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Q&A: Marketing a Small Business Online

What is the secret to establishing a successful online presence and dominant brand? To find out, writemedia marketing communications, regular contributors to CanadaOne, recently interviewed Doug Dayton.

Doug, founding member of the Microsoft

® Dream Team, he is recognized as a 'techno-marketing' guru. He was instrumental in putting Microsoft Windows® on virtually every computer desktop in the developed world. Doug has helped thousands of companies to understand the impact of the Internet and e-commerce and to develop winning sales strategies for the new economy and is the best-selling author of Selling Microsoft, Total Market Domination and The Information Technology Audit Handbook.

Here is Part 1 in our two-part interview with Doug Dayton.

WM From the marketing standpoint, achieving success from an online presence is not as simple as building the site and watching the money roll in.

Many early adopters had completely unrealistic expectations of how much time and investment would be necessary to develop a profitable online business. The truth is that businesses face many of the same challenges online as they do in their regular "offline" sales channels. The key is to leverage the competitive advantages that have worked well to help you develop an effective eBusiness strategy. For example, if your company has been successful offering a very broad range of products, it may be compelling to offer a similar range of products on your company's web site.

WM The business models used by smaller companies have to be more careful financially because sometimes the budget just isn't there.

That's absolutely true – a small business can't afford too many missteps. In most cases, smaller companies should move slowly, developing their eBusiness in phases. It is important to test new marketing plans carefully, and to roll out strategies that are proven cost effective and profitable for your web site.

WM From the marketing side and in general, a website that is easy to comprehend and figure out by the average Internet surfer is best, I would expect?

The average business person will jump to another web page in a few seconds if they don't find exactly what they are looking for. This is why many companies are streamlining their sites to make it easier for customers to find exactly what they are looking for with a minimum number of page views.

WM What would be the best suggestion to let people know you are online, especially if you want to use the Internet to expand your customer marketplace?

Start with your customer base – tell them about your new eBusiness, and provide a compelling reason for them to visit your new site. Using direct email, targeted banner ads, and active participation in newsgroups and forums can also be very helpful. As in every business, however, customer satisfaction is the best way to generate referrals and repeat sales.

Part 2

About the author

Doug Dayton Techno-Marketing guru Doug Dayton has authored more than 100 articles and reference books in addition to several best-selling books on marketing and technology. Dayton will share some of his success secrets with the Alberta small business community at The Liberty Health Small Business Summit in October.

Total Market Domination: Learn how to master ten key marketing strategies that will increase your market share and help you to achieve all of your business goals.

Selling Microsoft®: Learn how Doug Dayton's Client-Centered™ Selling helped put Microsoft Windows® on virtually every computer desktop in the world.

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