What are your goals?
Is the Internet the right platform to achieve your goals?
With mainstream success comes popular, and often misleading consensus. Today, it's easy to believe that the Internet is the solution to all problems, but it is not. A clear understanding of what the Internet can do and cannot do will greatly help you create a set of goals that is achievable.
The key benefits the Internet has to offer you.
The Internet offers some key advantages unmatched by traditional communications channels like print, radio, television (or cable networks).
The Internet provides access to information like no other channel. With a website, you can communicate with anyone in the world, every time of the day. Only the Internet offers an amazing 1-degree of separation between you and your target audience.
Unlike traditional media where you have highly rigid formats for presenting your communications, such as fixed layout size and word constraints in print, fixed phrases in radio and fixed time in radio and TV, the Internet offers not only all these communications formats, but completely removes these costly restrictions. The multi-media (i.e. print, audio, and video) nature of the Internet offers a truly flexible way to present information and achieve the most effective and desired impact on the target audience.
No other communications platform offers a more cost effective publishing solution, effectively removing a significant obstacle for small enterprises seeking to communicate their ideas and visions. With the global content distribution network already built into the Internet, the cost of communications is reduce to just the cost of production.
No other platform offers the ability to receive instant feedback from your target audience like the Internet. Print, radio, and TV are essentially one-way communications channels. The Internet is uniquely bi-directional, providing your target audience a way to share their input, and you a way to receive those feedback for use in improving all aspects of your operations, from communications, products, services to support.
Perhaps the most important benefit the Internet has to offer is the ability to create intelligent automated tools (or web applications) to deliver information, products, services, and support faster, better, and cheaper. Using the application programming tools used in building sophisticated websites, websites can be setup to handle more, and more work, all with the goal of using less and less, costly human resource in business processes. Even more significant, these same tools can be used to develop better collaboration tools to make your organization more efficient and responsive by empowering your human resource, workforce, salesforce, partners, vendors and all other constituents of your business community.
Data driven analytics
Costly management decisions, many times based on wrong assumptions, is the kiss of death for many operations. The Internet provides a means to harvest rich data for detail analysis to guide critical management decision making. No other channel provides this level of access and detail. On the Internet, not only can you know more about your target audience, you can also see where they are coming from, what they are doing, how they are doing it, for how long and much more. The scope of what is possible is only limited by your imagination.
Do you have a plan that exploits these benefits to your advantage?
When creating a plan to put the Internet to work for you, it is critical to evaluate how your plan helps you capitalize on the key benefits you find most valuable towards realizing your goals.
For example, the Internet global reach is not very significant for a service organization that depends on walk-in onsite traffic. However, such a business may focus more on capitalizing on it's intelligent automation benefits, by building automated service reservations, and post-service follow-up, to achieve higher quality of service and customer satisfaction, at reduced labor costs.
Whatever path you wish to pursue, it's critical to understand that the resonating thread in all the key benefits the Internet has to offer is lower operating costs, effected by the adoption and effective implementation of Internet technology solutions in your business processes.
Lower operating costs provides a simple metric to evaluate the effectiveness of your overall plan, and subsequently monitor your return on investment (ROI) performance during its implementation and operation.
The bottom line is, to be successful online, your website must be an asset that saves you money in quantifiable ways.