In the course of our work, we encounter many business owners who see their Website as a burden rather than what it actually is—a major opportunity.
Quite often, business owners consider their Website little more than a necessary evil. “Our competitors have Websites, so we have to have one.” Approaching your Website with this mentality is the single, worst marketing mistake you can make this day in age. By cutting corners and doing the bare minimum where Web development is concerned, you practically ensure that your Website won’t perform to its potential, eliminating any hope of a return on your investment (ROI). Right about now you may be wondering, “An ROI from my Website? Really?”
It may be difficult for some ‘brick & mortar’ business owners and for smaller, ‘mom & pop’ businesses in particular to embrace the marketing dynamics of the modern era. However, all one has to do is look around—everyone’s on their phones and mobile devices—where many of us live and work these days. There’s the first clue: your Website must be mobile-friendly. That raises another consideration: your Website needs to be fully responsive—meaning, it displays and functions optimally on all devices— primarily computer screens, tablets and phones.
The next realization is that an age-old fact is also true in the online realm, perhaps more so than anywhere else: first impressions matter. If your Home page doesn’t pique the interest of your online visitors and start engaging them in the first few seconds, they’ll simply surf elsewhere else in the vast online ocean, never to probe deeper into your site.
We see owners investing significant sums of money in their businesses, yet who are still resistant to budgeting for a Website as an integral part of their business and marketing. Even then, when owners do spend on Web development, they often tend to sell themselves short by using stock photos rather than telling their own, unique brand story visually in custom photography. And don’t forget the need for well-crafted content in the form of copy—an excellent marketing tool, as well as the backbone of well-conceived search engine optimization (SEO).
15 or 20 years ago, business didn’t have websites, relying solely on word of mouth and more traditional forms of media advertising. However, opportunities to not only promote one’s business, but to actually transact business online are redefining the value and potential of Websites—and their ability to generate a very respectable ROI from a decent, yet comparatively modest investment.
Start thinking of your Website as a virtual brochure, an electronic portal through which current customers and new prospects, alike not only learn about your business, products and services, but can also purchase and schedule them right there online.
You may begin to see possibilities that you’d never imagined. Suddenly, your Website is as essential to your business as a wait staff to a restaurant, stylist to salons, and vehicles to shipping companies—no matter what type of business you’re in.
One of the best ways of envisioning the potential of a Website to deliver an ROI is to realize how Websites, alone have made businesses household words: Amazon… Facebook… Google. Now, imagine how a Website can augment your retail store… repair shop… consultancy—the list is endless, just as the potential and possibilities are for a Website to grow your business of any kind or size, exponentially.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to invest in an excellent Website and start reaping the rewards is its ability to promote your business ‘without selling.’ A great Website can be your virtual sales team/department/support staff—without all the attendant headaches—from salaries and out-of-pocket expenses, to office space, sales car fleet maintenance and more. Even better, your Website keeps on working for you 24/7, after and before hours—without needing to pay overtime.
That Website and ROI potential may be starting to look like a comparative bargain and ‘no-brainer’ when compared to other, far more costly and riskier investments—not to mention the tendency to over-spend on such traditional business expenses as sales and marketing and media advertising.
In addition to building an excellent Website, and in order to start earning an ongoing return on it, you need an excellent Web maintenance team to keep it updated and high performing. Start thinking of your Web developer as your savvy investment counselor.
The fact is, embracing the Web is only the beginning, being as how next generation technologies like Augmented Reality are just around the corner—but that’s a subject for a future blog post.