In 30 years of working in the Information Technology field, I have seen technology move from punch cards to the use of the World Wide Web. As companies and businesses utilized more and more information technologies, they have had to justify each project.
In simple terms, the cost justification either, a) made the company more money, or b) allowed the company to reduce time or cost. This is as true for small businesses as it is for large businesses. This blog is the beginning of a dialogue that will talk about how a successful web presence can address both of these issues. It will also show how the Internet can lead to an IT investment that provides a significant impact to the profitability, brand recognition, and public communications aspects of any business, regardless of size.
Here is the first question in this blog. These questions and answers will be those that business owners have asked us when discussions of the Internet come up. Now keep in mind we talk to a lot of people, from the person who has never seen the Internet (World Wide Web) to the business owner who has attempted to develop their own website. So, off we go!
"Why do I need to be on the Internet, I have more than enough business?"
This business owner is looking at his website from the ‘bringing in new business perspective. But what else can the website do….many things? Here are a few examples:
1. Assist customers in locating your business via an interactive map.
2. Collect information via a web form so emails can be sent to customers thus reducing mailing costs.
3. Provide "how-to" information including links to a manufacturer’s website.
4. Conduct surveys or user polls to gather information about customer trends.
5. Post a blog to find out what customers are thinking.
6. Communicate events in a calendar to keep people up to date.
7. Share testimonials about your goods or services.
8. Display pictures about the work you have done, events coming up, or news that is pertinent to the customer.
9. Setup appointments or reservations online saving staff time. This makes it possible for the staff to do other things.
10. Allow for the sale of items, or the patment of goods and services online, saving time in the office and streamlining transaction processes.
Once you open your mind to the communication aspects and the functional aspects of your website, you will come up with even more, new and unique, methods to allow your web presence to help you and your customers.