Many marketers would be astounded that I have even asked the question. In today’s modern world and circumstances, how can anyone not have a website? Surely a business can’t survive without a website to attract, inform and convert people into paying customers?
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I continued to come across businesses who didn’t have a website - yet they had been in business for a number of years, rather than weeks. These businesses had survived on other tools and techniques. The independent cafe that attracted customers through Google Search (using Google My Business), a Facebook page and word of mouth, the coach that built his reputation from a heavy investment in networking and referrals and the construction company that partnered with key suppliers who would ‘throw work their way’ on a regular basis and they did very little marketing at all.
Survive or thrive?
From the above examples, it’s possible to run a business without a website (Shock! Horror! Really?). These companies are clearly the exception and the number of business that can do this over the long-term has to be dropping*. While some businesses without a website have been able to continue to thrive and grow, I believe that most are simply surviving. Without factoring in COVID-19, If you asked them how business is going, they would respond “it’s ok. Not brilliant but you know. We are still going and earning enough”.
“If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten” - unknown
… or maybe not?
If a business is happy surviving and has no ambition to grow or take their business ‘to the next level’ then it might be possible to survive by doing very little marketing or without a website, but this is a very risky strategy (or should I say a very risk not-a-strategy?). As much as I love the above quote, there’s an equally powerful quote for businesses that I like:
"If you don't drive your business, you will be driven out of business" - Forbes
Standing still on activities could actually mean going backwards. Not doing marketing activities or not having a website doesn’t mean your business will continue to generate business at its current level. It means you could lose business, sales will most likely decline and survival is less likely. I remember meeting a business owner, who provided trade services, at a networking event a few years ago. He said that, after around 10 years in business, he was networking for the first time and having to look at his marketing. They had relied for many years on word of mouth, but business was, in his words ‘beginning to dry up’.
The benefits of a website
We won’t go through all of the benefits of a website here, but having a website means you can be found by more potential customers through channels such as Google Search. Potential customers are more likely to trust your brand and therefore use your services, and you can also create more marketing activities that generate a higher conversion rate. Examples of the latter include a simple landing page with a special offer or using Facebook Pixel code to drive down costs and better target your audience when running an Ad.
You probably knew the answer to this already but, if you are serious about staying in business or growing it, then a website should be at the heart of any sales and marketing activity. Yes, people buy from people and referrals are a powerful form of marketing, but this has its limits - especially over the long term.
If you are still in ANY doubt then do a quick calculation - how many customers do I need to generate to pay for a new or an updated site? For many businesses, an effective website will help attract a much larger number of paying customers. It’s almost, if not completely, a no-brainer.
If you would like to find out more about effective websites and pricing, visit the Think Twice Marketing web services landing page.
*No, I don’t have stats on this but I’m guessing it’s a pretty good gut feeling I have.
I have just finished reading ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck’ by Mark Manson (which if you would like an alternative perspective on life, I recommend reading). In the book, Mark talks about the Picasso napkin story which was new to me. If you haven’t heard it, the story goes something like this…
Picasso used to draw or doodle on his napkins when at a cafe and one day, he was asked by a woman if she could have the napkin to keep. She offered to pay whatever the napkin with his drawing was worth, to which Picasso responded that it would be $10,000.
Slightly taken aback by the high valuation, the woman pointed out that it had only taken 30 seconds to create the artwork. Picasso promptly folded the napkin away into his pocket and responded ‘no, it has taken me 40 years to do that’.
Depending on what website you visit the story varies slightly, and whether it was dollars, pounds or another currency, it was a considerable amount of money. There is, however, a good argument for not basing the price on how long the drawing took.
When it comes to selling your services, do you quote an hourly rate depending on how long it takes to do a task? Do you price your products on the value to the customer? Or how many years of experience it has taken to learn the skills you have acquired so that you can deliver what you do… and so quickly?
When talking to customers, and in my book Psychology in Marketing and Sales, I discuss different ways to price products to get the right results. A web designer, for example, might be able to create a website in one day and charge a daily rate - but if the customer does it themself, it might take days or even weeks. Added to this, a DIY website might not look as good, It might not function as well and it will most likely not convert web visitors into paying customers as effectively (resulting in lost sales in the long term).
Similarly, a training instructor, coach, consultant or security business (just to name a few specialities!) can make a huge difference to anyone’s life or business, but only because of the skills they have developed over the years. And the prices they charge should reflect this.
It’s true that you need to consider other factors when setting pricing such as what the competition is doing, how much competition there is and who your target audience is, but creating pricing based on ‘cost plus margin’ or an hourly rate could mean you are losing out considerable amounts of money.
Sometimes it can take years of practice and experience in order to be able to continually create masterpieces in a very short time. That experience has a value. What’s your napkin worth, and what are you charging for it?
The opinions in these blog posts are those of marketing professional and book author Darren Hignett.