I could build an entire website devoted strictly to pointing out the absolute necessity for all modern business’ to have a presence on the web. But instead, I will attempt to stick to a single page filled with reasons that even the biggest internet critic would be hard pressed to deny.
With approximately 240 million people worldwide having access to the World Wide Web. No matter what your business is, it simply doesn’t make good business sense to ignore 240 million people.
To Make Business Information Available. Think of a Yellow Pages ad. What are your hours? What do you do? How can someone contact you? Where are you located? Now think of a Yellow Pages ad where you have instant communication. What is today’s special? Who’s using our services today? What did the last project we completed look like?
To Serve Your Customers. How about making forms available to pre-qualify for loans? Or perhaps allowing potential customer’s to locate that important piece of material or equipment they are looking for, without tying up your staff on the phone to take down the information?
To Release Time Sensitive Materials. The quarterly earnings statement, the grand prize winner, the press kit for the much anticipated film, the merger news? 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.
To Sell Your Product or Services. Many people think that this is the number 1 thing to do with the World Wide Web, but we placed it lower on the list to make it clear that we think you should consider selling things on the Internet and the World Wide Web after you have done all the things above and maybe even after doing quite a few more things from this list.
To Make Pictures, Sound and Film Files Available. What if your widget 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? The Web allows you to add sound, pictures and even short movie files to your company’s info. You can provide audio and visual information about your product or services to potential customers on the Web.
To Answer Your Customers Frequently Asked Questions. “Where are you located?” “Can you tell me how to get to your office?” “What are your hours of operation?” What’s your fax number?” Do you have an e-mail address?” “Do you provide overnight delivery?” These are questions customers and potential customers want to know the answer to before they deal with you. Post them on a Web page and you will have removed another barrier to doing business with you and freed up some time for that harried phone operator.
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. A quick local phone call can keep your staff supplied with the most detailed information, without long distance phone bills. If you know what information may be needed, you can keep it posted in complete privacy on the Web.
To Open National and 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.
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. Web pages serve the client, customer and partner 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No overtime either. You 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.
To Make Changing Information Available Quickly. 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. No printed material can match that flexibility.
To Allow Feedback From Customers. With a Web page, you can ask for feedback and get it instantaneously with no extra cost. An instant e-mail response can be built into Web pages and can get the answer while it’s fresh in your customers mind, without the cost and lack of response of business reply mail.
To Reach The Media. On-line press kits are becoming more and more common, since they work with the digital environment of more and more pressrooms. Digital images can be put in place without the stripping and shooting of the old pressrooms and digital text can be edited and made available for review on tight deadlines. All of these things can be made available on a Web page.
To Serve Your Local Market. We’ve talked about the power to serve the world with a Web page. How about your neighborhood? A local Houston, TX restaurant even takes lunch orders through the Internet! But no matter where you are, or what services you provide, if the big client has Web access, you should be there too.