Here’s a shocker for you. Over the last decade, the Internet has changed the way we Americans do business. Here’s a bigger shock. While 97 percent of all Americans state they look online for products and services, studies show that only 44 percent of small businesses have a website.
You may think you don’t need a website, but you really do. A company website is a basic, must-have marketing tool for the 21st century. It’s an easy way for small businesses to market on a level playing field and look just as good as bigger competitors for very little money. It’s a way you can reach new customers, efficiently market your products or services, and grow in ways you never thought possible!
Having a website allows you to:
- Differentiate yourself.
- Create authority and credibility with customers and within your industry.
- Share ideas and be social.
- Benefit from search engines bias to show local results.
- Save costs by answering frequently asked questions.
- Build an e-mail list.
- Get recommendations easily from your current customers.
- Obtain instant leads.
We tell our clients that websites are living and breathing. For us that means they can change and grow and expand without a lot of fuss as your company changes and grows. You’re never stuck with web content. Changes can be made easily!
Speaking of changes, perhaps you’re reading this and thinking, “We just did our website three years ago, so we’re all good.” Think again. Internet technology changes very quickly, and the best way to ensure your site is getting its due with search engines is to keep your content fresh. Adding posts about events you’re planning, updates to your staff or their credentials, or new technologies you’re certified to provide are easy ways to update.
Remember, though, that having a website is not enough. To be taken seriously, you need a professional-looking website. Mom always said you only get one chance to make the first impression. Make sure it’s a good one with a website that allows your potential patients to find you and one that represents you well. Working with professionals is essential. Try to avoid using your sister’s neighbor’s kid who took an HTML class once to create your website. Find a pro and tell them what you’re looking to create and what you can afford to spend.
Beware of template sites and special offers from firms that “will do it all for you.” We’ve had clients who’ve signed on with Yellow Pages or other similar services for their website and have had bad experiences with the process. Custom sites yield better results in the search engines, and oftentimes with Yellow Pages deals, the company takes over ownership of your practices’ domain name and holds it hostage only allowing you to utilize the templates they offer for your design. You want to maintain control of your sites design and content.
There are plenty of ways to get your message up professionally and inexpensively while yielding the results you want. E-mail me if you’d like some ideas!
It’s important to think about what you can comfortably spend on this project—and all your marketing activities for that matter. A website is not a marketing plan, but it’s a key component. Planning your year of marketing up front is useful for budgeting and consistency. It’s not too late to work on that plan…stay tuned for more on this next time.