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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Tips for Going Virtual, Part 1 BY ALAN BLUME MARCH 17, 2012 • REPRINTS

 The days when organizations were more concerned with the façade of their buildings than their websites are coming to a close. Today, businesses large and small need to embrace web-marketing plans and inexpensive cloud-based solutions to optimize their efficiency and improve profitability.
Let’s review some important tips to creating a more profitable (and virtual) operation:
  • Website. Your website needs an easy-to-understand value proposition; prominent, above-the-fold call to action; large, social-media sharing buttons; on-page HTML; SEO; blog; and video. Today these are the basics, and a business owner should assume that every prospect, partner, client and prospective employee will visit his website.
  • Web meetings. If your business has yet to embrace web meetings, particularly for initial prospect meetings, you’re missing a great opportunity to leverage an inexpensive web selling and marketing tool. Qualify your prospects before driving 60 miles round trip for an initial meeting.
  • Webinars. Leverage webinars by providing an educational call to action. Succinct, content-rich, educational webinars provide a superior platform to showcase your knowledge. (But remember, with a webinar, your job is to educate as opposed to “sell.”)
  • E-marketing. Leverage e-marketing to reach out to highly targeted prospects with a very specific and measurable message. Your marketing message should be clear, concise and compelling and include a call to action that benefits the registrant (as opposed to yourself). Offer white papers, case studies and webinars to educate your prospective clients.
  • Video conference calls. To borrow from Bell Telephone’s ad slogan, “It’s the next best thing to being there.”Skype video calling is very much like being there. I use Skype frequently for face-to-face communication with contractors, clients and prospects. Skype also offers multi-party video conferencing and screen sharing for a fee. Or, if you have GoToMeeting, you can offer video conferencing with greater screen sharing capabilities.
Businesses that leverage these tips can become more virtual, more efficient and more profitable. Focusing on web-centric, reusable solutions improves the operational efficiency of any organization, regardless of size.
Alan Blume is an author, and as founder and CEO of StartUpSelling Inc., he works with small businesses on lead generation, sales, marketing, website design and branding. For more information, go towww.StartUpSelling.com

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