Here in France, I see many trades and services promoting in local magazines and a large percentage of them do not have a website. Only the readers of the magazine get to see them. If this is the level of exposure that you want for your business, then that is absolutely fine, we are all in control of our own destinies. But if you want more than just regular readers of a magazine and you want to tap into the ever increasing numbers of web users, then think seriously about planning for some online action.
Being online is about being relevant, consistent and accessible. With more and more people spending large chunks of time for research, entertainment and buying can you afford not to be accessible? Once you have established your web presence you can then transfer that information across to your stationery, your offline marketing activity, local advertising and social media. Suddenly your website is accessible 24/7, even if you are not, your site is.
You do not have to have a big budget when it comes to the web. There are plenty of free services out there that are sufficient to get you up and running. These are great if you just want to get an online presence, a port of call for customers and visitors to see more about you, what you do, how you do it and how they can contact you. I am a great fan of weebly.com for this purpose. However, with many free services, there will always be some restrictions.
Once you live you can then think about how to promote your website using a variety of online and offline activities. There is so much that can be done.... so stay tuned for future blog posts on how you promote your business online.
One client that I have helped tells me that his website has been the source of many enquiries. Potential clients are able to see exactly what his services are, where he operates, what his qualifications are, his testimonials and his regular blog posts. While he benefits from word of mouth recommendations, which cannot be underestimated, his happy customers will always pass on his business cards when the need arises. Of course, it includes his website address and means that a potential customer can make a more informed decision about his service before picking up the phone or emailing him.