What is your Internet strategy?
Many companies do not have an online strategy and that is okay. Having a presence online is better than not having one at all, so long as you are not throwing money at it. There are some basics you need to know before you allocate funds. Please check the following check list.
1. Do you have your own domain?
2. Do you use the domain you have to operate your email? Does everyone in your company have their own email address?
3. Do you have a web site with your contact information, such as an address and phone number?
Those are the very basic of your Internet strategies. If you have them and if you are not spending more than $30 a month, you are doing very well. Actually, you could do those much cheaper than $30 but $30 is not outrageous. If your company has less than 10 people and if you are spending over $100 a month, you can do better. The rule of thumb is That the email should cost no more than $2.00 per account per month unless it is a Microsoft Exchange, then it should cost about five times that. But there is no reason for a small company to run Microsoft Exchange. (Don't get me wrong. Microsoft Exchange is a good system design for medium to large corporation. It is just not cost effective solution for small companies.)
If you do not have those basics done, please contact a web hosting company to setup your domain, email and web site. If you would like, we would be happy to help you setup domain, email and web site for you. You can check PSPINC's web hosting service at www.dreamersi.com.
How do you expand your Internet presence?
There are several things you can do but the first step is to refine your web page. Many companies try to upgrade web pages by adding more contents. I see some companies having over hundred pages of "USEFUL" information that nobody reads. You need to say 5W1H. In case you do not know what 5W1H are:
Who? - Your company name, management...
What? - What do you do?
Where? - Where does your business cover?
When? - Your business hours.
Why? - Why should people contact you?
How? - Your methods.
That information can be made into fewer page as possible. As a business your web page should concentrate on "Customer Testimonials" and "Awards and Recognitions". Also you should talk about privacy policies and ethics.
The web page should not look like a high school project but you do not need to create a web page looking like publicly traded companies. What is the good budget for simple, clean and effective web site? I would say $3 ~ $4,000. Of cause you can do cheaper than that. In fact, you can create a $500 web site, but people will be able to tell you spend next to nothing. It is your company in the Internet; you should dress up a little.
When you are creating a web site, you should ask for two things. Is it search engine friendly (Some people call it SEO ready)? And is there a CMS (Content Management System) behind it so that you can easily update the content. Also, it is very important if you hire someone to create your web site to make sure you own the web site. Believe it or not, some web developers will take your web site hostage when you try to update or move it somewhere else.
How do you promote your web site?
There are several inexpensive ways to promote your web site. And there are several expensive ways as well. For smaller companies, you need to watch your spending because you could spend hundreds and thousands of dollars promoting your site.
- Blog for Search Engine Optimization
SEO should be a part of web development rather ran ongoing marketing effort for small companies. One thing for sure is that you need to constantly update your web site to make sure the search engines are constantly updating your data. One of the best ways to do this is to incorporate blog in to your web site. PSPINC offers www.bloguru.com which is free and there is no advertisement.
- Printing your web address
You need to print your web address (it is called URL, Universal Resource Locator) on your business cards, envelopes, letterheads, email signatures, press releases. Anything that your customers, suppliers and prospects can see should have your URL.
- Email Marketing
You should use email to promote your business. You are reading this newsletter on the email or blog page. I am doing this to inform you about the options, but I am also advertising PSPINC. Am I selling anything directly on this email? No. But you now know more about what PSPINC does. You should do the same. Email is a powerful tool. But if you use it in wrong way, like SPAM, it will backfire at your company. Do not ever SPAM. Do not buy email list from the internet and send email. It is considered a bad ethics.
There you have it. Here are some of web strategies I think that are important for small companies. If you have any question or comment, I will be happy to correspond with you. PSPINC provides all the services that I talked about in this email.
Chairman and CTO of Pacific Software Publishing, Inc