There are a great many reasons why you may want to 'get your business online', indeed, you may already have done so to some level, but what are you doing with your online presence?
Are you utilising the internet to its fullest extent?
There are 3 broad uses of the internet: Market research and planning; As a distribution channel; and for communication and promotion (Brassington & Pettitt). Below are some marketing uses of the internet to consider for your business.
Market Research and Planning
What are your competitors doing online? How big is the market you are in? How do your customers use the internet when looking for your products/services? These are the types of questions to ask yourself and then use the internet to find out the answers.
As A Distribution Channel
Can you sell your products/services online? The obvious one here is e-commerce, but if you are a service business think of the internet as a means to inform, persuade and remind your present and potential customers and help those interested in your products along the decision-making process.
Communication and Promotion
This is perhaps the most obvious use for the internet, but be sure to consider all of the opportunities, including:
- Generating enquiries.
- Reinforce your brand identity.
- Display digital brochures of your products/services.
- Entertain, amuse and build goodwill.
- Inform of events and happenings within your business/industry.
- Communicate with employees.
- Attract new job recruits.
- Answer questions about your company and its products.
Of course, the reasons for using the internet for your business are many and varied and this is by no means an exhaustive list, but I find it a useful reference point when discussing what a business owner would like to achieve from creating or updating their online presence.
This really is the key to making the internet work in the right way for your business because if you don't know what you want to achieve from your online presence, the likelihood is you will spend money in all the wrong areas.
Too many digital agencies out there just focus on creating pretty websites, that bit is easy, the key to success is making a pretty website that actually helps your business achieve its objectives, that's where marketing comes in!