Does every Redcliffe business need a website?

No.

Really?

A website is an investment just like any other that your local business makes and therefore needs to generate more return than you spend on it. If you do the maths and won’t get a return through increased customers or sales from the cost of the website then don’t get one.

If you are a sole trader and thinking of retiring soon, you have your steady customers and your business has no resale value to anyone else then no, you don’t need a website.

The only other situation where I think that a business would not need a website is if you have all the business that you can handle from local customers and would have to turn away any additional customers. Good for you! In this instance I’d be asking about where you are getting your customers from. If it is from paid newspaper, radio, TV or magazine advertising then you may find that you can reduce your overall advertising spend through an online presence.

$500 spent on newspaper or radio advertising disappears as soon as the ad has finished. $500 or any other amount ‘invested’ into your website or into search engine optimisation (SEO) continues to provide returns everyday that the website exists, 24hrs / 7 days a week.

So here are my top 12 reasons every Redcliffe business and Redcliffe tradesperson needs a website. (When I say Redcliffe I really mean anyone in the Woody Point, Margate, Clontarf, Kippa Ring, Scarborough, Newport, Deception Bay, Redcliffe and North Lakes area)

1. Targeted and Qualified Leads

If someone has used a search engine to get to your website then they are already interested in the products or services that you provide. If they then call through to your number or contact you via email then they have further qualified themselves by confirming that the information on the website backs up their need for your service/product and that they are within the local area. You minimise timewasters.

2. Your Competition has a website.

If your competition has made the decision to invest in a website then they obviously thought the cost was worth it in relation to generating new business by other means. For as long as they have this advantage then they will be receiving increased market share from local customers researching online (1/3 of all online searches are for local products or services. Think about that for a moment – 1/3 of all searches by Redcliffe region residents are statistically for local purchases – who are they more likely to find?)

If your competition hasn’t gotten online then you can seize a leadership position in the market place.

3. Time is against you

The day is approaching where not being online is a rare thing for people. The rapid uptake of smartphones such as the iPhone and Android devices mean that people are able to access the internet in most places that they are. The National Broadband Network will push internet access into almost every home. In this type of world every business will have a website so you are putting off the inevitable. While you wait you are missing out on customer enquires that are there for the taking.

4. Green friendly

Save on masses of flyers and other print material being added to landfill each year. For extra points there are schemes where the CO2 footprint of your website visitors can be offset through the planting of trees.

5. Free advertising

Being found in search engines is a source of customers that you didn’t have to go and find, cold call or advertise too. With the reducing relevance of Yellow Pages and other print directories this source of traffic is becoming the lifeblood of small businesses (and also why we hammer on about SEO). Although Google Local can get your foot in the door you really need a website to access this free advertising.

6. Sell Online

If your product or service lends itself to selling online then you can reduce your operating costs and save your customers time travelling to your location by implementing an online ordering and dispatching solution. The opportunity to upsell or cross-sell is still available in most e-commerce solutions so you don’t lose that benefit.

7. Showcase your Expertise in your Field

Contemporary content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress make it very easy to add new articles to your website. By providing your take on current industry happenings or educating local Redcliffe region customers about your service or range of products you build up your reputation and ‘expert’ status which increases the likelihood that customers will come to you for solutions.

8. Leverage your Existing Advertising

When you are paying by the centimetre or second for your advertising then you want to jam as much information in as possible. Including your website address allows you to provide a location where the prospective customer can find out more so you can focus on key points in your limited ad space.

9. Leverage your Social Media Accounts

Social media accounts such as Twitter, MySpace, YouTube and Facebook are great ways to extend your business and brand online. They increase the size of your sales funnel by a significant amount but you still need a home for your business online that ties these accounts together and acts as a focus point for these visitors. This is best done by your own website.

10. Level the playing field

A well thought out and deployed website can position your company on a level footing with larger competitors.

11. Multimedia Hosting

A website gives you an unparalled platform to showcase images, audio and video of what you do. You might have this ability at a tradeshow or expo for a weekend however a website will provide this all year round. Given the cost of attending expos in both time and money a website is a no brainer.

12. Own your own content

Many small businesses are guilty of using Facebook as a proxy website. Is this you? If so well done for using Facebook in the first place but you can do things even better. The reason many businesses do this is because Facebook or other social media accounts are very easy to update where a website might be less so. This was especially the case with older static HTML websites but blogging solutions such as WordPress now negate this problem.

You need to remember that Facebook is owned by a 3rd party and that your content exists on their website. Should you step outside the Terms and Conditions then you could lose your company page. You would be much better placing your content on your own website so that you benefit from the visitors and traffic rather than Facebook. There are specific strategies that maximise the interaction between your website and Facebook(insert applicable social media site) which are outside the scope of this post.

If you can think of good reasons not to have a website then drop them in the comments below. If you would like further advice about how a website will fit within your marketing strategy then please send me an email at [email protected]

Remember: A website is just the basic building block of any online marketing campaign. We then crank up the other methods to drive people to the website and to make them buy.