Plug In Your Business

Plug it in!An article on Entrepreneur advises against cheap websites. Yet I see tons of them daily, and also build them, if this is what the customer wants. But then you often hear complaints of people who had websites, and they weren’t effective, didn’t bring in any extra traffic and didn’t produce any sales leads. Entrepreneur author, Greg Shugar, says:

While the cost of a good web developer varies, a beautifully designed, fully capable website should cost between $7,000 and $20,000 at most. Now compare that with the $100,000 you’d spend for your brick-and-mortar store — and you’d still lose that battle in every way. So why wouldn’t you spend a few bucks and build a kick-ass website?

Look at how much Futureshop invested in brick & mortar storefronts. They lost out to the popularity of online shopping. Yet I talk to business owners who balk at the thought of a custom designed website starting at $1500, and are more interested in using a free theme or template with NO online ordering, NO email system, NO social media and NO ‘call to action’.

Years ago I built a website that sold advertising to local used car dealers. We’d drive around and visit with them on a regular basis and even stop in on the ones who said they weren’t interested in advertising with us. To some, that may seem like a waste of time, but it wasn’t. People like to do business with people they know and like, and building relationships is the way to do it. After a while, some of these other dealers decided maybe they would advertise with us. Today building relationships can be done through social media. Many companies are completely ignoring this method at their own peril.

Another article on Entrepreneur, written by Monica Zent is titled ‘Why the Future of New Business Is Social Selling‘. In the article she has this to say about social networking:

This strategy generates 40 percent more qualified leads than cold calling and allows you to build genuine connections. Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50 percent more sales-ready leads at 33 percent lower cost. Although these statistics might refer to a more traditional sales process, entrepreneurs would be remiss not to take notice.

Missing the social media boat applies to all kinds of companies. Some are finally learning. Whitehall Lane, a 20-year-old Napa Valley winery run by the Leonardini family, has hit on a winning social media formula that pays dividends in both increased sales and brand loyalty. In an interview with Social Media Examiner they spill the beans on how social media marketing has affected them:

  • Direct sales have increased month-to-month with no increase in tasting room walk-ins
  • Wine club member sales increased 39% from September 2012 to September 2013
  • Wine club member retention has increased to over 99% each month
  • Wine dinners at partnering restaurants sell out, and wine club signups at the dinners have increased dramatically

In order for strategies like this to produce the same results for you, it all starts with having a great looking website that you can promote in your social marketing. As you can see below, Whitehall Lane’s website looks great, and has a ton of content to engage their users.

Whitehall's website

Their website is like a solid foundation and the base of their social marketing. Yes, it takes money and time when done properly, but let me assure you, it’s much better than getting in your car and driving around talking to potential customers. Very few people use the yellow pages these days. They will be looking for you online. If you’re not ready to plug in all of the way, and spend the money and time… you might as well pull the plug and close the store.