If you thought that what your business does can’t be sold on the internet, you could be right. But, the internet allows you to promote yourself and your business to a far-reaching audience who might be looking for exactly what you offer. Your business website exists first and foremost as the most effective promotional and marketing tool you will ever have for the time, effort and money invested.
You might think that advertising in the local paper is all the exposure you need, but can you be certain that anyone who might want your service buys that very paper? Sure, there’s no way to guarantee that everyone has the internet either, but once your website is up and running it’s a good bet that someone searching on the internet for your type of business, in your local area or field of expertise, will see it.
Have a think about how you look for services and products yourself. For most people, their first port of call is a search engine – “I’ll just check on Google” – is uttered frequently in most houses. If you are going online to find things, isn’t it likely that your potential customers are doing the same thing? We recently met up with one of our website customers, David Reynolds, www.mot-normanton.co.uk and he explained how he came to the decision that he needed to get his business online. He said: “I started to realise if I was looking for a plumber, or a builder, I’d look on the internet, then I thought, I’m not on the internet and I should be!”
Before I go further, I should point out that it’s better to have NO website than one that’s poorly designed. Your website is often the first contact a customer will have with you and your business and as many as 46% of consumers cancel plans to spend with a small business after finding a poor quality website.
Plan your website from a potential customer’s point of view. It has to be user friendly, appealing and relevant to your business. If you are baffled by all of this and are not sure where to start, it is worth having a quick call with one of our team for a free web review so that they can talk through what would work for you and your business plans.
Cost is, of course, relevant especially for a small business. But did you know that BT can help you create, launch and maintain your website for as little as £25 per month*. There are other ways to do it of course, but have a proper think before using a low-cost template. It’s low cost for a reason and there will be hundreds if not thousands exactly like it out there.
Once you’ve launched your website, make sure you give it time. The phone won’t start ringing off the hook with new orders straight away. You’ve got think of the website as part of your overall marketing mix.
It should complement other efforts to drum up business not replace it.(Online selling is an altogether different proposition and one that definitely requires professional help to set up. And if your business lends itself to selling online, go for it!)
Blogging is one way to use your site to keep customers entertained or informed about what’s going on with your business. And if you are a small independent, it could be a great way to interact with some of our customers and find out what they think about you.
Visibility should be another reason to have a website. It’s available when you aren’t. Opening times, telephone contacts, directions to your office, product details, special offers and more. A customer is also more likely to trust you if they can see who, where and what you are, online.
Finally, with the advent of delay/catch-up TV and digital recording of programmes, it’s easier than ever to skip past the ads during The Simpsons or X-Factor. As a result, it’s getting harder and harder to reach customers through traditional advertising.
So before you ask if you can afford a website, the question is can you afford not to have one?
*Plus one-off setup cost of £199