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Why Every Business Needs to be on the Internet
Since the mid 90's the Internet has experienced phenomenal growth. In fact, it has been the fastest-growing industry in the world where the number of users Worldwide has been almost doubling every 6 months.
In the UK alone there are thought to be over 40 Million regular users. A figure expected to grow very steeply over the next few years as the computer becomes an integral part of the home.
This growth will be further amplified as digital television completely replaces the current system and so opens up the door to Internet access via the TV screen. Which can only accelerate the shifting behavioural patterns that are newly emerging throughout society. A pattern where we are witnessing individuals making use of the Internet with increased frequency for a whole host of everyday activities: to source information quickly; to communicate; shop; for entertainment; to conduct research; to join discussions; as a leisure pursuit etc.
Which makes it so crucially important that you don't just acknowledge this shift, but that your business, whether local or International, adapts to successfully mirror this progression. A new commercial paradigm is being born.
Over time the populace will use the Internet as often as they now use the telephone and television. It will become a standard part of everyday life. People will become used to searching for what they want via the Net, be it a new car; a house; groceries; CD's; Dental surgeons etc. In the future, whatever they are looking for, the Internet will become their first, and preferred, port of call.
Which is why it's essential for businesses of all sizes to have their own presence on the Internet with immediate effect. This medium is growing at such a tremendous pace, that once you fall behind your competitors you could forever find yourself playing catch-up.
Laying The Confusion To Rest
Few business owners could have failed to realise these facts, which is why there is such a huge interest in the Internet. It seems every business, from the single self-employed local businessman, to the large corporation, is casting an eye towards this virtual world. Yet despite the intense coverage about the Internet, still mass confusion reigns.
Many business owners are bewildered, and if they're honest, even slightly afraid of the Internet because mentally they can't quite conceptualise it. They can't quite picture how it fits in with their particular business model. All they know is that they should be online, but don't really understand why.
Yet grasping what the Internet can do for your business is not that difficult. Think of the Internet as nothing more than just another medium in which to market/promote your goods or services (often referred to as eCommerce).
If it helps, imagine the Net as one gigantic electronic magazine consisting of millions upon millions of pages. All you are doing is adding your own pages to this growing online publication in order to promote your business, products or services. That's it.
There's nothing abstract about Cyberspace when you realise that it's just another marketing medium in which to display your wares, or promote your business. And that's all it is. Just as television; radio; newspapers; direct mail; brochures; leaflets; catalogues etc, are also mediums in which you could promote your businesses products or services.
In fact, it's better than any other medium because you have far more control. You can make alterations to your electronic catalogue; Web page; add new products/services; change the wording on your Web site; advertise/promote daily etc ... and all within seconds. With traditional marketing methods, this level of control is just not possible.
Once you've produced your brochure, catalogue, leaflet, or submitted an ad etc, in the offline world there's little you can do about it. If there are mistakes you either have to spend a fortune to rectify the matter, or let it go knowing that you'll probably lose business through it. Furthermore, every time you want to promote an extra service or have a new line of goods to offer, your whole catalogue needs redesigning.
In fact, there are so many positive reasons to start using the Internet commercially, that you would think that every business would have (or be developing) their own Web site right now. Of course they don't (but in time they all will). But why?
Well as we mentioned, there is a lot of confusion, fear and lack of conception. Yet in addition, there is another major factor which causes business owners to dither. Their false belief that having a Web presence is costly and entails a high level of technical know-how. Few business owners after all are technically minded. They don't know their URL from their HTML. But this notion is, again, incorrect.
Firstly, as you are now aware, having an effective Internet presence doesn't need to cost thousands of pounds. And secondly, with software such as Zednet's Instant Website Solution, the need for technical know-how has all but vanished. Of course, we're sure most business persons could learn this new language given the time, but the keyword is, time. That's the one commodity sadly lacking for most of us, so busy are we just keeping our businesses moving forward.
To further intensify their confusion, unlike other mediums, even if they have no concerns regarding either the technical aspect or in conception, they just have no idea where to begin. How does one really put their own Web site on the Internet? How long does it take? How do you get prospects to visit your site? What about design?
A New Business Dynamic
Fortunately, thanks to the Zednet Instant Website Solution, a business owner is no longer faced with any of these concerns. Literally within minutes they can be on the Internet with their own professional presence. Absolutely zero technical knowledge is required. And unlike Web designers, Zednet are marketing conscious. We understand the world of eCommerce from a result-producing point of view.
This is in stark contrast to Web designers who, in the main, can produce beautifully designed Web sites for their clients, but know almost zilch about electronic marketing. The result is a site, which although impressive visually, is virtually redundant in it's effectiveness.
Having an Internet presence is one thing, knowing how to make it an effective part of your marketing machine, is an entirely different thing altogether.
What Web designers, and indeed the majority of businesses on the Net (including the larger corporations), don't realise, is that the Internet is all about pull marketing. They have to pull prospects to their site as opposed to push-marketing which is how businesses tend to operate in the conventional marketplace.
Remember, there are literally hundreds of millions of Web pages on the Internet. Just putting your site online is not enough. The truth is (and something Web designers don't mention), no matter how good your Web site is aesthetically, it will produce little for you if you omit one vital ingredient.
What's this vital ingredient? An Online Marketing Strategy. If you don't let your prospects know where you are, if you don't make it easy for them to find you (i.e. pull them towards your site), your Web site will massively under-perform.
It sounds obvious, but surprisingly few businesses even implement the most basic of online marketing strategies. They seem to be of the notion, build it and they will come, but we're afraid it just doesn't work like that.
That line of thinking is akin to building a giant supermarket in the middle of nowhere, but not actually telling anyone that it exists. It could be the biggest, most beautiful, most innovative supermarket in existence, but if no one knows it's there, you may as well have opened it on the moon.
Of course, in reality, no matter how out-of-the-way the supermarket, the odd few people would stumble across it from time to time. But it would hardly be a great commercial success.
It's the same model for the Internet. If you just get a Web presence, and do nothing else, you too may as well have opened your business on another planet because nobody's ever going to find you (at least not many). It would be like searching for the tiniest needle in a thousand very big haystacks.
However, the good news is that online marketing is EASY. You don't have to be a computer whizz-kid. You don't even have to be able to find your way around a keyboard very well. Far from it, online success is simply dependent on regularly applying some simple and very basic eCommerce techniques.
Furthermore, one of the major advantages of the Internet over more established and familiar mediums, is that there exists here much more of a level-playing field. You can compete with even the largest corporations. In the traditional marketplace, money really does talk. Big businesses can afford to advertise heavily on the TV, radio, newspapers etc, in a way the smaller operators just can't. In many ways they have an unfair advantage.
Electronic marketing is different. Because of its pull-marketing dynamic, it gives a business, even a one-person operation, the scope to capture targeted customers as easily as the big boys. That is, as long as they actually implement an online marketing strategy which pulls prospects to them, rather than simply going online and expecting an avalanche of orders or enquiries simply because they happen to be in a medium being accessed by tens of millions of people every day.
With that in mind, let's explore some simple, but effective, online marketing techniques. These articles represent the very basic processes that you should begin to implement as soon as your business goes live online.
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