01 Oct The Truth About Elephants, Peanuts and Web Sites
Sitting like the proverbial 20,000 pound, hungry white elephant in the corner of the room, you try not to acknowledge or even pretend it exists. You’ve been told you must have one. Everyone in business has one.
Here’s a secret: Not everyone in business needs one.
Ask yourself if you want potential clients to better understand your business. Ask yourself if you dream of having a client educated about the benefits of your services or wares before you speak to them, allowing a quicker more seamless conversion from contact to sale. Do you want people to get your contact information with out hassle?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you may want to consider a web site or reconsider the design of your existing site. If you’ve answered ‘no’, and have a web site, stock up on peanuts, elephants are hungry beasts.
Here are a few important reasons to have a web site and make sure it is a good one.
Web Sites can be used as a storefront, a brochure or a portfolio. Regardless of your intent, the site is a window into how you think and run your enterprise. It displays your company culture and working style. For example, a simple decision regarding color can affect how people perceive your message. Stop for a moment and imagine a color, perhaps bright red. What adjectives spring to mind? Possibly hot, exciting, vivacious? If you have a health spa that specializes in relaxation and winding down, red may not be the right color.
Whether consciously or unconsciously, your web site highlights facets of the business that are important to you. The inclusion or omission of content on your site tells your potential clients what aspects of your operations take precedent. Attention to detail, presentation, and self image are all related within seconds of loading one’s web page. Understand this fact and take advantage of it.
Perhaps most importantly, you are providing numerous ways to make that vital contact with your operations. People can learn your phone number, pertinent email addresses and your physical address without doing more than typing your business name into their Internet browser window.
Web Sites also provide the opportunity to give a background or history of the enterprise. Either through a written history or a portfolio of work, the site will show where you’ve been and where you plan to go. Telling your customers the basis of your business allows them to understand “where you’re coming from” and whether they would like to join you along the way.
Lastly, a web site should present the argument of why this potential client should choose you over your competition. Do you make the best widget in the nation? Tell them. Do you provide the most creative solution to computer hardware needs? Tell them. People don’t know what you don’t tell them. After all, we are all in business to stay in business and that often necessitates doing that business with the best.
Remember, a web site is a tool, not a panacea. Your hammer won’t hammer nails unless you pick it up and use it. The same holds true for your marketing materials, including your web site. Unless you make them an integral part of how you sell your business by taking advantage of the teaching, (read: selling), capabilities, you will simply be spending money on peanuts.