To Web or Not: If you do NOT have a website and are considering getting on the Web, one of the first questions you need to answer is whether you want to market outside of your immediate market. Being on the Web opens up a world (literally) of opportunities to reach out and sell your products or services but it may not be appropriate for you. Does this sound like heresy coming from someone who develops websites? Many times in my life experience I look back upon decisions I made and wished someone was there to slow me down a bit and encourage me to look at more of the impacts of a particular decision. My decision may have been the same, but my implementation plan would have been significantly enhanced.
For example, if you own a restaurant, would you like to let folks beyond your region know about your restaurant? These potential customers might be vacationers planning their trip, business people planning a visit to your area, retirees moving into your area, or even local people who haven’t discovered your eatery yet. In addition to the impacts of adding a Web-based marketing channel to your business, have you thought about the on-the-ground impacts to your staff, your facilities, your ability to offer quality to customers?
If you have been marketing to your area you likely have been using some combination of posters, radio spots, newspaper ads, TV and/or word of mouth. Marketing from your website will open up new opportunities but will also create some new challenges and the need to learn and manage some new skills. The more successful your website is in bringing in more customers, the bigger the impacts will be such as:
- You may need more staff and/or your staff may have to work longer hours.
- You may need someone dedicated to keeping your website fresh, your online menu up to date, managing online reservations, watching online critiques at sites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp. There’s an online review site for just about any product or service.
- You may be able to discontinue or cut back on some of your local marketing.
- If you don’t already have some computer skills and equipment you’ll need to get some.
- A website and a periodic newsletter can be great partners, but you will need someone at least partially dedicated to creating and publishing.
- Your website might be just the beginning of your online presence as you may want to venture into the social media (Facebook, Pinterest, InstaGram, Twitter…) world.
- I’ve used a restaurant as an example but whatever business you are in, there will be impacts and changes required in the way you do business. The rewards can be significant but I want you to think about potential impacts before you commit to a website.
There are other things to consider and I will be writing about them in the future. In the meantime if you have any questions, feel free to email me.
PS – If you haven’t already, I recommend you read Do I Need a Website?