Word of mouth. That was all you needed back in the good old days. You cleaned Mr Benson’s windows, and he would tell his neighbours and before you knew it you had an entire customer base and a schedule to keep to. An electrician or plumber needed nothing more sophisticated than a home phone number, and sometimes a space in the yellow pages. Not a website. Why would they need a website?
Believe it or not, this is still a common attitude.
Many tradesmen justify this by saying that only work in particular local areas or believe that their social media presence is enough to generate business.
I don’t want to be too blunt about it.
You need a website.
And here’s why.
It will make you more visible
Yellow pages are not being printed anymore, most newspapers – local or otherwise – have moved online where more people view their content. Adverts taken out with directories and newspapers now have links. Do you know where they link to?
You see, with a website comes SEO. When people in Corby are searching for a gardener, they are now more likely to use Google than they are to ring up a friend and ask who trimmed their bush. With a website you are more likely to come up in relevant search terms, so those potential customers in your area who haven’t heard of you before, now get a bright and shiny website to look at.
And this is important, because your website will prove, more often than not, to be your first impression.
And we all want to make a good first impression
Like any business, not only will you be wanting to keep your current customer base serviced and happy, you will be wanting to attract new people. It might be that you aren’t a window cleaner, but your service is something people will only need ever so often. Like a plumber.
So, in the times that your customers are not needing new showers installed, or boilers serviced, you might need other customers to keep you and your team busy.
There are people, in-market, searching for a service that you offer every day. And, they are finding your competitors.
It isn’t because your competitors are better than you, friendlier than you, or cheaper than you. It’s because your competitors have professional shots of their work nestling in a warm and snug professional website, all of which makes them look like true professionals.
And that is what you need. Remember, your website is the digital version of your bricks-and-mortar outlet. It is your showroom, and it is most likely your first audition for new business.
It keeps your customers informed
I believe in social media. It is genuinely one of the best ways to deliver content and information to your customers. It can be targeted, but there is one problem. One disadvantage that your website has over social media.
Social media happens in a blink-and-miss-it world.
You must have seen it yourself. You post something on Facebook and soon it swallowed up and replaced by Betty Hornby’s latest homemade flan and the results of James Potter’s quiz: “What type of onion are you?”
Information moves fast.
So if you create an offer, or have a coronavirus update that is important to anyone interested in your services, it won’t last forever, and moves further down your page every time you post something else.
A website doesn’t do that.
You can keep information on your website for as long as it is necessary, and as all of your marketing will inevitably lead back to your website, people will be able to stay informed about all the important goings on at your business.
And it means you are awake for 24 hours a day 365 days a year
So, you settle down for the day after a hard day’s work and that is when your phone starts to ring. Partially because most of the time that people have the chance to call is out of hours, and also not everything breaks in appropriate work approved times. So you’re just about to get in that bath…
It doesn’t matter. You have a website. Your website has an enquiry form. Your enquiry form presumably goes somewhere you can access. And when you do access it, you can respond, fully refreshed from your bubble bath or meal.
You don’t have to field calls giving out information that can be found on the website when you are at home.
In fact, having a website is like having a secretary that doesn’t need sleep, food, or 25 days holiday a year.
Websites aren’t luxuries anymore. It isn’t just well-furnished conglomerates that have attractive, mobile responsive websites. Every business has one. Or rather, every business should have one.
If this worries you, then look at your competition. In your local area, at least one of them will have a website. Then go to Google and search your industry in your area. By that I mean, if you are a window fitter, type “Window Fitters in Geddington”, or wherever you are from.
Who comes up?
Because they will be getting your business.