Business Websites - Who Needs Them? - They're A Waste Of Time And Money!
This refrain is most often heard from owners of established businesses who commenced trading in an era before business websites. They have been happy with the results so far. They don’t use a computer, so they assume their customers don’t either.
That said, it is also surprising how many new entrants to business and commerce still think that business websites are of little value.
Fortunately, although some of the common arguments used sound very persuasive, they can easily be refuted.
We’ve Been Around For A Long Time – Everybody Knows About Us
That may have been true for older people who read newspapers and get brochures in their letterbox.
You are now dealing with a new generation who get all their information on line. If it doesn’t exist on the net, it doesn’t exist as far as they are concerned.
Before visiting a store they will always search on line to compare prices and find out locations and opening hours. If you don’t have a website, they will go to a competitor who does.
Your hard won reputation and profile will gradually diminish (and with it your turnover) as your older customers pass on.
We’ve Always Used Newspaper Ads and Letter Drops And They Have Worked Well For Us
The problem with print ads, newspaper articles and flyers is that the content can become outdated. You can update website content at any time. It is a much easier and less expensive process than commissioning a new print run.
An added bonus is the ability to alter any mistakes you may discover after publication. A typo that you missed on your flyer will be a mistake forever (and possibly an expensive one).
Business websites also provide a larger range of media options. You can supplement your written content with videos, podcasts, webinars and eBooks.
Social media integration is another method of sharing information on business websites. Posting your content to Facebook and Twitter will help you reach an even wider audience.
We’re Open Six Days A Week – People Have Plenty Of Time To Visit Us
A bricks-and-mortar store is only open for a certain number of hours a day. A website is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
This gives both regular and prospective customers the convenience of checking out your wares even when your store or office is closed.
As well as browsing, after hours website visitors can contact you, sign up for a course or schedule an appointment. If you run an Ecommerce site you can make sales while you are at home watching television.
You pay rent on your premises 365 days a year. Doesn’t it make sense to maximise your earning capacity as much as possible? Business websites help you do this.
I Don’t Have Enough Time To Run My Business Now, Let Alone Worry About A Website
A lot of time spent with customers involves explaining the same things over and over again.
With a website, you can save time by providing information about your products and services in various online formats. Whether via graphics, downloadable documents, videos or text right on the page, the information is available to your customers indefinitely.
With a well designed FAQs page you can also address common issues and questions that customers raise, and answer them ahead of time.
I’ll Be Retiring Soon – What’s The Point Of A Website?
My Daughter Says We Don’t Need A Website – She Can Start A Facebook Page For Us Instead
Social media is a great way to bring traffic to your website and it’s a great way to share website content (depending on your target audience of course)
That said, relying solely on social media to attract customers or clients is not only preventing many prospects from doing business with you, but it does not help your credibility either.
Facebook pages are quite limited in their format and the content allowed, and tend to have a sameness about them. They are also often perceived as being mainly for “mums swapping baby pictures”
However the main drawback is that you have no control over your content. If a particular social media channel decides to change its policies and delete or restrict content, there is little you can do about it.
Added to this, Facebook is facing increased scrutiny over its business practices as this article points out.
I Don’t Know Anything About The Internet And Websites Cost Too Much Anyway
Deep down, this is the crux of the matter. Fear of the unknown.
Even if your skill levels are minimal, a reputable web designer should offer training as part of the initial package. You will be surprised how quickly you pick it up. A further surprise will be how much you enjoy the involvement.
As for not wanting to spend money on a website, you really can’t afford not to. The cost of designing a website will vary depending on your needs. However, once it’s up and running, a professional website is worth the initial investment.
Also, it’s not as though traditional advertising methods are particularly cheap. Newspaper ads, radio commercials and promotional materials can be expensive. Networking events often include the cost of a meal or a trade booth.
When you consider the potential market that business websites open up, they are a very cost effective way of promoting businesses long term.
Still Not Sure About Whether A Website Is Right For You?
Talk to Media Dreams today and let us convince you!
Michael is the founder and principal of Media Dreams, and is a former partner in a public accounting practice. He has a working lifetime of advising small business owners and has owned several himself.