I’m happy to have Robert Tuchman, author of Young Guns: The Fearless Entrepreneur’s Guide to Chasing Your Dreams and Breaking Out on Your Own, on the blog today. Robert will be sharing his thoughts on the importance of embracing new media technology in your business.
The 1990s are over. No longer do we exchange 800 numbers—now, only URLs. URLs are the 800 numbers of the 1900s. You have got to work through the Internet—there is no way to step on it or go around it.
You Need a Web Presence
The first step is to build a website for your company. Your website must display the concept of who you are to the external world—and it has to compel them to come inside.
When building a website, take advantage of those looking for jobs in our poor economy: hire a young, driven web designer who is looking for a shot at success. All you need is a clear sense of the image and feel you want your site to convey to said designer. Once the site is established, keep it updated and always look to improve it.
A well done website can make your five-cent lemonade stand look like Country Time. Emphasize the fact that you can offer better services than some of your competitors (who are probably extremely large, impersonal corporations).
Web Communication Strategy
Building a website is an absolute must—as you cannot be taken seriously without it—but it should not suck up all the energy and resources that you have. Today’s amazing capacity for communication makes extraordinary new things possible for you and your business.
If you concept is solid, your timing is right, and your commitment to your core idea is unshakeable, you can make big things happen with your website, and make them happen quickly. But as with any other communications medium available to your business—free or paid—the message has to be crafted carefully, the resources invested wisely, and the potential and actual payoff evaluated closely.
Focused Communication with Customers
Your customers are, right now, communicating and connecting in ways that you could not possibly have imagined a few years ago. If you want to sell to them, find out what they are doing.
Make connections with your prospects and customers, both in person and online! Find out what they are doing in the virtual world—tap into their world of Blackberries, iPods, and any other realms that seem appropriate. Listen and learn all that you can about what is going on. By doing this you can identify powerful new ways to launch and promote your business and to target its message.
Don’t Forget Social Media
Check out Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Linked In and other virtual networking sites. Make a profile!
Be conscientious with the information you display and the person you portray. Making an appealing profile on a popular a site as Facebook and Twitter can facilitate thousands of connections, and thus potential business opportunities.
Do this after your company website is complete (–now you can set up a system of link-backs!).
The Power of SEO
Once your website is established, and the concept solidified, you must make sure that your site is ranked at the top of the search engines of Google and Yahoo.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not an exact science—but there are already thousands of companies that are willing to bring you to the top of Google and Yahoo.
Make sure your website contains SEO-friendly text and link it with buying strategies that will help your site’s ranking.
Leveraging New Media
New ideas you come up with involving new media may not require much capital. For example, writing a weekly article for an e-newsletter costs nothing—and is extraordinarily beneficial when distributed to those in your potential customer base.
In addition to working up the appeal of your own corporation, you can also gain inside information on your competitors with the Internet—start with your competitors’ own websites.
Then, check out their Facebook and Twitter pages—see what they are offering to their potential clients. This will give you an upper hand when negotiating with someone choosing between your corporation and another.
Understand Generational Differences
Finally, know that your future customer base will include a younger generation who finds it in their second nature to use the Internet and e-mail.
It is essential that you understand that their first instinct is to email, rather than meet in person or talk on the phone. Make an effort to reach them via the medium they are most comfortable with—as they are, in fact, your future customers.
The Internet is so sufficiently advanced that it seems to be nearly indistinguishable from magic. But do not be weary. The transport of word, of mail, of human voice, and of shining image—in this century, as in last, our greatest accomplishments still have the sole aim of bringing people together in community. The Internet is the means to bring people, communities, and corporations together now.
Robert Tuchman is the founder and president of Manhattan-based TSE Sports & Entertainment . He has been quoted as a leading authority in sports business by publications including USA Today, The New York Times and BusinessWeek.
Robert also is the author of Young Guns: The Fearless Entrepreneur’s Guide to Chasing Your Dreams and Breaking Out on Your Own.
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