We’ve all heard the old expression and recognize the truth in it, and just because business has moved so much into the online world, it’s no less true today than it’s ever been. The difference is that now it’s your website where most customers will form their first impression of your business. Before a customer ever calls you, schedules a meeting, or hires you, they check you out online.
What do they see?
Your website is your home base, your digital signage and your opportunity to connect all the pieces: search engine optimization, social media, review sites, video, and more. The goal is to create an asset that helps converts new visitors and gives existing customers a reason to come back via new content, social media updates or email.
An unattractive, difficult-to-navigate website is like building on sand. There’s no point in attracting visitors to your website if it has nothing to offer them or worse, turns them off because it’s nonfunctional, ugly, or poorly written. Spending time or money trying to direct online traffic to a bad site is the same as building on sand – you’re throwing good money after bad. Most of the customer’s decision-making has occurred before they ever contact you. If they are turned off by your website, they’ll never contact you and you’ll never have a chance to change their negative first impression.
You don’t have a retail storefront; your work is your “store.” The web is your shelf space: this is where you can show off your work and reach hundreds – if not thousands – of people at a time instead of just one-on-one. It can also be a great lead generator and lead qualification tool where you can begin initial engagements with customers and get to know them quickly before diving in on a full-on house build.
This is your space to show off, and built correctly it can both show off your great work, outrank your competitors and be simple to manage – all without breaking the bank. It does require some time and a commitment to work with a professional marketer who knows how to build and deliver a professional online presence. There is no “quick fix” for a broken online presence or website.
To be even barely relevant your website MUST be:
If you really want to stand out:
A website that accomplishes everything that I stated above can be built and launched for less than $5,000. But that’s really only half the battle – maintenance, updates, and a proactive plan to drive traffic to the site matter as much, if not more, than the site build. That can be very reasonable too and the math is pretty easy: what is a new lead or a new closed deal worth to you? How many of those does it take to pay back this type of proactive marketing at least 5-10 times over?
There also is an inexpensive but vitally important aspect to managing a website behind the scenes – this includes backups, security provisions, secure hosting and backend software updates, to prevent the unwanted but possible “hack” of your website. An effective website management partner will have a system for hosting, backups and overall maintenance to give you peace of mind that they have you covered in case something happens. Very effective website backend maintenance and management for a site as described here can cost as little as $50 per month.
Take a look at your main competitors’ websites. You’re going to see one of two things:
Does this sound like a lot of work? It is! But it’s worth it, because you aren’t going to accomplish anything with your web presence without a good, solid foundation. If you want a small business marketing expert to help you out, let’s talk – contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (501) 485-3048.