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Secrets to Business Success on the Internet

By Marianne Puechl
Posted Sunday, November 7, 2004

Secret Number One: The Key Is A Niche Market

Identifying a viable niche is an important asset as you're creating a new Internet business. The target should be a certain facet of the population that has very specific needs you are able to satisfy. Discover the habits and characteristics of those who will become your regular customers.
Here are some of the questions you should ask about various consumers.

Does this target market include consumers who use the Internet frequently?
Are these potential customers people who have disposable income?
Which communities have more interest in the convenience and time saving qualities of online shopping?
Are there businesses that could use your help to find diverse or rare services and products quickly and easily?
Are there potential customers who prefer the privacy of purchasing products or services online?
Is there a need in the target market for cost cutting or price-comparison shopping of particular products or services?

Once you have discovered the answers applicable to your business you can narrow your marketing strategy. Spend time and energy on those you know have potential purchasing power. Also, a marketing portfolio should be diversified and flexible as your business changes over time.

Secret Number Two: Believe In The Importance Of The Web

These days a strong web presence can make all the difference to an entrepreneur. Your can now entertain the possibility of being nationwide or even worldwide. The scope is no longer limited to the physicality of your own neighborhood. Further, it provides your company with a virtual business card that is viewed at a client’s leisure and is a complement to a physical location that may appeal to a different clientele.
An Internet presence is a mighty tool for the small business. To build a web site or a storefront is incredibly cost-effective. Also, as a growing number of web design firms and private contractors appear the rates and prices become increasingly affordable. Opportunities to learn how to create a simple web site on your own are also available. Inexpensive templates and programs can be purchased online and only basic computer knowledge is needed to utilize them.

Secret Number Three: Use Every Internet Marketing Tool Available

Unique, low-cost business marketing opportunities are accessible on the web. Bulletin boards, web rings, e-zines and other resources post information and articles/press releases on companies. This is often free of charge! Grass roots methods, such as spreading the word about your business through referrals and from one person to another, also move quickly through the Internet. Use this technology to your advantage!
There are endless ways to add links to your website on other sites. This expands your web presence vastly and can also be free of charge. Check out networks online. Business organizations of all kinds affiliate with one another over the Internet. Taking part in an association made up of various providers helps bring in traffic and benefits everyone.

Secret Number Four: Do Not Forget The Importance Of Customer Service

People enjoy great customer service, yet it's easy when owning an online business to lose sight of providing any customer service at all. The lack of face-to-face contact can leave a company seeming impersonal and uncaring. Quality care of the people you work with is key to bringing in repeat business. See your business from the clients’ point of view and expand in the direction that best serves their needs.

On the Internet communication is a valuable commodity. Encouraging clients to ask questions, make complaints or suggestions, and to correspond by phone or e-mail to discuss problems is imperative. Also responding to these inquiries in a timely and professional manner will solidify your presence as a company worth patronizing!

Remember, create a business or build on a business venture with a vision of success in mind. Your vision is an investment! Be adaptable, open-minded, and diversify your efforts. This will lead to successful growth and long-term security. Take time to explore tools and do whatever detective work is necessary; make it a habit that continues over the years. Give yourself all of the advantages possible and you will reach your highest goals.

About the Author
Marianne Puechl is co-owner of (www.RainbowWeddingNetwork.com), the first exclusive gay and lesbian wedding registry on-line. The site includes a directory of over 4,000 screened, gay-friendly businesses nationwide and in Canada. RWN was launched in 2000, and the first GLBT Wedding Expo will occur in Boston, Massachusetts on May 2, 2004.