Time and time again I’m heralding the importance of an online existence of a business whether it is a brick and mortar (a real physical business compared to an online business), big or small, people should have an idea what the business is all about or what time the business operates. Since more and more people are now flocking to the internet as a means of communication and entertainment aside from gathering information, businesses should also inform people what their services is all about, what product they have and what time they operate.
Even if businesses have regular hours, most people don’t have an idea what time do they operate and what day do they close their shop.
What is the Purpose of a Website?
There are many good example to illustrate this but I’ll stick to my own experiences on this. One day my daughter was craving for a pizza and she wanted us to go to Pizza Hut but later she chose Greenwich. She was craving for their “Overload” series of those mouth watering pizza and I don’t have an idea what variety and how much exactly is the price of their new products. I keep telling her it will cost not less than 1k pesos if we will eat there. But she insisted that it won’t cost that much so she browse the internet and computes the cost. So in short she won, and I loose. Another one is when my SIL (sister-in-law) went home for a vacation from Dubai, she ran out money so she asked her friend to lent her some through Western Union, we don’t have an idea what time do the WU open their shop so I searched their website and found the nearest location and their different schedules per branch. So it is very convenient to a customer. TV commercials can do a lot to promote a business but not everyone has a photographic memory to remember those ads. So having a website can inform a customer 24/7 and 365 days a year!
How to Have a Business Online Presence
Big companies will definitely have no problems regarding this matter if the only concern is the budget. But the old thinking, sticking to their own ideology of snubbing the internet technology and thinks it is a waste of time and money, then that will be the real problem. There is a saying “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”. There is a big company I know that have a blog but it looks like the company didn’t hire a professional web designer to do the job. Today (unlike ten years ago where registering a domain name will cost $70+ a year), it is as a cheap as $9/yr or maybe less depending on the web hosting company. But the monthly hosting will cost about $11/month and it will also depend on web hosting company, maybe less than $11 or maybe more. There is also a web hosting that offers free hosting but there are advertising on it.
Personally I won’t recommend building your web presence on free web hosting or blogging sites if you have a business because eventually those free sites will decide to close them and along with it is your time and effort. I see some small local businesses create websites on multiply.com or create facebook accounts which is good because people flock on those sites and all you have to do is make friends. Social networking is a fad today to make an online presence but you cannot place all the information your customer needs to know. You have to point them to a final destination, which is your business. And the only store front a business can put in cyberspace is a website.
I recently found a comment from a website Small Business News and this is the story:
I recently went to a local dry cleaning store to pick up my clothes and the store manager mentioned that the store was going out of business next week. I asked the store manager why they were closing. He mentioned that the owners gave the store six months to succeed then they would close the store if revenue numbers were not met.
I mentioned that I just found out about the store in the last month and there were probably many people like me who didn’t know about the store. He even mentioned that many customers found this store’s location very convenient in relationship to the owner’s other store. Also, the store used “safe” chemicals in their dry cleaning process.
I then asked them what marketing they did. The store manager mentioned that they sent postcards to every mailbox in the immediate area. I then asked them how many times they sent a mailing. They said once.
To make a long story short, the store never gave the store and his potential customers an opportunity to connect. This store closing had nothing to do with the economy. One postcard mailing does not make for a marketing campaign. The owner failed to let the customer know they existed, they had a unique service, and finally, they never let the potential customers know that they were operating.