Two other common misconceptions about having a website are
- “I’m / my business is too small for a website” and
- “I’ve got enough work at the moment. I don’t want to do anymore advertising now because I won’t be able to cope with the work.”
Websites aren’t about advertising, they are about building relationships. Good and lasting client relationships are essential for long term business success. A website gives your client a place to come back to, a place where they can tap into your valuable advice and expertise, a place to see what you have to offer, even when you’re not physically available or your shop is closed.
A lot of small businesses have a constant battle between trying to reach enough people to make the business survive that month and keeping up with the work that does come in.
A typical cycle is to embark on a “massive” advertising campaign, using pamphlets (most of which get thrown in the bin, often without a glance), adverts and possibly some cold calling. This usually generates some work, so all marketing efforts come to a dead stop while the work is being done. Then the work is suddenly done and the money too and now we need clients again. Freak! Embark on next gruelling advertising campaign. Repeat until breakdown or bankruptcy.
How a small business owner paid a fortune to lose clients
One of our local business owners is a carpenter. He has a beautiful selection of cupboards, tables, cabinets etc at his warehouse / workshop. Unfortunately, his premises are way out in an industrial area so clients never go anywhere near there. He feels he is too small for a website. And he doesn't have enough work and doesn't know how to reach people.
A few months ago there was a huge show in town and the carpenter paid twice the price of a website for a stall. There he displayed his goods to everyone who walked past. Unfortunately, he wasn’t the only guy at that show with his type of product and very few people go to a show with the idea of buying a cupboard or a table.
A couple of people placed orders (and so he was snowed under for a few weeks) but a far greater number of people saw him and browsed around. And because they have no way to “return” to him, they simply walked away and forgot him. What a pity!
If the carpenter had had a website, he could have collected the e-mail addresses of all the people who were interested in his work, but who didn’t want to buy immediately. Then he could have contacted them on a regular basis throughout the year, sent them to his website where he could display his latest work and so generated work for the whole year.
But because he thinks he’s “too small” and because he felt he had enough work to carry on with, he's now in a pickle. And it's a long wait for the next show to come round... Not a good situation from a cash flow perspective.
A website, combined with a planned internet marketing strategy, allows you to make regular contact with existing clients (Pareto’s Principle says that 80% of our income comes from 20% of our clients so it makes a great deal of sense to keep in contact with them) as well as to market to new clients. And it's far more efficient and effective than the usual hit-and-run cycle that is usually followed.
For a small business, especially one consisting of only one or two people, a website allows you to automate a lot of your “cold-calling” and “advertising” which frees up a chunk of time to focus on building business relationships and to do the work that comes in. A steady stream of work over time can do a lot to calm ragged nerves!
Small businesses, which normally don’t have a ton of money to throw at a traditional marketing campaign, especially on a regular basis, are the businesses most in need of a site! However, many people have told me that they don’t want to invest in a website because they’re scared it won’t work and they’ll have wasted their money.
But if you are using a professional to help you build your website, (either to build it for you or to teach you what you need to do yourself), someone who not only knows how to build a good site that takes the needs of your business into consideration, but who also supplies you with regular internet marketing advice and suggestions, and you spend some time actually trying these approaches...
...what do you think are the chances that it won’t work at all?
And if it does work, even just a little bit, what are the chances you can reach more people, more regularly, than you can with pamphlets, brochures and radio ads (which cost a fortune every time)? It may seem like a bit of a challenging prospect, but isn’t it at least worth a try?
Talk to us today about getting your website working for you: