Patsi Krakoff, my partner, has known Cheryl for 15 years; she did the flowers for Patsi’s wedding ten years ago. She’s also a member of a women’s business group in San Diego. Recently Cheryl presented her new marketing project to Patsi for feedback:
A tri-fold brochure…
It was tastefully done and the photos were excellent. They worked on focusing the content more on the needs, challenges, and dreams of potential clients who would want to hire her for weddings.
And then Patsi said, “Put your call to action here, with your phone number and website URL.”
Cheryl’s face began to turn red.
…Cheryl doesn’t have a website. She markets face-to-face, but isn’t reaching enough new faces. She’s not computer savvy although she knows enough as far as designing the brochure goes.
For Cheryl, like many local businesses, having a website hasn’t been a priority. But now that more people are going online to find information about who to do business with, it’s no longer a ‘nice’ thing to have, it’s a necessity.
But why have a website?
If you really want to get found online, and want prospects to know about you and what you can do for them, a blog is more effective. It costs less money, and will get more results in less time. And, in fact, a blog is a website — just easier to use.
But there’s a cost, like for all marketing projects. And that is the time to learn how to get the most out of this new marketing tool.
In Cheryl’s case, she could upload photos of her work, with minimal text and a few testimonials. The investment is low: an account with Typepad is $9/month. She has the time to update the blog a couple of times a week.
You see, even with a nice brochure, people do not immediately pick up the phone. First, they’re going to research you on the Web. In this case, if they can’t find something about Cheryl online, she doesn’t exist.
One thing for sure, small business marketing is changing and will never be the same. We’re not saying good-bye to the tri-fold brochure, but you must have a way for people to find you online as well.
It’s up to you to build a strong Internet presence as part of your marketing plan. You can do it with minimal costs and a little investment of time.