As you know, the Internet has become an essential component of just about every business’ business plan and strategic marketing plan. It just has to be a central key at this point. People are using the Internet for researching new products, services. They check references for service providers on the Internet and they have even stopped using the phone book and yellow pages. All of a sudden you need a strategy, you need to rank high in the search engines and you need to be PRESENT on the web.
But first things first! What are your goals for being online? There are several possibilities.
Possible Goals for Business Online:
- To build contact list: the Internet can be used very effectively to increase your contact list. There are some key components to doing just that. You need to have something that gets people to give you their contact information. They don’t just hand it out to anyone. You must have a way to collect that information. And then you need a way to keep in touch with people once you have received all of this type of info. There is technology behind the scenes that makes this all work seamlessly.
- To make sales: Sales are definitely happening on the Internet. Even for your retail store, you can choose to sell your products on the Internet. Services sell on the Internet also. In order to accomplish a good sales track record you need a website, possibly pictures, and good sales copy.
- To add new clients: Clients are typically added through good follow up once you have received their contact info. This can be accomplished automatically through an auto-responder program, or you may integrate different strategies for follow up. But no matter where you get new leads from — they rarely become clients without some type of interaction.
- To build reputation/rapport: Follow up is one of the ways that you build your reputation and your rapport. You can also do this through article writing, publishing a book or publishing articles, videos and email. Each strategy needs to be done with high integrity and professionally.
- Branding: everything you are doing builds your brand. Follow up and follow through. Articles, press releases, websites, email marketing should all build towards your brand. Define what your brand is more than just your logo and colors. It is you, your procedures, your operations your treatment of customers, prospects, vendors–they are all part of your brand.
As an entrepreneur, your Internet strategy can be for each of these goals or just for one of them. But a comprehensive strategy will address them all. You can start with one and build upon each one, building out your more comprehensive strategy.