It is 9pm on a Monday and it is raining. Lots. The roof in our new house starts to leak. My husband and I look at each other and decide to get onto this right away. First stop Google – searching for “roofers Whangarei”. There are a few websites, most built years ago, some that do not respond to the screen on my mobile phone so we have to zoom in to read it. Next stop – local Facebook group for recommendations. Top two recommended companies have no website. I don’t know anything about them, who they are, or how to contact them. I now need to go searching directories for phone numbers and cold call them tomorrow. Roll on Tuesday, I am running around with kids and work – and I forget to call during business hours… It is frustrating that I couldn’t just make contact last night and get things underway.
I get a lot of people tell me that they don’t need a website – they are run off their feet, and all their business is word-of-mouth. Here is the thing… you do.
Why do I need a website when my business is word-of-mouth?
When someone is referred to use another business, many people will still want to pre-check that they offer suitable products or services before making contact. If you don’t have a website, it makes this process very difficult. It looks unprofessional – are you not established enough to have a website? Do you not care enough about your business?
In the past, people may have given someone a business card when referring you. More and more they share links to websites via social media. If they can’t find your contact details, how will they put their friends in touch with you?
Even if it is a basic website that is a couple of pages explaining what products or services you offer, who you are, and how to get in contact – this is plenty. Think of it as your online business card or store front. This is your opportunity to make a great first impression to those people who have already heard you are worth talking to. Make it EASY for them to see that you are awesome and get your most up-to-date contact details. If you have a contact form or appointment booking function and they can get themselves into your sales funnel at 9pm on a Monday night – even better! Capture those word-of-mouth leads when they are hot!
But I have an ad in the Yellow Pages…
I don’t know if you have noticed, but these books are getting smaller and smaller… that is because people have moved on. The number of these books that get delivered in my neighbourhood and get left by the letterbox or go straight in the recycling bin reflects the relevance and usefulness to many.
The number of my friends, family and clients who no longer even have a landline at all is also worth considering here.
I am sure that some people do still use them, but do you want to ignore the huge majority of the population who turn to Google instead?
The opportunity to have YOUR say
In a world of social media – there are a lot of opportunities for people to spread the word about your business. Good and bad. Your website is the one piece of the online world that you can take ownership of. Your website is a true business asset and you should ensure that it reflects the level of professionalism that your business has, rather than relying on the word of others.
It is your opportunity to put forward the best view of your business. To say what you are about, give the truth about what you do or sell.
I have a website already
Great! A few basic things to check to make sure it is doing what it needs to do…
- Does it reflect the branding of the rest of your company still?
- Is it mobile-friendly?
- Are the contact details up to date?
- Does the contact form work?
- Are the photos recent?
- Do all of the links go to pages that still exist?
Old, dated and broken websites can be a poor reflection on the quality of your services or products. Take care of this as you would other public-facing brand assets (such as signage, vehicles or staff uniforms).
Once the basics are covered, then steps can be made to help your website rank higher than your competitors too.
Ensure that you make engaging with you as easy as possible
Basically, yes you are busy, and that is awesome – but if you put your best foot forward online and make contacting you easy, imagine the quality of clients you could be attracting. Are you busy with the second tier ones, when you could be attracting even better customers?
About the Author
Leah Harold runs Little Biz Online – a web design business that focuses on ensuring that small business owners get to put their best foot forward online. Professional, modern websites at an affordable price. Leah also has a strong focus on training clients (young and old) to manage their websites for more simple tasks – so that they stay current and relevant, without huge maintenance costs.
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