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Eight e-Business Essentials
by Mike Banks Valentine

The success factors applying directly to ecommerce are multi-
faceted, but can be refined into eight jewels for e-business
assuming you have a product or service that people want/need.

1) Attractive, easy to navigate web site.

Don't "do-it-yourself" unless you are very good with design!
Web savvy surfers may accept a do-it-yourself look with canned
graphics and static pages from hobby sites, but never from a
business site. Professional logos, graphics and high quality
web specific writing are expected of any real business online,
as well as quick load times and consistent, understandable

2) Crystal clear communication of your benefits.

You must communicate to your visitor immediate, concise
benefits of doing business with you. If they are confused by
your web site and don't understand what it is you offer them,
they are gone in less than thirty seconds. Can you make their
life easier? Can you make them happier, more productive or
successful? Tell them on the first screen-full. Quick, stop
them before they click!

3) Build customer relations with newsletters, forums,
frequent buyer reward programs, special discounts or referral
rewards for existing clients/customers.

What can you offer them that makes your site one they care
about? Most web sites offer "something for nothing" in the
form of content. That is CONTENT related to your business.
That is why so many sites provide articles, advice, e-books,
software downloads and other related goodies. You will never
achieve online success if you offer no understandable perks.

4) Multiple forms of online, immediate payment options.

Accept credit cards, check by fax or online checks, approval
methods in real-time while the customer is at your site and
ready to buy. The most common way to lose a buyer is to make
them fill out and print a form to be mailed in. You must
accept payment online. They'll want it NOW, or not at all.

5) Search engine optimization and submission.

Showing up in the top 50 results for your search phrase
keywords is the only way to attract significant traffic to
your site outside of spending substantial sums advertising,
marketing and promotional efforts. Optimization software is
available for effective optimization help.

6) Effective online marketing and promotion.

This includes getting other complimentary sites to link to
your site and is a standard marketing task online. As much
as half of your web visitors may find you through links at
other web sites. This is definately NOT through Free-For-All
(FFA) links pages, but "recommended" links from other site
owners at high traffic web sites.

Use a "signature line" on your e-mails and regularly visit
online chats, forums and bulletin boards with useful
comments questions or advice in your area of expertise, this
earns you respect and makes people aware of your services.

7) Immediate response and follow-up to e-mail contact.

The immediacy of the web makes people expect quick responses
to all queries. If they can't find the answer at your FAQ
(Frequently Asked Questions) page, you must be prepared to
answer e-mail queries within 24 hours or less.

8) Networking and Joint Venture relationships with
complimentary online businesses.

Take a look at online business sites for the "Our Partners"
link. You will see that most effective businesses work with
other online companies that can offer complimentary services
or products. This is common practice on the web.

The above are far from complete, but each are very important
factors critical to e-business success.

WebSite101 "Reading List" Weekly Netrepreneur Tip Sheet Weekly Ezine emphasizing small business on the Internet e-tutorial online at: By week's end you're ready expand your business to the web! --------------------------------------------------------

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July 19, 2001