By Scott Lester
So, you think you’d like to have a website for your small business. After all, you’ve talked to other business owners in your Montana community and a lot of THEM say they have websites. It seems the thing to do. But, you have questions.
What will it cost? Is it going to be just one more expense when you already have plenty of expenses? And, will it really help improve your business? The short answer is that a well-designed website, with an online campaign to drive visitors to that site, can be one of the most cost-effective ways of growing your bottom line there is. You just can’t cut any corners.
A Website is an Investment in Your Business
Small and medium business owners often think of a website an expense…just one more bill to pay, like paying the utilities. In reality a website is an investment. It is money you put into your business to make it grow. Websites that are designed with a well-thought-out plan to attract visitors, and turn those visitors into customers, will soon pay for themselves. And, it doesn’t stop there. Once your initial investment is recouped, an effective website will continue to grow your customer base.
If you regard your online marketing package as an investment that will pay off over the long term, then it’s easy to understand that “cheap” could actually be the most “expensive” way to go. After all, if you end up with a website and package that doesn’t produce results; any amount of money and time spent is too much. Unfortunately there are web designers who fail to warn their clients that it is pointless to have a website that no one ever visits. Furthermore, even visitors who stumble onto these “cheap” sites usually move on to other sites that do a better job of meeting their needs.
When you make an investment you want to know what the projected return will be on that investment. That’s exactly the approach you should take when you invest in a website. It is possible for a business owner to determine the likely return from that investment and the size of their market, thanks to the transparency of results provided by the medium.
Websites That Get Found and Close the Sale
Typically there are hundreds of searches every month for all types of business in each of the major markets in Montana. Search engine users typically enter searches such as “plumber Missoula” or “pizza 59901” to get the results they need. The business that can capture the majority of those online visitors and convert them into customers can easily realize a substantial return on their investment.
Google and other major search engines can be paid to make sure your site is prominently displayed for any searching visitor and that provide the means to drive visitors to your site. The sponsored links are often more clicked on than “unpaid” links because they are seen as legitimate businesses that seek to serve the customer. This pay-per-click advertising is very reasonably priced – even for a small business – and will likely be an essential element of making your website successful.
But the success of such a campaign also depends on having a website that answers the customer’s questions, addresses their concerns, demonstrates that their needs will be met and makes it easy for the visitor to take action to buy or make an inquiry.
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