Note, click on each button twice to activate.
Is a Web Site for You?
Do you really need to be on the net right now? Maybe not. To determine if a web site would benefit you, ask yourself the following questions:
Are your customers using the Internet?
Can your communications (newsletters, brochures, update letters) benefit from the immediacy of being on line? For instance, would it be helpful to post specials, sale items, or the results of a golf tournament immediately after the tournament instead of waiting three weeks for the newsletter? Maybe you dont think so, but how do your customers feel?
Could you save postage and printing costs by publishing on-line? Would it save you money to have prospective customers access your brochures on-line and print it out for themselves using their own Paper?
Could it save your staff time to have information available on-line? For instance, many businesses post maps and directions to their business or organization on line. How much time does your receptionist spend giving out directions to your company?
Could the image of your business benefit from having a web "presence"?
Are your customers using Internet connections and increasingly "getting connected"? Maybe you should too?
The real question is, does the cost of a web site outweigh the costs of printed brochures, postage and salaries of a 24-7 sales person? The answer is, in the past probably not, but today the answer is yes. A web site will initially cost more in money and time than it will save. However, if you determine that a web site has no immediate value to your business, you should at least be spending some time educating yourself about the Internet, its possibilities and its mechanics. Keep in mind that the Internet is still in the embryonic stage. The word-processing program used to write this article is only two years old and cant even recognize the word "Internet"! Dont let the next computer revolution catch you like a tidal wave. Learn the net now! Watch and listen to others who do have a web presence and learn from their success and failures. Ask yourself, are my competitors on the Internet!
The Internet provides corporate America and Private Clubs with a very powerful and flexible tool that can increase communication efficiency and productivity in addition to direct sales. The Internet can provide you substantial returns by reducing your costs while increasing capabilities.
We have all heard the hype - stories of instant success on the Internet. Companies who have made huge profits after creating a Web site. The truth is; however, that most sites geared toward point of purchase sales over the Internet have not experienced the volume of sales they expected. But direct sales are just a part of the Internet puzzle. There are huge performance and productivity advantages to be gained from the Internet that don't involve any sales at all. Many companies use the Internet to add to their bottom line without ever making a single direct sale.
Advertise More Effectively
We have all had the experience of seeing an advertisement on the weekend that perhaps piqued our interest. We intend to respond to the ad during "normal" business hours. Often, however, we never get around to it. Don't let this happen to your customers and potential customers. The best time to give them more information is RIGHT THEN, WHEN THEY WANT IT! The information they want and need will be on your Internet Web Site, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The customer may read your ad or see it on TV at 2:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning. If you display your Web Site address with your ad, they will be able to immediately call up your site and get the information they want, and have the ability to contact you or your sales staff. Your Internet Web Site address on all of your advertisements and promotions will do two things for you. It will give your company a cutting edge corporate image and it will encourage the viewer to take a look at what you have to offer. Since you are already paying for the advertisement, the addition of your web address increases your exposure without adding any cost.
Easily Provide World Wide Documentation At Little Cost
Distributing a traditional printed catalog or a copy of Club by-laws can be very expensive. In addition to the high cost of production and printing, mailing costs can be enormous. Besides the fact that all too often mailed pieces can quickly become "junk mail". On the Internet, no matter how many people view your catalog or by-laws, you will never run out. Printed materials quickly go out of date and have to be reprinted. Incurring all of the costs over and over and over again. On the Internet, when you have a change in your product line, pricing or by-laws, you simply make a change to the site. Then instantly every customer has a brand new, up to date copy of your printed matter. Perhaps best of all is that your entire product line or a current copy of your Club by-laws is available worldwide 24 hours a day without ever spending a cent on printing and distribution.
Give Your Company A Cutting Edge Corporate Image
Try this simple experiment the next time you are at a social function. Ask any businessperson or professional if their company is on the Internet? If it's not, they will likely be uncomfortable about the question. There is a sense of urgency about getting connected to the Internet. Most small business people act as though they feel guilty, and like they are the only one left, not yet on the Internet. This pressure will only increase with time. Think back to just a few years ago when fax machines were thought of as amazing technology, but far too costly for most companies. Today a fax machine is not a luxury, but a business necessity. Your customers automatically assume you have a fax machine. Soon the same will be true of a Web site.
Make It Easy for Clients to Reach You
Your clients can instantly request more information. All they have to do is click one simple link or icon. This inquiry can be as simple as a request for more information or to have their name added to your mailing list. But it can easily be an extended survey of client opinions and feelings. An E-mail link puts you in instant contact with your client database. By capturing their E-mail addresses you can easily and automatically let your entire E-mail database of customers know about special offers or situations in seconds. Sending an E-mail broadcast to your targeted E-mail list can be done at virtually no cost.
You may want to consider registering your domain, at the very least. A domain is your address on the Internet such as "http://www.YourCompany.com . In order to post a web site to a particular name, you must first register the name with InterNic, the organization that handles domain registration in the United States. The cost is $35.00 per year and you must register for two years the first time. By registering, you guarantee that your organization has the right to post information to the web using "http://www.YourCompany.com .
A good first step for a business might be to create a "place holder". Simply find a web host that will register your domain name and create a simple one-page web site with your name, logo, address, phone, fax, and email address.