In today’s highly-advanced society, there is one limitless power that every individual possesses: Informational Power. Why? Because of the Internet. Due to the wide-ranging access we have to the Internet and any online spaces, we have such power to attain any information we want if we have the skills. As such, the Internet has been an increasingly popular method for small and medium to start their businesses. With all the benefits and of course, profit, that it brings along, there are its cons.
Therefore, to use the internet effectively for your business, you should:
Establish your website strategy before designing your website
Before you begin to design the actual website, you need to develop a strategy that is likely to achieve the objectives that you hope to achieve with your website. As with all marketing strategies, this requires an examination of your target market, available technology, and the rationale for the proposed strategy. You have to consider the costs you may incur, contingency plans, administrative plans and many more.
Make sure your target market uses the internet regularly
For any strategy to be effective, your target market segments must contain a sufficient number of Internet users. The most effective Internet strategies will fail if the intended target markets are not online. Granted, with seventy-seven percent of Americans online, this is not likely to be an issue for most market segments. However, not all market segments are equally represented. For example, internet usage has a relatively strong correlation with income and education — the higher the income and education, the higher the percentage of individuals using the internet. In addition, non-English speaking individuals are considerably less likely to use the internet than English-speakers. (Note that demographic differences are markedly less for teenagers than for adults: regardless of education, income, or language, teens use the internet.)
In addition to simply using the internet, you want your target market to be using the internet in a way that aligns with your business objectives for your website. For example, 80 percent of those in Gen X (33-44 years old) make online purchases. Thus, if you are marketing products or services aimed at older customers, you may not need an e-commerce solution on your website; rather, you may need to invest in a toll-free number with extended customer service hours.
Be aware of technology and infrastructure costs
Potentially effective Internet strategies are often delayed or quickly become cost-prohibitive because the technology and infrastructure required to implement the strategy are not present within the organisation. However, doing so requires the ability to update product information and process incoming orders. Additionally, once implemented, Internet strategies may require ongoing support or third-party maintenance that needs to be considered.
Explore non-internet options to achieve your objectives
Examine the objectives that you came up with when you were considering why you want to engage in online marketing. Bump them up to a more generic statement. What do you really want to achieve? Increased sales? Increased brand awareness? Increased customer loyalty? Now, consider all the alternative methods of achieving the desired objectives: this includes non-Internet strategies that could achieve the same objective.
With all these in mind, you will be able to maximise the Internet for your business. Always remember that the Internet is extremely powerful. And, if we are not strategic with it, it may backfire on us.