Online Business And Internet Strategies sample essay
Internet presence for a business is a powerful communication and advertisement tool. Using a website to sell a physical product, a service or an intellectual property, becomes an incredibly cost-efficient business tool. Online businesses are environmentally friendly and a sign of professionalism today. Business through Internet can help to increase the projected revenues for any product that can be conceived. Marketing over the internet also means that there would not be any worries about the attrition of employees or inventory liability. Potential buyers are better expected to find a website of your business than about you or your country.
Choice of Business
Focusing on a business sector like the providers of corrugated-paper boxes to large businesses, would be great idea to start. With its uniqueness, this type of online business venture will also ensure that online competition is minimal. Of course they are many prospects that are untapped in this field. The target market for placing online orders of paper boxes would be:
Large fast-food chains that are expanding their businesses in newly liberalized economies of Eastern Europe. (UNCTAD, 2005)
Small and large courier companies that rely on huge quantities of paper boxes for every kind of shipment.
Businesses and shops of any scale and any location would require efficient packaging material.
Other online businesses that require to ship physical products to their customers like online art auctions, gift sellers and gadget showcases, may require fluctuating quantities of paper boxes. Since they cannot stock such an item as packaging material, the best option would be to purchase the required quantity online.
Capital and Infrastructure
The main advantage of setting up this online business would require minimal investment at the onset just as in any other online venture. Another positive is that the customers usually pay upfront in online businesses, so the cash conversion cycle would always keep the business with cash-in-hand. Major chunk of initial investment would be towards:
purchasing a suitable domain name that either resembles “paper box” or the region where the potential customers are located. For instance if McDonald’s from USA is planning to set-up new outlets in Eastern Europe, then the domain name could be www.boxesineurope.com (this domain is available)
purchasing a suitable website hosting service provider (hosting company for website space and website design) by checking that company’s website. One should be thorough about a web-hosting provider’s integrity and background as many of them stoop to blackmail their clients if they see a profit-making business. So, it is imperative for the safety and security of my business as well potential clients.
cost of “search engine optimization” of websites should be taken care of at the design stage itself. Websites that are better optimized for search engines, appear at a higher rank than other when a search of a particular “term” is run on the popular search engines like Google. Most importantly, all the results with the term “paper box providers in Eastern Europe”, apart from my website, would be my competitors. So I would be pro-active in spending some amount getting a better ranking on search engines.
there would be random costs involved that include the cost of getting a high speed internet connection, setting up communication network with local manufacturers of paper boxes, office equipment etc; of course my own basement will serve as office.
The most important business partners could be located online and the best way to check their authenticity, quality and service would be to set up meeting with them, if they are geographically approachable. Otherwise, even through good business proposition email, any business would like to expand and extend their network. (NFIB, 2002) Most important allies for my website www.boxesineurope.com would be quality manufacturers of boxes. Again, their website, portfolio and background would be a good measure of their reliability.
Marketing My Online Business
Website: Promoting a website means to increase the number of visitors reaching the webpages. Larger the number of visitors, higher would be the probability that their visits would convert into potential business or purchase. So increasing website “traffic” would be the main aim of any online business; including mine. Here are few options that I would explore to improve the visibility and accessibility of www.boxesineurope.com:
In order to get the most of search engines, I would keep the website search engine optimized and updated. A part of revenue will be diverted to professaional optimizers. For instance Google recenlty annouced that more than 5 billion searches took place on their search engine in a month of 2005; even a conversion rate of 5% can give huge returns on the amount of money spend on search engine optimization. To put it simply, even if 5 out 100 visitors on my website, turn into actual customers, then cost accrued in bringing those 100 visitors bears huge profits. (Gonsalves, 2006)
I would use online advertizements, banners and sponsored links on the websites that my potential customers are likely to visit. Since, the target market is widely distributed, sales professionals or procurement personnel of my potential customers are likely to search for few specific terms. (NCC Ltd 2007)
Websites that are non-competitors for my business but show on such search results, became an ideal business partners for exchanging website links. As people who likely to be their customers may reach my website and potential buyers of paper boxes may reach their website.
Sponsored links through search engines can help me to generate revenue even if I do not sell the product showcased on my website. So, it’s an alternative tool to generate capital that could be invested in online advertizements.
To keep customers coming back the focus would to upgrade/update the website frequently. I would keep changing product picture and text design without compromising on the sober looks of the webpages. Posting periodic newsletter on the site would be a good idea to to provide something new to read for the visitors.
Once the website popularity improves, I would focus on building a database of my consumers or those who simply enquired about the products. Such a database will provde invaluable and dividing visitors into segments will be very useful for launching targeted marketing campaigns. There are also advanced software to help in refining online marketing to different sets of customers. (Business Link, 2007)
Email: Since the online business marketing is for the net users, emails would provide useful for building relationships and keeping my acquaintances aware about my business. Periodic emails, popularly known as newsletters can assist to update the customers about offers. Email is a less intrusive mode than telephone marketing. I would be searching the liason offices and business personnel of potential customer and send them personalized emails. Hiring a third party for doing email marketing may prove illegal in case they try to spam. (Prodesk, 1999)
Short Messaging Service: Marketing via text messaging is a viable option as almost everybody carries a mobile phone these days. However, I would be careful to not to invade privacy by sending unsolicited and unexpected messages to unknown people.
Though equipped technically and planned well ahead of time, even an online business would require certain ethics that I would never violate. I would ensure that
customers get exactly what they order and in the promised time.
website visitors will always be secure regarding their personal information and banking credentials like credit cards, debit cards or any other mode of transaction.
there would be strict filtering for spam, viruses and any other security threats for the website visitors and customers alike.
investment would be timely to keep the technology and the content of the website updated to real time ie an outdated or irrelevant information would never be displayed.
With these marketing strategies and plan for online business, I am confident of setting up a viable internet business enterprise.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. (2005) Report : “Eastern Europe remains top FDI destination”. Available on: http://www.euractiv.com/en/enlargement/eastern-europe-remains-top-fdi-destination/article-143913
National Federation of Independent Business. (2002). “Benefits of Online Services to Independent Business”: NFIB. Available on: http://www.nfib.com/object/1583715.html
Gonsalves, Antone. (2006). “Google Grabs Half Of Booming Web Search Market”: TechWeb News
National Computing Centre. (2007)
Available on: http://www.nccmembership.co.uk/
Business Link. (2007). “Practical advice for business”
Available on: http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/
Prodesk. (1999). “Email Marketing Strategies Revealed”: www.prodesk.com
Woodhead, Robert. (2007) www.selfpromotion.com 2007
Simpson, Gemma. (2006).”UK small businesses set to boost IT budgets”: ZDNet.co.uk
Available on: http://news.zdnet.co.uk/itmanagement/0,1000000308,39285382,00.htm
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