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How the Internet Can Benefit Your Business*

If your business involves products that can be digitized - anything from computer software to photographs, music or words - you are best placed to use the internet to sell your products and services in digital form. However, it’s important to understand that a website can benefit nearly any business and not only those that sell goods or services over the Internet.

In fact, the majority of businesses provide services or products that can’t be sold online - for example, gas stations, auto repair shops, electricians and plumbers, hairdressers, restaurants, cafes, cleaning services, consultants, doctors, engineers - the list goes on. Their products or services are not suitable for selling via the web, yet for most of them a website will still be an important marketing tool and can help:

A. cut costs . . . B. increase sales . . . C. improve customer service . . . D. enhance productivity

A. Cutting Costs
Customers wanting product information can be pointed to your web site. Compare this to the cost of mailing expensive printed brouchures, both locally and overseas.

A website addresss can be added to an existing Yellow Pages directory, and unlike a directory, it can be updated as often as needed. It’s also much cheaper to update a web page than print new material each time you introduce fresh products, change prices or move premises.

Your website can be simultaneously used in other publication/directories such as your local chamber of commerce website directory. Using e-mail to communicate will also reduce expenditures for stationary, postage, and fax/phone service.

B. Increasing Sales
A website gives you local, regional, and global exposure, all the time, to a potential market of millions. This is particularly valuable for businesses in smaller towns, especially if they deal in a niche product.

Bottom line: one good order from a new customer who found you through the web can return your internet investment many times over.

C. Improving Customer Service
A website can provide important business information for your customers, including:

*photographs of your products

*product specs

*prices and ordering information *answers to frequently answered questions
Potential customers, after reading your website, will have a much better idea of what you offer. When they contact you by phone or e-mail, they can get straight to the point instead of wasting everyone’s time with vague, off-the-point questions.

Your website can also generate valuable feedback from customers about your products or services. Once you know where you’re going wrong, you can take action and make the necessary improvements.

D. Enhancing Productivity
The Internet, compared to other sales and marketing channels, is incredibly efficient. Once your website is up and running, it does not require constant supervision (although it should be updated periodically). Monthly costs paid to a third party to “host” the site on their servers are low (from about $6.00 a month upwards). So each visitor who is converted to a customer represents a significant return on investment. Compare this to the time and cost involved in running an ad campaign in a glossy magazine or by direct mail.

From The 10-Minute Primer . . . . . . www.econtips.com

Apple Pie Studio
2416 Yearwood Ave.
Murfreesboro, TN 37130
Phone (615) 403-0903

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