In the 21st century the Internet is no longer a separate and alien piece of technology, it is an integral part of any business, no matter the niche. The opportunities that the web offers the startup business owner are tremendous, as long as you know how to make the most of them. Here are just a few of the ways any start up business owner can leverage the power of the Internet in their favor:
Build an interactive website – Build up a great mailing list – and relationships with your customers – by adding a little interaction to your website. Surveys, guest books, free reports and newsletters all do very well. If the majority of your business is conducted offline (you are running a restaurant for example) your website is still a great marketing tool. Put an online only coupon on your site and you may be surprised how many more diners come walking through your doors.
Learn SEO 101 – No one is suggesting that you get a degree in internet marketing but at least become familiar with some of the better SEO (search engine optimization) techniques and then actually use them. Twitter may seem a little silly to you at first but it can actually be a powerful way to draw visitors to your website as well as share information about your company to a vast number of people. The same holds true for blogging, forum commenting and social bookmarking.
Research the Competition – Thanks to the Internet and all its associated tools, it is easier than ever before to keep an eye on – and ahead of – your competitors. Most of the information you need can be found free or at a very low cost on the internet, as is much of what you will need to learn about your target audience and to do that all important research into the market you are entering.
Save some Money – Order office supplies online and save time and gas on a trip across town to the office superstore. Send email invoices instead of paper ones. Hire a virtual assistant to take some of your more mundane but have to be done tasks off your hands for the fraction of the cost of a “real” employee.
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