Many small businesses are resistant to putting up a website and have a natural fear of social media and promotion of their businesses on the Internet. Frankly, this is not at all surprising!
Well, many small businesses had their ‘fingers burnt’ when they (or business friends) put up websites a few years ago. The media was full of hype then about the magical possibilities of websites and they were seen as the answer to all marketing problems. Indeed, expectations were probably almost as high as the costs of putting up a website and it was not uncommon to spend $5–10,000 a time, or a great deal more, on putting up a website.
And yet many businesses found that their new websites, however attractive, did nothing! They rarely, if ever, produced leads, were frustratingly inert and expensive to alter, and ended up being little more than libraries to which to direct existing customers – often more as a matter of prestige than anything else.
Needless to say, the return on investment on many of these websites was often negligible.
In fact, scarred by the experience, many business people felt that websites were more trouble and expense that they were worth and many left their original websites in place, unaltered and inert, out of apathy – and an understandable reluctance to throw away something that cost so much. This is perhaps one reason why there are so many websites on the Internet that are clearly useless – in the eyes of any web marketing expert.
So, you may well ask, what has changed? If I alter my website or put up a new one, then can I get a return on my investment (this time!)?
The answer is yes.
In truth a lot has changed, with website implementation now often very cheap indeed. In fact, a basic five-page website using something like WordPress (a world-class industry-standard platform) can cost a minimal amount, with some designers charging less than $500.
Meanwhile, along with the reduction in the costs of putting up a website, there is a good deal more knowledge about how to make a website effective. This is vital.
In fact, the wise business person (or web marketeer) will always do research before he puts up a website – to see if it can bring in the business he wants and be worthwhile. If not, then he will not put one up or aim for a different marketplace.
Certainly, excellent packages like Market Samurai make assessing whether a web site is worthwhile (and whether it has the potential to provide a return on investment), quick, precise and easy – together with providing the information to target a website into a viable marketplace.
In reality, websites can be extremely valuable for small businesses. They are, of course, not a one-stop solution to all marketing problems, but, often, if they bring in just one extra client a week, they pay for themselves, time and again, and provide a superb return on investment. The secret is to make sure that you do not pay too much for your website and that your website is properly optimised from the start so that it works for you – rather than being an inert library!