Your Online Strategy: Don't Wait Until It's Too Late!

by Guest Expert

More than two years ago, Australian retail boss Gerry Harvey predicted that on-line retailing would be a flop

More than two years ago, Australian retail boss Gerry Harvey predicted that on-line retailing would be a flop <http://www.smartcompany.com.au/retail/gerry-harvey-has-head-in-the-sand-say-online-retailers.html> . He turned out to be dead wrong, and is now crying foul and leading a campaign trying to convince the Australian government to increase taxes on on-line sales, in a futile attempt to make his stores more competitive. Regardless of the merit of his campaign (and I think he's completely missing the point <http://www.gihanperera.info/2011/01/harvey-norman-missing-point.html> ), it's a sobering thought that even somebody as business-savvy as Gerry Harvey got it so wrong. What's more, if we make such a big error of judgement, most of us don't have his deep billionaire pockets to try to get out of the mess.

So don't wait until it's too late!
Last week I blogged about how I bought Garr Reynolds' excellent new book, The Naked Presenter - using a completely different buying process than the typical book purchase.In brief:

  • I'm a big fan of Garr's other book Presentation Zen.
  • I follow Garr's blog Presentation Zen, which is full of high-quality content (which is important - otherwise I would have unsubscribed). 
  • His blog post last week mentioned the new book. Because Garr had established trust through his first book and his blog, I knew the new book would be fabulous. And I didn't even need to read book reviews, read a sample, or anything like that (although those things would have been easy if I wanted them). 
  • I clicked through to Amazon.com, where I could buy the print edition for US$15 plus postage (and a long wait for delivery); or the Kindle edition for US$9.99 (and instant delivery). No contest! I chose the Kindle edition. 
  • I don't have a Kindle. But I do have the free Kindle app on my Samsung Galaxy Tab, so within minutes I had the book in my hands! That's the picture you see here.

This is not the way most people buy books ... yet! But I strongly believe it's going to be that way soon. If you're an author, speaker, trainer or thought leader, are you ready for this shift?That's just one small example of how the on-line world is threatening parts of the off-line world.

You don't have to change EVERYTHING to change SOMETHING
The good news is, to get started you don't have to completely overturn everything in your business, any more than Harvey Norman would have to close down every store in order to start selling on-line (In fact, many other retailers make this transition simply by creating a new store called "Internet" in their database, and then they don't have to completely overhaul all their purchasing, distribution and inventory systems).It's OK to start small, as long as you do make a start.These are the three most important components of your on-line strategy:

  1. A Web site that's up to date and answers the four Why questions about doing business with you (Why This? Why You? Why Now? Why Me?) 
  2. An e-mail newsletter that keeps you connected with clients, colleagues and potential clients 
  3. A blog that shows your authority and understanding of what's happening in your field of expertise

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