One of the most common myths about having a website is that customers will start flocking to it once it goes live online. That is just simply NOT TRUE! Whether you open a brick and mortar business, or a virtual store online, the same marketing rules apply; don't wait for your customers to find you - be proactive with your marketing efforts and you'll have more success in attracting your customers! This means not only utilizing traditional advertising and marketing mediums such as newspaper, radio and TV, but by making sure your website is SEO-friendly so it will show up in the search engines when someone searches for it. Contrary to what some may think, this doesn't just happen "automatically" when your website goes up. Your web designer should have already designed your site to be keyword and content-rich in order to be found more quickly and easily by the search engines. In addition, content and keywords should be updated frequently to keep the search engines coming back, as well as new customers!
Imagine opening a new clothing store, and just sitting there waiting for customers to come in and buy from you, without putting up any signs, placing any ads, or telling others you're open for business. More than likely, you wouldn't be open very long! It takes consistent and creative advertising and marketing to let customers know WHO you are, WHAT you are, and WHERE you are. The worst mistake you can make is to "assume" people already KNOW these things. Meanwhile, your competitor down the street is hitting it hard with enticing email offers, photos of seasonal favorites on social media networks, and giving out bumper stickers with their website address on it. These smart business owners know they have to do more than just "build it" - they have to market it too! You can have the prettiest store, and best quality product; but if you don't let people KNOW about it, they're probably NOT going to patronize you. Out of sight, out of mind....
"But I don't have TIME to market my website." Frankly, you can't afford NOT to. An out-dated website is as bad as not having one at all! You should put as much effort and attention to your website, as you do your brick and mortar site. And if you truly DON'T have time, then it would be wise to hire someone to do it for you! Financial business experts will agree that hiring someone to do what you don't have time to, is one of the best-kept secrets of any successful business!
Ask your website designer about monthly maintenance agreements or social media plans they may offer to help assist you in keeping your website fresh, updated and in front of the search engines with new keywords and meta tags. A little website maintenance every month can go a long way in helping to keep your website interesting and search-engine popular! Likewise, keeping your business in front of your customers through the social media platforms they frequent most is one of the BEST forms of "word-of-mouth" advertising you can buy! Whether you like social media or not, you can't deny its powerful influence over shoppers!
You've spent alot of money to get your website up and running. Don't just sit there now and wait for business to magically appear from it - market it and sell it really well, and THEN they will come! Whether it's a field of corn, a field of dreams, OR a website, all need to be "fertilized and maintained" in order to produce the best crop!
LT Web Designs offers website maintenance AND social media marketing plans to ALL its clients - at affordable rates for small business owners. A little investment in your website today, can mean big pay-offs in your business tomorrow! Call or email us today for more information, or a FREE no-obligation quote!
The One Question You Should Be Able To Answer, "Yes!"
As a business owner, you probably get asked tons of questions every day. Employees ask if they can have time off. Vendors ask if you'd like to carry their newest product. Bill collectors ask when you're going to send a check. Spouses and children ask what time you'll be home, and "what's for dinner?" And while all these questions are important, there's one more that you're probably being asked more and more each day - "DO YOU HAVE A WEBSITE?" How you answer this one question can mean the difference between having to stay late to accommodate an after-hours shopper, or getting off in time to catch your child's championship soccer game! If you answer "Yes", then you can relax, knowing your procrastinating shopper can get that last minute gift on-line through the e-commerce program you have set up on your website, while shopping in the comfort of their own home. And you just scored major brownie points with Jr. for being at the last game of the season! Win-win for everyone!
But what if you have to answer that question with a resounding "NO"? I'd bet the first reaction your customer would have would be a disappointed-sounding "Oh...", as their thoughts quickly turned to another like-business they suddenly remembered that DID have a website. Click! The phone line goes dead, as well as that potential sale! All because you couldn't answer "Yes"! Such a simple question, but the wrong answer can mean lost sales and customer loyalty!
Having any kind of business in today's world, and NOT having a website, is like having a home without a key to get in! Your website is the KEY to your customers getting into your business 24 hours a day! Whether they're looking for a special gift, information on an upcoming event, or just want to know your hours of operation, your website is the key that unlocks the answers to the many questions your customers have - about your business, your product or service, and even YOU! But not having a website is like keeping your customers OUTSIDE, without a key, and without a reason to stay on your door step very long. They will just simply move along to another business where the door is always open because they DO have the KEY - a well designed and content-rich website, full of the products and information they are seeking.
"But I don't NEED a website", you say. Well, just let me say this - if just ONE person asks if you have a website, then you NEED ONE! I say this with all due respect, but your business is NOT about YOU - it's about YOUR CUSTOMERS! Without them, you wouldn't exist. And shoppers nowadays are doing almost everything online - from shopping to paying bills to dating - it's just a way of life, and you'd better make sure you're in their laptop, iPhone, iPad or Android if you want to connect with them the way they connect with life! Not having a website for your business is like not having a telephone - and I don't know of any business that doesn't at least have one - sometimes two or more, dedicated phone lines! But sometimes you're just too busy to stay on the phone and answer a hundred questions a customer may have, when you can just as easy direct them to your website where they will find the answers to their questions, as well as browse your virtual store, saving BOTH of you time and money! Also, ask yourself how many times YOU, as a consumer, have asked other businesses if THEY had a website. Think like a customer, and you'll almost certainly ask the same questions!
I'm also surprised at the number of business owners I visit that have computers and laptops in their stores and shops, fully connected to the internet, yet they don't even have a website for their business! They have all kinds of fancy software, bookkeeping programs and even computerized in-store music, yet if you ask them if they have a website, they answer "No". And then I get, "but I'm on Facebook!" Well, that's a whole other blog for another day, but just let me address that by saying, that's nice, but Facebook is not YOUR website, and you do realize that when someone scrolls through Facebook, they are not only seeing your business page, but ALL the hundreds of other business pages (competitors!) that you share that space with! And while I think Facebook can be a great marketing addition to your business, it cannot and will never replace a well-designed, content-rich, photo and video enhanced, full-blown business website! In fact, you know all those annoying mini-ads you see on Facebook like Walmart, Best Buy, and Amazon? Well guess what - they ALL have their own full-blown website, chock full of products and information about their business! They're just using ads on Facebook to drive traffic TO their website, not in place of one, which is primarily what your Facebook page should be doing!
So, what's YOUR answer to the question, "Do you have a website?" If its not "yes", call LT Web Designs right now, and lets get started on your new business website TODAY! Even if you DO have a website, is it current and up-to-date with everything going on in your business, or is it just full of cobwebs and out-dated information? If so, LT Web Designs can design a fresh, NEW website for you, giving your customers a reason to take a "second look". Either way, the next time a customer asks, "Do you have a website?", you can answer with an emphatic and excited "Yes! It's www. ........" (you fill in the blank!) Now you can close your business on time and make it to the soccer game, cocktail hour, or just go home and relax in a hot tub. All because you could answer,
Website designer, social media consultant, nature photographer and published author, with over 10 years experience in business advertising and marketing!
LT Web Designs specializes in website design and social media marketing for small and local businesses in Eastern North Carolina.