This is for you small business owners – Very often, a small business owner asks us how much a website will cost. It’s a funny question to be discussed in another article, but after a couple pointed questions, we provide a quote. Generally, his or her eyes get quite huge and they look like they’ve been kicked. Yeah, you can get an overseas chop-shop to throw your content in a template for you for $200. But let’s talk about what a website can do for your business, and what those goals are worth to you. Now decide if you want to hire someone who’s capable of achieving those goals.
The simplest and most obvious goal of any website is just to “get found.” People shouldn’t struggle to find you, and preferably, you should be easier to find than your competition. Not all web designers know how to build a website that will allow search engines like Google and Bing to find you, and usually it takes a specialist Internet Marketer to run monthly campaigns to keep you up in search results. These days, it’s all about content. We’ll write an article on that in the near future.
Generate More Leads
Even if you have a simple brochure website, it doesn’t do much good if people that find you leave your website right away. You want people to contact you, and generate qualified leads.
ROI: Return On Investment
Probably the biggest hurdle for a small business owner to cough up a few hundred to a thousand dollars for a simple website is the unknown about ROI. It’s difficult to know what your website will do for you, especially that there are so many people who say they’re qualified. But if your designer can demonstrate how to get your site found, and how you’ll generate more leads, it should be simple math to figure out how long until your website pays for itself.
If your website was built by your neighbor’s aunt’s beautician’s son who’s “good with computers,” you might be better off not even having one at all. Just like dressing professionally, being clean and presentable, having business cards and a business phone number, having a well-designed website adds credibility to your business. Imagine you’re your own customer. If you found two websites, and one looked terrible and was difficult to use, and the other was clean and professional, who would you contact? Does a badly designed website tell you a business is “lean and thrifty” or “not a serious business person”?
Reach a Broader Market
Say I have a small brick and mortar operation selling “Joe’s Widgets.” I only serve my local community of 20,000 inhabitants, because why would someone drive 30 miles to buy my widgets? Reaching a wide audience in the real world is expensive. On the web, just being there makes finding your wares a click of the button! Even without any advertising, having your products online makes it available world-wide. FREE
Once you have your own website, it’s simple to devise FREE marketing campaigns. Newsletters to direct people to your site can cost nothing. Putting up your latest promotions and online-only coupons and deals can be done within minutes by yourself, if you have a Content Management System (CMS – also a future article!). Simply tell your existing customers, “hey, check out my website for special deals!” People aren’t going to drive 4 miles to Joe’s Widgets every week just to see what’s there, but if they get an email, and they like your service/product, it’s just a click away!
Free Up Your Employees’ Time
As a small business owner of Joe’s Widgets, we have a lean staff. We are happy to answer any and all questions about our products and services. Our personal service is what sets us apart from our competition. However, there is simply no need to be fielding 12 calls a day asking how late we’re open! That information should be online and easy to find. Time saved for your employees means more productive employees. And it likely saves your customers’ time, too, making them happier!
Empower Your Customers
Let your customers answer each other’s questions! It’s easy to set up a discussion board where your customers and your staff can interact. Quite often they’ll come up with answers you didn’t think of! It will save your employees more time from answering questions and will give your customers a feeling of community, developing brand loyalty and increasing exposure. It will also get them involved in your products more and provide them with a larger support group.
Get Valuable Customer Feedback
After a customer leaves your store with a new Widget, wouldn’t you love to ask him how he likes this new model over the last one when he gets home? What other questions would you like to ask him? How would his answer change the way you do business?? Sending out follow-up emails to customers to fill out a survey form (for prizes, points or coupons) can get you valuable information.
Save Money on Printing
Many businesses spend thousands and thousands of dollars printing expensive catalogs, brochures, and fliers. Offering the information online and sending out emails costs nothing! Oh, and think of all paper and trees you just saved!Now you have some idea of some goals for your website and how the web can boost your business. There are many more ways than the 10 listed here that the web can save and make money for you. How much are these goals worth to you? Check out Hansen Web Design’s portfolio and pricing – then contact us for your free quote to get started today.