"I'm not looking to sell online."
"I serve only a small geographic area."
"I have a Facebook page"
And, our favorite: "Many of our customers aren't web-savvy."
If you're looking to grow your business (hey, who isn't?) a website is a natural choice for a number of reasons. Let us count the ways:
1. LOCAL LISTINGSThe Internet is the first place people look for information on a business, brand, city or destination. They quickly search the business name in the hopes of getting a variety of information:
- Phone number
- Hours of Operation
- Services Provided
- A Link to the Website for more detailed information
Having a website allows a business the opportunity to submit this specific information to a variety of directory listings. Once submitted to local directories, much of the above information displays on search engines with an opportunity to click to the website. Without a website, this opportunity does not exist. And, to consumers, that may mean that you don't exist.
2. SHOW ME THE MONEY
Ok, so maybe you're not looking to sell online. Maybe you're a salon or sign company or tourist destination or local coffee shop. We understand. However, consumers want to SEE what you do. Did you whip up gorgeous hair-dos for Prom this year? Did you just put a new sign up at a local business? Are the beaches in your town amazing destinations and you recommend I go there? Show me.
We live in an image-driven society and people want to see what they're about to buy/experience/see/do. It's as simple as that. If you're not showcasing your product/service/destination/idea, someone else probably is. And guess who will get the business?
3. FACEBOOK FALLS SHORT
You say that you post pictures like a paparazzi to your Facebook page. Your fans see all of the wonderful creations you come up with, they know about your specials and engage with you regularly. That's great. But, in a few short months to a year, those posts are long forgotten. A newbie coming to your page is not going to scroll and scroll and scroll until he comes across the image that convinces him your product/service is for him. He may not care about the cute comments and back-and-forths with your community. He wants to see the goods (see #2 above).
A website with a portfolio section is properly organized and will help consumers locate and view the images they're looking for quickly. This makes the process of looking at your business's offering a painless process.
Facebook is a valuable resource and should be tapped to it's ultimate potential. Although questions remain. In 5 years will Facebook still be as valuable? MySpace shot off like a rocket and fell like a lead balloon through its short history. All of the data, images and communication you spent time on could be gone. Just. Like. That.
4. ONE MORE SALES PERSON
A website is up 24/7 promoting business every waking hour. No caffeine necessary. No 401k, insurance or bonuses. Are you saying you couldn't use a dedicated employee like that?
A small business website with a portfolio, a testimonials section, a feed from your Facebook (see, we're not haters) and Twitter is a robust selling machine. And it works all while helping your audience know, like, and trust you. That's a smooth sales tool.
As we mentioned, being known, liked, and trusted are all valuable if you're planning to make a sale. So, you can't slap any old website up and assume your bases are covered. Your business's website must convey that you can be trusted. A shoddy website will be like that 24/7 sales person showing up with greasy hair in a leisure suit and mis-matched socks. It's an image any consumer would want to run away from. Don't scare your consumers!
A professional website is not so out of reach. If you've been told that it is, you're looking in the wrong places. Keep looking. We're happy to chat about our small business portfolio.
The next time you're looking to dial up, logon and do an Internet search for an small business, imagine your audience doing the very same thing. What will they find?