|> Need a Website?|
QUESTION 3: I already have a web page with another organization. Isn’t that enough? Wouldn’t I be duplicating my efforts?
If you have a web page with your Chamber of Commerce or with a listing service in your industry or parent company (i.e. realtor.com, Teleflora, bbonline, etc.), that is a GOOD thing! However, that is not a web site. It more than likely only offers contact information and a brief description of what your offer. It lumps you into a wide category that generally includes your competitors, and in many cases, it doesn’t offer the interaction with the public that your own website would offer. Finally – you don’t own the site or have control over it.
Your web site brands you as unique and reveals your identity. The good news is that having that page with the Chamber or other listing service will enhance and empower your new website. It will drive more traffic to your site and put you one step ahead of the marketing game.
Think about it. If a visitor is looking for a florist on Teleflora and finds five listings close to home – and one of the listings has a link to its own website – that visitor is going to go “one click further” and click on that florist’s website. When scanning a list, people always want to know more. Your link gives them that opportunity.
QUESTION 4: I don’t sell merchandise on-line. Why would I need a web site?
You may not sell merchandise on-line, but do you sell something special that people are looking for? Do you ever have a customer say “I came here because you sell ________.” For example, a store that sells a line of products or brands that are highly sought after by a faithful following, (i.e. Dept. 56, Boyd’s Bears, Hallmark Cards, Red Wing Shoes, certain lines of animal products, clothing and accessories, tools) is going to have potential customers that search the Internet to find out who sells those brands in their local area. Will you be on the search results? Will your competitor be?
The same applies to restaurants and lodging. People are visiting a certain area. Over 70% of travelers in the United States and Europe use the Internet to set travel itineraries – and those itineraries include restaurants, accommodations, and shopping. Will you be among the choices found when they search the Internet?
In a nutshell, if you offer something that people are looking for, a large portion of people (perhaps a market unknown to you thus far) will search the Internet, because it’s fast, it’s easy, it’s global and it’s private. A web site will put you in the running with others on the Internet.
QUESTION 5: I don’t even use the computer regularly, and I’m not that computer literate. Would I be able to handle what’s involved in maintaining a web site?
Using the computer is like playing the piano. You can play “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” or a Sonata by Chopin. Either way, you’re getting a tune out. To maintain a web site you should have a computer, and you – or someone in your company – should be able to send and receive email. Your web developer can help you with maintenance, changes and updates, which is generally simple and affordable.
QUESTION 6: We build our customer base through personal relationships. Our customers aren’t computer users. Wouldn’t a web site be a waste considering our clientele?
Your current customers may not use the computer much – that is possible.
A worthy concern should be about the potential customers that do use the computer and CAN’T FIND YOU. Statistics prove that 65% of the population in rural areas uses a computer at least once per week, and 85% in metropolitan areas use a computer. These percentages have NEVER decreased. It is likely that they will continue to increase. A website keeps you in sync with this trend.
Another interesting statistic:
The fastest growing sector of the American population getting computer literate is between the ages of 50 and 75. This sector also includes those with the highest percentage of disposable income.
A website helps you target that using population.
Another thing to think about …. 75 years ago, the American population felt that the telephone was an expensive luxury and not crucial to business growth. That sentiment continued for 30 years. As social communication trends changed, and expenses decreased – businesses changed to insure profitability. Use of the Internet will only increase in the next ten years.
QUESTION 7: I have a cousin who can make web sites. I’ve already promised him that he can do ours.
Is your cousin a qualified web developer? If so, you’re the lucky one. Be sure to impart a sense of urgency in getting the site completed. If he or she makes websites as a hobby, you’ll want to consider the following:
QUESTION 8: Our upcoming advertising commitments will consume all the money we have budgeted for advertising.
It is important to recognize that a website is NOT an advertising investment. It compliments and empowers your advertising efforts. Ads are the property of the advertising vendor, and are a revolving cost to a company. You buy an ad for a specific amount of time – and then the ad is gone.
A website is a marketing and communication tool that belongs to you. You control it and you can use it continually. It is a company asset similar to a telephone or fax machine. You buy it one time and only pay for the service to use it. Websites reach a growing customer base that up until now has remained hidden to you. It also services your current customer base, giving them more options to communicate with you.
Once you have a website, you can print your web address on all of your advertising, offering potential customers and clients an opportunity to find out more. A website in today’s world is also a stamp of credibility to the public that hasn’t yet met you.
The following quote is an excerpt from Small Business Magazine – October Issue 2003.
“Customers and other people who come in contact with your business expect to find a reputable businesses on the Web, so don’t risk your credibility by not being present.”
QUESTION 9: I prefer the “personal touch”. Our new clients / customers come to us because of the personal service they receive. A website seems so sterile and impersonal. It won’t attract “our kind of customers.”
This statement is commonly made by specialty shop owners and real estate agents. Real estate agents will add “I already invest high dollars in space advertising.” This is probably one of the most frustrating objections for us. The business owners that express concerns such as this one are the nicest people we meet – and usually sound business people. They know how to treat a customer or client with special care.
However, they don’t understand that all kinds of people use the internet to access information. The internet, unlike advertising mediums does not target a set demographic. Magazines, Newspapers, Television, Radio – all are demographically based. Family Circle will always target young women between the ages of 25 and 35 that have young children. Country music radio stations target a specific audience as does Cable news programs or shows like Sesame Street.
The internet targets everyone in almost all demographics. And those demographic shift and change. Ten years less than 50% of the population used the internet. Five years ago, primary users were people who worked in offices in jobs that were above the median income level. Three years ago the fastest growing demographic for internet use was minor children. Today it is retirees. 7 out of every ten people you meet in America uses a computer at least once a week. “Are your potential customers the other 3 who don’t?”
There are over 8 billion web pages indexed in the Google search engine. The top three commercial markets on the web are Technology, Real Estate and Tourism. Technology businesses know they need a website. If you’re in real estate (even an individual agent) YOU NEED A WEBSITE. If your business markets to travelers (accommodations, restaurant, specialty shopping, tickets, travel wear, recreational products, travel gear, animal care, children’s activities) YOU NEED A WEBSITE. Statistics show that 7 out of 10 people will go to the internet for information before they purchase real estate or set a travel itinerary.
A website usually is rather impersonal – and that’s a good thing. When people use the internet they want information not a personal relationship. The information will bring them to you. You create the relationship.
A website gives you a higher number of potential customers to create a relationship with. If internet users don’t find you on the web, they’ll seek out your competitors who have websites.
QUESTION 10: I wouldn’t know what to do with a web site if I had one.
The answers to the questions and concerns above should expand your knowledge on what a web site can do for your company. But consider this in addition to what has already been covered:
Try to understand the mid-set and culture of this group of people that uses the Internet to find information:
There are two reasons people search for company information on the web.
A website is a marketing tool that costs you ONE TIME and continually repays you by giving your company exposure for as long as you keep it available.
A website greatly expands opportunities to communicate with potential clients and customers that you may not yet be servicing as well as current customers. It gives your company a mark of credibility with that continually growing portion of the population of Internet users.
A website at its basic level can offer the following benefits, and possibilities for expansion are endless:
When you consider the continual growth in numbers of Internet users and the growth of companies that are on the Internet, some of which may be your competitors, it could cost you NOT to have a web site.
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