When you’re looking at your marketing budget it’s important to remember that a website is more than advertising.
Advertising is usually a one-way street. It’s one-way communication from you to potential customers. Think about the standard forms of advertising—radio or TV commercials, billboards, print ads, even the guy on the corner holding a sign. They’re all one-way communication with little regard for the customer’s interests, preferences, time or general sanity. As such, advertising gets ignored. Even worse, it can be dismissed as annoying.
While advertising can be effective, it has many pitfalls and is often on the outs today. Unless you’ve got multi-million dollar Super Bowl ads, nobody asks to see your advertising. Customers don’t want to be yelled at or interrupted.
Customers want a conversation.
That’s what a website can offer. It’s more than advertising. It’s communication. It’s connection. It’s interaction. Assuming, of course, that you take the effort to do that (see Do More with Your Website).
People visit your website because they want something. It’s not an interruption—they’re seeking you out. So give the people what they want. Give them the basic info they’re looking for. But a yellow pages ad does that, so do more. Answer questions they didn’t know they had. Offer updates and discounts and insider info. Make it dynamic. Make it change. Let’s see a yellow pages ad do that (see Flexible Marketing for Your Business).
A website is ultimately about communication, so make sure you’re communicating.