Even though having your web site hosted at TrainWeb will bring you more rail related prospects than any other site on the web, you will be misusing the power of the web if you only view it as a source for generating sales leads. The web is actually best used as a "follow-up" tool. Don't look at having a web site for your company as "another" mode of advertising. Instead, use your web site in conjunction with all of your current advertising. Your web site is best used for telling "the rest of the story", the information about your business and your products or services that does not fit cost effectively into any other medium of advertising.
TrainWeb will bring many new prospects to your web site, but that probably will not be the bulk of where visitors to your web site come from. They will come from your other advertising. How will this bring you any more sales than you are getting now? Your current advertising gets a lot of people interested in what you offer, but many of those people will never call you.
There are many reasons why they will not call. People fear their name, address and phone number will be placed on lists for junk-mail and telemarketing. Even if you don't sell or share prospect information, they don't know that. Most people do rightfully assume that they are going to get a sales pitch when they call the phone number on advertisements. Thus, most of the calls that you do get are from the few people who were able to become interested from what little information you were able to fit into your ad. Their interest had to be serious enough for them to call for further information despite the possibility of getting a sales pitch or ending up on a telemarketing or bulk-mail list.
Don't you often feel that you could generate serious interest in many more prospects if you had the opportunity to more fully show and explain your product or service offerings to those prospects? That is what a web site can do for you and that is how a web site is best used! It isn't hard to design a print ad that leaves the reader wanting to find more information. It is not as hard as designing an ad that will actually motivate the reader to call you. Put your web address in those ads so the reader knows where to get the additional information they are seeking.
Once the prospect has been drawn to your web site by your print ad, you can now tell him the "rest of the story." Dozens of photographs and hundreds of pages of information can fit on your web site. Most vendors won't need all of this capability, but it is there to meet your needs as you continue to find new and exciting ways to interest prospects in your offerings.
On your web site, you can show and describe each and every item that you offer in detail. There is no struggle trying to describe your products or services in a 2 inch ad, or even a 2 page ad! You have as much room as you need for whatever photographs and writing it takes to close the sale.
Your savings alone will probably pay for the cost of your web site many times over. How do you handle calls from prospects now? An 800 number? An order fulfillment center? Do you send out brochures? How much do those full-color brochures cost to print? How much do they cost to mail? Even with those brochures, can you fit the whole story about your company and its products and services? On your web site, every photo and graphic can be full-color and you have room for dozens of them. There is virtually no limit as to how much you can say about your company and your offerings. You can tell the entire story on your web site and don't need to print and send as many brochures. Would not the savings from printing, mailing and phone calls alone more than pay for your web site? That doesn't even include the additional interest and sales that you will generate from the people that never would have called for additional information.
So what do you do once you have convinced your prospect? There are many options. You can have your phone number and street address on your web pages just like you do in any print ad. This allows prospects to order by phone or mail, whichever you currently accept from your print advertising. You can also place forms on your web page that the prospect can fill out, print out and fax to you. But, in addition to the standard methods of ordering, you can also allow your prospects to place their order via e-mail. If you want to receive the orders by e-mail, we can send them to you that way. But, if you want to receive orders immediately and not wait until you check your e-mail, we can convert e-mailed orders to faxes and send them to your fax immediately!
As a full sponsor at TrainWeb, you may also open a store in our online mall. With a store in our online mall, additional prospects will find your store that are just browsing through the mall. Also, a store in the mall allows prospects additional options for placing an order with you. You select the payment methods and shipping methods that you will accept and those options are presented to your clients. If you accept credit cards or checks, the customer can provide that information online and that information can be automatically checked and authorized by your financial institution before you even get the order!
In your store in the mall, the customer can wander about your online store examining information and photographs or graphic displays of all of the merchandise that you have for sale. They can place items in their "electronic shopping cart" and decide whether they wish to buy the items or put them back before they go to the "electronic checkout counter". This online store feature in our mall is provided to you at no extra cost as a full sponsor at TrainWeb!
So, where should you display your web address to draw prospects to your web site? Put your web address in ALL of your ads. Put it on your business cards and letterhead. If you advertise on radio or television, use it there! By now, you've probably seen web addresses on advertisements by most major national corporations. When was the last time you saw a movie in the theatre that didn't publish their web address on their previews? If you have a message that plays along with "music-on-hold" on your telephone or if you have voice-mail, put your web address in the message!
Actually, you should think twice before you print anything or purchase any promotional items without your web address. Why not put your web address on your business envelopes? Do you purchase T-shirts, baseball caps, pens or coffee cups to promote your company name? Do you sponsor any clubs with uniforms or sponsor any other local civic organizations? Why not list your web address along with your name on these items? Doing this will not only get people familiar with the name of your business, but will allow them to become aware of what your business does!
Do you have a storefront? Put you web address on your sign. People who happen to stop by after hours and find you closed, can still examine your products and services online and place an order! You can post your hours of operation on your web page so that people will know when you are open for walk-ins and phone calls.
The bottom line is: Don't think of a web page as just another source of prospects. Think of it as the follow-up call to close the sale! Think of it as all those full-color brochures that you did not have to pay to print and mail. Think of it as the salesperson for your company that will tell everything about your offerings to all those people who never would have called!