The design and development of your website is finished and you can’t wait to see it online. Congratulations! You’ve crossed a major hurdle to getting your business noticed and starting to draw in customers that you otherwise might not have been able to access.

But, simply having the site online isn’t enough. If it was, the web would be a collection of websites that all looked the same and had the same things on them.

As a business owner with an online presence, you have an opportunity available to you that business owners from years back wouldn’t have imagined possible in their wildest dreams. See, those business owners could only take out ads in newspapers, magazines, and other print media. They could only talk to radio executives about how much it would cost for a 30 second radio commercial when the most people might be listening. They could only take their pick of billboards on the highway and then hope that the right person saw it as they were driving by – and was able to remember the information on it by the time they got home.

In short, the business owner of the past was only able to choose from a bunch of options that essentially accomplished the same exact task: the broadcasting of a message to as large a collection of people as possible in the hope that enough people bought from them because of that advertisement that they recouped the money they spent on it.

Today, that methodology has been flipped completely upside down. Today’s marketers and advertisers know that the best way to ensure that your marketing is effective is to determine who your ideal customer is and then market directly to that person. You don’t need everyone to hear your message, you only need the people who want what you’re selling to hear your message.

And, we live in a time when people search for what they want, when they want it. Either by mobile or by desktop, today’s consumer has instant access to an endless array of products and services and hundreds, if not thousands, of vendors that want to sell it to them.

When a consumer engages in such a search, the message that you want them to hear is one that establishes you as an authority in your given business area. It is one that shows that you not only provide a superior product or service, but that you are a knowledgeable resource and are willing to engage in the community around your product.

This is the essence of inbound marketing. Your website, when used properly, is a marketing platform more powerful and farther reaching than anything a business owner has ever had at his or her fingertips. Used incorrectly, your website might as well just be a sign hanging in your window, visible only to the people who walk by. You’ve seen these sites before – sites that simply list the name of the business, their phone number, location, and maybe a contact form.

The site that focuses on content, however, is the site whose owner takes their modern marketing efforts seriously. This is a business owner who understands that, today, it’s not just about having the right product but having the right community and support around that product.

Who would you rather do business with?