If you’ve been around me for long, I think you can probably guess my answer to this question.
But it is a question I’m seeing more and more these days, so I thought I’d take some time to explore it a bit deeper.
If you’re in business, or looking to start one, you’re going to need a way to reach and engage your potential customers, make offers to them, take payments, and deliver what they’ve purchased.
In years gone by, that meant you had to have a website – there really was no alternative.
These days, there are plenty of alternatives, and plenty of people promoting them as “website killers”. So let’s have a look at your options…
First, let’s look at reaching and engaging your audience.
Yes, your website can do this. But it’s not the only way. And I’ll admit, it’s not even the best way.
With the rise of social media, it has become so easy to find and engage your potential audience without a website.
For the most part, it’s also quicker to gather an audience on social media than it is to write copious amounts of high quality articles on your website and wait for Google to bring the right people to you.
But as we’ve discussed before, social media is fickle, and your audience can quickly disappear if you’re not careful.
This brings us to the next piece of the puzzle – converting your social media audience(s) to your email list.
Opt-in forms on your website are a great way to do this.
But again, they’re not the only option.
Most of the leading email service providers now offer their own hosted opt-in pages. Which means you can build a beautiful page with your opt-in offer, linked up to your list, and even delivering your offer, all without having to even have a website.
Many providers offer a good range of professional looking and customisable templates, already optimised for conversions.
The only downside if you use their hosted version is that the domain reflects their business, not yours.
OK, so we now have potential customers on a list, and it’s time to make them an offer. That means a sales page, with a way to take payment.
Again, there are plenty of options for building quality sales pages on your website. And even more options for integrating payments in a professional way.
But again, you can do this without a website.
On the simplest end, you could just email a PayPal link to your potential customer. But let’s face it, that’s not particularly professional, and is likely to kill more sales than it will close.
However, there are plenty of professional sales page platforms out there. LeadPages is one of the early platforms, but there are plenty more advanced ones now too.
And there are some pretty advanced checkout systems (like ThriveCart) that will allow you to build full sales processes (sales page, upsell/down-sell pages, order bumps, payment pages and delivery pages) all in the one platform.
Finally, you need a way to deliver the products and services that your customers have purchased.
Depending on what was purchased, this could be as simple as emailing out a digital file.
Or it could be as complex as a providing access to a membership site that contains all of the content.
And even here, there are alternatives to using your own website.
Places like Teachable provide platforms for you to deliver courses without having to build your own website (of course, there are costs and limitations that you need to be aware of if you want to go this way).
So, there are alternatives to every part of the process. You could cobble together your business without ever having to think about creating your own website.
But is that a good idea?
Let’s look at it from another angle.
What’s the first thing you do when you’re looking at working with someone new?
If you’re like most of us, you check out their website.
Even if you’ve already been engaging with someone on socials, or via email, the minute you try to convert them to a customer they are going to look for your website.
Because we want to see that we are dealing with someone professional.
If someone has taken the time to put together a professional looking website, clearly outlining who they are and what they stand for, the services they offer, etc, then it gives us the confidence to work with them.
If there is no website, or it looks like it was put together by the 10 year old next door, then our trust is eroded.
It’s just human nature.
Your website is the best salesman you will ever employ. It’s there 24/7 to talk you up.
And without it, you’re leaving money on the table.
That’s why I believe EVERY business needs a website!
PS – If you need a professional website to promote your business, get in touch via our Contact page.