Yesterday, I blogged about why your marketing strategy doesn’t need a website. I pretty much got massacred in several social networks for my audacity in suggesting 5 reasons why a website didn’t fit your strategy. I’m not sure everyone who wanted to hang me in effigy carefully read my post, but I can see where they were coming from.
Basically, angry visitors represented 2 groups: 1) those who interpreted my post as saying no company ever needed a website to have a successful marketing strategy and 2) those who have some misunderstanding about what folks do online.
Today, I’d like to address these groups.
No marketing strategy calls for a website group
Certainly, many marketing strategies require a company website of some kind to have an online presence. As pointed out by comments yesterday, an online marketing strategy may build credibility, it gives customers and your target market somewhere to find you at any time, it contributes to your brand, etc.
I agree that an online presence in good for many, maybe even most companies, and I said so yesterday.
The point I was trying to make, obviously unsuccessfully, is that a bad website is worse than NO website. I think many of the comments assumed the company had a well designed website and the “right” website for them. Unfortunately, we all know that there are LOTS of terrible websites out there and they destroy credibility and your brand, they don’t have the functionality desired by your target market so people just get frustrated with you, and they hurt your marketing strategy more than help it.
Websites also drain resources from other marketing strategies. Hence, it may be better to use those resources for some other marketing strategy. For instance, you may get a lot more bang for your buck if you take the $30,000 or so and spend it on advertising or a discount to draw in customers. You also might postpone developing a website until you’re in a better position to support both it and other marketing strategies.
Don’t know what folks do online
While internet use is prevalent, even among older Americans, lots of folks overseas use the internet very differently — in fact their buying behavior is very different from ours.
In much of Europe and South American, consumers still shop in the small local stores where they’ve shopped for years, maybe generations. They don’t need to see a website to know what the hours are, the locations, the specials, whatever. I think there are still places like this in the US. Hence, having a website for these businesses might be a waste or less critical than other ways they have to invest resources in the business.
Also, someone quoted a figure that 70% of consumers research products online prior to purchase. I’m not sure where they got the figure, but lets assume its accurate. Do people research 70% of everything they buy online or do 70% of people use the internet to research some purchases. Most of what I’ve read, suggests the latter.
In fact, in my post I quoted a paper that tested that assumption with real consumers and found them less likely to search for utilitarian products than hedonic products. I think you’re also more likely to find folks searching for products that are high involvement, such as expensive products, products affecting health, and services like these.
Yes, a website is a great thing and, for some businesses, its critical to the success of their marketing strategy. For other businesses, it might be ok to wait before putting up a website and focus on other aspects of their marketing strategy. A FEW businesses might find they can survive nicely without a website. My only point is that, like everything else a company does, the decision on developing a website needs to be considered and no business should feel its an absolute.