Thursday, February 5, 2009

Web Site or Web Presence?

So, many of you may know that NBI is in the web site design business. It started as a part time hobby, building my own specialty websites and I then entered the hosting service market by being cost effective. People found us and I was asked to do custom sites for others. I became quite busy and enlisted some web designers to help. While we were building websites and developing a web presence for our customers, we became much more hands on in improving their business models. With a background in business and operations improvement, we were able to deliver, and that's how our consulting arm was born. Consulting has been our passion and, while we still do great web presence work, our focus has been working hands on with businesses to improve results. Our sales team is focused almost exclusively on the consulting side. If, during the discussions, we learn that a company is not satisfied with their web site performance (which over 90% of those we talk to are not) we offer a web presence solution. But most of our web work is third party generated, similar to a broker. Our reps contact companies who need web work done and we bid the work through the broker. The broker adds a markup (like, doubles the price) and passes that to their clients.

So, I had the opportunity the other day to talk directly with a potential client on some web site work. They have had a site for several years and just wanted to "spruce it up". They already had 3 bids on their site when I talked to them. But they did not have a spec or requirements list - "just talk to the sales guy" was the passing comment.

I checked their web site code and noted that they have no web traffic tracking system in use. I did a little SEO pre-work and created a report that showed how little exposure they had on the web. I gave them that report along with my ebook "how to make your web site work as hard as you do" a few days before I went to talk with them.

I put our typical bid package together and, just to give some negotiation leverage, I doubled the price (just like my broker does). Then I had the discussion with the client. I reviewed the background information with them and asked if they had reviewed the ebook. They were quite impressed with the presentation and asked why the other suppliers had not even mentioned web presence. Seems they just want to build a web page with flash, movies and pretty graphics. My client was surprised to hear that these flashy sites actually detract from search engine listings. Search engines like content. They can't read pictures or movies - (yet, technology is a wonderful thing and is changing quickly).

So I told my client that if they just want a pretty site, find a kid in school to create one. A kid can likely have it done for a fraction of what the design houses charge and they'll end up with a "pretty" result (the "kids" are pretty talented these days). But, if they want to make their website work for them, they should put more thought into (a) what they want from the site and (b) building web presence (not a web site) into their marketing strategy.

Marketing strategy? Oh ya - we need to work on that too.

Hey - we can help you with that! So this is the normal situation - the current reality - with many businesses. They hear about the web's growth and (rightly) believe there is a huge market for them to tap into. But they don't have the time or resources to learn what a web presence is about. They are too busy working IN their business to work ON their business. So they settle for a web page. And the results don't come.

Attraction marketing and developing a web presence can work for any company. So why are so many people not jumping on board? Because they are so busy working IN their business that they don't have time to work ON their business. An important distinction if you want to grow your profits.


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