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Profiting from an Online Business Presence

"Using the Internet to Boost Your Bottom Line"
by Kate Smalley

The Internet is a powerful resource that, if properly used, can reduce your operating costs, stimulate sales and add to your bottom line. Research shows that the Internet is playing a greater role in the way small companies operate. It’s also playing an increasing role in driving profitability for smaller businesses.

According to a recent study by ACNielsen and eBay, 51 percent of small businesses using the Internet believe it has helped them become more profitable. Fifty-eight percent of them report that using the Internet has helped their companies grow or expand, and 15 percent feel that using the Internet is necessary for the survival of their business.

Boosting Your Bottom Line With Your Website

An effective strategy for using the Internet to enhance your company’s bottom line is to maximize your presence on the Web. More specifically, turn your Website into a virtual work horse for handling marketing/advertising, sales and customers service functions. Here are key points to keep in mind concerning these areas:

Marketing/Advertising - A Website is like having a business card, brochure and advertisement in one powerful package. It’s the ultimate marketing tool because it gives you an affordable, effective way to market your company — worldwide.

Having an effective Website is also an easy, beneficial way to advertise your business. The advantage of using a Website as opposed to other methods of advertising is the difference between having an active or passive audience. People visiting your Website are an active audience, and are curious about what you’re offering. On the other hand, print ads, telemarketers, or mass mailings are geared toward connecting with a passive audience. If your Website effectively provides information about your products, services and company, this can lead to sales.

Sales - Many small businesses view the Internet as a powerful sales tool. In fact, 33 percent of small business owners use the Internet to sell goods and services online, and 43 percent find sales prospects online, according to the ACNielsen/eBay study. The good news is that your Website doesn’t have to actually process transactions online to enhance sales. Your site can provide valuable product information and take online orders, and then complete the sale through the mail or at a retail location.

Customer Service – A Website can help you reduce many basic customer service tasks you or your employees handle manually. By owning a Website, your office staff will spend less time handling faxes, mail and routine phone calls about your products/services, operating hours, location, directions, etc. Just think: If an $8-an-hour employee saves just three hours a week, this could add up to more than $1,200 a year. On top of that, you’ll also spend less money on paper, printing, postage and advertising.

It is not a coincidence that more and more businesses are using the Internet to boost their bottom line.

About the Author
Copyright 2004, Kate Smalley
Connecticut Secretary
Freelance Secretarial and Transcription Services

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