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Smart Ways To Use The Internet

Jun 5, 2008
While the internet has perhaps been oversold as a place to do business, there are some ways in which the online world has proven to be a great place for your business to grow.

First off, you're going to need a website for your business. This can work as a clearing house for customer service functionality, information on your products or services and so on, more so than a way of finding clientele. You can place useful features such as FAQ on your site, which are then accessible whether or not it is during your office hours. There is also the option of restricting part of your site to clients or subscribers; this will create the impression of added value to your site.

Whether your business is bricks and mortar or entirely online, this is a strategy which can perform well for you. For example, if you are a restaurant or catering company, the members only portion of your website could offer recipes, if your company is in the hat business then fashion tips may be called for. Special offers for members can and should be included as well. You can create an area on your website which serves to promote the advantages of membership to new clients. You should of course add the address of your site to all of your marketing and promotional materials.

Next, you need to collect the contact information (in this case, email addresses) from customers and other visitors to your website.

Having these email address organized in the form of a lost makes marketing easy. You can send out information, newsletters and offers to your list any time you like.

To give you an idea of what you can do with an email list, let's suppose that you have a kitchen and bath business. You might send these sorts of emails to your list:
1) Information on switching to marble or granite countertops
2) Cabinet suggestions
3) A special price on plumbing fixtures
4) Tips on evaluating cabinet materials
5) Information on new products offered by your business

No matter what business you are in or what product or service you are selling, you can use this technique.

Third, use the media to get your business more exposure. Write press releases to accomplish this. Keep these brief, easy to read and attention getting. Be sure to include your website address by way of a referral for more information.

All media outlets have an online presence as well these days. Since the media is after all run by human beings, there is a tendency toward laziness - and this can work for you. The media like being able to get a story without having to leave their desk (wouldn't you?). You can take the extra step of writing many of these news articles about your business and placing them on your site, with the media being invited to download and reprint them.

To sum up here: Don't expect miracles from the internet - and there are many who will try to overhype its potential in the hopes of selling you something. Don't sink all of your savings into the web; use traditional marketing and advertising routes to their full advantage, but DO use the internet too as a part of your overall marketing strategy. Start learning about how to do business online, build a site for your business and try your hand at some of the techniques I've laid out in this article. Walk, don't run to the internet and design a strategy to integrate the virtual world into your business.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of Be Successful News , a site that provides information and articles on how to succeed in your own home or small business.
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