Summer is here, and there are so many opportunities to sell your product. The real question is, how do you find the right place with the right customers? Whether you are looking at farmers markets, craft fairs, or trying to jump into commercial production, the task of finding a consumer outlet can be daunting. And, even if you find the right customer, how can you be sure you have the right marketing that will sell the product for you?
Small producers and entrepreneurs often rely on word of mouth to sell their products. When I am researching small businesses, I notice that many do not have websites. This is sometimes not a problem: for instance, if a restaurant opens up in a busy part of town, they do not necessarily need a large web presence to garner business. Word of mouth, coupled with passerby curiosity, will sometimes create enough traffic to support a business. However, if a business is situated in a less travelled part of town or in a rural area, a good web presence is absolutely crucial to expand business to the right customer base. Word of mouth will simply not be enough.
I also see some companies rely on a single social media outlet. This approach can definitely have its perks: it is much easier to update on one forum, and some sites can act as a proxy for a website. One business we frequent uses Facebook and Twitter in lieu of a business page. This has its benefits, but they might be missing out on customers who do not use Facebook or Twitter. Believe me, there are a lot of people out there who have no social media presence. In this case, there are drawbacks to ignoring the need for a website – the business is losing potential customers.
Think about this: if you own a company, how is your customer going to search for your business? Chances are, they will put your name into Google or Bing or a similar search engine. If you do not have a website, a search engine will have difficulty connecting your customers to you. (Claiming your Google+ account will do wonders in this situation, but that is another story for another blog post.) The last thing you want is for customers to find your business via Yelp! or another review site. The point of all this is, you want your customers to find YOU, not someone’s opinion of you. If you neglect the need for a website, you are letting the internet tell customers what to think of you… and that’s not the internet’s job! You need to tell your own story so your customers can connect in a meaningful way. THIS is why we stress the importance of a website.
This can all seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. If you need help building an attractive site, hire someone to do so. Tell your story, find the right customers, and take charge of your own success. We are rooting for you!