I have to admit it; I really have a super cool job!
My work as a web developer and online marketing specialist lets me help small business people learn how to market and promote their organizations online.
I really like this – not because I’m some kind of “Uber-Internet-Marketing-Guru” but because in my travels, I get to meet some way cool local writers, artists, retailers, entrepreneurs and other small business folk.
Everyone has their own unique story and all of them are talented, smart (even brilliant sometimes – but ssh, don’t tell them I said so). These are folks who have survived the downturn from the “Great Recession” and are still standing.
So they have my utmost respect.
But as much as I like these guys, nothing pisses me off more and frustrates me as much as when I discover that some other-wise talented and brilliant artist or entrepreneur – doesn’t own a proper website to showcase their business!
OMG! It’s 2012 – 4 years into the a possible decade long recession! What are they waiting on?
I can barely unclench my teeth long enough and ask them why the hell not? Then here it comes … the “Pause” followed by I come to recognize as “The Dumb Excuse”.
The “Pause” is what I can it when someone starts to answer you honestly then changes their mind, stops and gives you the “pause”.
You know what I mean.
During the “Pause” people always look sort of startled (deer-in-the-headlights) as they mentally scramble around trying to figure out what they think will be a “good answer” instead of telling me the truth!
After a few seconds of the “Pause” they then start stammering out their answers with lots of funny facial expressions and I finally get to hear their version of the “Dumb Excuse”.
To which I most always respond to their excuse with these words: “That’s a load of B.S.!”
Below are some other most common B.S. excuses I have heard and why they are dead wrong…
Bad Excuse No. 1 – “I don’t need one because I can sell face-to face…”
While it probably is true that they can sell more of their products or services in face-to-face meetings, the problem nowadays is actually getting close enough to meet new people!
Due to the crushing economies and the cost of gas in certain areas, the attendance at many industry trade shows or art & craft events might be lower than at past events.
And this could force you to travel further and further away from your home base just to “find” someone new to pitch your product or services too! And like everyone else your cost of travel can add up quickly.
And while Word of Month (WOM) is the ultimate form of free advertising, it depends on referrals coming from people, who are more or less within the same geographical area as your business or are current “insiders” in your target marketplace.
WOM is great but in these turbulent times, people are constantly moving around – chasing better jobs and moving from one location to another — which means your business, is always facing a hard-to-sell crowd of newcomers and suspicious strangers.
This why having an online presence is critical. Your website is up 24/7 always ready to answer the questions people are no longer willing to call to ask you about.
According to research from Webvisible and Nielsen “63% of consumers … turn to the internet first for information about local companies and 82% use search engines to do so…”
That means over half of all your potential clients or customers look to learn more about you and your business from an online source FIRST – long BEFORE they ever see you, call, email or drive by your front door.
Let’s face it, people are going to the search engines to find you … okay maybe not YOU but at least find local products or services offered by your company or (gasp) your competitors. So you have got to be online when they go looking for you!
Bad Excuse No. 2 – “I don’t need a site because I’m on Facebook!”
Okay, I admit it, I have a Facebook and a Twitter and a LinkedIn and a Blogger account, too. And yes I use them – but they are NOT my main or primary or OMG! – my only presence on the web!
But lots of otherwise sharp local business owners decide that once they have a Facebook page or Twitter or some other social networking or Web 2.0 blog going that they can sit back and relax.
Hey after all if Facebook.com is the Number 2 most visited website in the world, why worry? All those free visitors and traffic without the fuss and hassle of running your own website!
Yeah – but no matter how many hundreds or thousands of “Friends”, “Fans”, “Followers” or dust bunnies you might collect on a 3rd party social site – remember you are SHARING them with those site owners!
And the owners of Facebook, Twitter, Blogger etc. want all YOUR “Friends”, “Fans”, “Followers” and blog readers to make them money too! Preferably before you can get to them!
This why these services are “free” because they want to reach the largest number of interested people as possible, get those people hooked and invested in their products/services so that they can use YOUR “Friends”, “Fans”, “Followers” and blog readers to make their company gobs of money!
And there is nothing wrong with that – FREE stuff costs money, you know.
But remember the longer you let your potential clients and customer bounce around inside Facebook, Twitter or on a Blogger account, the better are the chances that they will find something of interest (helpfully placed there by the owners) and then they click away from your offering – probably never to return.
Plus I have never been on any 3rd party site, where once you got used to working in it that they didn’t eventually “change” how the site functioned or looked – supposedly for better interaction with THEIR users.
But almost always the change also messed something up for me and allowed the owners to make more money – like Facebook’s constant updates to increase ad space or YouTube’s floating pop-up ads along the bottom of the videos.
Of course, you can use third-party social sites to attract attention and lure visitors to your place of business! But understand the longer your hard-won “fans” roam around inside Facebook, then the more money they will spend with them instead with you!
Bad Excuse No. 3 – “I can’t afford it – a custom website will cost me thousands!”
Sure if you are going to go hog wild and have a premium website created with lots of animation and bells and whistles that some poor overworked web programmer has to code in by hand then yes, expect to pay for it!
But if you are willing to put aside your dreams of owning a digital version of a high-end luxury car – then you can be open to lots of other more affordable website options (think affordable family minivans).
I always tell people even if all they want is a small startup blog or “brochure” site (5 pages or so that only needs to “updated” once or so a year) they can easily get one up and running – with a minimum of fuss or expense.
If you are new to online marketing and website promotions then a start-up blog will be fine for you, since a WordPress website can be easily expanded later on.
Now if you ready to get real serious about using the Internet as a promotional tool then you probably will need a business blog with a bit more polish or one that has a custom look and feel.
This type of business blog is good for you, if you’re interested in using the web to promote your business, bring in more customers or build a better online reputation…rather than just leave your blog sit unchanged for months at a time! (Check out: my Professional WordPress package).
As you can see using lame excused like the ones above may be actually holding your company back! So think seriously why you’ve got a website up and running yet.