by Tom Snyder on Nov 15, 2002


In our last issue, we discussed how to execute effective email campaigns to drive traffic to your site. However, before you start sending people to your site, you want to make sure that the site is ready to receive visitors. While a great looking presence is critical, it's not the only thing that will attract people to (or scare people away) from your company.

You'll notice that I didn't say "your company's Web site," but said "your company. " Of all the statements I've made in 5 years of newsletters, advice I've given in front of clients and groups, and nuggets of truth I've shared one on one, this is the most important:

To the already huge, and still rapidly growing online community, your Internet presence IS your business.

Let me say it again:

To the already huge, and still rapidly growing online community, your Internet presence IS your business.

You may have a beautiful multi-million dollar facility, but if you've scrimped on the look of your Web site, your marble facades and tiled lobby won't mean zip. To the online masses, your company is a run-down, little shack.

You may have a huge customer service operation staffed by hundreds of professional, friendly, well-trained customer service representatives, but if your Web site and isn't set up to provide customers and prospects with immediate satisfaction, your company is two guys in garage, neither of whom is available to help them right now.

You may have fine-tuned your supply chain to guarantee the most efficient inventory levels and on-time delivery record in your industry. But if your Web site doesn't provide your customers with real time online stock status, flexible and intelligent order capability and order tracking, your company is nothing more than a warehouse with empty shelves.

Your product's superior quality, and your company's value proposition may justify a higher price. But unless you reinforce that with compelling content and technical excellence at every decision point in your Web site, people will shop you for price only. Not only will you lose the sale, if visitors remember you at all, you'll be known only as "those expensive guys. "

You may have a spectacular Web site. One that combines navigational, graphical and functional excellence to provide an optimal user experience. The content may be a compelling exposition of your company's brand, mission, products and services. But if you haven't promoted your site using every vehicle you have at your disposal in an attempt to dominate your competition and create top of mind awareness, your business doesn't even exist.

Your site may receive thousands of hits daily. But if you're not doing everything you can to turn every one of those hits into a relationship, you're simply the Internet equivalent of a business that has decided not to answer the telephone or greet customers who come in.

You may be meticulous in keeping your Web site constantly updated with new information, photos, specs and prices. Your product inventory may be synched by the moment to your Web site to provide visitors with real-time stock availability. But unless you are regularly and strategically using compelling, targeted outbound bulk and personal e-mail, snail mails and other supporting vehicles to invite previous visitors back to your site, your first impression will be your only one. When asked about why he spent so much money promoting his stores Sam Walton once said: "A funny thing happens when you stop inviting people to come visit your store. They stop coming. " If they stop coming back to your site, they won't know, nor will they care how often you update your site. Your business might as well be out of business.

If, however, you are a successful business or organization, you know what made you successful. Your facility is impressive looking, and creates a lasting, credible visual image. And your Web site does the same.

You develop and implement policies, procedures and systems that are designed to build meaningful and rewarding relationships with every person who comes in contact with your company. And your Web site does the same.

Your sales process is designed to turn visitors into suspects, suspects into prospects, prospects into customers, customers into repeat buyers and referrals. And your Web site does the same.

Your ongoing relationship with your contacts is proactive, continually adds value, and reinforces your brand. It does this by enhancing your  credibility, presenting your customers with new opportunities, identifying and solving new problems, meeting new needs. And your Web site does the same.

Your customer relationship strategy encourages and accommodates and facilitates immediate, productive two-way contact regardless of your customer's preferred channel of that contact. It uses volunteered personal information to help every customer contact be a familiar, positive, and personal one. And your Web site does the same.

Your business is successful because you take it seriously. Your Internet strategy deserves the same respect and effort. Because your Internet presence is your business, making sure it's working correctly is OUR business! Take a look at what has made your business successful. Take a look at your Web strategy.  Are they in synch?
- Tom Snyder,  President/CEO,  Trivera Interactive