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Why I need a web site and how can it help me to promote my business?

When I start designing web sites, many people asked me and still ask me “Why I need a web site and how can it help me to promote my business?” I don’t give them just one or two reasons, but 18 solid reasons. If you are asked the same question, you can satisfy them with these 18 reasons:

18 Original Reasons to bring your business on the World Wide Web (www)

1. To Establish a Presence

Approximately 500,000,000 people worldwide have access to the World Wide Web (WWW). No matter what your business is, you can't ignore 500,000,000 people. To be a part of that community and show that you are interested in serving them, you need to be on the WWW for them. You know your competitors will.

2. To Network

Passing out your business card is part of every good meeting and every business person can tell more than one story how a chance meeting turned into the big deal. Well, what if you could pass out your business card to thousands, maybe millions of potential clients and partners, saying this is what I do and if you are ever in need of my services, this is how you can reach me. You can, 24 hours a day, inexpensively and simply, on the WWW.

3. To Make Business Information Available

What is basic business information? Think of a Yellow Pages ad. What are your hours? What do you do? How can someone contact you? What methods of payment do you take? Where are you located at? If you could keep your customer informed of every reason why they should do business with you, don't you think you could do more business? You can on the WWW.

4. To Serve your Customers

Making business information available is one of the most important ways to serve your customers. But if you look at serving the customer, you'll find even more ways to use WWW technology. How about making forms available for subscription, or have your customers remaining balance status available to check etc. All this can be done, simply and quickly, on the WWW.

5. To Increase Public Interest

You won't get Spider magazine to write up your local shop opening, but you might get them to write up your Web Page address if it is something new and interesting. Even if Spider would write about your local store opening, you wouldn't benefit from someone in a distant city reading about it, unless of course, they were coming to your town sometime soon. With Web page information, anybody anywhere who can access the Web and hears about you is a potential visitor to your Web site and a potential customer for your information there.

6. To Release Time Sensitive Materials

What if your materials need to be released no earlier than midnight? The quarterly earnings statement, the grand prize winner, or any immediate news? Well, you sent out the materials to the press with "The-do-not-release-before-such-and-such-time" statement and hope for the best. Now the information can be made available at midnight or any time you specify, with all related materials such as photographs, bios, etc. released at exactly the same time. Imagine the anticipation of "All materials will be made available on our Web site at 12:01 AM". The scoop goes to those that wait for the information to be posted, not the one who releases your information early.

Sometimes, information changes before it gets off the press. Now you have a pile of expensive, worthless paper. Electronic publishing changes with your needs. No paper, no ink, no printer's bill. You can even attach your web page to a database which customizes the page's output to a database you can change as many times in a day as you need. No printed piece can match that flexibility.

7. To Sell Things

Do you consider the telephone the best place to sell things? Probably not. You probably consider the telephone a tool that allows you to communicate with your customer, which in turn helps you sell things. Well, that's how we think you should consider the WWW. The technology is different, of course, but before people decide to become customers, they want to know about you, what you do and what you can do for them. Which you can do easily and inexpensively on the WWW. Then you might be able to turn them into customers.

8. To make pictures, sound and film files available

What if your product is great, but people would really love it if they could see it in action? The album is great but with no airplay, nobody knows that it sounds great? A picture is worth a thousand words, but you don't have the space for a thousand words? The WWW allows you to add sound, pictures and short movie files to your companies info if that will serve your potential customers. No brochure will do that.

9. To Answer Frequently Asked questions

Whoever answers the phones in your organization can tell you, their time is usually spent answering the same questions over and over again. These are the questions customers and potential customers want to know the answer to before they deal with you. Post them on a WWW page and you will have removed another blockage to doing business with you and freed up some time for that stressed phone operator.

10. To Stay In Contact With Salespeople

Your employees on the road may need up-to-the-minute information that will help them make the sale or pull together the deal. If you know what that information is, you can keep it posted in complete privacy on the WWW. A quick local phone call can keep your staff supplied with the most detailed information, without long distance phone bills and tying up the staff at the home office.

11. To Open International Markets

You may not be able to make sense of the mail, phone and regulation systems in all your potential international markets, but with a Web page, you can open up a dialogue with international markets as easily as with the company across the street. As a matter-of-fact, before you go onto the Web, you should decide how you want to handle the international business that will come your way, because your postings are certain to bring international opportunities your way, whether it is part of your plan or not. Another added benefit; if your company has offices overseas, they can access the home offices information for the price of a local phone call.

12. To Create a 24 Hour Service

If you've ever remembered too late or too early to call the opposite coast, you know the hassle. We're not all on the same schedule. Business is worldwide but your office hours aren't. Trying to reach Asia or Europe is even more frustrating. But Web pages serve the client, customer and partner 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No overtime either. It can customize information to match needs and collect important information that will put you ahead of the competition, even before they get into the office. Orders come in while you sleep.

13. To Allow Feedback from Customers

You pass out the brochure, the catalog, the booklet. But it doesn't work. No sales, no calls, no leads. What went wrong? Wrong color, wrong price, wrong market? Keep testing, the marketing books say, and you'll eventually find out what went wrong. That's great for the big boys with deep pockets, but who is paying the bills? You are and you don't have the time nor the money to wait for the answer. With a Web page, you can ask for feedback and get it immediately with no extra cost. An instant e-mail response can be built into Web pages and can get the answer while its fresh in your customers mind, without the cost and lack of response of business reply mail.

14. To Test Market New Services and Products

Tied into the reason above, we all know the cost of rolling out a new product. Advertising, advertising, advertising, PR and advertising. Expensive, expensive, expensive. Once you have been on the Web and know what to expect from those who are seeing your page, they are the least expensive market for you to reach. They will also let you know what they think of your product faster, easier and much less expensively than any other market you may reach. For the cost of a page or two of Web programming, you can have a crystal ball into where to position your product or service in the marketplace. Amazing.

15. To Reach the Education and Youth Market

If your market is education, consider that most universities already offer Internet access to their students. Books, athletic shoes, study courses, youth fashion and anything else that would want to reach these overlapping markets needs to be on the Web. Even with the coming of the commercial on-line services and their somewhat older populations there will be nothing but growth in the percentage of the under 25 market that will be on-line.

16. To Reach the Specialized Market

Sell fish tanks, art reproductions, flying lessons? You may think that the Internet is not a good place to be. Well, think again. The Internet isn't just computer science students anymore. With the 500,000,000 and growing users of the WWW, even the most narrowly defined interest group will be represented in large numbers. Since the Web has several very good search programs, your interest group will be able to find you, or your competitors.

17. To Serve Your Local Market

We've talked about the power to serve the world with a Web page. How about your neighborhood? If you are located in Karachi, Lahore or Islamabad, there is probably enough local customers with Web access to make it worth your while to consider Web marketing. A local restaurant even takes lunch orders through the Internet! But no matter where you are, if the big client has Web access, you should be there too.

18. Tiny Budget & Rapid Growth

This is only possible on the WWW to start and promote a business with tiny-budget & rapid growth of income…

Tips for New Web Designers

For those of you that have not experienced it, let me give you a few tips that will make the ride more fun:

1. Be Confident
Are you a good designer? Chances are there's someone out there better than you are. When you go to visit a potential client, be confident -- but not overconfident. Other designers may be bidding on the same job. You want to be the most likable.

2. Keep it Simple
Keep what simple? Everything. Keep your designs simple. A simple design will sell more products. Keep your business simple. A sole proprietorship may be more equitable to you than a corporation (with partners) when you are first starting out. Keep your overhead low. The more money you have to lay out for your business, the less ends up in your pocket.

3. Study the Work of Others
Be open to new ideas and concepts. There is nothing wrong with getting inspiration from someone else as long as you do not steal their work. Studying other's work will help you to grow creatively.

4. Get 50 Percent Up Front
When starting a new job be sure to have a thorough, signed contract and a deposit. If at all possible get a 50 percent deposit on the job. Requiring a deposit lets the client know that you are a serious professional and it locks them in the project. Now they have an investment at stake. They will be more open to your suggestions and will place more value on your services.

5. Keep a Notebook
Ideas come at the strangest times. Keep a small notebook nearby to note thoughts down. Sometimes great things start there. Care must also be given to keeping good records and an accurate calendar. The more organized you appear, the better reputation you acquire.

6. Develop a Portfolio
Don't just tell people you're good, show them. Print out samples of your work and have it available to show at a moment's notice. Put your portfolio online so that people can browse it at their leisure.

7. Introduce yourself
Your best jobs will probably come from word of mouth. Therefore, meet as many people as you can. How do you do that? Attend seminars and trade shows. Carry several of your business cards wherever you go and be ready to hand them out.

When you visit a potential client, it helps to bring a gift. It doesn't have to be elaborate; something useful is usually best. If the client offers you something to drink, always say "Yes." If you accept their hospitality, the odds of getting the job significantly increase.

8. Write Articles
Writing editorials is an excellent way to get your name out to the public. Is your method of design unique? Tell the world about it. Getting your articles published establishes you as an authority in the field. If the reading audience is large enough, you may even have the ability to influence the way the industry grows.

9. The Day is more productive
Start work early and get to bed at a reasonable hour. If you will work till 3:00 a.m., this, of course, renders you useless in the morning. It became a vicious cycle, which had to be broken. The day is much more productive.

10. Put Family First
Spouses and children are more important than careers. Yes, you may be working hard to support your family, but they also need to spend time with you. Be sure that when you finish up work for the day, you leave your cares and stresses behind and enjoy what you're working so hard for.

These ten tips are not a guarantee for success, but if you apply them you will be a step ahead most independent Internet designers.

 



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