The Website - Small Business Marketing - Part 2
Why is it that small businesses don’t invest in a high-quality website?
As a small business owner, you have no problem paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for a phone book ad. You do this because you feel like “If I don’t list my business in the phone book, then I’m missing out”. So when the yellow book salesperson comes knocking, you answer the door and you write the check. When the radio or TV salesperson comes knocking, you open the door, you listen to the sales pitch and you will likely write them a check because you can’t “miss out” on this great advertising special which will reach thousands or millions of potential clients. When the local Chamber of Commerce hosts a small business marketing event, you sign up and you show up, you learn about this great marketing opportunity in road signs, so you write a check.
When the local business networking exchange group meets, you attend, you do your 3-minute talk about your business and you talk with other business owners, and your network. You may even write a check for services.
But when it comes to building a website, which is a 24×7 phone book, the always live and on-demand TV or radio commercial, and the advertising sign that is always there, you shy away from writing that check. You talk to friends and family and you find someone who knows someone that can build you a simple website. Congratulations, you just saved yourself a couple of thousand dollars, good job!
But, does that website perform? Does it drive visitors to your business? Does it do the job of the phone book ad? If someone found your business in the phone book, they would call you and talk to you or one of your employees who would encourage them to visit and buy, does your current website do that?
If someone was watching television and saw your commercial for your product or business, they would likely want to use your product or visit your store, after all, that is the whole idea behind having the commercial in the first place, but does your current website do that?
A potential new client is driving down the road and sees a sign for your business, the sign will help drive them to your storefront. But I ask once again does your website do that?
What we often see is that the owner of the small business is often looking at their advertising through a blinder (a blinder is a piece of horse tack that prevents the horse from seeing to the rear and, in some cases, to the side.). What I mean is that as the small business owner, you likely have answered a resounding “Yes” to the “Does your current website do that” question. And we expect that, but let’s do a few litmus tests to see if your website actually does what you think it does.
1. Have you had your friends, family, and co-workers/employees provide honest and anonymous feedback on your website? How was it received?
2. Have you asked your clients to provide honest and anonymous feedback on your website?
3. As a potential new client/customer, if I go to your website and three of your top competitors’ websites, who am I likely going to call first and why?
The one analogy that I often tell our clients is (I’m using ‘AAA Carpets and Rugs‘ as my example here) “It’s 2 a.m. me and my wife are up online looking at carpet stores looking to buy new carpeting for our house. We are very excited and enthusiastic. We go to Google and type “New Carpet in Fredericksburg, Virginia”, you are in luck your business shows up on the first page (you do show on the first page, right?), but two of your competitors are listed above your listing. Not to worry, you are confident that your website will sell. They visit the first two websites and then your website. They have made their list of questions to ask, and they have made their pros/cons list for each company based on their website and their reviews (you do have reviews, right?). So, the question to ask yourself is, who are they going to call or visit first when the stores are open? Will it be yours? Being first on the list is where you not only want to be but where you need to be. You need to be able to see these potential new customers so you or your sales team can do their job and sell them carpeting.
Now, armed with this analogy, do some deep looking into your website and see if it makes the list of your top competitors. Visit your competitors and see what they do differently (don’t steal their words). Once you are done and you have a list of things that you do better and a list of things they do better, “phone a friend” and see what makes their lists. You can’t do this on your own, trust me, you see your business totally differently than others do. As an example, many small business owners will come to us and tell us that they want their logo to be larger on the website. First, there are standards, but we have had many ask to have it larger as they consider that their identity and their clients will recognize it. They are right, their current customer will likely recognize their logo, but we are more interested in attracting new clients right now, plus your logo isn’t as recognizable as you may think, it isn’t a “household name” like Microsoft is.
Next post we will talk more about the logo.