Many website and business owners have very little idea just how much their website can do for them. They see a website as little more than a “glorified business card” and are only tapping into 10% of their website’s potential. Are you one of these business owners? The purpose of this post is to help get your thoughts flowing about how you might better take advantage of the web.
Most business owners have no trouble seeing how a website integrates with the sales or marketing departments. I’ll touch on that, but I want to talk about other departments as well. If there’s enough interest, I’d be happy to expound on my thoughts in another post. And as always, feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section.
Integrating your website with your marketing department
- Position your brand through images, colors, design and copy online. Are you a cost leader? A differentiator? Do you serve a particular niche? Does your website match your message?
- What about the information about your brand on other websites? Are you advertising in appropriate contexts? Is discussion about your products or services happening where it makes sense? What search engine keywords are bringing people to your site?
- Marketing is incomplete until you get feedback. Use your website to gather feedback through a tool like getsatisfaction.com (monthly license) or by building your own like this one (http://wpaoli.building58.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/feedback-panel.html )
Integrating your website with your sales department
- Support your sales team by explaining your product online, publishing whitepapers, additional information, images, etc. that they can reference when talking with potential customers
- Upload videos of your product or service in use for those who prefer that medium
- In addition to having your phone number all over your site, you might Implement a “lead generation” form right on your home page to capture sales. This type of approach appeals to the visitor who is perhaps surfing after business hours or prefers to give some additional information about his/her problem before the salesperson calls. Have this form email directly to your sales team
- If you get a lot of leads over your website, you might consider integrating with a customer relationship manager like Infusionsoft, Salesforce or SugarCRM
Integrating your website with your accounting department
- Create a “pay bill online” link that can be as simple as a paypal link or as complex as a full blown e-commerce style page
- Create a login area where customers can log in and see their account balance and pay their bill online. You might take this even further by implementing a full featured customer portal
- Send automatic reminders to your customers when their bills are due
- Allow vendors to log in and access purchase orders, order history, RFPs and more
Integrating your website with your operations department
This type of integration will vary greatly with the type of business you’re in, but here are some general ideas:
- Create a company knowledge base using Wiki software (freely available). This will allow your employees to enter (possibly password protected) area where they can document standard procedures, policies and so forth. A knowledge base is a great resource for employees to refer to, and it can help train new employees quickly & efficiently
- If you’re in a service-based business, you might consider setting up a helpdesk for customer support. Skyhook has a helpdesk which allows our customers to open a trouble ticket with us either through email or a web interface (http://support.skyhookinteractive.com). These tickets are tracked internally and we are reminded automatically to follow up
- If you are in a goods-based business, you might consider moving some or all of your inventory online through an e-commerce solution. Big Commerce, Interspire and Magento are all excellent choices for selling things online. If you’re not ready for a complete retailing package, you might consider just selling a few items with Paypal, an eBay store or through Amazon.
Integrating your website with your HR department
- Post job openings on a “career” page of your site
- Accept resumes through a web-to-email form gateway
- Provide a login for employees where they can report hours, track vacation time, get benefits information and so forth
- Work with your marketing department to design an appealing message that will attract top talent to your firm
What ideas do you have for integrating your website with other areas of your business?