Spending Money On Your Website? What A Big Mistake!
Some time ago a distressed client (let’s call him Charlie) called me “I’ve distributed over 20,000 flyers about my business and nobody has bought anything from the website”. My first question to him was “did you check the spelling of your website address on the flyer?”. His response “I didn’t put my website address on the flyer – should I have?” … I didn’t know how to respond.
Shortly after, I got another call from Charlie … but more on that later.
Let’s face it, some people are just not ready to have a website. It seems that many first time entrepreneurs’ idea of starting a business is getting a website. And that’s it!
They have no intentions of doing any marketing and if they do have a marketing plan it consists of telling their friends about it and possibly distributing a few brochures in the neighbourhood.
Some people go as far as planning to advertise their business/website in the local newspaper. More often than not, they expect that as soon as they have a website, the money will start rolling in. They believe a magic internet fairy will appear and announce the arrival of their website to the world.
The truth is, it doesn’t work that way. With millions of websites popping up on the internet every month, you are competing against a lot of businesses … not only locally, but globally. So please please, before you think about getting a website, decide how you are going to promote it.
If you are about to declare bankrupt in your business and are thinking of putting your last few dollars into getting a website designed, hoping that it will bring you instant cash, don’t do it! A website will not solve your problems unless you are willing to put in some money (and it doesn’t have to be much) or time to promote it.
When I meet potential clients my first two questions are: “Why do you want a website?” and “How are you going to promote it?”
Depending on their answer I guide them to the best solution. On a few occasions, I’ve had to tell them they were not ready to get their business on the internet.
In fact one client, who was desperate to make money from her website told me that she didn’t have time for marketing, because she needed to start earning money quickly.
On the other hand there have been lots of very successful entrepreneurs who have made their website work for them. Lisa Pearse-Sargeant of Paper Scissors Rock Kids Group says:
“For the first six months of starting Paper Scissors Rock Kids due to a limited start-up budget we only had a basic web page in a newsletter format.
This was until we had a better understanding of the business and direction it would take. Through a combined gathering of information at trade shows and print advertising, we felt ready to invest time and money in a proper website. Now our website has proven to be a cost effective way to showcase our product instead of printing costly catalogues. I believe for my business I need to have a crossover marketing approach ie. target trade & public through a mix of web & print advertising, store presentation/merchandising and trade exhibitions”
Josslyn Harrower of Snugzeez, found she desperately needed a website to showcase her products. “My business had been up and running for 3 months and most of my orders were from word of mouth. An international sleep expert ‘Tizzie Hall’ was personally recommending my sleep comforters to her clients, and they kept asking to see what the products looked like and what variety was available. My products were not available in stores so the only option was to have a website. It wasn’t long before I was being approached by other websites to link their site to mine. This has definitely helped with marketing my products. I receive more hits on my site from Tizzie Hall’s website and a few others than advertising in magazines or newspapers. Winning ‘Best Product’ at Sydney Kidz Expo last year certainly helped to boost my site’s exposure.”
If you decide to have a website, it is extremely important you take the time to plan it and work out how it will fit in with the rest of your business. The website needs to be functional, rather than just “pretty”. It needs to provide your visitors the information THEY need.
The last time I heard from Charlie, our conversation went something like this:
Charlie: “Ivana, can you please send an email to everybody telling them about my website”. Me: “Yes of course … just send me your mailing list” Charlie: “What do you mean mailing list? I don’t have one. I thought you just press a button!”
So please, before you pick up the phone and speak to a website designer, think about how you will market your website. If you have a website already and are not getting the traffic you need, you may wish to read “30 ways to promote your website on a shoestring budget”