A word pervading our society, making headlines around the
world, and causing the stock market to rise and fall with
It seems every business news story centers on some
technology company’s “DOT-com” or “DOT-bomb”!
With all the positive and negative hoopla, business owners
of any size company can throw up their hands and feel the
“E” world has left them behind.
Every business owner, salesperson, or professional asked one
of two questions in the past year, either “Am I using e-
commerce correctly?” or “How do I effectively get involved
You can buy hundreds of books and pay thousands in
consulting fees to analyze and debate the answer to the
To answer to the second question just follow these 12 steps.
Step 1 – Buy a domain name (your own DOT-com). Go to
http://www.NetworkSolutions.com and research names. Can a customer
easily spell and remember it?
Step 2 – Write down your online goals and prepare a time and
How soon do you want your e-commerce site up and running?
How much will you spend?
How many hours will you devote to the site and when?
Step 3 – Surf the web to find other sites you like and
dislike. Learn from others’ successes and mistakes by taking
the best of what their sites offer and adapting it for your
Step 4 – Design your site on paper. Define elements, look,
feel, colors etc.
Step 5 – Hire a professional to set up the graphics and
navigation, but with the intention of you or your staff
maintaining the site’s day to day operations, communication
Step 6 – Invest in a digital camera and web publishing
software such as Microsoft Front Page or Adobe Acrobat to
keep up with the site’s maintenance.
Step 7 – Maintain, change, and update your site at least
once a month. (The one exception to this rule are those one-
page, sales letter websites. Once you have one of those that
performs well and makes sales, don’t change it!!)
Step 8 – Promote your site at every opportunity. Tell people
about it. Put your web address on your business cards and in
all your ads. Some companies even advertise their web
address when they put you on hold on the telephone.
Step 9 – Give people a self-serving reason to visit your
site. Coupon savings, discounts, special incentives, free
information, and free newsletters represent excellent
enticements for attracting visitors to your site.
Step 10 – Concentrate on obtaining an email address from
every customer and potential customer.
Obtain permission to send periodic, value-added malings to
Use a list server to organize and maintain your mailing
Step 11 – Always look for and use the simplest solution or
Whether adding a shopping cart, database or other option to
your e-commerce operation, seek out and use the simplest
answer for your needs.
Step 12 – Become educated and stay current in the world of
Learn the marketing and sales techniques of the online