We all know in business that if you want to sell your services or products then you need to advertise in one form or another. Traditionally before the internet came along you would invest in a prime position for your physical real estate space (Shop) or you might decide to go for a less trafficked area to reduce the costs and advertise in print, radio or TV.
If money were no object then we would all like to be positioned in the ‘High Street’ AND have the print, radio and T.V. advertising but unfortunately money invariably IS an objection so we always need to compromise our ideals.
With the invention and spread of the internet we can “have our cake and eat it”. Whether you are a global conglomerate or a new start-up business we all start on an even keel. The cost of your domain name (www.yourbusiness.com – your online shop) and the cost of hosting (your online real estate rental) is pretty much the same.
Where the two methods (old-new) start to divide is the budget you allocate for writing good content, having original and dramatic images and paying to optimize your site for the search engines (so that they can find you easily). The rest is down to something called marketing and again the budget will dictate the sheer volume of articles, posts and general exposure.
Just like you would pay a lawyer, a real estate agent and a decorator to prepare your real world ‘shop’ there are certain specialists that are needed to prepare your online ‘shop’ (website) to become operational. A web-designer will locate and purchase on your behalf the domain name and source the best hosting company according to your needs.
Then he will select the best theme for your site to match your needs and build the site to your requirements. As the business owner you can leave all the technical problems to your designer but you will still need to have a say in the layout and functionality of your site. Most good web-designers will have a questionnaire for you to complete to guide you through the whole process so that you are not left wondering what you are supposed to be considering!
Most of the time unless you have a clear picture of what you want/need then the web-designer is probably best positioned to achieve your desired goal – to bring in new clients or keep existing ones informed as to new developments.
As I have written numerous times before unlike pre-internet business you are not restricted to one location by budget as your new-age internet business is now visible globally at no extra cost. The extra cost only comes on making it more easily found in multiple ‘search-term’ or ‘keywords/phrases’.
Let us use our own web-design business as an example of what I mean.
Our web-design business has no physical real estate as far as marketing goes. You cannot pop in to see us as our team is located in multiple locations around the globe. We do not have any physical products you can pick up and touch – all of our work is viewable online at our or other websites (client site we have built).
Whether we are dealing with a customer in California, USA or Hong Kong, China our operating costs remain the same. We do not need to open new branches in either location nor do we need to employ local staff. Everything we do in one website (location) is available to clients in every country in the world that has access to the internet.
Well, if you are a local business that provides a personal service or product (restaurant, Spa, real estate agent, etc..) then you might think that a website will not bring you as much custom and therefore not worth having one, but you would be wrong to think this!
Local businesses have just as much need, if not more so, as the benefits can be felt that much quicker and that much more beneficially. Local businesses need to keep on providing what they have always provided in the way of a unique selling proposition – Personal service and knowledge of your customers likes and dislikes. Now with the help of the internet you can offer even better personal attention to even more people than you ever did before at a cost more affordable to small/medium businesses.
You can automate the time consuming tasks and spend more time looking after your clients.
Pre-internet how would you let people know of a new offer or promotion?
You would probably have used the local newspaper or magazine to inform existing and prospective clients or even sent out a letter or even promotional flyers. This form of marketing is still in existence today but is gradually becoming unaffordable, slow and ineffective.
These old methods of marketing are time consuming and costly – preparing copy, getting them printed or waiting for the print run – and there is no way you can highly target to just the people that you want to market to. Every time you posted an offer out to people directly there was a cost for your printing and for the posting or delivery.
With the internet there are no printing or delivery costs. You can produce yourself the mailout in minutes and have it delivered to hundreds of people before the day is out. You can even automate standard responses to offers that you have sent out so that your clients are dealt with immediately and personally. The best part of all is that the quality of your mailing can be of a professional standard at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing methods.
So in conclusion I think that you would agree, no matter what size your business the need and desire to have a website is of the highest order. We provide websites from just US$ 199. What is the cost of a one-time advert in your local paper/magazine? What now makes more sense to you?