Does My Local Business Need a Website?
How many months has it been since you went looking for information in the yellow pages? How many minutes has it been since you asked your favorite search engine?
I think you just answered the question about whether or not your local business needs a website.
Without a doubt, websites are the most overlooked vehicle of advertising for small, owner-operated businesses. Every retailer needs one. Every dentist, lawyer, accountant and minister needs one. Every café, restaurant, coffee shop and nightclub needs one. Every wholesale supply company needs one.
I'm not suggesting that all these need to accept online orders and actually transact business online. I'm just saying that everyone listed in yesterday's yellow pages needs to be available on today's internet. It's where your customers expect to find you.
Properly constructed, a website allows your prospects to gather information from the privacy of their computer monitors. What are the questions you answer every day? And what, exactly, do you say to customers when you're speaking to them face-to-face? This is exactly the information that needs to be available on your website.
Think of your website as a relationship deepener, a half-step between your advertising and your front door.
Do you suppose it's easier:
(1.) to convince customers to visit your website, or
(2.) to convince them to get in their car, drive to your store, park that car and walk in your door?
Additionally, internet is heaven-on-earth for the 49 percent of our population that's introverted.
Introverts prefer to gather information anonymously, unlikely to dial your telephone number except as a last resort. Even more unlikely is that they'll choose to walk into your store and engage a chatty salesperson. But don't think introverts are shy. They simply like to gather the facts before putting themselves into a position where they're likely to be asked to answer questions. Forty-nine percent of your customers prefer to know what they're coming to buy before they walk in your door. And even the extraverted, chatty 51 percent will appreciate an informative website that functions as an expert salesperson during the hours you're not open for business.
Don't think for a moment that your customers aren't already online.
Every time a client tells me their customers are too old, too monied, or too traditional to be online, I immediately gather a crowd of them and ask, “How many of you have used a search engine in the past 7 days to research a product or service you were considering?” I raise my own hand.
The hands raised in echo are never less than 85 percent of the crowd.
Launch a website. Make it interesting. And watch your in-store sales begin to climb.
Roy H. Williams
PS – If you sell for a living, don't miss Steve Clark's NewSchool Selling class Oct. 26-27 at Wizard Academy's Tuscan Hall.
PPS – The Wizard Academy reunion was awesome. I promise to give you details in next week's memo.