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The internet has become the communication channel of choice for consumers and businesses. We know by now it has changed the way consumers communicate and shop. While not every business needs an Internet presence, more businesses are using websites and social media channels as an integral part of how they do business. This article is meant to provide ideas to consider for new or enhanced Internet and social media presence.
What are you trying to accomplish?
Most business websites fall into one of four categories:
One of the attractive aspects of the Internet is the ease with which changes can be made. As such, many businesses are regularly modifying their websites as they find out what works and what doesn’t work. If you are considering establishing a website, remember that you will probably want to change it often. If you already have a site, don’t forget to evaluate it periodically and update it as the market or your business changes.
Be sure to include contact information about your business. This should include making it easy to find phone numbers, addresses and information on the principals of the business. An easy way to start this is with a Facebook page.
Know what platforms are best for you and your business
It is important to understand the difference between your web page, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. There are some platforms, like Twitter, where not a lot of words are needed to get your point across, while LinkedIn is used for more of a “making connections” basis. Be aware of who the audiences are on each platform. If you are looking to reach millennials, you may want to focus on Instagram rather than Facebook. Continue to research all of the platforms as they are always evolving and changing.
What do you have to Offer?
Phone calls are old news. Enabling a customer or prospect to learn about your products via your website saves time. Most product descriptions on the Internet are relatively basic. They don’t have to include everything you would normally include in an actual presentation. A visitor should be able to determine if the product or service is likely to meet his or her needs.
Your website will generate leads effectively by including a “Contact Us” section. The key is to follow-up quickly on these leads. Including an “Email Us” section is also highly advisable, or even a chat box. Visitors often use these functions to provide information, request calls, or simply to communicate. Be sure to check your incoming email frequently.
Be sure to include your website address, and social media handles on all of your marketing materials. This includes business cards, sales literature and other advertising. Another way to attract visitors is through listings in online directories. Many trade associations and commercial entities offer directories. Sometimes they are even free of charge for basic listings. Be sure to be included in directories that your customers and prospects are most likely to use. For websites aimed at consumers, your website designer may be able to use special meta-tags to make your site more likely to be shown in various search engines.
Web design and hosting
This is often the most intimidating part of the process for those considering establishing a website. Using an outside service to create, manage and host your site probably makes sense when you first start. You can find many such services by just asking others or by searching the Internet. As you get more comfortable with the entire online process, you may want to take over the managing of your site.
While building an Internet presence can be a bit overwhelming, there are many tools and resources to guide you along the way. Do your research and understand what platforms are best for you and your business.