Are you putting more money into your office than your website? Don’t be an idiot. Columnist Stoney deGeyter explains why your web presence is more important than your office or store.
Please don’t be insulted by the title of this post, but I had to get your attention. Yes, I’m talking to you. But, no, I don’t really think you’re an idiot unless, of course, you love your office more than you love your website.
Give me a minute to explain, and I think you’ll see my point.
I’ve always been a frugal guy. I like to spend my money more on practical things and less on extravagant things. But there are some situations when extravagance matters. And for many businesses, your office (or physical store) is one of them. (Going forward, I’ll refer simply to “office” rather than “office or store.” I’m not leaving you store owners out, but I want to spare you all the redundancy).
Your office is a statement. For many customers, the office provides the first impression. A ratty, run-down or unclean office speaks just as much about your business as does a super-polished, decadent office. One says, “I’m cheap,” while the other says, “I’m worth every penny.”
Most business owners want their customers and clients to be impressed when they first walk through those doors, whether it’s the decor, the equipment, the receptionist, the layout, the lighting, product availability or a welcoming atmosphere.
Visitors judge you by your office
When someone first steps into your office, they are making hundreds of judgments all at once, and each of those is producing either a positive signal or a negative one that will influence their decision of whether or not to do business with you.
Bargain hunters will not be impressed with the decadent, and high-end customers will be repulsed by anything less. Your office says everything about the customers you want to have.
For most of us, we want people to be impressed. My company works in a converted garage. When we bought it, it was being used as a welding shop downstairs and an apartment upstairs.
We renovated and converted it but kept the garage doors and a brick interior. It’s the perfect setting for the Pit Crew of Pole Position Marketing. And many of our clients agree. We designed an office that is practical but makes a statement about who we are.
I’m sure you’re no different. You want your customers to be impressed when they walk through that door. You want to project your status, giving clients confidence in the work that you do.
The worst thing that can happen is for a customer to have a higher expectation and then be disappointed once they see your operation. You want your office to leave a positive impression.
Your website is more important than your office
Your website is your virtual office. Actually, not just your website but your entire web presence — everything from your social media accounts to your content (on and off site) to the visual appeal of your website to how well visitors can find the information they are looking for.
In terms of status, your web presence is more important than your office because more clients and customers will find you online than will ever set a single foot into your office.
This means that whatever care and expense goes into your office should be at least equaled, if not surpassed, by your entire web presence. Think about the lengths you go to keep up the appearance of your office, inside and out. Factor everything in: every decoration, every piece of equipment, every special touch, every expense — even the lease.
All of that — every bit and more — should be invested into your web presence.
Why do you care more about the 1,000 people who may see your office every week or month or year, compared with the 10,000 who could be interacting with your web presence every single day?
And that’s the thing about your office. It only impresses those who already know about you and are there to see you. Your web presence, on the other hand, is out there drawing in new customers who would never have known about you at all. Your web presence is influencing people that your office or store could never reach.
Where your office is passive, your web presence is active. Where your office can give comfort, your web presence can give solutions. Where your office provides an opportunity for sales, your web presence is actively generating new sales opportunities.
Don’t be that idiot
If you spend more money on your office every month than you do on your website, well, maybe you are an idiot. I use that word not to offend you, but perhaps to rattle you a bit.
Nobody likes being called names, no matter how justified. Most likely, you’re not an idiot. You just never realized the importance of web marketing — or never had it spelled out for you in these terms.
What are you going to do about it? If you’re not in charge of your web marketing budget, now you have new justification to try to get more of what you need. If you are concerned at all why you’re not doing better online, maybe you’re just loving your office and hating your website a bit too much.
And now that you know what that means, failure to do anything about it just might make you a you-know-what after all.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.