If you buy a car, but don’t fill it with gas, how far can the car go? If a business invests in a best-in-class website, but doesn’t support it with active promotion to drive traffic regularly, can it have a business impact?.
There are many methods for a business to leverage its company website for achieving a variety of business goals. Promotion. Customer Service. Demonstrating subject matter expertise. Personalized information presentation. Etc. And businesses that win online are those that see their website as a marketing engine. Like all engines, websites need fuel, and that fuel is promoted content, offers and features of the website that will generate interest and traffic regularly over time.
But to simplify things, in our experience, there are typically only two general ways for a local small business to use a website to support their business goals.
- As a relatively passive brochure
- Designed for presenting general information about a company, it’s products and services, and perhaps a differentiation from local competitive choices to prospects who are already aware of the business.
- The marketing role that the website plays is as a prospective customer “proof-point” when a prospect is considering buying from a local business and already knows about it so visits the website directly to find out more.
- Paid and free promotion of the company should ideally be used to drive traffic to the company website, but is in many cases this “too expensive” and site traffic responsibility is left to vague hopes of “SEO”.
- As an active marketing engine
- Designed to regularly influence sales growth through active promotion.
- Fed with frequently updated content about the company, its product and services, and information that supports it as a valuable solution for prospective customers
- Promotion of the company, its website and it’s offers via both paid and free promotion and distribution (social, email, paid ads, PR, etc) of relevant website content and offers, leading to increased consideration, sales and customer engagement.
- SEO performance is enhanced by the active content being fed through the engine.
Achieving “free” traffic to (and business from) a local small business website, without regular additional promotion of that business and website, its content or the offers within, is a rare feat for local small businesses This is especially true in highly competitive local categories like restaurants, medical offices, professional services businesses including law firms and contractors, and wellness offers like fitness centers.
Depending on the SEO strength of a small business website, a business may see great success as a business tool without an active approach. A restaurant who can gain good presence in organic Google listings, coupled with good online reviews may be able to capture a sustaining level of reservations and dining revenue with little additional promotion.
However, more typically, a passively managed website, without regular fueling, no matter how well designed and structured, will disappoint and frustrate a local small business owner by not specifically delivering customer and sales growth on it’s own merits alone.
Our work with local small business clients typically focuses on designing and building great websites quickly and for a fair price. For this, we are proud of our track record of client appreciation. Yet too many local small businesses, frankly, give lip service to the fueling required to make their engine work as well as capable.
We’ve written previously about how business owners of various levels of sophistication can approach the fueling of their digital marketing efforts, and take the most advantage of their investment in a great website. While we will continue to encourage our local small business clients to plan for and adequately support promotion of their website and business offers, beyond the important work of building a best-in-class website as a foundational marketing engine.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]