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Case In Point: Building a Web Business Doesn't Have To Cost a Fortune

By Karon Thackston
Posted Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Ask Bobette Kyle about building a Web business on a small business budget, and you'll be amazed what she'll tell you about planning and coordination. She's agreed to talk with us today and to share a little of her wealth of knowledge.

Ask Bobette Kyle about building a Web business on a small business budget, and you'll be amazed what she'll tell you about planning and coordination. By getting to the heart of the online business structure, Bobette saves small businesses lots of time and money. She's agreed to talk with us today and to share a little of her wealth of knowledge.

KARON: Hi Bobette. I'm excited about our time together.

BOBETTE: Thanks, Karon. Me, too!

KARON: I've read your book, and can't believe the depth of information you've included. You cut through the fluff and get right down to the hard-core information. But the title had me curious. Tell me why you chose the name "How Much for Just the Spider"?

BOBETTE: Well, just like a spider plans and implements it's web, a Web-based business also has to develop a marketing plan before implementing a Website.

The title alludes to the need for cost effective planning and marketing tools. Small businesses want or need to do a lot of work themselves so they look for ways to inexpensively acquire "Just the Spider" (i.e. the know-how) to create and implement a marketing plan.

KARON: Ahh! Good play on words. And very true, too. I know I've spoken with many new online business owners think if they build a site, people will automatically flock to it. We both know this is simply not true. It takes a lot of planning and marketing to operate a profitable site. What do you consider to be the first, and most fundamental, step?

BOBETTE: So true, Karon. And many existing online businesses are still struggling because of lack of planning. The step I consider to be most "foundational" for business owners is understanding their industry, their competition, and the customers they want to attract. These things drive decisions all the way down the line and mold the marketing plan.

KARON: I couldn't agree more! Anyone whose known me for any time at all will tell you how I preach about knowing your target audience.

BOBETTE: Exactly! These three things affect the whole business model, how the site is put together, what kind of content it contains, and strategies for marketing the site. Before going any further in your planning, take the time to get as much information as you can about your industry, competition and customers.

KARON: But that's not all there is to it, right? Throughout your book I noticed the wonderful job you did of outlining and explaining the various tactics a site owner could choose when implementing the steps of planning. What works best in actually choosing the most appropriate tactics for an individual site?

BOBETTE: There are a lot of tactics out there. Many site owners cannot decide which ones will work, so they give most of them a try to "see what sticks." Mostly, this approach fails because it spreads resources too thin and implementation suffers.

KARON: So how do we narrow the field?

BOBETTE: Instead of doing everything, I recommend that site owners choose tactics according to how well the tactic "fits" their business. The most appropriate tactics are those that support their site goals and marketing strategies.

KARON: So, again, planning comes into play. You have to know what you want the site to accomplish and who you want to attract before choosing your tactics. and what about business startups that don't have a lot of cash? Is there a way to develop a successful site in stages, as more money becomes available?

BOBETTE: Yes... business owners can implement the most inexpensive tactics first. Then, as more money becomes available, allocate it to the tactics they think are most likely to achieve site goals.

KARON: True, and this gives them time to test marketing tactics, copy and other elements before getting in too deep. After all, advertising can get quite expensive sometimes.

BOBETTE: Yes, it sure can. In fact, paid advertising is sometimes a hazard for new businesses. In a quick attempt to increase sales, site owners are tempted to "whip up" an ad themselves and randomly blast the Internet with advertisements. That approach is often a waste of money.

KARON: I've seen that many times. It's usually followed by a period of high bills (from all the ads) and low sales because none of the ads were targeted or tested.

BOBETTE: You're right. So before spending a lot of money on advertising, I would recommend site owners start by paying serious attention to the ad copy. Once they have effective copy that compels their target customers to respond, *then* it is time for an advertising campaign.

KARON: That's another thing I've noticed - and something I was guilty of... being in a hurry. Planning and implementing takes time.

BOBETTE: Nothing could be truer. However, when you lay a good foundation your chances of success increase dramatically!

KARON: Thanks, Bobette! You've given us a great reminder that planning is never wasted.

BOBETTE: My pleasure, Karon!

Bobette Kyle's latest book "How Much for Just the Spider" provides step-by-step information that helps small businesses plan and market their sites for success. Filled with examples and resources, this book is a must-have for any online business owner. Find it at most online book stores, or at (http://WebSiteMarketingPlan.com/bookinformation.htm).

About the Author
Karon is Owner and President of Marketing Words, Inc. who offers targeted copywriting, copy editing & ezine article services. Visit her sites at (http://www.marketingwords.com/) and (http://www.copywritingcourse.com/).