How Far Can Your Current Business Website Take You?

It is a shame to know the poor results of so many Internet marketing projects and realizing that many companies are not taking advantage of existing Internet technologies.
A significant percentage of Web sites implemented by companies in America have been designed just to be on the Internet, without the support of appropriate marketing strategy with short, medium and long term specific objectives. It’s enough to see the many positions available at the top in major search engines, and therefore a valuable opportunity that we are letting go for promoting our products and services through Internet, to realize the poor quality of websites we are implementing.
Essentially, what is behind all these poor results is a decision based on a very superficial knowledge of the overall process of integration of Internet technologies to business.
If your company belongs to one of the groups listed below, you can not just “comply” to have a presence on the Web, but is obliged to implement a marketing plan that will achieve the goals outlined in its global business plan. Companies which are forced then to do things and implement an effective marketing program are:
* Transnational corporations
* The exporters / importers companies
* Distributors and retailers nationwide
* Clients and providers of transnational companies
* Companies with customer-oriented operational models.
* Companies that even if they’re small want a successful Internet marketing program.
If your company is part of one of these six groups, you can not jeopardize the results of its online marketing program to implement a solution that is useful even for a local distribution business. As mentioned earlier, the poor results in many of the marketing programs are because, in most of the time, decisions are being made without knowing how far we can get with the support of these new technologies.
The Websites are not an isolated element, but part of a global process of integration of Internet technologies with business processes and operating companies.
The process of integrating Internet technologies with business generally occurs in the following fifteen stages. It is noteworthy that in some cases when companies integrate multi-disciplinary teams and substantial financial resources earmarked for the project, some of these stages can be covered simultaneously by blocks. The steps are:
1. Using email
2. Internet surfing facilities
3. Definition of Internet marketing plan
4. Implementation of a Web Site
5. Search engine positioning
6. Contact the Web via market
7. Maturation of the communication system
8. Traffic studies
9. Content Optimization
10. Ongoing maintenance program
11. Implementation of online services
12. Implementation of online ordering
13. Online Applications
14. B2C/B2B Solution Deployment
15. Business Reengineering
As you can notice, the implementation of a Website (stage 4) can not be regarded as the ultimate goal, but only the beginning of the global integration of Internet technologies with the operation. Although it is an important achievement, there are many companies that fall into the mistake of stopping the process after implementing a Website in their organization, have come to be that only a quarter of the road.
A second common mistake is trying to do traffic studies (stage 8), without having worked in the positioning of the Website (stage 5). Some entrepreneurs and executives are content to know at least the number of visits, although this usually does not say anything. If you want to know who is visiting the site, how they got to it and what is what visitors were looking for, definitely a traffic analysis report is what you need. The raw material for analysis is the sheer volume of traffic and in turn serve to optimize the content, improve positioning and increase the number of visits.
Another example of strategies that break the natural order of integration of Internet technologies, is trying to implement online orders or applications (stages 12 and 13), but without having even matured the communication system via the Web with the target market (stage 7). Although the existing customers are the ones who will be entering orders, you must have already established a communication system via email and started using the Web as a liaison with your market for the online ordering system to work.
Your current Website can not get very far your company if the site was designed simply to have a presence. Note that the first major decisions will be taken to define your online marketing plan (stage 3) prior to the design and implementation of the Website (stage 4). Unfortunately, in many cases, entrepreneurs and executives do not have at that time the experience that they will gain in the following seven stages to implement a continuous maintenance program (step 10). Some even are trapped trying to position their site in search engines (stage 5) without being able to advance the process.
I’d like to know how much you would alter your decisions about how, when and with whom to develop your Website, if you knew that the implementation of the site is just the beginning, that the positioning and graphic design is not what generates the kind of traffic you expect and the fact that there are many things to implement and experiment before you sell online.
Surely there would be a little more time and dedication to the work of planning and your suppliers would be selected more carefully, assessing not only the cost of services but the level of commitment to the project’s results.
Remember that your range of products and services will be competing in a globalized environment against companies that have long ago adopted the best international practices regarding web design.
How far will you go with your business? For practical purposes, there are no limits on the Internet.

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