Why do you need a website? For some it's just a matter of showing that your business exists. For others, it's like a billboard to let passersby know what it offers. Websites serve the role of business card and business brochure. But, if that's all they do for a business, to quote Shakespeare, it's "much ado about nothing." The usefulness of a website to any business comes down to it's contribution to the revenue generation of the business. Is there anything more important to a business than making money? The question to ask, therefore, is what is the right thing to do that would leverage a business site to make money.
Should a website take a direct sales approach? It should if you have a product or service offering at a ready-to-buy price. Direct sales through an e-commerce platform, or a managed service offering, or a subscription can serve as an online storefront or service window. Business websites that take this approach are doing the right thing, but like any price-based business, it only works if you get qualified prospects to come to the site. Site traffic is not the same as qualified prospects that are likely buyers. If you are going to sell direct, you need to have a sophisticated strategy for finding, enticing, appealing to, motivating, interacting with, assuring, and converting buyers into customers, and customers into enthusiastic references of your site and offering.
When a product or a service is complex and/or customizable, websites that do the right thing sell indirectly. They offer expertise, reliability, quality and service at a price that is acceptable to the buyer for the value perceived. This approach applies to B2B sales efforts, service brands, and support services. The primary role of the website is to support the sales cycle — provide an initial positive impression, to create a distinct and differentiated message from competitors, and to enable the buyer to trust in the seller and what the seller is selling.
The third type of website is one based entirely on building a brand — around a company, product, service, personality or audience interest segment. Sites that do it right promote their reputation and recognition. Whether it's a person, place or thing, a branded site does not sell directly or indirectly. Its role is to foster a relationship.
In real terms, businesses may require some balanced application of two or three of these models to optimize their effectiveness online. For this purpose, TransitionITnow provides a business solution approach. We don't just build sites, we build business strategies deployed through websites and website marketing infrastructures. The right plan and the right application of it are crucial factors to the investment return for your business. Think about it. Is your business doing the right thing online, or not?