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January 2009
Maximize Your Online Business Plan in 2009
Competing in today’s challenging business climate requires that you make the most of your organization’s combined Web and e-mail communication resources. Your online presence must function as more than a simple promotional vehicle for your organization. Rather, in many cases, your Web site serves as a direct extension of your entire business process—working as your sales representative, customer service manager, vendor coordinator, fulfillment and delivery center, customer retention manager, document archive, accounts receivable representative, research and development department, your public relations manager, and more.

     An effective online business plan is your key to working smarter, selling more effectively, speeding product development, retaining more customers, enhancing service delivery, generating more referrals, streamlining operations, and doing it all at a significantly lower cost.

     Here is an initial thought to build a successful, comprehensive online business strategy for the coming year…Think “MULTI-CHANNEL.”

     Your Web site should promote and support your business on many different levels at the same time. Consider the many different audiences that your organization must attract and serve in order to grow and prosper: new sales prospects, existing customers, employees and associates, stakeholders, vendors, industry and media influencers, and many others. A comprehensive online communications plan will ensure that you are reaching and responding to each of these critical audiences. But, how can you balance and present clear, relevant and uncluttered interactive content to several different groups all within the same Web site? Perhaps, you should try a different approach.

    The days of “one-size-fits-all” Web site design are quickly fading. Instead, consider the creation of a series of interconnected, but highly targeted “landing pages” or “micro-Web sites,” each implementing a single, unique business task positioned under your unifying brand. For instance, offer a dedicated technical support page where existing customers and their previous online service history are identified automatically by login when requesting new assistance. Or, create a product-specific “trial offer” page, with its own stand-alone Web address, promoted exclusively via short-term, keyword pay-per-click advertising.

    Use the same multi-channel approach with your proactive e-mail communications. Instead of sending a lengthy comprehensive “newsletter” to your entire mailing list, packed with numerous topics attempting to appeal to the widest range of recipients, try creating shorter, precise “micro messages” written and designed to elicit a single response from a more narrowly defined audience. Under this approach, the right message will be delivered only to the most appropriate and receptive audience member, increasing the chances that your communication will be read and acted upon.

    What’s next? We’ll look at more ways to enhance your online business plan next month.

    Kip Cozart is president of CC Communications, an Internet production and marketing company specializing in helping organizations enhance and produce effective web, e-mail, multimedia marketing initiatives and business process improvements. Contact him at 704-543-1171 or visit www.cccommunications.com.

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