The short answer is no you don't need a website, that thing that costs a ton, sucks money every few years on a new redesign and needs a programmer to maintain.
I'm going to show you how to despite not having a website you can really amplify leads. I'll show you 6 ways service professionals are killing it right now without a website including getting reviews (the new referral).
What you need is to know what is working in your business and truly bringing in the sales. Then where where to go next for more.
Because without the numbers you can’t possibly know where you are, let alone where you’re going. With the numbers, your business will take on a totally new meaning.
Your ultimate goal as a business owner if to get more sales and, therefore, more sales and profit. If you work backwards from that goal you will find mile markers or leverage points that help you achieve your goal on every marketing campaign.
This is what is called a KPI (Key Performance Indicator). KPI Think of it as sort of a measuring system to to compare by.
Asking each customer how they heard about you is good but typically impossible to track throughout the day. We'll discuss how to track things automatically.
- Emails or Form Submissions
- Texts or Chats
- In store visits
6 Strategies to Win Without a Website
- Google Maps/Facebook Pages
- Referral Plan
- Repeat Buyers
- Printed Materials
- Strategic Partners
A website is typically the easiest way to implement measuring systems. However you can do many without a website as well.
I like to track customer phone calls with CallRail.com. You can pick a different phone number for each of your marketing campaigns and you will always know if that nickle-ad is generating any calls automatically. Same goes for the Facebook ad or post card you mailed out.
- Google Maps/Facebook Pages
Both Google and Facebook allow you to have a free business listing. Chances are they have already made a listing for your business.
Google and Facebook have recently added a free chat feature that you can use through email, possibly text. Claiming and updating your listings will give you greater control and insight into those customers views and contacts.
These directory listings will make it so that when someone searches for your kind of business and especially your business name, they can find you.
Often these listings can't outrank a proper website but it is better than nothing. These pages also provide a home for reviews so that when people find you, they can see ratings on past customer experience.
- Referral Plan
Most service professionals we work with get the majority of their business through referrals and repeat buyers. This has been and always will be the best source of ready to buy leads. At the very leads asking each customer for a review via the feedback funnel means they are referring you to the entire internet and not just their small circle of friends.
Googles recent update allows 1 bad review to show up in Google search results (including maps). Now is the time to get some good reviews ASAP.
- Repeat Buyers
You have never needed a website to store and keep handy past customers contact information, make sure that you have a way to contact past customers and vice versa. An email can be worth its weight in gold.
You could still get emails gathered and stored in Hubspots Free CRM (Customer Relationship Management System). Having an electronic database of your past customers is going to make it a whole lot easier to scale or sell your business in the future.
You could even start an email newsletter using Mailchimps free for 2,000 subscribers plan. Email is cheaper to send out then letters and easier to share and get a referral.
If you have a complicated product like my parents in law fancy security systems, you can create an automated email that teaches new customers how to use all the bells and whistles. You better believe that increases customer loyalty.
If you don't have a website, then you have to do lots offline advertising:
- Printed Materials (On-Product, Penny-ads, Newspaper, Door Hangers...)
Remember those call tracking numbers come in handy. If you want to try having a different number for 1 of your marketing campaigns then you could try the free Google Voice. Get 1 local number for free and forward it to your existing number. Login online and see which calls were through the tracking number.
Keep paying for the marketing that gets those calls.
- Billboard (Truck/Trailer Wraps, Yard Signs...)
We once met a business owner that got the highest returns on marketing we had ever seen just from penny-ads and good street side placement of his product and a phone number. You can keep yourself busy without a website. When you go to sell the business having a system in place will be more valuable than a website.
- Strategic Partners (People/Businesses that you can refer and will refer you.)
Don't forget to assign a different CallRail tracking numbers to each effort/campaign. No need to keep spending money on something that doesn't get results in the first 6 months.
The is no reason you couldn't even hand out different brochures or business cards to be handed out by your strategic partners. You could even make it a game to see who gets you more business and gets a stake dinner in return.
You can also have events and coupons to draw in customers. Separate details and offers will lead you back to the winning marketing campaign/source.
Have a Website Already, Take it up a Notch?
Now you may be thinking to yourself, "But I do have a website!" when you only have a single page site. The difference between a 1 page site vs. a whole site is that 1 page can't answer all the questions customers may have each of your product offerings. A good site needs to have 6 or more pages with a very detailed page of each product/service.
Bonus points if your website is optimized for search engines by a reputable local company.
If you have a website these marketing methods will go further. However you can still do a version of each of these without a website. Because you can point people to something you own and control in all of your marketing.
- Contact Past Customers (Emails(Newsletters, tidings.com), Calls, Letters...)
- Guest Blog Posting (who says you can't write for other peoples blogs?).
- Google recently just added the ability to blog from your business listing.
- Writing on LinkedIn Pulse: This is just blogging but it's on LinkedIn. It shares your voice through your articles and helps you sell your business to other businesses.
- Giveaways (social media, physical raffles, rafflecopter...)
- Google PPC Call Only Ads: This helps to get people in contact with you without having to visit your site. I think you have to have at lease a 1 page website but people will never see the site because clicks are calls to you not visits to your website. Facebook is also starting to offer lead campaigns.
- Online Directories: Yelp, Yellow Pages, Angie's List... Get your information on more sites/apps when they are looking. Bing pulls a lot of data from Yelp.
If you ask me, I'd say that yes! You really should have a optimized website. Websites really amplify / support good marketing as well as bring in new business. I hope this was helpful to you and your business!
P.S. Websites can track what got more web form fill outs. We like to look in Google Analytics for SEO, Social Media and Google PPC web form leads. Don't forget that, whichever way you choose to track your KPI, you should ask how your customers heard of you but as a secondary source for the truth.