For many small businesses, including most in the optical industry, the purpose of a website is not to sell, but rather to provide additional avenues whereby customers can find your business. The internet is becoming an increasingly important medium in which to make yourself visible as more and more people abandon their phone books for internet search. Need a list of local ODs? Search the internet. Need to find the phone number of your optician? Google it.
The first step in making it easy for customers to find your business online is, of course, to have a website. As silly as it may seem, many eye care providers today still do not have a web presence. These ECPs are cheating themselves out of business as well as denying their customers a modern convenience. While the reported statistics may vary, it is clear the majority of consumer purchases today are influenced by some form of online content.
If you are one of those ECPs without a website, it may be easier than you think to have a professional looking website that actually grows your business. I am not talking about the template sites popular with so many ECPs that look as if they were built last century. No, I am talking about blogs. Blogs are a fantastic way to put up an effective, professional looking website with minimal effort and potentially no cost. More importantly, you can do it now, while business is traditionally slow and bring in new customers by the first of the year. So, what are you waiting for?
Even if you already have a web presence, it means nothing if people can’t find your site. It’s like the old saying, “if a website is built on the internet and nobody finds it does it really exist?” So, the next step after building your site is to ensure your site can be found easily and often. This is accomplished through search engine optimization (SEO); positioning your site to rank high in search results for search terms that matter and search engine marketing (SEM); pay-per-click advertising that will attract people to your website who are already looking for your services. I will discuss both in detail in future posts.
In the meantime, get crackin' on that blog.