4.3 eBusiness Overview

Advice to SMEs notwithstanding, any company hoping to succeed on the Internet today will also need to undertake the following:

General

 1. Study market trends.
 2. Research competitors, especially:
      a. profitability and financial base.
      b. market sectors sold into.
      c. nature and size of customer base.
      d. selling approaches adopted.
      e. website: presentation and search engine ranking.
 3. Identify market niches, using:
      a. keyword software.
      b. market research.
 4. Establish their unique selling proposition, identifying:
      a. preferred customers.
      b. market sector.
      c. optimal prices.
      d. advantage(s) over the competition.
 5. Develop a marketing plan, using:
      a. natural search engines.
      b. pay-per-click services.
      c. social media marketing and similar platforms.
      d. free services.
      e. email marketing.
      f. newsletters.
      g. press releases.
      h. affiliates.
      e. conventional advertising.
 6. Create a website or blog, with:
      a. own or third party hosting, or
      b. webbuild company, hosting company or own staff.
      c. links to social media marketing and similar platforms.
      d. scripting and database.
      e. shopping cart.
      f. merchant account or Internet payment provider.
      g. traffic analysis.      
 7. Write an appropriate business plan, specifying:
      a. unique selling proposition.
      b. staffing levels.
      c. capital requirements.
      d. predicted cash flows and balance sheets for three years.

Additional Business Type Requirements

Selling Physical Products

Companies selling a physical product will also need to:

 1. Research
      a. supplies and suppliers.
      b. customer profiles, possibly with cluster analysis or neural nets.
 2. Devise optimal prices, with:
      a. focus groups and customer research.
      b. market research.
      c. kNN analysis.
 3. Build a loyal market base, with:
      a. surveys.
      b. market research.
      c. social media marketing.
      d. bulletin boards.
      e. product information and white papers.
      f. after-sales email and livechat support.
      g. customer relationship management software.
 4. Develop the appropriate website, possibly with:
      a. sophisticated shopping cart.
      b. portal.
      c. auction software.
 5. Obtain an Internet merchant account.

Selling Content, Subscriptions or Services

Companies selling information or services will also need to:

 1. Consider alternative outlets, possibly
      a. other epublishers.
      b. amazon.
      c. PoD
      d. mobile platforms.
 2. Consider distance-learning services.
 3. Add digital rights management controls.
 4. Employ subscription management services.

Affiliates

Companies selling other people's goods or services will also need to:

 1. Find popular products that pay high commissions, with:
      a. affiliate marketing groups.
      b. keyword software to identify active areas of the market.
 2. Join one or more affiliate solution providers.

Selling Advertising

Companies selling advertising will also need to:

1. Increase targeted traffic with seo or pay-per-click services.
 2. Hone their media kit figures.
 3. Employ an advertising agency.
 4. Use Google AdSense or its many clones.
 5. Employ banner ads (software or service) and/or third party networks.

Questions

1. Suppose you are selling leisure goods over the Internet.
      a. what competitor research will you undertake, and how?
      b. describe your marketing plan, detailing what Internet services you would use.
      c. what would your business plan cover?
2. Suppose you're intending to sell financial advice over the Internet:
      a. what Internet services would you consider using, and why?
      b. how would you market your service?
      c. outline a three-year timetable.

   Get your eBook here.