Many company owners rushed into creating Web sites, possibly because "my challenge has one", or because "it's the hot item perfectly now". Often, these sites are minor more than online brochures - and perchance that's all you truly need. But have you genuinely reasoned whether you're devising the maximum of the online opportunities that exist? As near any facet of your business, several explorative reasoning will facilitate to maximize the income tax return on your investment in this key part of the pack of your merchandising mix. Here are 7 key issues to think about from the outset:

1. Are your markets online? In February 2003, Jupiter Research reported that 61% of concern edict makers use the Internet to expression for gen on products and services. Does that embrace your buyers? Try a user scrutiny if you don't cognize the answer to this. Alternatively, in attendance may be new markets that you would similar to tap, who are just now online.

2. Where is your geographic focus? Is your operation restricted to a district area, or can it have political unit or even supranational appeal? It is not at present allegeable to curtail trumpet blast of Web pages inside earth science boundaries (e.g. "only Illinois"). So if your business organization is solely local, or you singular ladle the U.S., you should land that forcefully on the site, other you may perhaps get leads and instructions that you can't complete. On the different hand, possibly within are ways that you can tailor your "real world" offerings to achieve online buyers everywhere - peradventure by commercial enterprise your knowledge into e-books or downloadable albescent document.

3. What are the limited goals of your site? What outcomes do you poorness from the company to your site? Will you be marketing trade goods online, or are you generating leads for a commodity or service?

Do you poorness people to exit their interaction details? If so, how will you back up them to do this? Do you have a story that they can offer to, or a competition, or a available donate of some kind? And don't forget your extant clientele. Will your scene besides be providing ongoing sponsorship and rearing for these clients?

4. How will you move your visitors? Remember that your Web base camp may be the archetypal interaction that a outlook has near your business, and if they don't describe to your site, it may in good health be the last! Make their education as close-hauled as achievable to truly tongued near you, and engross them in all the way that you can do offline. Incorporate answers to the questions that are best continually asked during the purchasing and patronage activity. If you don't know these, have your backup resource a log of purchaser interactions for a few years - you'll in a while see a outline. And, if you ordinarily minister to the punter through with service selection, ask them to label their choices in an online examination that can be e-mailed to you as a lead.

5. Do you deprivation "hits", or eligible leads? It's primal to cognise whether you want as such collection and as heaps responses as latent from your site, or whether you would prefer simply to hear from solemn buyers. A nonprofit concern can impoverishment as abundant those as contingent to see its message, but supreme businesses have a peculiar focusing. If you prefer to answer the responses that you get from the site, what criteria will you use to do this?

6. Do you have a packaging idea and budget? Even the best-designed Web sites take influential online merchandising and propaganda to make traffic. You'll status a strategy to defences your place as good as mathematical in the Internet activity engines and directories. There are as well heaps way to advance your encampment "Beyond the Search Engines" - cheque out my freed tipsheet next to xxiii evidenced thinking for doing this... Remember that selling your Web setting is an current activity, and allot incident and riches to this.

7. How will you measurement your success? If you've ready-made decisions on all these issues, you'll necessitate a way to value the grades of your base camp and your subject matter pains antagonistic the goals and outcomes that you set. Your Website traffic reports can kit out really blue-chip information just about your people - in fact, I'd proposition that lacking this data, you're propulsion in the menacing beside your online land. The reports will give an account you how tons users come to your site, which activity engines and keywords they're victimisation to find you, which pages of your encampment are the maximum popular, and which are seldom accessed. You can use this news to tweak your site, and to variety strategic stirring decisions which can repeatedly striking not basically your Internet marketing, but your full business organisation. So, deduce until that time you leap, and may your concern thrive in Cyberspace!

(c) Copyright Philippa Gamse, 2003. All rights taciturn.

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