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Doing The Biz



 Making Your Website An Effective Business Tool

Okay, you have a Web site. It's colorful and fun and has all the tools. Now what do you do? How do you tell people about your site without spending any money? How can it help in day to day business?

The best way to market your Web site is to use the in-house tools already at your disposal. "It is important to remember to include your Web site in your plans and decisions," said Andrea Yoch, director of marketing for Internet Broadcasting System (www.ibsys.com). Yoch specializes in working with companies to increase traffic to their Web sites.

The first step is simple. Add the Internet address (URL) to all company materials. Make sure all print material, right down to business cards, includes your Internet address and e-mail addresses. "Companies spend thousands of dollars on sophisticated computer systems, yet don't tell their customers and associates their e-mail addresses," Yoch notes. At the rate that companies are getting online, many people prefer to do business electronically.

The second step is to make sure the Web site reflects everything happening at your company. Give it the look and feel of your marketing theme. Incorporate your company logo, colors and mission. Post company news, job openings and product information. Even basic information like phone numbers, mailing address and directions are missing from many corporate sites.

The third step requires commitment. If you are going to create a Web site, make sure someone on your staff is dedicated to regular updates. Almost all Internet surveys have shown that people will return to sites if the information changes. "You have to give people a reason to use your site," continues Yoch. "If there is never anything new, then people get bored and don't return."

Your Web site is another marketing tool that can be very effective when used correctly. However, if it is ignored, it can blemish your image. "It is better to not be on the Internet at all if you cannot commit to a fresh site. Web users are very sophisticated and have many choices," adds Yoch.


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