Having relocated our offices recently to the Havelock NC area, we’re surprised at just how many local businesses do not have an actual website. While many have some form of basic social media presence such as a Facebook page, there are still businesses who have decided an investment into a website isn’t worth their time and money.
And it isn’t just Havelock. As New Bern Chamber of Commerce members, we have access to their full membership directory and again, there are businesses in the New Bern NC area who have not invested into the design and build of a website.
Having talked with the owners of several of these businesses there are a variety of reasons behind their decision not to invest. One business owner (retail sports in Havelock NC) commented that he isn’t very technologically savvy and that he’s quite content with the level of business he’s attained. Another store manager (in New Bern North Carolina) commented on the high investment needed to build a website and that the ongoing operating costs (overhead) were almost as high as those needed to operate the bricks and mortar store.
While these may seem like valid enough reasons on the surface, they’re not entirely accurate.
Before looking more closely at the two examples, lets take a look at what goes into the design and build of a website for a small to mid-sized business.
Designing an effective website takes knowledge of the business and a good deal of planning. It’s necessary to get into the minds of a potential visitor to the website in order to understand their unique requirements from the experience, and before you can do that you need to understand the business.
So to construct a great content-rich website takes research and planning. The goal is to create a content base and a navigational layout that’s intuitive from the perspective of the specific type of visitor. As we build an experience aimed at satisfying the needs of the visitor (why he or she visited) we must also create a sales/prospect funnel to satisfy the needs of the business owner (why the website was created).
Most website designers begin this process at the website architecture stage. They sketch out a profile of the business, learn a little about the products and services and immediately begin to lay down the bricks for the actual website. This approach as destined to fail. It may not seem like a failure when the keys of the new website are handed over to the business owner, but it will feel like a failure after six or twelve months in operation. And the reason for this is simple – insufficient attention to locating and connecting with the businesses targeted prospects and leads.
Whilst a website may be perfectly functional on the surface, if it doesn’t attract and appeal to the targeted audience, one that can be readily
converted into a business prospect or customer, then it will turn out to be a tragic waste of money.
However you want to cut it, when someone designs you a new website, what you’re doing with your business is entering the world of ‘digital marketing’. To succeed at digital marketing, your website must become the hub of the wheel, but without all of the spokes in place you’re never going to get the darn thing to turn around.
To be successful (have a positive return on your cash and time investment) requires:
- Detailed business goals evaluation (spoke)
- Strengths / weaknesses / opportunities evaluation (spoke)
- Detailed customer metric evaluation (spoke)
- Search term and keyword research (spoke)
- Strategic website design (hub)
- Search engine optimization on and off-page (spoke)
- Pay-per-click search marketing (spoke)
- Social media branding and marketing (spoke)
- Ongoing data and conversion analytics (spoke)
- Design / Strategy implementation revisions (spoke)
You can see from the above that the actual building of the website comes somewhere in the middle of the whole process. Once you have the wheel built and it starts to turn, you need to be prepared to go back frequently to adjust the spokes and the hub. It isn’t a ‘set and forget’ enterprise, it’s an ever evolving journey. As technology changes, your competitors will always be working to out-perform you in the digital marketplace. Those who innovate will lead the way. Those who respond to the innovation of others will be a close second. Those who do nothing will drift off into obscurity.
So let’s go back to the two examples of businesses and their owners / managers.
I’m not tech savvy, I have enough business without a website – Clearly, were we to discuss a potential website with this business owner,
points 1, 2 and 3 would be considered and they would negate the need for extensive work on 6,7,8,9 and 10. Taking the information from the owner and analyzing it against the needs of his customer, we would conclude that having a website for the business is still extremely viable.
We could create a low-cost website focused on providing a resource to his existing customer base. The website could be a basic business catalog, explaining the services offered by the business, the brands and products sold, the opening hours and the directions to the store. People already aware of the business (perhaps by name) would benefit from this basic web presence as it would appear against a local search and the searcher could access the information sought, quickly.
The business owner would benefit directly by not having to field frequent calls from people asking basic questions about the business, such as those described above. More intangibly, having a business website is a pre-requisite in this day and age and it adds value to the business. Also, it’s not unthinkable for a change in shopping trends to negatively impact even a long-established business, so an established web presence could be used quickly to generate new leads and customers for the store. For a minimal investment, a website for this business owner makes complete sense.
High investment needed to build a website, high ongoing operating costs – This particular feedback really spotlights the importance of working with a professional design agency such as Click Mine Design. If you look at points 1 through 10 above, the whole idea behind a website is to generate a positive return on investment for the business. If you fail to implement all of the important strategies (spokes), then you’ll likely fail to recoup your investment. Working with Click Mine Design, our whole objective is to build an effective digital marketing platform for your company so you make the money needed to continue to build on your investment. Most design companies operate a ‘snatch and grab’ policy, they’ll take the quick approach and just do what you ask them and nothing more. So you’ll get a nice looking website but it won’t help grow your sales.
Lastly, everyone we’ve worked with to date has remarked on the affordability of our services. We think you’ll be quite shocked at what we can offer your company and at the relatively low costs involved. Our goal is to maximize YOUR return on investment so you’ll partner with us long term and help maximize ours.