A website is unique from other marketing mediums (even social networking) in that it can actually handle some of your business processes in addition to being a marketing tool.
But how do you find processes you can move onto your website?
The best way is to go through your business processes with one of the following types of people (listed in order of preference):
- A web professional
- A friend who isn’t that familiar with your business
Regardless of who goes over it with you, make sure that you list every single process out that you can think of. Start at the marketing process, how you get leads or potential customers. Then move to the actual sales process. If you’re in a service-based industry, this will likely involve sales meetings. If you’re in retail, it will probably involve the potential customer actually shopping in your store.
After that, discuss the purchase process. Then if you’re creating something for the customer after the purchase, walk through that process, including both internal communication and communication with the customer. Finally, go through what happens when the project is complete. Through everything, describe the processes as completely as possible.
As you go through all those process, keep an eye out for processes that are calculable, or ones that are the same each time. Look for things that you’ve already see online. Forms, automatic calculations, disseminating information or anything that can be put into video form would be perfect.
You should be able to find a process or two that you can move online. Since your processes probably change over time, make sure you reevaluate every year or so.
Finally, make sure you don’t force a customer to go online if they try to call you for the information. Go with the flow Whatever method they want to use, go ahead and use it. Many people will prefer the website, but if one particular customer wants to just call you, let them.