Every day we talk to business owners who haven’t put the face of their business online yet. Or, worse yet, they?ve had their nephew or neighbor kid design a website – but this is a kid who does this for fun, and doesn?t know anything about polished design, marketing, usability, security or the other factors that go into developing a professional website. Now maybe you’re one of those business owners who doesn?t yet have a professional website, but that’s because you really don’t see a need for one. Which of these excuses are you using to avoid getting a professional website?
Excuse 1: It’s too expensive.This is only a problem if you’re viewing a website as an expense. Truth is, a website is an investment, not an expense. And it’s one of the best ways to level the playing field between you and all the other competitors in your marketplace. Let’s imagine for a moment that you owned a car dealership. Think about the biggest and most beautiful dealership you know. They have a huge lot. They have a large indoor showroom. Everything is beautifully appointed and designed to get people into the car buying mood. Now if you were just starting out in the car business, there’s probably no way you could compete with that. You’d have to start with a small lot and offices, and work your way up as money allowed. And even with a small lot and offices in a good location, you’d still be putting down a healthy six figures a year for buying or leasing the place, utilities, and upkeep.
Now here’s the thing…When you put up a website, you level the playing field. You can compete with the biggest car dealership in town when you have a polished website. And you know what? Most of your customers are very likely to start with your website to see what you offer before they visit your physical location. Now while I used a car dealership as an example, this example applies to ANY business. Whether you run a candle shop or a chiropractic center or a golf course, you too can level the playing field between you and your competitors by getting a professional website. Best of all, leveling the playing field online take a whole lot less cash than trying to do the same thing offline. Offline leases, franchise fees and the like easily run into six figures a year. Developing a good website is just a fraction of that – probably starting right about $10,000 or $15,000. That’s a bargain when you realize you can compete with the “big boys” in your market for such a small cash outlay.
Excuse 2: We’re on FacebookThat’s cool. It’s a good idea to include Facebook as part of your overall marketing strategy. However, what you don’t want to do is build your online presence on the back of someone else’s business, because that’s like building a house of cards. Facebook may change their advertising policies tomorrow, they may ban you for some minor infraction, or they may disappear when a new competitor arrives. If you think that won’t happen, just look at giants like MySpace – no one thought they’d shrivel up and die before Facebook came along. When you build your online presence, it should be on a website YOU control. That way you control the content, you can build a list of leads, and you can present all your product and service offerings. Go ahead and integrate a social media strategy, but don’t build your business on Facebook.
Excuse 3: Our customers are all local and offline.When you have a brick and mortar store, then it can be pretty easy to fall into the trap of thinking that since your store is offline, then the best ways to reach your customers are offline.
But here’s the thing…Today more and more people don’t even visit a brick and mortar store until they’ve checked out their website to get more information. They want to look at their smart phone and get the following from your site:
- Your hours.
- Your phone number.
- A map to your location.
- More information about your products or services.
- Testimonials from your satisfied customers.
- A place to join your mailing list.