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How your local business can make money on the web?

If your business is not on the web yet, or your current website is sitting in cyberspace not making money, then you need to read this....
It doesn't matter what you do for a living or what type of business you are in, there are people out there just like you making money on the internet using automated eCommerce websites ....

Success does not come easily for most of us, but there are three actions you must take that will go a long way to ensuring your success on the internet:
1. You must get an interactive website that you can update regularly and that makes it easy for customers to do business with you.
2. You need tools to track your online traffic and transactions.

3. You must keep in contact with your client base using automated newsletter, email marketing, and integrated autoresponders. This is so important that ignoring it will time your business out and severely limit your profitability.
Successful business people know they need to commit time to their business, they need to invest in the right tools, and they need to measure the results they are achieving from their investment.
Measuring results tells you where your business is coming from, what areas of your business are profitable, and where you are wasting money.

Over the past couple years most media advertising, yellow page advertising, and junk mail has shown diminshing returns on investment, while at the same time costs have kept going up.
Research and a bit of analysis will quickly convince you the ONLY medium where returns and conversion rates are improving month by month, year by year is “the Internet”.
Nielsen/NetRatings shows 20,970,490 users in Oceania/Australia, or 25.6% of the population used the internet regularly in  the year 2009, with growth from 2000-2009 of 380.3%.
By December 2006 the number of Australians using the internet on a regular basis soared to 14.7 million or 70.2% of the population!
That is phenomenal growth that cannot be ignored by anyone wanting to grow their business or improve profitability of their business in the future.
Which do you think it would be easier to accomplish?
(1) To convince customers to visit your website in the comfort of their home and do comparitive shopping, or
(2) Convince them to get in their car, fight the traffic to your store, park the car (if they can find a space), and walk in your door not knowing if you actually stock the item they are looking for, or have it at the price they want to pay?
And think about this:
The internet is heaven-on-earth for the 49% of our population that are inclined to be a bit introverted.
Introverts prefer to gather information anonymously; they are unlikely to dial your telephone number except as a last resort. Intoverts are even more unlikely to walk into your store and engage in a conversation with a busy salesperson.
They are not necessarily shy; they simply need to feel comfortable dealing with you, and one of the comfort factors for them is doing their research BEFORE approaching you (that's 49% of the population we are talking about here).
And CONSIDER THIS, even the more extroverted 51% of customers appreciate an informative website that functions as an expert source of information during the hours you're not open for business.
Most customers prefer to know something about a product before they walk in your door, which is why more and more shoppers are now doing comparative shopping on the internet before deciding where to buy.

They may, or may not BUY on the internet, BUT having done their comparative shopping on the internet, they have summed up where they will get the best deal and/or the best customer service.
Then there are customers who live outside your area and are not within reasonable driving distance, or may not have have transport to drive to your store ....they offer a lucrative market that in the past has only been available to businesses with expensive mail-order facilities.
.... and what about the 80% of businesses in Australia who regularly research purchases on the internet before making a buying decision.
Can you really afford to ignore the needs of 70.2% of the population?
In summary here is an in-valuable secret you can't overlook if you really want to see your local business boom:
Build a database of opt-in prospects and customers and keep in touch with them on a regular basis.
It's NOT easy – but if you dedicate yourself to building a database of customers that trust you, then you will create a cashflow generator that will give bigger and bigger returns year after year ....

.... and you will range your market beyond the existing territorial or product barriers you currently have in place.
A professionally designed customer relationship database and email marketing system gives you the tools to convert prospects to customers and to keep customers coming back to buy online again and again.
AND the cost of doing business online and promoting and growing your business using email marketing is almost ZILCH!
Not only is it cheap, you can save thousands of dollars by reducing your commitment to other media and marketing strategies.
Yet, most of your competitors won't do it! They simply don't get it!
Either they don't know how to  market their business online, or they are too lazy to implement the strategies in their business ....
.... even though there are automated tools, such as newsletter systems, autoresponders, and auto sign up forms available to streamline the process.
BUT let your competitors get there before you and you will have to work very hard to claw back market share you have lost.
Most local businesses are just waking up to the fact the internet offers a low cost way to promote their business and keep in touch with their customers.
They are only just realising they no longer need to print hard copy catalogues and brochures - that they can maintain up-to-date colour versions of their catalogues on their website for virtually no cost.
70.2% of your customers are online and use the internet regularly! You cannot ignore this fact.
Make it easy for prospects to browse your website, comparative shop and to place an order online.
OR if a customer rings for information, refer them to your website while you talk to them on the phone.
When they hang up you will  hopefully have captured their email address and can keep in contact with them automatically on a regular basis - your name will constantly be at the forfront when they are ready to make a buying decision. 

Is it any wonder the Internet is a marketer's dream? 
And the good thing about it is the small business person can compete with the bigger guys - all they have to do is have a friendlier website, give better service, and keep in touch.
For more information on how you can build a profitable online business through automated online catalogues, autoresponders, newsletters and promotional email, contact Mike Fields, Marketing Director, specialises in designing and developing eCommerce online stores, websites, and newsletter and autoresponder systems for small and large businesses and organisations. 
Resource: Mike Fields,, Brisbane, Australia
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