A website can be a worthwhile investment even if it's just an electronic version of the Yellow Pages: street address, phone number, business hours, forms of payment accepted, contact information. Except...what happens if you move, or your area code changes, or your hours, or anything else that's printed in the Yellow Pages? You know the answer to that one. But a website is dynamic -- information can be updated at any time, plus you're not limited to 2 or 3 lines worth of information. Plus there are so many ways to interact with your customer, which is a lot more interesting for them and potentially very valuable to you.
The Internet is the Ultimate Communications Tool
The Internet is the ultimate communications tool - fast and cheap. You can use it to communicate with suppliers, resellers, and of course, your customers. Some uses include:
Send discount coupons by email, reducing direct mail costs
Get customer feedback through email or feedback form on website -- it's quick and it's easy, so you're more likely to get customers to participate
Send product information or announcements
Send periodic newsletters with useful information and special offers
Put your brochure or catalog online, reducing printing costs.
For some businesses, simply putting their catalog online has saved them thousands of dollars a year in printing and mailing costs. Of course there will always be people who want printed catalogs, and not every customer will have email. But in terms of cost, you simply cannot beat the economics. To follow up with 1,000 customers through direct mail will cost $340 or more just for the postage...but with email it's virtually free. And being able to interact directly with a customer on a regular basis is priceless.