"I Just Need a Website"
March 01, 2012 at 2:45 PM
Here's an analogy for you: A website is like a retail shop.
The website design is like the shop itself. Is it well laid out with eye catching signage? Easy to find what you need? Dazzling product displays and exceptional service? The kind of store you want to spend time in?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and online marketing is like the location of the retail shop. Is it on high street with great foot traffic? Or, is tucked away down a back alley nobody can find without a compass, and the latest GPS app on their Iphone?
Having a high quality, well designed website without a well thought through online marketing strategy is like having the perfect retail shop, hidden away from its customers. It could have the best products, prices, service, layout, and displays, and it would still be out of business in a month.
We've been designing websites for small businesses for the past 4 years. Although the question of "how do I get people to my website" seems to be coming up more as time goes on, the vast majority of small business owners seem to be stuck in the "if I build it, they will come" paradigm.
The sad reality, is that for most small business owners, simply getting a website is the businesses entire online marketing strategy, not just one component of it. As a result, business owners are spending a good amount of money on the design and build of their website, only for it to fall well short of the mark from a results perspective because nobody is coming to it. This leads them to the conclusion that websites aren't the valuable business marketing tool they thought, and that the whole internet thing is something scary and mysterious.
When we started our website design company, we had next to zero capital. We were a humble beginnings enterprise – pretty typical of a lot of small New Zealand start-ups. But we had one thing – a basic understanding on online marketing. We used that basic understanding to create a website with a high visitors to enquiries conversion rate. Then we ran a Google Adwords campaign, and Search Engine Optimised our site to drive people looking for businesses like ours to our website.
Later on we looked at social media, blogging, banner advertising and a whole bunch of other stuff. But with just those two basic initiatives we were able to pull in over 50 qualified leads per week, with a cost per lead of under $30! Our business took off.
I guess the point I'm making is that small businesses are slow on getting the picture. Both the website design and the online marketing strategy need equal investment and attention to get a result. One without the other is like a canoe without a paddle, or a paddle without a canoe – you're not going to get very far without both.
The fact that so few small businesses are willing to invest or explore online marketing gives a huge opportunity to early adopters. While your competitors are still throwing money at all the traditional forms of marketing, it leaves the online space relatively easy to dominate. The less people competing on the search engines or Google Adowords auction, easier to climb to the top.
So after your website's built, don't just think "great, got my website sorted. The end." Your only half way there. The next step is to talk with an online marketing company about how to drive the right traffic to your site, and to make sure your website is converting those visitors into enquiries. Pretty simple right?