Are websites becoming a thing of the past?

With Social Media sites offering such a transparent environment for businesses to offer their goods for sale, has the day of the website gone?

As consumers we can’t stand the hard-sell, we never could but today even less so than before. Today we have easy access to thousands of opinions on a vast range of goods and services we may wish to buy, from people we’ve never met, from all over the world .  We are no longer are impressed when a company tells us they’re the top in their league, we look for what other consumers have said about them.  We look to social media and third-party blogs to see what others say and rarely believe the testimonials provided on websites by company owners.

With Facebook offering online shops that can attach to your business’s fan page and providing opportunities to brand your page, maintenance and upgrading for a tiny charge per  month, will websites become a thing of the past?  Have they had their day?

Irish company goes to Germany to get Irish customers!

A business-man I met recently told me how he’d gained Irish customers by attending an international fair in Frankfurt! Similar fairs are simply not held here.  So when his soon to be new Irish customers approached his stand in Frankfurt they were surprised and delighted to find an Irish company who could service their needs from a base much closer to home.  A long way to go to get clients from just down the road but a great lesson in the value of ‘positioning’!

“All my business comes from referrals – why should I bother advertising?”

Many of my clients tell me that almost all of their business comes from referrals therefore they question the need to advertise.  When we dig deeper we discover that it was rarely as simple as someone telling them “you should buy from X”.  

 In my experience, when we get new clients it is very rarely down to one marketing effort – I think of it like a 4 prong fork – there has generally been in the first instance at least one happy customer who has mentioned you; then the prospective client looks up your website and either discards you at that stage or is impressed; they may Google your company to see what others say about you; they may also have seen an advertisement, a branded vehicle, a stand at a fair or other form of marketing that underpins that you are ‘solid’.

The crux then is how you come across to them when they call you and how you deal with them during the initial stages of discussing your needs and then through the negotiating phase.  People these days like to make up their own minds and won’t be told what and where to buy but that is not to say that we aren’t influenced.  So many blogs and social media are packed full of third-party commentary and we, today’s consumers, are increasingly referring to them before we buy. 

It’s rarely as simple as one direct referral.  What do you think?

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