A website is an absolutely essential ingredient for the success of your online business. A physical store is used to sell traditional offline products and services. Without a website, this store is only able to sell these physical, tangible products a few hours per day. They are only able to sell to people local to the area or to people willing to drive to the store and then transport the items back to their office or home (wherever that may be).
An online website is able to automate sales directly from the customers browser, with no need to travel to the store to make the purchase. Due to this automation, your website can also make sales while you are sleeping! Even to people who live on the other side of the world! And with Amazon, E-bay and other product suppliers, it is possible to sell tangible, physical products as well and never have to hold them in inventory or mess with shipping them. Whether you are selling digital or physical products or you are in the business of offering your services, a website is a must. Having a website makes your business and products more legitimate in your customer’s psyche. If you set up your website properly, it can act like a store front and a customer help desk at the same time!
The Benefits of having an Internet marketing website
1. Free Organic Traffic – Having your own website will help you to get organic traffic for free. By writing informative articles for your website, you will get traffic from search engines very quickly. Make sure your articles are keyword rich. A keyword rich article on your website will bring traffic related to that keyword to your article.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a long-term process. The more articles and the more SEO optimized your website is, the more visitors to your website you will receive in the long run.
If you are creating a blog for you online presence on blogger.com, tumbler.com or WordPress.com (just to name a few host services) then these services may be shut down by the company hosting these websites, at anytime! It’s better to register your own website from a domain registrar like GoDaddy.com. You will also need a web hosting company to host the files of your website. GoDaddy.com is one of the best web hosting companies out there (in my opinion) and I have been hosting my website with them for years. They offer amazing customer support and they work hard to fix any technical issues you may have. (And this is not an “affiliate offer” – just a recommendation)!
2. Branding your self – By having a website in your company name, you are branding yourself and your services. The longer your website stays online the more credible your business becomes. Your customers can visit your company website anytime they want and learn about your products or services. Your website helps you to become an authority in your niche and that will attract more traffic. You can also build a more efficient social presence on social networking sites if you have your own website. Your customers and other partners will know that you are there to stay (unlike some other companies that offer products and services through online “yellow pages” and then disappear). Your website is also easier to maintain and its maintenance charges are considerably less as compared to an offline business.
3. Increasing sales – You can build an online storefront that showcases your products or services. There are payment processors that automatically handle the sales, 24 hours a day and 365 days per year. Once your online marketplace is set up, you are able to receive more sales and more reviews for your products. Customers love reviews. In the offline scenario, most of the customers come to the store through referrals from previous customers. In your online business, potential customers read the reviews left by the customers who used your products or services. The search engine also ranks the products in your shopping cart in their search results. You are also able to get sales from different countries from around the world. Your website can make your business go global!
4. Customer support – You can provide efficient customer support through company emails and chats. Your customers can directly contact your sales representatives and get their issues resolved. Email and chat support are cheap and faster than telephonic conversations or in store visits. It is easy to “hire out” customer support using Odesk.com or Fiverr.com (and many other sources). Really, all you will have to do is look for a “Virtual Assistant” (VA) who is able to read the emails and provide responses (in your name or your business “customer support name”). You can provide a list of the most common problems, depending on your business model. That way, your VA is your customer service rep online. Only those emails that are unable to be resolved should be forwarded to you for immediate action. One very important thing here, make sure the VA forwards you a daily list of customer service issues and how that person was able to resolve the issue. You do not want to outsource the “reputation” of your business and you want to always make sure your customers are being taken care of in a proper manner.
5. Build your own email list – You can build your own email list to keep in touch with your customer base. You can send emails to them and inform them about the various products you are offering at the moment. Staying in touch with your email list is very, very important. Even if they do not buy from you now, they may very well purchase from you in the future.
If, after about two months of emailing your list (at least once every three or four days – but not all “selling” stuff – put some quality information in the emails that your customers will find beneficial), it is time to do some “list cleaning.” Go through your list at the end of each month and delete those who have not opened and read your emails for two months straight. This keeps your list clean and it improves your open rate and reduces the “opt out” rating and complaints as well. If they have not read any of your emails in two months time, they are not serious about your business.
These are just a few of the benefits of having an online business as compared to a traditional “brick and mortar” business. Yes, there are benefits to having a traditional store where customers stop in and browse and maybe buy something. But if your business is able to capture the power of the Internet, you are able to keep your store open 24/7/365 and possibly never have to touch inventory again! If you are in the Info Business online, you are able to deliver the product instantly to your customers as well.
I hope you were spurred to thought on a few of these subjects discussed above. It is my intent to show that online businesses are more than capable of holding their own in this day and age as compared to the old-fashioned way of doing sales. Yes, the “old ways” still have relevance and they are needed in certain areas. But in no way should you limit yourself to just “having a store.” If you are in the “offline” business, sit down and write out a few ideas on how you can have an “online presence” as well. Expand your store into the Internet world and go “around the world” with your products and services!