Being on the internet is as important to your business as advertising or having a good source of supplies. Today, it is an essential.

20 Reasons for being on the internet.

1. To Establish A Presence
Billions of people over the world are internet users. Some estimates suggest that as many as 4 billion people worldwide have access to it. The internet is changing the world.  It is educating, entertaining, and changing the way the world conducts commerce.  Your competitors use it and so should you.

2. To Network
A huge part of building your business is making connections with other people. Every smart business person knows it's not what you know, it's who you know. It use to be that you would pass out your business cards to everyone you met, now the internet is your primary way of introducing yourself to the public. It works for you 24 hours a day, inexpensively and efficiently. 

3. To Make Business Information Available
Where can a prospective customer find your basic business information? Information like: What are your hours? What do you do? How do they contact you? What methods of payment do you take? Where are your locations? Back just a few years ago, you would use a Yellow Page ad to answer those questions, but now it's the internet that your customer will search for the answers.  They expect to find what your special is for the day, today's interest rate, and even next week's parking lot sale information? That is a small part of what your internet presence can do for you.

4. To Serve Your Customers
Making business information available is one of the most important ways for you to serve your customers, but collecting information about them is equally as important. With that information, you can better serve them. The internet provides you the ability to question your customer in a very efficient way. This capability of the internet allows a service like a loan company to prequalify a borrower, or give accurate rates for insurance or other services freeing up a company's staff to do more productive work. .Your presence on the internet should give your customer enough information about you or your company so that they don't have to waste time on a phone to get their simple questions answered. 

5. To Heighten Public Interest
You probably won't get Newsweek magazine to write up your local store opening, but you might find lots of places online to make that announcement. Fewer and fewer people are reading magazines, so now the internet versions of magazines are where you need to be. With a website, anybody anywhere who can access the Web will become your potential customer

6. To Release Time Sensitive Materials
What if your materials need to be released no earlier than midnight? The quarterly earnings statement, the grand prize winner, the press kit for the much-anticipated film, the merger news? Well, you sent out the materials to the press with "The-do-not-release-before-such-and-such-time" statement and hope for the best. Now the information can be made available at midnight or anytime you specify, with all related materials such as photographs, bios, etc. released at exactly the same time. The scoop goes to those that wait for the information to be posted, not the one who releases your information early.

7. To Sell Things
The convenience of buying on the internet makes this such an important argument of why your business should consider the internet a critical avenue to your success. Before people decide to become customers, they often want to know more about you, what you do and what you could do for them.  Providing this information can be done easily and inexpensively on the web. 

8. To Make Pictures, Sound And Film Files Available
What if your widget is great, but people would really love to see it in action?  Things can be sampled on the internet.  The internet allows you to add sound, pictures and short movie files to your company's info to serve your potential customers better. No old fashion brochure can do that.

9. To Reach A Highly Desirable Demographic Market
The demographics of the internet user is probably the highest mass-market demographic available. Usually well educated, making a high salary.  Google recognized this fact and has revolutionized how companies advertise.

10. To Answer Frequently Asked Questions
Whoever answers the phones in your organization can tell you, that they answer the same questions over and over every day. These are the questions customers, and potential customers want to know the answer to before they deal with you. Post them on a WWW page, and you will have removed another barrier to doing business with you and freed up some time for that harried phone operator.

11. To Stay In Contact With Salespeople
Your employees on the road may need up-to-the-minute information that will help them make the sale or pull together the deal. If you know what that information is, you can keep it posted in complete privacy on the web. Companies share information with other with services like DropBox and The internet has also changed the way people phone others; now VOIP is the primary way companies communicate.    VOIP is again a service of the internet.

12. To Open International Markets
The internet allows you to open up a dialogue with international markets as easily as with the company across the street. As a matter-of-fact, before you go onto the Web, you should decide how you want to handle international business that might come your way.  Another added benefit of a web presence and the use of the internet, is if your company has offices overseas, they can access the home office's information over the world wide web.

13. To Create a 24 Hour Service
If you've ever remembered too late or too early to call the opposite coast, you know the hassle. We're not all on the same schedule. Business is worldwide but your office hours aren't. Trying to reach Asia or Europe is even more frustrating. But Web pages serve your client, and partners 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No overtime either. It can customize information to match needs and collect important information that will put you ahead of the competition, even before they get into the office.

14. To Make Changing Information Available Quickly
Sometimes, information changes before it gets off the press. Now you have a pile of expensive, worthless paper. Electronic publishing changes with your needs. No paper, no ink, no printer's bill. You can even attach your web page to a database which customizes the page's output to a database that you can change as many times in a day as you need. No printed piece can match that flexibility.

15. To Allow Feedback From Customers
You pass out the brochure, the catalog, the booklet. But it doesn't work. No sales, no calls, no leads. What went wrong? Wrong color, wrong price, wrong market? Keep testing, the marketing books say, and you'll eventually find out went wrong. That's great for the big boys with deep pockets, but who's paying the bills?  You are and you don't have the time nor the money to wait for the answers. With a Web page, you can ask for feedback and get it instantaneously with very little cost. An instant e-mail response can be built into Web pages and can get the answers you seek while they are fresh in your customer's mind, without the cost and poor response of typical business reply mail.

16. To Test Market New Services and Products
Tied into the reason above, we all know the cost of rolling out a new product. Advertising, advertising, advertising, PR and advertising. Expensive, expensive, expensive. Once you have been on the Web and know what to expect from those who are seeing your page, it becomes the least expensive and most productive market venue to use. Online users will also let you know what they think of your product faster, easier and much less expensively than any other market you might use.  For the cost of a page or two of Web programming,  you can have a crystal ball into where to position your product or service in the marketplace. Amazing.

17. To Reach The Media
Every kind of business needs media exposure, as we touched on previously. Today when we mention media,  we usually mean web media like CNN, FoxNews and the many other sites that provide us with up to the minute news about the world around us and what is going on even in your community.  It is this media that you want your ads to run on.  Even press kits are commonly online since they work with the digital environment of more and more pressrooms. Digital images can be put in place without the stripping and shooting of the old pressrooms and digital text can be edited and output on tight deadlines.  All of these benefits are available on a Web page.

18. To Reach The Education and Youth Market
If your market is education, consider that universities offer Internet access to their students and most K-12's students are also provided with internet services.  Books, athletic shoes, study courses, youth fashion and everything else that the youth market might desire is on the web. 

19. To Reach The Specialized Market
Whether you sell fish tanks, art reproductions, or flying lessons the internet is the place to be.  The Internet isn't just for computer nerds anymore; it has billions of internet users, even the most narrowly defined interest group will be represented in large numbers. 

20. To Serve Your Local Market
We've talked about the power to serve the world with the internet, but it also, of course, introduces your local neighborhood to your business? If you are located in Houston, TX, the Raleigh NC area, Boston or New York, there's probably enough local customers with Web access to make it worth your while to consider internet marketing. With Google AdWords campaigns and other similar advertising methods, you can quickly reach your local customers.