The advent of the internet has changed the world for the better, but whether it has made a considerable impact in the world of marketing or not, that is debatable. The companies in developed countries are more comfortable using the internet to market their products, but due to many entrepreneurs’ unfamiliarity with the usage of web-based applications, that’s about as far as they can go.
Many companies are used to the way some things work, for instance, many companies still use postal communication to ask their associates for a price quote, which would take days for an answer.
With web-based commerce, you can send messages back and forth a lot faster, via email. Entrepreneurs are perhaps, unwilling to try out a new way, and prefer to duck in favor of more conventional ways.
However, research shows that entrepreneurs are slowly gaining traction in Internet marketing, particularly in the US, where it generated revenues to the tune of $7.3 billion in the first quarter of 2011, and a corresponding increase of 23%, from the same period in 2010.
Let’s take a look at how the rest of us can use the Internet for marketing our products.
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Create image of a company
If you look at the Fortune 500 companies list, each of them definitely has a website in their own name, but are they utilizing their sites as they should? Some of them use it to build a reputation for the company but they don’t focus on the About Us page much.
I had noticed many company site owners fill the “about us” page with all sorts of trivia about their own self. It would contain what their academic achievements are, and their personal milestones, but nothing about their company.
To make matters worse, they will even have their own photograph pasted, believing that potential clients will run after their company’s products by looking at their faces, and reading the story of their personal milestones.
A company should be more creative, and use the “about us” page to highlight its past achievements. Potential clients, who will perhaps, look to forge a partnership with the firm will love to see what the company has achieved, as it will give a clear profile view of the company.
The “about us” page must be partially used as curriculum vitae of a company. That’s where the reputation of a company will build. A site’s design also tells a lot about a company. It shows the creative side of it. A good thoughtful design will reflect how organized the company is, and that’s how a website can lend a hand in creating an image, and marketing prospects for a company.
Gathers customer information
Internet has definitely made the process of marketing faster. Used properly, it can speed up the growth of a company. Companies can gather information about their existing and past customers from their distribution partners faster through the Internet.
The nature of purchases of their customers can help companies formulate better, more precise formulas for future marketing policies, and take bad-selling products off the shelf.
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The real advantage with the Internet is that the sending of reports can be automated, without any hassle, and can be updated regularly or as often as possible, as required. The plans can be amended and worked out differently on the basis of the report, which will lead to better marketing efforts.
Allows large scale customization
One of the key marketing roles of the internet is mass customization of products to suit every individual, according to his or her needs. Nowadays, a shopper can custom order clothing attire in the form he wants it to be. In fact, he can design a shirt himself, put it online and have it stitched.
Customink.com is a website that allows you to design shirts online. You will have to choose the shirts, color, special text if you want and add an art design. Mention the size you need, and then ask for a quote. Nothing can be simpler for both customers and also for the company. This ensures that the company only makes clothes that customers want, in the stock numbers required.
Mass customization not only makes the selling process faster, but enhances marketing for companies. There is a likelihood of repeat customers even though the feature itself is a marketing gimmick. In fact, this particular feature will give online companies a huge advantage over offline stores.
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Ease of customer service
Modern day customer service has changed, especially those who use emails and chat support as the corresponding medium. Many companies have online support systems, which gives them the facilities to reply to international customers. Good customer service has always led to good marketing prospects.
It leads to satisfied customers, and in turn, gets repeat and referential customers. Customers can now fix a software glitch faster with the help of online customer service over chat support without having to take the machine to the tech store.
Regular software updates, anti-virus software updates, and even Operating System updates have become a part of online customer service support systems. It’s no wonder customers will stick to their hardware and software if the manufacturer keeps providing updates that allow them to fully utilize their wares.
Sales and promotion
Sales are perhaps, the ultimate marketing goal, and no other can do it as the Internet does it. According to Goldman Sachs, the global online sales may reach somewhere near $963 billion by 2013, which is a staggering sum to say the least.
Amazon and eBay are perfect examples of sites thriving on e-commerce and while the Internet is the ideal marketing tool for their sort of business, it also allows for passive marketing. A customer shopping online may receive recommendations of what other buyers like him also bought, plus reviews, notification for promotions and discounts, which could all influence him to actually get a product he had no intention of buying in the first place.
So if you haven’t hopped on the bandwagon of utilizing the Internet to help sell your wares or your services, maybe it’s time to take a look at how you can let the Internet work for you.