It's a situation many entrepreneurs inevitably findthemselves in, after the first few months of doing businessonline.First they build a website designed to attract the attentionof millions of people. ...
It's a situation many entrepreneurs inevitably find themselves in, after the first few months of doing business online.
First they build a website designed to attract the attention of millions of people. But when the first of the millions start coming in, these same business owners often feel like turning them away.
And it's not that they don't want new business.
It's just that they have a difficult time meeting the demands of existing clients, responding to the inquiries of potential customers, AND keeping their website as updated as they promised, all at the same time.
If you're one of these entrepreneurs, don't pull your hair out just yet.
Here are 4 time saving options you can use to keep old business alive, attract new ones regularly - and still keep looking good on & off the web.
1) Outsource or Delegate
If you find that online activities are taking up too much of your time - time you feel you could better use for other aspects of your business - then you should decide to either hire a skilled employee, or outsource the tasks to the experts.
The most common - and most time-consuming - web-related activities that most business owners have to attend to are:
- reading & responding to email - creating & uploading new content for your website, and - managing & moderating your mailing lists
The good news is that these things can be performed by anyone with a computer & internet access, and therefore CAN be delegated to people with the proper skills.
In fact, many skilled editorial, administrative, and web development professionals are already offering their services on the web. To find them online, just go to any search engine and use the following key words:
- editorial services - ghostwriting - virtual secretary, and - web development
2) Plan for A Low-Maintenance Website
Not all websites are created for the same purpose; it only follows that different websites would need different amounts of maintenance.
The following 3 website types are the ones that require the least:
a) The Press Kit
Designed to encourage the press to write (good) stories about you & your company, this type only needs a few regular pages to do its job:
- your latest press release - background information on you & your company - biographies of key members of your staff - downloadable photographs of your people & products - downloadable & printable brochure - magazine articles written by you or about you & your company - downloadable video & audio files of your interviews - downloadable promotional items or product samples
The only time you need to update this kind of site is when you have a new press release out for distribution (monthly), or if any major changes have happened among your staff or company that need to be included in the background information (quarterly).
b) The Catalog
This site shows off the different products & services you have to offer, and the only things you really need to update here are the price tags - which are easily manageable on a quarterly basis.
c) The Brochure
Like the catalog site, the brochure site showcases everything you have to offer... except that you don't reveal the prices just yet.
Although this type is the easiest to maintain (i.e., quarterly or semi-annually), the trick is to make it so compelling that interested customers will immediately contact you after viewing the site... and not get turned off by the lack of information, forcing them to continue their search elsewhere.
3) Use Automating Scripts & Programs
The interactive nature of the internet makes it very easy for surfers to instantly "interact" with you.
Although this is the major appeal of every website, it's also practical to make the internet work FOR YOU, too.
Use these same automating programs to save you time, while keeping your surfers satisfied with the amount of interaction you can reasonably offer.
Internet business gurus hold that every email inquiry should be answered within 24 hours or less.
Although that makes perfect business sense, there WILL be days when it would be close to impossible to do - especially if you're holding down 3 or more positions in your company.
The best way to keep to this business practice (while still managing to get some sleep each day) is to set up an autoresponder system for your email.
These systems send out an automatic response to each email, providing your interested client with a prompt reply and an assurance that you will attend to his specific request as soon as possible.
b) Form Messages
Form messages are pre-written responses to the most common inquiries about you & your business. It's best to draft them long before you expect to get a deluge of emails, and save them in an easy-to access file in your computer.
This way, you don't have to think long & hard about the same questions over and over again, or spend countless minutes answering a simple email.
Just make sure to modify the names & details in your form messages, to avoid any embarrassing situations with new & regular clients.
c) Automatic Processes
Mailing list & ezine subscriptions. Updating of your client database. Credit card processing. Username & password generation.
Whenever possible, use available services & programs to automate these common processes on your website, requiring the least possible amount of input from you.
If you decide to manually manage these things now because you can "still handle them," you might find yourself struggling later when your website becomes as successful as you want it to be.
d) Web Templates
If you find it necessary to your business to maintain a regularly-updated website, then ask your web developer to create web templates that you can use for easier updates.
Ideally, these should be the kind where you can type in (or copy-and-paste in) your most current article or editorial, and then have it automatically uploaded to the proper page at the click of a mouse-button, without having to rename/rearrange directory files or deal with file transfer protocol (FTP).
Yes, it may be true that conducting business in a fast-paced generation could leave you feeling winded.
But if you aim to keep your business fit right from the start, then running your own company should be good not just for your pockets... but also for your heart.
Tatiana is the publisher of: www.TheFortunesEzine.com, the FortunesEzineWeekly at www.TakeYourFortune.com, and owner of the traffic-solution slam advertising sites www.Guaranteed-Hits.com and www.Guaranteed-Hits.net