Why You Need a Website…
By: Mark Winter
…and why you need it to be perfect.
You’ve heard the expression, “Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good.” Well, the opposite might be said of your company’s website: Don’t let the good become the enemy of the perfect.
So many small and medium-sized businesses are comfortable enough knowing that their website is merely good enough. A great many more know that their website is lacking, but they simply don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to making it right. “We hate our website.” “That part is old; it doesn’t apply anymore.” “We still need to update that.” These are common admissions business leaders make about their own websites, but they act as if they’re powerless to change it.
The modern website serves as the eyes to the company’s soul. Perhaps no other marketing tool plays a bigger role in shaping public perception of a company’s culture, brand, message, value proposition or differentiators than its corporate website.
Think of this in context of the corporate brochure of yesteryear—which in many cases has been replaced by the modern website for small business. Those of us old enough to remember when the brochure was the messaging vehicle of the b2b enterprise recall how much painstaking detail went into creating the corporate brochure. From copywriting to design to production, no stone was left unturned; no comma or page width was left un-scrutinized. For, we were going to print with these things, and we don’t wish to reprint them.
All of that effort, all of that detail….for something that fewer than 1,000 people would ever lie eyes on. But with your website, you’ve opened that all up to the world. Thousands of people, categories of constituents, scads of scrutinizers. Some of which you’ve never met before.
See, the brochure had its advantages. You handed them out when you wanted, to whom you wanted, and in the proper context of the proper meeting. If it became outdated, you stopped handing them out. If there was a section that needed correcting, you could explain that to the person you were handing it to. “We’ve sold our Facilitation Unit, but the rest of this still applies.”
Not so with your website. You’re not handing it out; people are finding it. Worse yet: you don’t know who. Or when. You can’t really tell for sure what their reaction is to it. You certainly can’t stand over the viewer’s shoulder and point out, “Don’t look at that page; we need to update our portfolio. It will be ready to look at in a couple of weeks.” You may never know who happened upon it, perhaps even being the perfect candidate for your services, but clicked off because the message they were reading wasn’t speaking accurately to their needs.
Yet we’re okay leaving (not-)well enough alone? We’re okay with copy that isn’t 100% tight, meaningful, accurate and timely? We’re okay with out-of-date messaging, incorrect representation of service offerings, or misleading or misstated value propositions? We’re fine with stale design and lackluster imaging?
There is great danger in undervaluing the critical role your corporate website plays in your branding and marketing efforts. Ignore it at your own peril. If you’re leaving prospects on the table because of a website strategy that resembles the rules of a game of horseshoes, you have only yourself to blame.