Paul Wackell – Principal Designer – Marketing Consultant
Imagine Web Designs
So you have a small business, you are marketing like crazy, business is coming in and you’ve finally decided this internet thing isn’t a fad and you want to jump on board. So what do I need to know.
Well first things first, you are late to the party (unless your business is new). The web has long since grown past the fad thing into one of the most powerful marketing tools and market places in the history of the world. And that’s not being overly dramatic! (Saying Keanu Reeves is the best actor of our time, is being overly dramatic – not to mention, nuts!). I could go on for hours about the importance of the web for business here, but I won’t (I can hear your applause) instead I”ll jump to the heart of the issue.
One huge thing to keep in mind, and one of the most important lessons I can convey to small businesses entering the world wide web for the first time – your website is not actually your website! It really is your customers’ and prospects’ website.
So what the heck does that mean? Your site while it is about you, and should clearly define your business – to customers and prospects its a solution to their problem – or at least information about a solution to their question or problem. People searching the web for your services obviously have a need, or problem that they need addressed and they are looking for a professional to address the need or the problem.
If you think your new website is super cool and its everything you demanded it be, but visitors to the site think it sucks, they likely aren’t going to become your client! Just because pink is your favorite color and you like dancing chipmunks and singing bumblebees, doesn’t mean that this is the way to promote your new accounting firm!
If however visitors to your site find it highly professional, easy to navigate, answers their questions, and you happen to have the solution they are seeking – then there’s at least a chance they may actually become your client.
What’s the moral – before jumping in and putting together the site you think is super cool, with bells and whistles and talking monkeys (kidding about that – I hope – unless of course you sell talking monkeys) , spend some time talking with your clients or prospects and find out what they’d like to see in a website. I’m amazed at how many small businesses have taken the time and spent the money developing websites but never included clients and prospects in the process!
So when building your small business website – start with your customers (if you have none yet, then people you know who might become customers). Find out how they use the web, what they are looking for, what they think of your competitions’ sites, and what you should do that would help them and improve your chances of obtaining them as a client. A little basic market research goes a long way. It might also save you money in the long run.
Think – customer first – and then design it and build for them. It’s not your site! It’s theirs!