Everyone is familiar with e-commerce web sites where people can make purchases through a shopping cart and a check out area. There is another style of site that might be useful for local small businesses. These are called lead generation or business development web sites, and it is particularly effective if the product or service offered has a high ticket price, like real estate sales, for example. Also, if the long term value of the customer is high because the customer needs to use the product or service many times over a long period, then this type of business would benefit from having one of these as well. Examples of this case would be a local chiropractor or dentist.
These sites can work in conjunction with the small business owner’s regular site, which might feature the name of the business the URL in many cases. So having a lead generation web site is not an either-or situation, and the small business owner can have a couple of web sites working for him. The lead generation site might have a URL that is general in nature, like “San Diego Dentist” for example rather than name of the business.
Many small business owners are intimidated, however, with the price of having a web site built for them. This can easily cost from $2,000 to $8,000. Unless your enterprise is gushing money, that can be a hard pill to swallow for an individual real estate agent or other small business person.
Pay-per-click advertising can be used to bring in web traffic, but these types of sites work best with generic traffic that comes from search engines which is of course free, if you know how to get this traffic. So this means that the web site developer needs to really know something about search engine optimization. A lot of site developers will say they know what needs to be done, but most have little experience with actually getting onto the first page of search engine results.
If you do succeed in generating traffic then bona fide leads and real prospects need to be developed. The technique here is to interest visitors in the offer such that they will sign up on an email list to get more information about the products or services. A series of automatic emails is then sent to the prospect giving solid and useful information that the prospect can actually use. This helps build trust and a relationship between the prospect and the small business person, hopefully leading to sales.