I hear it all the time from business owners.
"We don't need a website. We never use ours because we never get leads through it."
Why would you get leads from your website if it looks awful?
Do customers look at a bad website and say "I can't wait to buy from that business! I love the auto-playing music, flash animations, and embedded time + weather!"
In many cases, your best leads come from referrals - it's just the way things are done. In fact, quite often, leads that you get from online are usually quite poor. But even for these businesses, there is a clear long-term ROI of an attractive web presence: branding.
There is a reason that better brands can charge significantly more: perceived value.
Companies with strong brand identities will go to great lengths to protect the use of their logos, taglines, and things that resemble them. There's a reason Apple can charge a premium for their products and top firms like McKinsey can start Junior-level associates in the six-figures (and bill them at 3x or more of that).
In a company where the sales cycle is long, the purchase is large, or both, any edge counts.
For example, picture that a potential client asks his/her network for a referral for a certain type of management consulting, and receives four different companies' names.
The potential client then opens up each of these companies' websites - just for basic due diligence.
If your website looks better than those of your competitors, you could get the call first - and therefore get the sale.
Human beings are not entirely rational. We often make decisions based on emotion, and then try to justify them with logic after.
If over the lifetime of an entire website, a company gets just one extra customer, the website has likely paid for itself (based on the average customer lifetime value).
A powerful and memorable web presence allows potential and current customers to further engage with you - improving their overall experience of your brand.
A website can remove your business from being perceived as a commodity.
One of the quickest ways for your company to struggle in a competitive market is by being viewed as a commodity. In which case, you'll be competing on price - which is almost always a losing battle. Congratulations, you're on the fast-track to bankruptcy.
For example, why choose one accounting firm over the other? If I went in blind and with no referral or prior knowledge, they probably seem nearly identical.
Any small edge can count in these types of cases.
A strong digital presence allows your business to tell its unique story and express its values. For example, just a few years ago, Tesla was nearly bankrupt. Elon Musk risked nearly his entire fortune with one final investment to save the company.
Now Tesla is thriving with a regularly-increasing set of customers that are happy to be brand evangelists.
It's quite possible that you didn't know that Elon really put his money where his mouth was, which further adds to his level of mystique. Elon is a large part of the Tesla brand and why people are so fanatical about it. People often adore him as much or more than the cars themselves.
Maybe your business doesn't have quite as crazy of a story, but if a particular anecdote about your firm on your website resonates with your ideal client, isn't it more likely that he/she reaches out to you first over your competitors, since you really stand out and spoke to him?
If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
While I still haven't figured out the answer to that lifelong riddle, let's put it this way - if you have a stunning new website, but nobody goes to it, is it worth it?
To be honest, I'd say so. Though if you have a fantastic website, you should do whatever you can to help people see it. There should at least be a basic strategy for getting your company and its digital assets in the public eye.
The bottom line: a new website is an always-evolving marketing and sales system with the ability to extend worldwide - and directly ties into the value of your company.
Not only does your website need to look great and provide visitors with a good sense of your firm, but it needs to serve as your content hub. This is your space on the internet. Write a blog, start a newsletter, and have social media channels linking here. All of this will help drive traffic to your website and build your brand equity - establishing your company as an expert in whatever industry you reside.
Isn't it about time you started investing in your brand to improve the value of your company and attract your ideal clients?