From the Birmingham Business Journal. Read the full story here.
by John Paul Strong, Special Contributor
Alot of people underestimate the power of perception when a customer or prospect lands on your company website.
I tell people all across the country that your website is the window into your business, since the majority of people now look at your website before ever making a physical visit to your business.
We have all heard the saying made very popular in the 80s from a shampoo commercial: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
I believe this is one of the truest statements in advertising.
As the Internet evolves, and we are currently in the midst of the social media revolution, Americans are spending more time online and looking at more things through their phones and computers than ever.
Yet while this is occurring, most retailers admit they are not where they need to be with their website or e-commerce.
This is where business owners of all kinds both retailers and service-based companies must get craftier.
The Internet is the most cost efficient form of advertising and the easiest tool for tracking and measuring the effectiveness of an ad or promotion.
The website is the common denominator of every business operating in America today.
With it, you can turn a local company into an international business overnight.
Without it, you are missing opportunities and losing the ability to connect with customers who prefer to shop online instead of a brick-and-mortar location.
Even if you are a local business that receives little to no sales revenue over the Internet, you still stand to gain a lot from a website that projects your products and tells the story of your business.
This is not a point about claiming status by having a website or trying to project your company as being on the leading technological edge.
Nor is this a battle cry to say go out and spend tens of thousands of dollars to create the slickest looking website ever conceived.
A website can be as simple as you want it to be as long as it contains two key things: information and connectivity.
People are online because they are garnering information on products they may buy and businesses they may buy them from.
Other shoppers are searching for the type of company that they would like to do business with, which is why you must connect them back to your business through a website.
By listing products and prices, content and reviews, you are selling online all the time and no salespeople are required.
By telling your story as what you stand for, what your culture is and why to buy from you, you are letting people see a part of your business online that generally cannot be seen unless a customer is standing in your store.
Regardless of how simple or complex your marketing plan is, a fully functioning and great looking website should be your company’s greatest asset.
When spending dollars to generate traffic, you will pay less and see immediate traffic with a strong online presence.
The only way to get a strong online presence is to build the most effective website for the goods or services that you are selling.
People ask me all the time why I title everything I write “next day traffic.”
The answer is simple: With the right tools and execution, I can generate traffic for my clients in one day.
The real secret is, the easiest way to do this and make it happen fast is online