Does my business really need a website?

When I wrote the blog post on whether a business really needs a brochure, it brought up the question of whether every business also really needs to have a website.

pinterest website

Once again, my answer is going to be a big, fat, ‘it depends’. Yes, I know it’s frustrating to just not get a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, but it really does depend on what type of business you have.

If you have a business that already has enough customers and you really don’t want or need any more, you most likely don’t need a website. Also, if you get as many customers as you need just by them passing your location, such as a gas station at a busy intersection or a deli located in an office building, you probably don’t need a website either.

However, most businesses can benefit by having some sort of a web presence. People today typically will use a search engine like google when looking for things, such as a wedding photographer, a local bicycle store, a spa, or even a veterinarian. If your business doesn’t have a website at all, they’re never going to find you.

For example, when I was looking for a body shop to fix my SUV, I googled body shops in my area and looked at the different customer reviews to determine which I would visit. This doesn’t mean I didn’t also ask friends for body shop recommendations, but when they gave me one I’d immediately google the shop to check the online feedback.

Depending on your business, you may only need a simple website with a couple of linked pages that include your company’s logo, a description of your business, store address, phone number and hours of operation. Or, if you have a complicated offering with various industries and services, you may need a more extensive website with dozens of pages and links to your company’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.*

It is very important that you keep in mind that the idea of having a professional brand for your company doesn’t stop at the business cards and brochures. Make sure your website is also professionally designed to best represent your company to potential customers.

 

* I now realize that the next “Do I need…” blog entry is going to have to be about social media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Does my company really need a brochure?

One of the questions that I get most often is whether it’s really, really, really necessary to have marketing materials for your small business. Typically when asked, you can tell that the person wants the answer to be ‘no’ because they are worried about the time, effort and cost of having marketing materials designed and created. However, the answer of what kind of marketing materials your business really needs is determined by what type of business you have.

pinterest brochure

Most of the time, it makes sense for you to have business cards, no matter what kind of business you are running. Everyone from childcare providers to handymen can benefit from having a business card to hand out to potential clients. If you’re talking to someone about your business, they will most likely ask you for your business card. If you don’t have one, it tends to make it look as if you don’t really have an actual business, but just a hobby.

There are many ways to get business cards for your business without spending a ton of dough. If you do a quick google search for ‘business cards’ you’ll come up with hundreds, if not thousands of options. If you’d like personalized business cards made with a special logo designed just for you, there are just as many options of graphic designers.

The next step up from business cards is personalized letterhead and envelopes. Whether you’re sending a letter to introduce your business, an invoice for work completed or a thank you note to a referral source, it is important to have a consistent design with your business cards, letterhead and envelopes.  If you’re working in bulk, it definitely makes sense to have your designer work on the letterhead and envelope design at the same time as the business cards. That way, they can get you quotes to have everything printed for you. However, if you only anticipate yourself using less than 100 pieces of letterhead a year for invoices, it may be a better idea to have something designed for you to print off of your home printer as you need it.

Then we move on to the big and intimidating brochure. ooooOOOOHHHHH [that was scary music in case you were wondering] Almost every business out there can benefit from having a well-designed brochure. Notice I said “almost”. There are some businesses that just don’t need an actual printed brochure. Sometimes having a website is a much better option for the work that you do. For example, maybe the industry you work in changes so fast that as soon as you print something it’s already out of date.

For the majority of business though, having a brochure that explains your services can be quite helpful when meeting with potential clients. Not only do you have something that spells out what you can offer them, but if done well it will gave your business the professional image that you need. If you have marketing bucks to spend, please use them to hire a marketing guru and/or graphic designer to create your brochure for you. You are literally handing your contact a little piece of your company’s brand when you give them a brochure. Make sure you get it right!

The last thing you want to do is talk a great game and then hand someone a brochure that you whipped up in Microsoft Word using their vast array of borders, colors and fonts. I don’t care if you really went ‘above and beyond’ by using a specialty font like Comic Sans in addition to your diagonal and underlined ALL CAPS bulleted services you offer, just don’t do it.*

There are many other kinds of printed marketing materials out there and a large business may have a dozen different brochures, a specialized folder for each industry and 10 different promotional items. However, for smaller businesses you can usually get by with the basics. Just make sure that they are well-designed and represent the business that you’ve worked so hard to build.

 * For anyone who doesn’t understand the sarcasm in this paragraph, please visit the previous blog post “Creating a Flyer in Microsoft Word Does Not Make You a Graphic Designer”.

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Duck, Duck, Duck…House

Tomorrow we’re going to go and look at houses again and I’m a little apprehensive. We went and looked at 5 houses last weekend and I totally fell in love with one of them (as mentioned in the TMI post). A few days after we looked at it, I found out that it went under contract and I was totally crushed.

My husband was obsessed with another of the houses that we had seen (mostly due to the 4 car garage) and was overjoyed that it might make our ‘final list’ since the one I liked was no longer available. Then this morning we found out that it also just went under contract. What makes it super weird is that this house has been on and off the market since 2007 and hadn’t gotten a contract until we looked at it. Boo! Hiss!

I guess the good news is that the market is finally on the rebound with people buying houses again. Of course, it’d be a lot better news if someone would buy OUR house!

The lady who was/is interested in our house came and saw it for a third time last Sunday, but still no contract. According to her agent, she still likes our house but is “dragging her feet because she doesn’t feel the need to rush”.

Um, yeah. I guess I’M feeing the need for her to rush!

Anyways, if we do receive a contract from her or anyone in the next few weeks we feel like it would be a good idea to have narrowed down our list to one or two favorites. Of course, there are no guarantees that someone else might snap them up before we can.

And yes, I know we could put a contract on a house contingent on us selling our house, but those contracts aren’t as attractive to a seller. We’d prefer to have our house under contract so we can just put our purchase contingent on our settlement.

So I’m a bit nervous about going to look at the last 5 houses on our list. Even though I go into it telling myself to hold back and not get too involved with a house by picking out new furniture and making our imaginary child best friends with the neighbor’s kids, I just can’t help it. I guess I’m just a house slut.

I’m going to work super hard to keep my house sluttyness contained tomorrow, but I can’t make any promises.

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