Local Businesses Don't Need Website If They Are On Yelp, Google Places, etc. Agree or Disagree?

by leader
39 replies
Seeking thoughts from great marketing minds!

I'm helping my nephew develop his business as a web designer for local businesses. Its going well - he's getting clients, but he's also encountering businesses that believe (mistakenly perhaps) that their business doesn't need its own website since it already has a web presence on Google places, yelp, etc.

Part of a good marketer's job is to help the potential prospect by educating them. What would you say to a local business to help them understand why a website of their own is still important to have even if they are on these different platforms?

Or, then again, is it? Maybe you disagree that there is a need for a website if a business is getting exposure on Yelp, Google places, etc. I'd really appreciate perspectives on this. I've suggested several responses to my nephew on how a business would still benefit from having its own website, but I know there are many marketing minds far greater than my own here, so other perspectives, for or against, would be appreciated. Thanks for your thoughts and input!
#agree #businesses #disagree #google #local #places #website #yelp
  • Profile picture of the author ElSamJones
    Google Places and Yelp are great marketing tools, but you don't control the content. Your website allows you to control the content, tell your customer just how you will solve their problem, and give that customer a better feel for your business compared to a listing on Google or Yelp that simply tells the world you exist. Those other avenues work in concert with your website, but certainly not in place of your website.

    To help him expand his business, remind your nephew that certain sectors cannot survive without websites - real estate, for instance - and perhaps he should target those sectors. A "value added" benefit he may want to consider is tacking on social media management for clients that aren't savvy enough or are too time deprived to do it themselves. Just a thought.
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  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    Yelp, Google places, Social media pick one pick them all.... they are all pieces to a whole. For me.. a website is the center of that whole. All of those pieces in a perfect world are synergistic by nature that draw a potential client to a website that does what it should do best.. and that is cement the action.

    Getting a conversion on the outside rim ( yelp Google Places etc ) is great... but if you look at some of the research done, those that display a website have a better conversion.. its not even the fact that people goto the website its just the fact they have one.

    Another interesting angle here... So your Google places gives you a listing in a serp.. your yelp listing gives you a listing in the serp.. I will tell you that if there are Yelp listings in the top 10 there is NO reason why a clients website should not be in there. Yelp listings in local search are a GREAT indicator of unsaturated effort in that market space. - Let me throw that another way.. A Yelp listing in a local search.. is a indicator that you can knock out a competitors yelp listing with a actual website listing.. or worse yet, a competitor can knock out YOUR Yelp listing with a website.

    Google places will always be there... its Google. After that... Website content takes precedence. Think about this for a moment does Google really want Yelp in their listings? probably not... But the one thing that Google does want is Relevant content and Yelp does in fact provide that. SO If Google wants relevant content and Yelp is the only solution they will list Yelp listings.. Provide something other than Yelp.. google will take that instead.
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  • Profile picture of the author animal44
    Originally Posted by leader View Post

    Or, then again, is it? Maybe you disagree that there is a need for a website if a business is getting exposure on Yelp, Google places, etc. I'd really appreciate perspectives on this.
    If you search on something like "what percent of businesses have a website" you'll find it's a majority DO NOT have a website. A website is not essential.

    Think about it. You want a service or a product, what do you do? Most likely you'll seek out recommendations from someone you trust. Let's say several people recommend "joe bloggs the plumber", but you can't find his website or even any online presence. Do you discard him? Of course not. You want the best, so you'll seek him out. You'll ask those who recommended him how to get hold of him.

    It may be desirable for a business to have a website. A kitchen fitter might want to have examples of their work so people can review before visiting their showroom. However, someone selling sewage parts? or ball bearings? or even our plumber...?

    Doesn't help with your question, but might help your nephew focus more on businesses that perhaps should have a website... e.g. cafes and restaurants. People out and about might well search out the nearest cafe or restaurant on their mobile...
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    • Profile picture of the author mr5473878f
      Originally Posted by animal44 View Post

      If you search on something like "what percent of businesses have a website" you'll find it's a majority DO NOT have a website. A website is not essential.

      Think about it. You want a service or a product, what do you do? Most likely you'll seek out recommendations from someone you trust. Let's say several people recommend "joe bloggs the plumber", but you can't find his website or even any online presence. Do you discard him? Of course not. You want the best, so you'll seek him out. You'll ask those who recommended him how to get hold of him.

      It may be desirable for a business to have a website. A kitchen fitter might want to have examples of their work so people can review before visiting their showroom. However, someone selling sewage parts? or ball bearings? or even our plumber...?

      Doesn't help with your question, but might help your nephew focus more on businesses that perhaps should have a website... e.g. cafes and restaurants. People out and about might well search out the nearest cafe or restaurant on their mobile...
      Hello dear
      I have read your post. I think your conception is definitely well. I want to support your thinking. But if you have a website then you can expand your business globally with nicely decorate your web page and make a website good looking for the traffic who are interested.
      Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    Think about it. You want a service or a product, what do you do? Most likely you'll seek out recommendations from someone you trust. Let's say several people recommend "joe bloggs the plumber", but you can't find his website or even any online presence. Do you discard him? Of course not. You want the best, so you'll seek him out. You'll ask those who recommended him how to get hold of him.
    Therein lies the trap of generalizing from your own behavior to everyone else's.

    If I have someone recommended by a neighbor and that person is not even listed online anywhere, I will *not* call them. They seem shady. I prefer to deal with the kind of people who pay Workers Comp (which protects both me and the worker) and taxes (that's only fair), who don't accept money under the table (if they do that, do they also cheat on doing work up to code?) and most likely have a website.

    Marcia Yudkin
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    • Profile picture of the author animal44
      Originally Posted by marciayudkin View Post

      Therein lies the trap of generalizing from your own behavior to everyone else's.

      If I have someone recommended by a neighbor and that person is not even listed online anywhere, I will *not* call them. They seem shady. I prefer to deal with the kind of people who pay Workers Comp (which protects both me and the worker) and taxes (that's only fair), who don't accept money under the table (if they do that, do they also cheat on doing work up to code?) and most likely have a website.

      Marcia Yudkin
      So from 51% to 85% of businesses are shady tax avoiders, black economy businesses?

      IR and HMRC should have it easy then. "Yes, M'lud they don't have a website, so they must be guilty"

      My conclusions have nothing to do with my "behaviour". My conclusions are by observation and talking to people about how they find businesses. Perhaps a few people on here should get out there and talk to real people...

      BTW Amazon has a website, however, as is well publicised, they don't pay their taxes. Perhaps you should stop using Amazon...?
      Edit: Just remembered there was a TV program recently about Amazon delivery drivers being paid less than minimum wages and being required to spend far more time on the road than allowed. So you definitely better stop using Amazon...!
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  • Profile picture of the author umc
    I have a local business. I have a website. I don't need it. Word of mouth keeps me so busy that I have a waiting list. A website may be necessary to gain Marcia's business, but apparently she's in the minority, talk about using one person's view to color everyone. Geez, I have insurance and report all income on my taxes. I get that a web presence legitimizes the credibility of a business in the eyes of many, but the question was "is it necessary", and no it is not. It certainly can help, just one of many tools out there. I try not to have mine seen, avoid all review sites, etc. because I have plenty of business and don't seek to grow. I know other small or self-employed ventures that have no website and stay busy. Offline marketing is a real thing, not just online marketing for offline businesses.
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  • Profile picture of the author 30225000
    Local Business Review Sites like Yelp, Google Places, etc Influence New Customers but I still think every business should have it's own website. Because these sites don't give listing owner full control over business listing (you may want to show only positive reviews, but you can't do it on these sites.).
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    I can only give my own experience with my retail business, and the experience of my clients.

    It all helps. A website is another online presence that you control. Most of the other sites (Yelp, Google Places, etc) are just listings. It's useful to have them...they let people know your business exists...but they don't sell anything.

    You want an online presence that sells the consumer on choosing your business over another. How?

    My local business has three separate websites...each one of them shows up on the first page of a Google search in my area. I also have dozens of videos, for my retail store alone. And two or three always show up on the first page of a Google search in my area.

    My websites sell. My videos sell. I mean they sell the person on seeing me, instead of someone else.

    In fact, even though, in my town, there are 16 retailers that sell what I sell, Nine of the ten listings on the first page of a Google search (for my core product) are my listings. And if you include a brand name in the listing (that I sell) I'm all ten listings.

    Does it pay in local retail sales? Absolutely. In fact, most people are going online, to buy online....and they find my listings covering the first page of a search....and that brings an online shopper into my store.

    So........
    Yes, a website is useful, as long as it gives great reasons to buy from the client. Most websites are nothing more than an expanded listing, and are unnecessary.
    Two websites are better. I mean websites that sell, not boring place holders.
    Websites and videos are better still. And the videos need to sell. They need to give reasons to buy from you.
    Websites, videos, and listings in very major directory are even better still.

    But my directory listings (even with great reviews) pull in fewer customers than the websites and videos. I speak from a decade of experience advertising my own local store online, and selling that service to other retailers.

    I've been at my location for 16 years. Most customers now are either past customers or referrals from customers. But even now, my online marketing brings in another several thousand dollars in net profit that I wouldn't see otherwise.

    And I haven't created a new video, or added any real content to my websites in a year or two. It just keeps on working, even without any further effort on my part.

    Anyway, I hope that helps.

    Added later; A Facebook page for your local business shows up well on Google, and can be a strong sales aid. You can add videos, articles, and personal stuff as well. In fact, the only page one Google listing that isn't mine,(in my town) is a competitor's Facebook page.
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      Added later; A Facebook page for your local business shows up well on Google, and can be a strong sales aid. You can add videos, articles, and personal stuff as well. In fact, the only page one Google listing that isn't mine,(in my town) is a competitor's Facebook page.
      THIS right here... 90% first page domination... Is a website required.. No it really isn't.. are you going to get 90% domination without one NOT A CHANCE.

      From an SEO perspective Websites take preference. Lets ask Claude... in the page you are 90% dominant is the #1 listing your website? I am going to better than assume the answer is yes. ( I know the answer is yes BTW )

      In terms of SEO the website being the target of all of those links on the youtube videos, the social profiles, the directory listings.. there is nothing else to say other than that is what SEO is.. controlling links to a centralized web property... A website.

      Local SEO in small town America ( the world for that matter ) the Wooster's and Bridgeport's and Goulburn's is dominated by those with websites.. you can be one of many in page 1 serps or you can be the one to thin out the competition.

      Within this very topic there is a not so fine line... there are those that USE SEO and those that think its a waste of time. Those that use SEO.. will say naw you don't need a website ( I did above ) and we will snicker not so below our breath. Those that don't use it so much will start in with the personal referrals and social media and right place at the right time postcard on the kitchen counter stuff. It is effective.. sure BUT as a business owner can you truly control that?

      In my personal opinion... the question isn't really an option.. YES any local business that is taking online marketing seriously should have a proper website, the HUB to their online activity and efforts.
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

        THIS right here... 90% first page domination... Is a website required.. No it really isn't.. are you going to get 90% domination without one NOT A CHANCE.

        From an SEO perspective Websites take preference. Lets ask Claude... in the page you are 90% dominant is the #1 listing your website? I am going to better than assume the answer is yes. ( I know the answer is yes BTW )
        As an aside, yes....the first two listings are two of my websites. If one of my competitors had a website (with any SEO at all) they would probably also be on page one. My competitor's Facebook page is, and if he had a website, it might be there too.

        One of the reasons you need directory listings, videos, and websites is that Google tends to put a couple websites on page one, a couple videos, and a few listings.

        For example, I have dozens of highly linked videos on Youtube...for my retail store. But it's unusual to see more than 3 videos on the first page. And one of my websites and my Facebook page don't show up on page one.

        So, having a website is useful, and having a variety of videos, websites, and listings almosty guarantees you have a prominent spot on the first page of a Google search.

        I've given speeches to large crowds of businesspeople in major cities. Before the speech, I would look on Google for the page one local listings. I would show a screen capture of the results. Many times, the first page was simply directory listings....

        Anyone could have dominated the page with very little effort. A smartly designed website with just a few links to it would have stood out, and probably been the number one listing.


        Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

        . I will tell you that if there are Yelp listings in the top 10 there is NO reason why a clients website should not be in there. Yelp listings in local search are a GREAT indicator of unsaturated effort in that market space. - Let me throw that another way.. A Yelp listing in a local search.. is a indicator that you can knock out a competitors yelp listing with a actual website listing.. or worse yet, a competitor can knock out YOUR Yelp listing with a website.
        Absolutely.
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  • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
    It depends, as there is no 1 answer to fit all situations.

    A client, Thai restaurant downtown Auckland,
    has weekday lunch customers lined up out on the street to get in.

    They have no website and would have higher priority,
    like how to look after existing customers.

    Best,
    Ewen
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  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    Is he business interested in growing? Some are, some are not.

    If yes, are their prospects looking for them online?

    Can they build online credibility without a website? Can they keep their prospects updated of changes within the business without a website? Do they feel comfortable letting their whole online presence be in the hands of third parties?

    All that aside, a website (properly done and SEO'd) can help. A lot of business that have websites around where I am have wasted their money on their website: as in, either nobody new finds their website, the website works against establishing credibility (cheap work cheaply done), the website no longer represents them accurately (or never did).

    Talk to the ones who think they need one, forget the others, no matter why they think they do not need one.

    If you think at any point, some of them are likely to change their minds and want a site, make sure you're in front of them constantly, or often enough that you catch a good number of them.

    Post an ad in a publication/website they visit How X Accountant's new website increased X's revenue's by 247%. Download/call for the white paper.

    Anyone who downloads/calls is more likely to get a new website, so you market to them.

    To work, the above requires work at segmenting and understanding niches and sub-niches.
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    Since today is known as Cyber Monday...one of the biggest days of the year for buying online...

    I'm gonna take a wild guess and say those companies with websites will get more sales than the companies that just use Yelp, Google Plus, etc.

    P.S. Hasn't anyone seen statistics on how online buying is growing and growing and growing year after year?
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

      Since today is known as Cyber Monday...one of the biggest days of the year for buying online...

      I'm gonna take a wild guess and say those companies with websites will get more sales than the companies that just use Yelp, Google Plus, etc.

      P.S. Hasn't anyone seen statistics on how online buying is growing and growing and growing year after year?
      Yes. I wonder how many people order from a Yelp listing?
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      • Profile picture of the author animal44
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        Yes. I wonder how many people order from a Yelp listing?
        I wonder how many vacuum cleaners people ordered off sweeperstoreonline.com
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by animal44 View Post

          I wonder how many vacuum cleaners people ordered off sweeperstoreonline.com
          That specific website isn't built to order from. But that's my choice. With a Yelp listing, you have no choice.

          For about 8 years, I had three separate websites where I sold vacuum cleaners and parts. We did a substantial online business. About a year or so ago, we shut them down, just because the manual labor involved in filling orders was taking a toll.

          The websites and videos we have now, are solely designed to bring buyers into our retail store.

          Not all websites are built to sell online. But listings, even great listings on Yelp an Amazon, cannot sell anything. Much of the format is restricted. And most listings are information only.
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          • Profile picture of the author animal44
            Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

            That specific website isn't built to order from. But that's my choice. With a Yelp listing, you have no choice.

            For about 8 years, I had three separate websites where I sold vacuum cleaners and parts. We did a substantial online business. About a year or so ago, we shut them down, just because the manual labor involved in filling orders was taking a toll.

            The websites and videos we have now, are solely designed to bring buyers into our retail store.

            Not all websites are built to sell online. But listings, even great listings on Yelp an Amazon, cannot sell anything. Much of the format is restricted. And most listings are information only.
            A quick search shows that the 1 billion website mark was passed on 2014.

            Another quick search gives 110,000 ecommerce websites.

            There are approximately 110,000 ecommerce websites generating revenue of meaningful scale on the internet.
            Source: https://blog.rjmetrics.com/2014/06/1...ies-are-there/

            So only 110,000 businesses out of the millions of businesses out there are legit? Only 110,000 are making any money? Economy must be in a bad way...

            Most business websites don't sell anything. How many web designers have any marketing training? Most business websites are simple banners proclaiming the business exists. They don't sell anything, They're effectively worthless. Most are lost in the clutter and even if you do find them, they're there on the page with 9 other organic and probably as many other paid advertisers. How do people choose?

            Well if you look on local forums - like streetlife.com - you find people asking for referrals - the majority of posts on streetlife are people asking total strangers "who's the best business for ...."

            I'll point you back to Ewans example, the restaurant without a website, but with a large queue outside.

            Ever seen Donald Trump advertising billion dollar real estate deals on his website?

            A website may be desirable, but only if people are looking online for that product or service...
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            • Profile picture of the author savidge4
              Originally Posted by animal44 View Post

              A quick search shows that the 1 billion website mark was passed on 2014.

              Another quick search gives 110,000 ecommerce websites.


              Source: https://blog.rjmetrics.com/2014/06/1...ies-are-there/
              I think you are leaving out some data here that alters the gap in a way. In the article they state " ecommerce websites make up approximately 10-12% of the internet. " So "meaningful" and actual number are 2 things. Meaningful being defined as having a rating on Alexa as 1 mil or better. The ACTUAL number is somewhere in the 100 Million area.

              Much like the 1 Billion website number... yes there are approximately 1 billion we address.. BUT that does not mean there are actually 1 Billion websites. using Total number of Websites - Internet Live Stats as a reference it is noted that about 75% of the names are Parked or inactive. SO the actual number of active sites is somewhere in the 250 million area.

              Now the question should be asked.. is there 250 million websites in total and 100 million commerce sites.. as rjmetrics suggests? that would be 40% of the internet actually being ecommerce in nature. A number I actually think is not that far off.

              Here is the thing when looking at this. Here we are on Warrior Forum, and a good majority of the content on this site is about affiliate marketing. This type of marketing is indeed ecommerce in nature. However, many choose to use landers and such and have no actual commerce on their site, it is delivered to the affiliate site for processing. Since they ( rjmettrics ) are using Alexa as a determination for 'Meaningful" one can now question if the affiliate sales pages fit the mold? I would bet not.

              In short the rjmetrics blog post made for a good read but is drastically flawed.

              So lets get to the real nitty gritty here in this discussion. I believe the internet ( search engines ) is used far greater than what is suggested in this thread. An example Google launching " Google Home Services " Google doesn't say " Oh everybody calls their neighbors for referrals, but we will try our hand at getting leads " There is numerical rhyme and reason for the development of that service. The search for service providers ( IE plumbers Lawyers Doctors etc ) is so great Google wanted a piece of the pie, pure and simple.

              I think what we are seeing in this thread is generational gap more than anything. Millenials, yes very dependent on referrals, but more importantly are dependent on NOW. as in get on the internet and get the answer right then, and right there. "Bakery" bang listing one is 3 miles away. "Directions" and they are on their way. This is NOW reality.. and without question the foreseeable future. Driverless cars.. the "driver" is going to call out the destination.. or ask for options of a destination. I don't think all of this is really that far away.

              The internet.. websites specifically is a game changer. Granted they have to be developed correctly and perform a function be it actual product selling or sitting there relentlessly 24 7 365 producing leads. In a lot of cases this is not an easy task. There is a learning curve in producing such sites. There is a learning curve in developing the customer base to get referrals. In through all of that, there is a learning curve to developing results that keep you and your clients in business. without the later... you are basically doomed.
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  • Profile picture of the author animal44
    Originally Posted by leader View Post

    Part of a good marketer's job is to help the potential prospect by educating them. What would you say to a local business to help them understand why a website of their own is still important to have even if they are on these different platforms?
    To get back to OP's question...

    I'm not a great fan of most small business websites. They basically suck because web developers are graphic designers, not marketers. They produce pretty sites, which rarely sell...

    However, here's my basic attempt to answer your question. Test and tweak as best you can.

    Easiest way is to get a testimonial from a previous client. Don't just ask for a generic testimonial, go back and ask them questions about why they bought, what doubts they had before buying and what their actual experience was...

    You want a testimonial like:

    "I didn't think we needed a website in the beginning, but I'm so glad we did go ahead. I am now getting an extra 10 orders per day at an average value of 200 per order. All new customers. I know I wouldn't be getting all this additional business if it wasn't for your website..."

    Once you have one or more such testimonials, you simply say something like
    "Funny you should say that, Mr Prospect. One of my clients, Bob Jones at xyz said the same thing. Here's what he thinks now..."

    Job done...

    PS: Note that it's never what you say, it's what other people say about you.
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  • Profile picture of the author eccj
    Okay a bunch of websites suck.

    Sturgeon's Law and all apply here.

    Do they need a website? Obviously no they don't as has been proven here.

    But they can definitely use a website to make money. How much would depend on the industry.
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  • Profile picture of the author Oziboomer
    Whether a local business has a website or not is not really that important if they serve their local customers as well and have a reputation within their catchment area.

    There are two restaurants that are close to my business.

    One only opens for the weekend and cooks out of a van parked at the back of a commercial premises. They use the commercial premises's carpark.

    They do have a permanent type set-up with good quality solid timber tables and comfortable chairs etc. They are Alfresco.

    Another restaurant that is in the commercial premises next door is run by a mother and daughter team.

    Both only use Facebook as their website and contact medium.

    They have a ton of reviews on the popular restaurant review sites in their area like Urbanspoon.

    They don't even have a landline phone number to call.

    They list mobile numbers.

    I would have thought in the past that their set-ups was ludicrous but they are both always busy to the point that I'm worried I might have to start booking when I feel like paying them a visit.

    They are both functioning at their capacity and to do more business they would both need to move and expand into a different location.

    They are both run by relatively new immigrants.

    Hopefully they continue to cook for the community they are part of because they have the local community support.

    They love their regular customers and welcome new ones but they don't need a website to push more customers to them.

    The reason they are successful is because they have a relationship with their community.

    They love their neighbourhood.

    They don't need to lock away their tables and chairs nor do they need to run specials or promotions.

    They are successful, profitable and supported by their community.

    Personally I hope they never get websites and try to attract a broader clientele because we enjoy the atmosphere and what they do.

    If they became too commercial they would lose the personal touch they both have.

    When I think about all the "best" experiences I've had shopping in an offline world each experience has been the result of interacting with one individual who has met my needs. They maybe backed up by a team but it is the personal attention that delivered the result.

    I love all things online and run several offline and online businesses.

    One thing to note in relation to business success can be related to both offline and online and that is customer experience.

    For me if I can my get my satisfaction offline I'll go there but for the majority of my purchases I'll go online and search the products available and then visit my local stores to not only support but to encourage them into action,..

    Best regards,

    Ozi
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      I really get what you are saying here. These examples don't need websites. As a marketer looking for prospects these types of business I don't even consider a business. Add just one employee to either of these and I would bet profit margins would sink drastically. These business' probably cant afford to grow in size.

      The mother daughter team probably live well, but share a home. The Van guy probably does this for extra cash and does good. He probably cant afford to give up his "day job" and have a go full time. Again this would probably require hiring and we all know the expense in that.

      The flip side of this is say your frame shop. You have employees.. you pay taxes and holiday pay and this and that and the other. You simply cant afford NOT to have a website.

      There is a line there... being a part of the community and having bills that far outreach what your local neighborhood can afford. If local support cant maintain your business, you obviously need to start reaching. This is the point that I feel a website is required.

      Every instance is different, but understanding where that line may be, helps in identifying plausible prospects. Step back to the mother daughter team as an example. IF they both lived in their own homes and their were two separate family units with cars and expenses, they may cross that line. They simply may need more positive cash flow.

      There is another unspoken variable at play in this. I apparently have this knack for moving to transient locations. What I mean by this is communities that have a base but be it seasonal or by industry there is a good sized non local population.

      Myrtle Beach SC, standing population of maybe 60,000 that grows in season to 500,000.

      Same but slightly different in Bridgeport WV. Decent sized metro area maybe 60,000 again with a standing outside population of an additional 60,000 for the oil and gas industry.

      Guess what, facebook aint going to help you here. ( *** Yes I understand geo location advertising on Face Book, but I doubt that either of the presented examples use this feature ) Google on the other hand has the ability to know geographically where you are and when you type in "Italian Restaurant" if gives you LOCAL listings. Will a Google Business listing help here.. sure if you are in the top 3. but what happens if you are not in the top 3? Statistically if you are NOT in the 3 pack.. you are packing sand.

      All I am saying is IF there has been any online effort at all.. be it a facebook page or a google business listing, there is room and more than likely a NEED for a website. IF a prospect says I have a yelp and a facebook and a Google business listing, I don't need anything else.. I personally consider this an OBJECTION and NOT a statement of truth. Objections are overcome, and websites are sold - and in the end clients get results.


      Originally Posted by Oziboomer View Post

      Whether a local business has a website or not is not really that important if they serve their local customers as well and have a reputation within their catchment area.

      There are two restaurants that are close to my business.

      One only opens for the weekend and cooks out of a van parked at the back of a commercial premises. They use the commercial premises's carpark.

      They do have a permanent type set-up with good quality solid timber tables and comfortable chairs etc. They are Alfresco.

      Another restaurant that is in the commercial premises next door is run by a mother and daughter team.

      Both only use Facebook as their website and contact medium.

      They have a ton of reviews on the popular restaurant review sites in their area like Urbanspoon.

      They don't even have a landline phone number to call.

      They list mobile numbers.

      I would have thought in the past that their set-ups was ludicrous but they are both always busy to the point that I'm worried I might have to start booking when I feel like paying them a visit.

      They are both functioning at their capacity and to do more business they would both need to move and expand into a different location.

      They are both run by relatively new immigrants.

      Hopefully they continue to cook for the community they are part of because they have the local community support.

      They love their regular customers and welcome new ones but they don't need a website to push more customers to them.

      The reason they are successful is because they have a relationship with their community.

      They love their neighbourhood.

      They don't need to lock away their tables and chairs nor do they need to run specials or promotions.

      They are successful, profitable and supported by their community.

      Personally I hope they never get websites and try to attract a broader clientele because we enjoy the atmosphere and what they do.

      If they became too commercial they would lose the personal touch they both have.

      When I think about all the "best" experiences I've had shopping in an offline world each experience has been the result of interacting with one individual who has met my needs. They maybe backed up by a team but it is the personal attention that delivered the result.

      I love all things online and run several offline and online businesses.

      One thing to note in relation to business success can be related to both offline and online and that is customer experience.

      For me if I can my get my satisfaction online I'll go there but for the majority of my purchases I'll go online and search the products available and then visit my local stores to not only support abut encourage them into action,..

      Best regards,

      Ozi
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      Success is an ACT not an idea
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      • Profile picture of the author leader
        "All I am saying is IF there has been any online effort at all.. be it a facebook page or a google business listing, there is room and more than likely a NEED for a website."

        Agree, agree, AGREE!
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        TheSuccessStrategy.com - My Personal Blog Where I Chronicle My Latest Online Adventures....
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      • Profile picture of the author Oziboomer
        Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

        The flip side of this is say your frame shop. You have employees.. you pay taxes and holiday pay and this and that and the other. You simply cant afford NOT to have a website.

        There is a line there... being a part of the community and having bills that far outreach what your local neighborhood can afford. If local support cant maintain your business, you obviously need to start reaching. This is the point that I feel a website is required.
        Absolutely.

        There are the phases of growth that all businesses go through and they have to adapt to grow.

        Growth is something that not all businesses desire however at least not until they have some pieces of the puzzle in place.

        From a marketer's point of view if you are selling websites etc to small business it is recognising the trigger points where the "van guy" or "mom and daughter" want to take the leap to the next step.

        There does tend to be a trend where restaurants don't go down the website route first.

        I've found some quite large operations reliant on social who don't have websites.

        It seems like an opportunity but if they are "happy" with their situation they don't invest or feel they don't need to invest in a website.

        They utilise online automated apps to facilitate bookings.

        In some cases I think they know it is cool to NOT have a site.

        Bit like the "Closed cafe" ---> Watch the non-website owner's video here.
        https://www.facebook.com/BondiHipste...8865280842444/

        My business has to go national or even international to keep growing.We have to promote not only on one website but many. That is the cold hard fact of growth.

        Oh...how good were the old days... just ask Claude.

        Best regards,

        Ozi
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  • Profile picture of the author leader
    Thanks everyone for all our your great thoughts and input, its been very helpful. In posting the question, the assumption was that these are businesses that are looking to attract more clients and in some cases are actively paying for various types of promotion - so its not a case where they have more business than they can already handle. But they have they misconception (in my opinion) that since they are visible on Google places, or Yelp, and maybe even Facebook (less of an issue so far), that they've got an online presence and don't need their own site.

    What many of you have said has echoed my own response to that, so thanks for validating that for me. I always like to put anything I am selling to the test (or in this case, my nephew is selling) and make sure we're really offering something the prospect actually needs. There are always ways of twisting someone's arm into buying something, but unless its a solution to a real need the client has (which sometimes they are simply not yet aware of, and then its the marketers place to educate them), I don't want any part of it - I can only get behind selling something that really delivers value or helps solve the prospects problem. So I appreciate you all offering up your thoughts and feedback -sometimes one can get biased in their own point of view, so I wanted to make sure that wasn't the case here.

    I know for myself as a consumer I always like to visit a business's web page before I make the decision on whether to engage them or not - whether I'm looking for a dentist, a mechanic, or a someone to close my pool for the winter, a website (when done well, of course) provides me with a good feel for who they are and allows me to determine whether I'm comfortable doing business with them. Often, its not necessarily through their website that I first hear of them, but I'll go online and look for their website to learn more about them in my decision process. If they don't have a site, I'll often move on to investigating their competitors (who do have websites), because I just want to be able to have that opportunity to know more about them. Part of what I have told my nephew to include in his sales pitch is that when done correctly, the information on a business's website helps instill confidence and trust in the prospect, and can give them the reassurance to make the call, as opposed to continuing to look at competitors - that is certainly my experience as a consumer.

    I also agree very much with what someone said - most web designers are really not marketers (in which case a website may indeed be a waste of money); they are graphic designers and programmers. A compelling marketing message and a call to action has to be the objective of the website. If a site is all whiz-bang, but ultimately all its really doing is listing the hours of operation and location, and its not taking the opportunity to present a USP, then sure who needs it - Google Places can do that just fine. But a well done business website should be SELLING the prospect on making the call (by phone or in person, depending on the nature of the business).

    In my opinion, a listing on Google Places is one possible first step to making a connection with the customer - but it cant stop there. From Google places, Yelp etc, you want to get them to take the next step and go to your website where you can command their undivided attention (where they're not also being shown "You might also be interested in..." links to your competitors), and clearly make your case as to why you are the best choice for them.

    Again, thanks to all for your great input - like I said, there are indeed some brilliant marketing minds on this forum, and several contributed to this thread -- Thank you!
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    My prevailing thought is this:

    If you don't have a website , then how are you capturing all of those visitors that are coming from the directories...? How are you harnessing, and/or growing your Market/Database?

    Do you have some sort of optin page, at very least, to direct some of the traffic to?

    If not, then 99 percent of your traffic is wasted potential.

    A guy with even half the traffic, who captures his market into a database can do better.

    -JD
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    • Profile picture of the author animal44
      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      If you don't have a website , then how are you capturing all of those visitors that are coming from the directories...? How are you harnessing, and/or growing your Market/Database?
      I grew mine, without a website, by referrals, personal introductions, networking, just plain ol taking some new to lunch every week... No website needed.

      Ever heard of Joe Girard. As a salesman, you should have... He used to keep in contact with 50,000 to 65,000 (depending on whose story you listen to) people very month. No website involved. There were no websites in them days. Us old guys are real men. We don't need no manby pamby website to do business...
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      People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.
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      • Profile picture of the author John Durham
        [QUOTE=animal44;10938811]I grew mine, without a website, by referrals, personal introductions, networking, just plain ol taking some new to lunch every week... No website needed.

        "Need" maybe not... Good to have in your arsenal, yes. There could bve a whole new school here that only teaches old school ways... I agree Yes, I also sold before there were websites, so I agree to some extent. Still think its much easier for a business owner to have one and create a growing email database.
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by animal44 View Post

        I grew mine, without a website, by referrals, personal introductions, networking, just plain ol taking some new to lunch every week... No website needed.

        Ever heard of Joe Girard. As a salesman, you should have... He used to keep in contact with 50,000 to 65,000 (depending on whose story you listen to) people very month. No website involved. There were no websites in them days. Us old guys are real men. We don't need no manby pamby website to do business...

        And that was then. As much as I rely on good old salesmanship, I have come to realize, in the present, that there are three times in the sales process that an intelligently designed website can make or kill a deal;

        1) When the prospect is going online to look for what you sell, or look to check up on companies they are thinking of dealing with...a winnowing process.

        2) Between the time to called for an appointment, and when you show up. Prospects will go online to find out about you, before they talk to you.

        3) After you present to them, whether they buy or not. New customers go online to see if they got a good deal, see your testimonials, see if there are any complaints. This is the reason that in-home sales of high end product is hurting so much...customers, after the sale, finding what you sell cheaper online. It kills sales.

        It's also the reason, in my store, I primarily sell products you cannot find online.

        Do any of my websites make or break my business? No. But I've made too many sales, because I was found online, and lost too many sales, because my website wasn't the first thing they found online...to ignore it.

        Joe Girard didn't need a website...but it's because nobody went online back then....looking for one.

        If Girard were selling today, he'd have a website (or five), an e-mail list, an active Facebook page, and more. His referrals and bird dogged sales would make up the bulk of his production, but having a strong online presence helps, because that's where people go to do comparisons, research, and to shop.

        And...Girard got his start, cold calling out of the phone book. I couldn't let that pass by.
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  • Profile picture of the author mojo1
    This had to be one heck of a post to bring Claude out from the shadows.
    It's really good to see you sharing gems as always. Also noticed you've published something new.

    I'll definitely be adding this one to my Claude Whitacre collection.

    @Savidge---I can count on you to bring the heat, stats and high level view on any subject.
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  • Profile picture of the author JV2pt0
    Remember it's not always potential customers who will be looking for your business online (and checking out your website!) It's also a great place for you to control the message and image your company presents to prospective applicants/future employees and maybe even potential partners!
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  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    So, we're in agreement: Businesses that want more sales or to sell easier do need a website. Businesses that do not want those things do not.

    PS Were we not in agreement before this thread started too?
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    • Profile picture of the author animal44
      Originally Posted by DABK View Post

      So, we're in agreement: Businesses that want more sales or to sell easier do need a website. Businesses that do not want those things do not.
      Nope. Businesses who want more business put their message in front of their audience. Their audience is not necessarily online.

      I make a lot of money by putting a message in front of a highly targeted audience by email or direct mail...

      There are businesses who get their business from TV ads, Radio ads, even (gasp) newspaper Ads, even yellow pages. Some get business through leaflets, press releases, referrals, networking, bag stuffers, gift baskets, trade shows, workshops, public speaking, special openings, hell even sky writing

      There are hundreds of strategies, many are not web based.

      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      If Girard were selling today, he'd have a website (or five), an e-mail list, an active Facebook page, and more. His referrals and bird dogged sales would make up the bulk of his production, but having a strong online presence helps, because that's where people go to do comparisons, research, and to shop.
      Potentially helps. It won't help one iota if your audience isn't looking online...
      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      And...Girard got his start, cold calling out of the phone book. I couldn't let that pass by.
      So did I. Cold calling was the norm. Nowdays every man and his dog has an autodialler and there's just too many calls. It's just an annoyance...
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      People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.
      What I do for a living

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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by animal44 View Post

        Potentially helps. It won't help one iota if your audience isn't looking online....
        True. but some part of your market is searching online for a supplier, or information.

        Most of my retail customers are 45 years old and up. So internet searches aren't all they do, but I still get multiple sales every month I would never get without an online presence.

        Maybe you don't get all your sales from online sources....but if you have a strong online presence, you'll get more total response than if you don't. Even if you use direct mail. Some portion of the readership will go online to find out more about you....before they order.

        If you sell farm equipment to the Amish, that may be an exception.


        Originally Posted by animal44 View Post

        So did I. Cold calling was the norm. Nowdays every man and his dog has an autodialler and there's just too many calls. It's just an annoyance...
        I really can't argue with that. I get about 15 robo calls a day, and several cold calls by amateurs. It is an annoyance. And I just hang up.

        But today, I got a call from an intelligent man, that simply asked if I was thinking about changing my credit card processing.

        He said "Do you mind if I ask whom I have the pleasure of talking with?"

        I politely declined, but the guy had a shot. And about once every year, an intelligent person calls me, and I listen for at least a minute.

        And this is key, if they are calling my niche, with something that I sell (as a new supplier), I'll almost always let them tell me about it. It may be cold calling, but they are calling a highly qualified list, and I'm a proven buyer.

        To me (as a person getting cold calls), cold calls are noise, like the radio playing. I disconnect from them entirely. But so many people are terrible at it. It's closer to 100% than it is to 99%.

        My suspicion is that cold callers with talent, soon find more profitable ways to use their talent, like referrals.....or creating a real...strong marketing funnel.

        And yet, I think if Joe Girard did it today, it would still work well enough to continue until you found a better way.

        And I know for a fact that I could cold call today, and make a good living. Just as I know I could go knocking on doors and make a good living. (which I did until several years ago)
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      • Profile picture of the author DABK
        We're still in agreement: look at post 13.


        Originally Posted by animal44 View Post

        Nope. Businesses who want more business put their message in front of their audience. Their audience is not necessarily online.

        I make a lot of money by putting a message in front of a highly targeted audience by email or direct mail...

        There are businesses who get their business from TV ads, Radio ads, even (gasp) newspaper Ads, even yellow pages. Some get business through leaflets, press releases, referrals, networking, bag stuffers, gift baskets, trade shows, workshops, public speaking, special openings, hell even sky writing

        There are hundreds of strategies, many are not web based.


        Potentially helps. It won't help one iota if your audience isn't looking online...

        So did I. Cold calling was the norm. Nowdays every man and his dog has an autodialler and there's just too many calls. It's just an annoyance...
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  • Profile picture of the author HCLinere
    Businesses get hammered even more now because of the residential DNC list
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    • Profile picture of the author John Durham
      Originally Posted by HCLinere View Post

      Businesses get hammered even more now because of the residential DNC list
      Only ones who violate it.
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  • Profile picture of the author LeeRobinson
    Sometimes there is another way to think about it, like outsmarting these sites!

    I came across this article which I found interesting and might give you another way to look at it. Give it a look and see what you think, it may strike a Ah-Ha moment, or maybe not, but it is worth the read for sure!!

    https://www.yotpo.com/blog/how-to-free-your-business-from-yelp/

    Good- Luck Leader!
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