"How important is on-line advertisement and promotion for my business ? Is it worthwhile to spend money on this ? Does it give any return on investment ? If at all I decide to pay - to what extent should I go ? "
These are some of the questions uppermost in the minds of most aspiring on-line advertisers. Given the virtual character of Internet and common perception of on-line advertising as perplex to bizarre - one should not get surprised at such reaction. But what is the truth ? Does on-line advertisement work ? What's wrong if I continue to work with free e-mails and other resources available free in Internet ?
Let us analyze the situation step by step and examine the issues.
How Important is Internet for your Business ?
To evaluate value of Internet advertisement - its necessary to understand first what role does Internet play for your business.
If your business model is such that Internet is used only for research or dissemination of information - on-line advertisement may not be considered critical for business success. Consequently, you may not keep much in your promotion budget for Internet.
Off-line business models such as large business houses (e.g. Reliance, Tata, IBM etc) Realty, Distribution, Transportation etc. may fall in this category.
However, if your business uses Internet for sourcing, selling, distribution, marketing etc. - significant Internet presence becomes critical for business success.
Spend Money to Earn Money
It really surprises me that many people, who otherwise are astute business men, fail to grasp this simple concept whenever Internet is concerned.
Mind you, these are the same people who do not think twice before spending significant amount in print or electronic media advertisements.
There is a misconception that everything is free in Internet. Nothing could be further from truth than this !
If Internet is important for your business - there is no escaping the fact that you need to spend money and effort for its optimum utilization.
All businesses need to spend money on marketing and promotion - Internet based business can not be an exception. For healthy growth of any business - it is important that a part of profit is re-invested in the business. There is no 'free' substitute to this age-old adage
How Much and Where to Spend ?
The amount of money to be spent is dependant on your business - important thing is to accept the fact that there is no free substitute. You may start with a small budget and increase it as your business grow.
Priority should be on establishing web presence and developing credible ways of communication such as business e-mails. After this preliminary expense - one should explore ways of attracting customers to web-site and finding useful trade leads. Search engine submission and on-line advertisement are some of the ways of attracting customers to your web-site. Subscribing to trade portals, trade information services etc are some of the ways of finding useful trade leads.
One look at bottom-line of major Internet advertisement firms such as Yahoo! and Google is enough to convince any astute businessman on importance of on-line advertisement. If Google can become larger than Coca Cola in less than 6 years by selling on-line ads - its time to take notice and become aware of huge money businesses are spending for on-line advertisement throughout the world. Ignore the trend at your own peril !
Happy and Productive Surfing
Dr. Amit K Chatterjee
FAIDA - Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad
Vol: 6, Issue 33
; June 8' 2006