I first began to understand web pages, creating web pages, and figuring out the HTML (the behind the scenes code) on a 9 in Mac (color – all the rage) and using Netscape Navigator. The year was 1997. So I’ve been creating websites for a quite a while. As the years progressed so did the HTML. The coding behind the scenes has revolutionized what your website can do. Websites are no longer static brochure-ware but rather, rich, immersive, interactive websites that share valuable original content to a brand’s services and products. What hasn’t changed is giving you the ability to control your brand’s message – the why – why you do what you do, why is there a business, what is the business about, etc.
Let me ask you what is the primary way in which you get business? Most of you might answer Word of Mouth – either through social media or personal networks.
Here’s my take on this – your website is just as important, if not more important, as Word of Mouth (WoM). Your controlled message (brand), content, and why you are unique is on your website. Here’s why.
With WoM you rely heavily on words of other people – you are not in control of that conversation. Have you ever been asked – so what do you really think about ‘fill in the blank name’ – let’s say John Smith? As an upstanding person and knowing John somewhat you share his good qualities and maybe a few of the bad ones – or NI’s – needs improvement. What gets back to John is that he didn’t get the job.
Even with WoM – what is that other person who is receiving that WoM going to do to find out more information about John? Absolutely – without a doubt in my mind – she’ll be doing a few searches. Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn to name a few. What do you think she’ll find? Without a website or a poorly designed one she has to rely on other areas to find information about John. Maybe she’ll see John’s LinkedIn profile half completed with no recommendations (not endorsements), maybe she’ll see his Facebook profile with a few not so pleasant comments or complaining about long hours, or images that speak to John’s personal side and not his business side.
Word of mouth is finite – you can only reach some of the people – some of the time – not everyone is on Facebook the precise moment you post something – especially true of Twitter. Phone calls are one to one or one to few. Twitter is even more difficult to reach many people. You can’t explain it all in your own voice of who you are with character limitations. With a website you reach as many as those that search for you across the globe.
Having a website, with even a modicum of design, that has great valuable information for the business by someone in the business (sharing your knowledge) – a website that explains who you are, your character, and what you are all about in my opinion trumps word of mouth.
Your website is your rock, your anchor, your number one asset for your business. If you don’t put the time, energy and yes money into creating, designing, and molding it into what you are all about and sharing valuable information with the community and market to the right people you are trying to reach, then you won’t be found.
Do you agree or disagree that your website is better at controlling your brand and trumps Word of mouth?