online marketing basics

Online marketing basics – Get Online already!

Do you have a website?

In business it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that you need a website to run a successful venture in the long-term.

Unfortunately some businesses don’t even attempt at a web presence and their sales suffer as a result.

Getting placed on business directories and local websites such as government and municipal sites is a start, but it only directs people to your contact info and that isn’t nearly enough to coax the average savvy online user into a purchase.

As basic as this sounds, if you’re not online, you’re losing sales.

How a Website Works for Business

I can put this into perspective with a recent experience of mine over the holiday season. I had a close friend come and visit for a few days over the break. We both enjoy Asian food and my friend is a vegetarian so eating at an Asian restaurant gives him a lot of options.

I knew of two different Asian restaurants in town, situated very close to each other geographically. Before we left to collect our meal we decided to look at their online menus. It was possible that one restaurant offered something the other didn’t so we investigated.

What I found was a little shocking. Only one of the two restaurants had a website. The second was only listed in business directories. I could see their phone number but that was about it. Their store hours weren’t even listed.

The other restaurant had done a little better. Contact info, social media trust signals, hours of operation were all there on their website, and easy to find as well. They also had their entire menu listed on a separate web page with a downloadable PDF version on the sidebar.

Of course we took a quick look. It appeared that the restaurant with the website and full menu had everything we wanted so that’s where we ate. We spent approximately $40 plus a modest tip. Not a bad sale for 2 minutes of website time.

The Point

There’s a simple lesson to be learned here. The business that had the website earned my business by making their information available online. I have no idea what the other restaurant offered. They may very well have been the better eatery of the two. They might have had a more diverse menu, better customer reviews, more attentive staff, and so on.

I’ll never know, until they have a website of their own.

According to current statistics 62% of businesses use their websites to drive sales while 61% plan to increase their online and marketing efforts in 2012, meaning the competition is just heating up.

It doesn’t take much of an online presence to capture real world sales. Being there is half the battle. Here’s a few links to help you win all the other online wars once your website is up and running.

Respond to Your Customers: Automate Your Social Media Solutions
How to Increase Your Web Traffic
Bad Customer Service Costs You Sales
What Makes a Good Website Work?
Make More Money With Lead Generation Services