who fit their exact profile. Act upon what you learn.
  22. Books — Technology helps guerrillas from producing labels and tags to self-publishing their own books, proving they’re the experts.
  23. Proposals — Computer-designed proposals add credibility, visibility, and excitability while instilling confidence in you beyond any price tag.
  24. Multi-media presentations –These once complex and now simple forums let you demonstrate your benefits with extraordinary impact.
  25. Text messaging – Low cost and immediate involvement are perfect for restaurants, bars and repeat business.

Technology lets small business gain credibility and provide speed and power in an age when credibility is crucial, speed is revered and power comes from being part of a team. Speed comes from cellular, wireless, pager, fax, email, and voicemail technology. Power comes from networking and sharing technology.

If you’re guerrilla marketing with technology, you’re headed in the right direction. If you’re guerrilla marketing without technology, you’re not really guerrilla marketing at all.