Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 22.214.171.124
Forum Moderators: LifeinAsia
I live in a very small town in eastern KY, needless to say most of the population doesn't even own a computer and many businesses don't have a website. What methods should I go about in educating them on how a website can expand their business and in the long term, their profit?
I have created a dozen or so websites for clients across the country but never a local client, so I am a little uncomfortable approaching them in person, breaking the ice would be my biggest problem I suppose.
Any input would be appreciative.
The biggest problem is overcoming these very small businesses the fear of what costs they are getting into so keep costs plain and honest for basic internet presense maybe even do one for free or barter to get you started and go from there
joined:Dec 9, 2001
I don't usually do websites for other people, but I'm building one for a family member who has recently purchased a business. His main goal is to create a place where customers can read about what the company offers before they phone the office to ask questions. He says educated customers are easier to deal with, and he figures the cost of the website will easily be recovered in the value of staff time saved.
On the other hand, you can't just assume that every business will benefit from having a website. At a social event today I met someone who said he sometimes wonders if he should have a website, but he was already busier than he wanted to be. If a website created even more demand for his services, he'd be faced with the need to expand and take on employees. He wasn't sure he wanted to do that. He couldn't see any benefit from having a website, and I couldn't either. (His service is not one that needs much explaining.) I suggested that he register the obvious domain name for his business to protect his brand and keep his options open, but other than that there was no hurry to do anything else.
Different strokes for different folks ...
My mate hires tools and plant to builders, his rivals spend thousands on web sites and marketing but my mate has a ski chalet, guess who gets the most sales?
I live in a very small town in eastern KY, needless to say most of the population doesn't even own a computer and many businesses don't have a website.
And the prospects most likely know this, and may also know they can produce many times the revenue they are making now if they move to Internet commerce.
However, they may just not be ready for that, or even interested. Adding ecommerce or Internet of course makes for more work - they may be geared for local business only.
If you approach this, you first have to ask them if they are interested in tripling or quadrupling their sales in a very short time. The answer to this question will determine the rest of the conversation.
<-- Big-idea developer with small town experience. :-)
joined:Dec 9, 2001
interested in tripling or quadrupling their sales in a very short time
A more useful, less loaded question would be whether having a website would increase their PROFITS. That could vary a great deal from one business to the next, depending on what they do.
Businesses that perform services or handle physical products need to manage growth carefully. One of the most difficult and stressful things that can happen to a business is to get into a corner where demand increases faster than their ability to deliver.
Sort of like a 3-panel brochure outlining your strategy (bullet points are best)...some figures for projects you have been involved with (though these may be national in nature)...you will want to understand who/what type of small business you are approaching...(know what their margins are if you can)...then
simply drop your presentation to your target businesses...and
make sure you follow up...
If I were in your position? I'd take a day of my time and invest it in building a small brochureware site that would be used as a starting point for conversation with the locals. Once they "see" it, they may have a different perspective. And, if you can generate a few leads for local businesses, it will go viral. ;)
Take the initiative if you have the resources and your costs are minimal. Sometimes you have to spend money to make money. :)
I'd spend my time pitching my services to people in the next big city over, or elsewhere in the state. You'll likely find a few people that are willing to hire a designer outside of their own city, but at least within the state.
For any business a fully maintained website which costs them $200 a month to generate 1000 extra sales which brings in another $6000 per month is a no-brainer.
joined:Mar 3, 2003
But if someone in the town sells items that can sell easily online, then suggest a JV with them. This could be knitted dolls, local specialties - whatever.
Having said that, there are a few things you can try. Does your community have a web site, how about your county? Are there any tourism-related or economic development companies or orgs in the area that rely on getting business from outside the area? These are sites you could have a shot at.
Spread the net wider into neighboring areas and nearby larger communities - I used to spend 1 or 2 days a month cold-calling door to door when I first started out - and still have many of those clients years later, even after I moved away.
The money is not in creating websites - it's in SEO and promotion, so think that way. I was lucky and got some great accounts for SEO and now I'm back in the small town, enjoying the slow-paced lifestyle (and cheaper cost of living here in the mtns) not having to worry about local business at all.