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Old 24th April 2007, 02:35 PM   #1
Linda
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Default Does A Brick And Mortar Need A Website?

I need your input you great forum members. I have a question in my weekly newsletter about whether it is important for an offline business to have a website. If you feel they should, what information do you think they should provide? Tell me what you think. Thanks

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Old 24th April 2007, 03:11 PM   #2
David Wallace
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Even if a company does not sell a product or service directly online, they should still have a web site. If nothing else, it can be a brochure web site that provides some information about their company, what they offer, how to reach them or visit their place of business and even accolades such as associations they belong to, testimonies and/or awards they have won.

I feel the tendency of more and more people is that they want to visit a company's web site so they can learn more about them before deciding to actually do business with them.

I also feel that anyone who does not have a web site these days is stuck in a dinosaur age, the same way a few years ago one would be considered a dinosaur if they did not have an answering machine/service.

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Old 24th April 2007, 05:20 PM   #3
RebeccaQuinn
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Every business needs a website. I almost always look a company up online before deciding to do business with them, and I think most people do today. As a business owner, if you choose not to have a website, you are choosing not to do business with me and many others.

Critical info includes:
Phone number(s), fax number (include your area code)
Address - for multiple locations, include an easy-to-find Store Locator
Directions or a map of the area
Store or office hours
What do you do or sell?
What's in it for me?
Why are you the expert/why should i trust you/do business with you?
Who do you know/what do you belong to/who else have you helped?
Include testimonials, details, examples
I like to see prices personally
Make it easy for me to do business with you by phone, email, online, in person

Example: I had to change my daughter's orthodontist appointment this morning. I jumped online, googled them to get the phone number and then called. AND the reason I chose them was their website. Although recommended by the dentist, they were kind of out of the way. I searched for them online and was very impressed with the website. It included tons of information, examples, treatment information, photos, contact info. I made a consultation appointment and was highly impressed. The website was very accurate.

Example: Yesterday I needed to do business with a company that had multiple branches. Although listed on the website, there were no hours and I had to call each one for the hours.

So yes, I'd say everyone needs a website for every type of business.

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Old 24th April 2007, 05:41 PM   #4
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While I agree that the simply displaying your contact details is enough of a reason to have a website.

Most websites are never used and therefore become ghost towns of the internet. Rarely to be found by anyone let alone your target audience.

You can't simply put up a website and expect people to simply show up. The marketing involved in creating a successful site that at the very least, gets the 'right' eyeballs to your page is the same if not more work than with a brick and mortar business.

While websites are a affordable way to get started in your business, I'd urge people to be under no illusions as to the amount of work needed to make it successful.

Yes a website is important. But if you don't use your site regularly as the marketing tools that it is, you might as well just have a single page with your name and contact information.

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Old 25th April 2007, 06:49 PM   #5
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Default I agree with Crimson Fox

A website needs to be just another element in a business' marketing campaign. I know that I personally do internet searches to find new sources of materials/equipment and I comparison shop. That saves me a lot of time.

So I'd recommend that a brick and motor business have a website as well as a direct marketing campaign and that the owners do attend regular networking events, get articles published in professional journals, etc. In this day and age, "one size doesn't fit all" and the more opportunities you have to get your name publicized the better.

I agree with Crimson Fox. Websites have to be updated regularly so the reader has a reason to come back to the site and, yes, that can be labor intensive so one needs to really look at the best way to allocate resources.

Hope this is of value.

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Old 27th April 2007, 01:54 AM   #6
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A web site, if nothing else, is a modern day ever present business card. So all businesses should have a web site and it does have an element of prestige, having a web site.

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Old 27th April 2007, 10:00 PM   #7
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Default Web sites as a substitute for Yellow Pages Advertising

One of the recommendations that I've been making to readers of my QuickBooks for Dummies book for the last few years now is that people ask new customers where they here about business. E.g., was it the sign, a referrer, the web site, a direct mail piece one sent out, etc.

The reason I suggest this is because when I started doing this for my CPA firm five years ago, I was startled to see the disparities in marketing effectiveness. E.g., newspaper advertising? Terrible for me. Direct mail? Well, okay but nothing to knock your socks off. Yellow pages? OK, but darn expensive...

And then I got my CPA web site visible on the web. Wow. I got a huge ROI.

To sort of give you some numbers (or least ratios) I spent about a third as much on the web as I spent on yellow pages... yet I got about four times as much response from the web. (I've now turne off all of my Yellow Pages advertising.)

So based on my experience, yeah, I think people at least try using a simple web site that does a super-charged Yellow Pages thing.

I also think one should try where new customers come from...

Steve

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Old 29th April 2007, 06:00 PM   #8
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The internet is a great medium for information sharing. If your business isn't selling products from their website, it's still very necessary for people to find information such as contact info, location info, product info, history of the business etc.

It's just another step to take to show your clients that you're doing everything you can to accomodate them.

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Old 29th April 2007, 08:14 PM   #9
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Default Local

I know I live on the web - saw a Yellow Pages the other day - remember those? I do suggest the local listing options - Yahoo has that and I use it a lot - also i have the house torn asunder and rely on the BBB for contractors - there is usually a quick link to the businesses' website. Also drive traffic to that site - its pointless if you don't... of course my site stinks ha ha and its on the list!

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