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2007-02-01 11:05:00

10 Steps to Creating an Internet Presence

There are ten steps that you can take to create your own personalized Internet Presence! Here is a step-by-step guide on how to take advantage of this exciting miracle of communication.

East step is designed to assist you in your implementation and use of your new Internet marketing presence. This will help you to integrate your new Internet Presence with your current marketing presence, which, if properly utilized, will result in additional revenue sources for you and your company.

1.  Obtain a Permanent E-mail Address

There are some very easy things to do right now to make your on-line communication even easier than picking up that phone. Begin with the simplest step –- put your new permanent e-mail address on your business cards.

Be sure your e-mail address looks like this:

 e-mail:  You@YourName.com

Your web site address or URL should look like this:

http://www.YourName.com

NOTE: Check this over before printing, as some printers aren’t aware as of the difference between the URL and an e-mail address.

Having your e-mail address prominently displayed on your business cards conveys a strong message that you are a professional, on and off line.   You won’t want to cut corners here, go out and get those new cards printed today!

2.  Branding

Now that you have designed and printed your e-mail address and URL on your business cards, you need to learn about Branding.

Branding is including your e-mail address and URL on everything you handout or mail or advertise -- your stationery, ads, flyers, signs, and direct mail. 

The best way to market your new site is to "Brand" the address. This is what the largest marketing companies do. Look at CNN.com and Ford.com and IBM.com. What Branding does is "Push" customers, both new and potential, to your web site.

3.  Building Your Address Book

Building your address book is one of your first easy steps to creating a valuable database.  The newer mail manager software products make it easy as ever to “capture” the address of anyone who sends you an e-mail.

Highlight the e-mail address a message sent to you. Then “right-click” on the address you would like to add to your address book.  A menu will drop offering you an option to add this contact to your address book. Click on “Add to Address” command, and you have now  “captured” this new E-mail address.  A simple “click” and this contact is now automatically stored in your contact base for future communications.  Some mail managers offer the option to categorize your contacts in groups. Choose whatever works for you, and start building today!

4.  E-Mail – Netiquette

Now that you are  “engaging” on line, there are certain protocols you may want to understand. Practice Internet “etiquette” or “Netiquette” for the best possible on-line communication.

The first error most people make is using the “cap lock” keys, and on the Internet all caps communicates YELLING or SHOUTING.  Avoid upper case lettering unless you are really intending to get someone’s attention.

E-mail is a flat medium, so there is no expression that transfers in an on-line communication.  The use of  “emoticons” will help you clarify your intentions with a bit of on-line creativity.  The recipient will know if you are joking when they see a smile creation at the end of your text.  This is accomplished using the “colon”, dash, and end parentheses, which creates a “smiley face”. :-)  A sad face is the same sequence of keys with the end parentheses inverted. 8-(

There are several fun ways to add your emotions to the text.  Get creative, but remember to mind your manners!

5. E-mail – Sign Riders

You can now begin expanding your Internet electronic presence. Take every opportunity to  “brand” all advertising and marketing pieces into your now integrated marketing plan.  One of the easiest ways to let the world know you are “connected” is by a small addition to your “For Sale” signs. 

To further your electronic presence and integrate it with your current marketing presence, get an E-mail rider for your “For Sale” signs.  By adding your e-mail and Web address to your signs, the drive-by customer now knows you are on-line, and has an alternative way to reach you.

This new way to grab direct leads from drive by business creates a powerful 24-hour networking system without you being available 24 hours a day! This rider addition sends more than the message of how to connect with you on-line. It sends the unmistakable message that what you are about is building and nurturing a strong on-line worldwide Internet presence.

6. E-mail: Lead Sheets- The 'New' Qualifying Question

Taking floor time is the perfect opportunity to start building your digital database.  The time you invest in floor time is expanded when you add a simple question to the qualifying form you are presently using. 

When a client or customer calls for information on a particular property, ask them the question: "Do you have an e-mail address?"  If so, you can offer to send them the information they require digitally and refer them to your website for additional services. 

You “direct” them there by offering on your website an array of value added services they can use in their daily lives even if they are not interested in buying or selling. (your products or services.)

Be sure to build your address book with these new prospect addresses so you can follow up at a time when they may have a need for your services.

7. Re-Claiming-Maintaining Past Clients and Customers

Ever want to contact your past buyers and sellers, but not know exactly how, or what to say? 

Technology has given us a new reason to “Re-Connect” with our past clients and customers.  Your letter or call should primarily be used to let them know you now have an Electronic Presence.

Your first question will be to ask for their e-mail address. If they have an e-mail address, take this opportunity to send them a message and offer them your 24-hour services by sending them to your new active website.  Point out a useful service they will find on your site. Include the full address so they can simply “click” on it to get there.

This contact is a value-added service, as it communicates to your past clientele that you want to continue being of service.  Take future opportunities to send them information that would be of interest to them in their family or business life.

8. How to Send a Link

Sending a link is the way to enclose a “live” address in an e-mail communication to your recipient.  If they are “on-line” when they receive your e-mail, the link will be highlighted in a different color text than the message.  If you move the cursor to this highlighted text, the pointer will turn into a hand.  When clicked, this “hot link” will automatically take the recipient to that site, without having to search or type the web site address.

To capture the link, highlight the URL address box when you are at the site and move your cursor to the Mail Window.  The menu will drop, offering you the choice to “send a link.”  This link will then be captured and show on your e-mail message. This is a simple, but powerful way to send your sphere hot tips and useful information.

9. Creating On-Line Folders

Getting e-mail can be exciting and fun!  As you “get-connected” you will receive more and more e-mail, and need to keep it “organized” on line.   This is easily accomplished by creating “electronic” on-line folders, just as you would keep with a regular desk folder.

With the help of your Mail Manager, and using a Windows 95 version, go to the file bar and “click” to pull down the file menu.  There you will find an option list, which will include “folder” -– highlight the word folder and click and another menu will drop to “Create” a folder. A “template” or space will appear for you to name the folder.  This will allow you to keep specific communications in one place, especially convenient to keep track of customer or client correspondence. 

Create folders for those accounts or groups that you know you will have consistent exchange with. Learn how to “move” and “copy” these messages from folder to folder ... Get creative!

10. Automating your Signature

One of the rules of being on line is to automate everything you have to do more than once.  Sending numerous e-mail messages would have you signing on and off several times a day.  By automating your signature, you can create a  marketing “presence” and save yourself time!

To create an automated e-mail signature, go to your Mail Manager. In your mail manager, go to “Tools” When the menu drops, click on “Options”.  A series of tabs will appear.  Next, click on the tab that says “Mail Format” and choose the tab marked “Signatures”.  By following the commands, add your closing signature and personal information.  Include a “tag” line that will advertise who you are and make you more “memorable”. Try not to exceed five lines for your signature block.

Once you create this regular signature, you can expect that it will automatically add itself to the end of every E-mail you send.  Make a difference in your on-line communications and save those valuable keystrokes!

(Mike Barnett is CTO and Vice President of Technology ofReal Estate Electronic Publishing Company, home of RealTown.)

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