I recently had a discussion with a good friend of mine in one of the trades industries about the importance of having a solid online presence. This includes but is not limited to his website, Internet marketing campaigns, search engine optimization, and social media. He uses some traditional forms of advertising, and relies on word of mouth for doing a great job. They have seasonal fluctuations like most businesses would have, and maintain a good reputation for their work.
Ultimately, he said “Paul, I am too busy in the summertime as it is and I have enough business in the winter time to keep me going. I have a website, so if people want to find me, then they can.” These are all valid points, however, I countered by asking, “how will people find you if they don’t know who you are and the great work that you do? They will ultimately be going to your competition who is more visible online.”
When a small business is thriving, it can become tempting to conclude that there is little point of allocating any time or money into an online presence. The disconnect between our viewpoints happened because my friend only saw this as an expense. With my line of work, I subscribe to the notion that this is not an expense. Rather, it is a necessary investment that can lead to more revenue and higher profit margins. Ultimately, it can be tough to measure the return on such an investment, especially in cases like this when the business is at full capacity for over half of the year.
Whether your business is in dire straights or at full capacity, SEO and Internet marketing investments can yield a great profit. Best of all, you can also measure your campaign to see for yourself.
In my debate with my friend, I shifted gears in the conversation to make this whole idea more tangible for him. I asked him a series of questions to get his wheels spinning. What if an optimized website could allow you to work smarter during the months of full capacity? What if you could have access to more of the lucrative $40,000 deals instead of having to do more $10,000 jobs? What if you could gain more work in the off-season to have your business working closer to full capacity? What if you could justify hiring more staff by creating more demand? More relevant traffic being funneled to your website is a great way to facilitate this shift in business.
Anyone who has seen the movie Field of Dreams will remember the famous saying of “If you build it, they will come.” Although I love that line and have recycled it thousands of times, it doesn’t fully apply to your online presence. You can’t just build a website and be done with it. There are too many websites that are invisible to their target market because they believed that they could just build it without any on-going maintenance or Internet marketing strategy.
On your next website overhaul, ask yourself: When I build it, how will they come?