Most organizations that are not pure-play internet (like Amazon.com) do not seem fully understand how the Internet affects their business. The top of the sales funnel and an instant reference- “value” check are two ways the internet affects your business:
- Internet can fill top of the sales funnel: And this can be huge. Between search marketing (also Search Engine Optimization – SEO) and pay per click (PPC) advertising like Google AdWords you can bump up the traffic to your business website and to your business. At a fraction of the cost of traditional media including direct mail, print or broadcast media the Internet can drive traffic to your website and business. In case you have e-commerce, you can also expect the visitor to buy. For first time buyers if you see your Google Analytics data (see under conversionsà multi-channel funnels) you’ll be surprised to see that folks might visit your website ten or more times over a few days before starting on your online shopping cart. They might have come directly, via Facebook, through search and so on. Can you go to any physical store ten times before picking up a physical shopping basket? Not really, unless you want to be declared “suspicious” by the store-owner!
- Internet is an instant reference and “value” check: There are previous posts on this aspect and is one of the least addressed issues by organizations-large and small- whether they are for profit, non-profits or government. Consumers do compare prices in things like airfares and hotels as do businesses in B2B situations. In B2B and high value consumer decisions (like cars) it’s really important to go beyond the print brochures material. For example, there is no point in mentioning the mileage of an hybrid version of an auto but remaining silent about the gas version's mileage. A serious buyer can and should be expected to Google it and get what best they can from a discussion board or auto website. Think of your business category and you can expect serious B2B customers to do the same thing. In other words, its probably far better to clearly explain FAQ’s on the official website rather than allowing unofficial versions to take the lead, by default.