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Put the web to WORK

April 7th, 2011 | Online & Small Business Resources,Small Business Tips | No Comments »

In a down economy, Small Businesses need to exploit every possible advantage available to them.

An often overlook and underutilized Small Business asset is the good ol’ company website. Websites are nothing new, and nearly everyone has one by now (there are by far more registered websites than human beings on the planet). Most Small Businesses easily have multiple ways to launch a website for free. How many of these websites are effective business assets?

To truly assist Your Small Business, a website must, at a minimum, do three things:

  1. Burnish your brand
  2. Generate leads
  3. Increase revenue

Burnish your brand: in today’s economy, a website has to be more than a digital business card. Business cards are cheaper than dirt, and you hand them out like toothpicks. Not much ROI there. Your website is your first, best chance to:

  1. Introduce yourself
  2. Promote your business
  3. Establish your qualifications
  4. Create your online identity
  5. Build a reputation

The old saying “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression” is especially true of websites: the “Back” button is just a click away, and you have about five seconds to convince the site visitor not to… click away.

Generate leads: Does your website have a form for customers to contact Your Small Business? Don’t assume the site visitor will actually take the time to pick up the phone, or open their email tool and compose a message. Visiting a website is like an impulse purchase – if you site does capture their attention, you must make it as easy as possible for the potential customer or client to move to the next step, and contact you right NOW!

Increase revenue: Many of your existing clients may not have discovered you by an Internet search, but that doesn’t mean you can afford to ignore the power of the web to find new business with old customers. It’s a well know fact that it costs more in time and money to acquire a client than to retain one — what are we doing about it?

Does your website cross-promote goods or services, especially to those currently doing business with you? Do you offer special deals or discounts to favored customers? You could have special content for registered visitors to your website, and create login accounts for your existing clientele – again, don’t assume that they will take it upon themselves to sign up on their own. They are just as busy as you are, so you’ve got to make it almost effortless for them to do more business with you.

This is not the same as spamming them with unwanted messages – they already do business with you. Everyone likes to feel special, and be treated with special regard. Make sure your focus is the added value to their lives and businesses, not your desire for more of their money.

Review your records and invoices — what goods or services have they already purchased in the past? What else do they want, or need, and how can you let them know that you can provide these quickly, conveniently and affordably?

Remember that a “down” economy is always an opportunity to invent new possibilities – use Your Small Business website to create as many new opportunities as possible, and you’ll find undiscovered wealth right inside your web browser.

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