16 March 2007

The first question I ask clients wanting to set up an online business is “what are the main differences between and online business and a traditional business?”

How they answer this question will mean the difference between success and failure.

The answer is “there is NO difference.”

The main reason that there is a high proportion of online disasters, is that business men and women fail to recognise the importance of good old fashioned customer care and communication.

How many times do you see a web site without a telephone number plainly visible? Yet the owner of the site may be perplexed why the orders trickle in. Simple failures can make a massive difference and it is all about percentages. If you generate 100 visitors to your site from your marketing efforts, the difference a telephone number and a helpful contact page with a downloadable map may be the difference between 2 leads and 20. Yet so many businesses feel that they do not need one.

I hear answers like “Google doesn’t have one.” Google is a phenomenon and trust me for the big clients that Google works hard to win and keep happy; they have account managers with access to people on mobile phones day and night.

Clear contact details is an obvious one, yet one people ignore, but there are many more. There are literally thousands of subtleties that used correctly may enhance your online presence and consequent will help convert customers to cash.

I bought 45% of a business recently called Property Find International. I met the Chief Exec Andy Biggar at a networking event run by Suzie Mitchell my business development manager at UKFast. Immediately I saw it’s potential.

I knew by changing a few simple elements of the site we could not only increase the traffic to its web site, but also generate more interest which in turn may be converted to new clients.

In the first 4 weeks of release of the first site for apartments in Bulgaria we sold 27 apartments! Our new clients had never been to Bulgaria, and had no desire to view the properties or the land. In fact the properties are not even built yet.

What we did was translate our belief and the highest level of customer care on to a web site, so clients knew that Property Find International is a brand they can trust. We then broadcast that on to the Internet attracting visitors from search engines and PR, which were promptly converted into very happy clients.

Done correctly it is so easy. If you get it wrong it is extremely costly and unfortunately it is easy to go very wrong. It is no different to placing traditional adverts in publications that your potential clients may never read, a costly mistake and difficult to measure until it’s to late. Take advice from professionals who have a successful track record, and don’t be embarrassed to ask for references. If you want to have a look at the site, it is www.bulgariapropertyfind.co.uk, better still, why not buy an apartment. They are a great investment.

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