1. Far Cheaper and Much More Flexible Than Print Advertising
The Internet is extremely different from print advertising in that space is cheap, your advertisement is accessible for a longer period of time, the content can be changed without having to ask someone to do it for you (if you use a content management system) and you can potentially reach a wider audience.
This is not to say that you should not use other forms of advertising at all – You can use it to entice people to visit your website and find out about your company and potentially open two-way communication between the potential customer and a sales person.
2. Market Expansion
The Internet has allowed businesses to break through the geographical barriers and become accessible, virtually, from any country in the world by a potential customer that has Internet access.
3. Diversify Revenue Streams
A website is not just a medium for representation of your company, it is a form of media from which everybody can acquire information. You can use this media to sell advertising space to other businesses.
A recent trend has risen where businesses feature their very own directory of complimentary services, where the visitor can search for information on a business that will enhance the use of your service. The business sells complimentary businesses a listing in their directory. A good example is a catering company featuring a directory with businesses such as event co-ordinators, electronic equipment rental companies, etc.
4. 24 7 365
No more turning customers away when its time to close shop, putting up a note saying “closed for public holiday”, or leaving an irritating message on your answering service specifying your trading hours – tell them to visit your website for information they are looking for.
5. Offer Convenience
It is far more convenient for a person to research a product on the Internet than it is to get in a car, drive somewhere and look for or ask someone for information on a product. Also, a potential customer won’t have to judge a call centre agent to determine whether he/she has their best interests in mind, or just wants to make a sale. The potential customer can visit your website whenever they like in their own privacy and comfort, without the stresses and distractions that exist in the “real world”.
Your website is a self-service medium – for example, instead of having to wait in a long cue to pay your TV Licence, you can now do it electronically through the TV Licence website.
6. Add Value and Satisfaction
By offering convenience, a point of reference and that touch of individualised customer service, you ultimately add value to your offering and your customers experience a higher level of satisfaction.
Your website can add value in other ways too, by featuring tips, advice and general interest content you can “entertain” your customers. This will also help them remember you better.
7. Standardize Sales Performance
By looking at which approached / pitches have worked in the past and those which have not, you can produce the ultimate pitch and use it with your website, so that you use it on every customer. No more training of sales people and waiting for them to get a feel for your line of trade.
8. Improve credibility
A website gives you the opportunity to tell potential customers what you are about and why you deserve their trust and confidence. In fact, many people use the internet for pre-purchase research so that they can determine for themselves whether a particular supplier or brand is worthy of their patronage, and won’t take them for a ride.
The Internet also allows for Viral Marketing – where your website visitors spread positive word-of-mouth about your business - your customers do your marketing!
9. Promote your “Brick ‘n’ Mortar” Presence
Getting lost trying to find a place can be frustrating for a potential customer. You can publish what they call a “dummy map” on your website, which shows directions and landmarks graphically, and the potential customer can print it out when looking for your “Brick ‘n’ Mortar” premises.
You might advertise a promotion on your website encouraging the visitor to visit your “Brick ‘n’ Mortar” premises (eg. “At a branch near you!”).
Also, if you recently moved to a new location, you will have to wait for the next ‘phone directory to come out before people figure out where you currently are. Because a website is flexible – you can change the content as you like – you can change you contact details instantly and lower the risk of losing customers when moving to a new location.
10. Growth Opportunity
A website serves as a great place to refer potential investors to, to show them what your company is about, what it has achieved and what it can achieve in future.
11. Two-Way Communicative Marketing
Customers can quickly and easily give feedback on your product and/or marketing approach.
12. Cheap Market Research
You can use features on your website such as visitor polls, online surveys and your website statistics to find out what your customers like more and how they feel about certain aspects of your business to determine how you can improve your product and the way you do business.
Website statistics show you how much traffic your website receives, how the visitor got to your website and where, geographically, the visitor is from.
John Simms is an Internet Marketer for Eiledon Solutions , a website development & design company in Cape Town, South Africa. Visit the website for more info.