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Smart Ways To Use A Website With Your Business

By: Ron Sathoff and Kevin Nunley

Ron Sathoff is a noted speaker and manager of DrNunley's InternetWriters.com  He provides copy-writing, marketing, Internet promotion, and help for business speakers. Reach him at ron@drnunley.com or 801-328-9006.
Kevin Nunley provides marketing advice, copywriting, and promotion packages. See his 10,000 free marketing ideas at DrNunley.com Reach Kevin at kevin@drnunley.com or 801-328-9006.

Every business needs a web site.  We used to say that to business owners and get strange looks in return.  "Why do I need a web site?" the manager of a pizza restaurant once asked.

Of course, we now see a very large number of customers looking up their neighborhood pizza maker with search engines.  They will try Yahoo or HotBot before turning to the more traditional Yellow Pages.  The restaurant owner no longer wonders why he should be online.

As more and more businesses get their own web sites, we're seeing a number of very smart ways to integrate an online presence with your existing business.  Here are the top five ways.

  1. Your web site gives customers a way to quickly search through your big selection.  If you have an auto parts store, you may have many square feet of products to choose from.  You may have hundreds more items that can be ordered and delivered quickly.

    In the past, it might have been difficult for customers to easily find what they were looking for, or even be aware that you could get it for them.

    Your web site makes it easy to type in the name of a product, then see those products with descriptions and your prices.  There are a number of fine online catalog software applications.  If your selection isn't Walmart-sized, I suggest using a simple search engine to help people find what they want among your pages.  Try the free search service at atomz.com.

  2. Use your web site to make it easy to find updates in your rapidly changing inventory.  We often buy computers and musical equipment from PCMall.com and MusiciansFriend.com.  Both companies provide some of the lowest prices in their industries. They do so by buying up discontinued items.

    For companies like these, a web site is essential.  By the time their print catalog is published, many of the items are either dwindling or long gone.  Their web sites can immediately tell customers if the product is still available, even listing how many units are still in the warehouse.

  3. Use your web site to augment your print catalog.  We just gave one example, but here are more.  Mailers, sales letters, and catalogs are expensive to print and even more costly to mail. Expand on the limited space you can devote to an item in print by including many more details on your web site.

    You may even be able to reduce how often you mail print materials. Replace some of your mailings with email reminders, an email newsletter, and references to your always updated web site.

  4. Use a web site when you can't get distribution.  For years, Kevin couldn't get his own business going because of distribution problems.  No matter what he tried, the cost of getting his products and services to customers was too expensive for a new, start-up business.

    The Web represents a huge revolution in distribution.  All kinds of services and information can be delivered to customers anywhere in the world via the Internet.  The cost is almost free.

    Look for products and services you can distribute from your web site.  You many have existing products (like advice to customers) that are better delivered from your web site.  There are probably a host of new things you can sell once your web site is set up.

  5. Use a web site when your business is too small to market any other way.  Almost everyone has gotten an idea for a business, but never followed through with it because the cost of start-up was too high.

    With a web site, you don't necessarily need a storefront, employees, or anything more than a home phone (and a computer, of course!).

With that comes one last reason why you need to think wisely and use a web site in your business.  If you don't, your competitors will.  The Web excels at giving every business person an equal chance to earn a profit -- don't throw yours away.


© Copyright 2001, Ron Sathoff and Kevin Nunley

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