Do Referral Businesses need a web site?

Hello Greg,
"I just wanted to say thank you again for putting together such a great website for us. We have had multiple compliments on how well our website was put together. In fact, I had one client recently say that he really felt confident in us based solely on our website. In turn I was able to refer the architect to the job as well.
We appreciate your hard work, dedication, and follow through on our needs." Thanks again!
-Jeff Gagnon
Gagnon Heating & Air Conditioning Inc.

"Thanks for all your help with our website and your suggestions. We get so many comments on our web site. Web reservations are going great. Your other marketing advice is working well too!"
-Kathy, Innkeeper
Inn at The Rostay, Bethel, Maine


Referral-Based Business.
4 Reasons Why You Still Need a Solid Website...

With a Solid Website, You Can Still Find the Right Girl...Recently I was approached by a friend to provide an estimate on a new website for his company. During our initial discussions, we talked about his company’s strategic goals, their audiences and the markets in which they serve. Also during our discussion, he mentioned the fact that his boss, the owner of the company, was not necessarily sold on the need to invest much money on the website since referrals are really their primary focus for generating new business.

As the owner of a referral-based small business myself, I certainly understand the notion that making a significant investment in something that may not bring a return might not be a smart move. But as a website developer, I have also seen first hand how a solid website can be the soft-selling opportunity that gives prospects the confidence to pick up the phone and call you.

Sales & Marketing Are a Lot Like Dating
I find it funny how sales and marketing can be a lot like dating. As a confident guy, you feel like you have a lot to offer a girl and most of the time, when in social situations, you can get her digits, which may or may not lead to something. But she hears good things about you from her friends, so she decides to take the next step and try out your goods (bare with me here people).

But what happens when a nice girl, who has just moved into the area and doesn’t know a lot of people, starts her search on the web? She’s busy with her new job and doesn’t really make it out to the social scene. Other than the web, she really has no way of knowing you exist and might just be her soul mate.

So she starts her search and finds a lot to choose from. There are big guys, little guys, and cute guys with lots of flash, but not much substance. She’s determined to find the right guy that “completes her”, but since you didn’t make a proper investment in your website, this match made in heaven may never happen.

There are a few key points within this analogy that I’d like to drive home.

First Impressions Are EverythingYou Can’t Be Everywhere at Once - While your personal networking efforts may always be your number one new business generator, you can’t be everywhere at once. Business growth really starts ramping up when you can duplicate your presence (your brand and your message) in many different, targeted mediums.

Search Engine Optimization/Internet Marketing – The internet is the first place people go to source products and services. And search engines are the driver. Period. In order to capitalize on these buying opportunities, search engine optimization and internet marketing strategies should play an ever-increasing role in your marketing efforts.

Perceived Value – First impressions are everything. If your site’s design and organization are subpar, your company will be perceived as the same, subpar. A proper investment in your site design and website architecture will go along way in raising the perceived value of your company.

Content Expectations – Every time a new visitor stumbles onto your website, they are looking for something, and they expect to find it. If they don’t, they move on. A solid website is one that has been carefully engineered to quickly provide the content that your target customers will need to make a buying decision. And the most effective content is professionally written and delivered as if you were providing it in person.

All Alone On a Saturday Night
Bottomline, it doesn’t necessarily take a big investment to build a solid website that can be found on search engines. The key here is to make an appropriate investment to build a site that can help you reach your goals for business growth. Not investing enough may leave you sitting at home alone on a Saturday night waiting for the phone to ring.

About the Author: Brody Dorland - Since receiving degrees in Public Relations and Marketing from Kansas State University, Brody worked for both advertising agencies and corporations creating award-winning, integrated marketing programs for companies in a variety of industries. Today, Brody manages Something Creative, Inc., a Kansas City-based, virtual marketing and interactive agency.

At IMS-21 we agree with Brody (though I am happily married and no longer date). You need a web site that is constantly working for you. Even when you are asleep. Referral business is key to our business at IMS-21. But you coming and seeing our professional web site is also critical for us to gain your confidence. Our websites generally result in 10 - 30% year one increases in your business.

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