At about 150 million Internet users, India now has 3rd largest Internet population in the world after China (at 575m) and the US (at 275m). At 150 million total Internet users, the Internet penetration in India remains at 12 per cent vs. 43 per cent in China and 80 per cent in the US. Now the question is as the penetration increases, more and more business will set up their websites. Many a times people ask me why do they need a website or if they actually need one. In my opinion every website should have a purpose and reason and in case it doesn't serve any purpose then it is of no use. I have a 3 point checklist if anyone asks me if they need a website and if they tick negative on those 3 points, then I myself tell them not to have it as it wouldn't do any kind of value addition! In case you are wondering what are those 3 check points, here they are :
1. Online search for your product is a part of your customer’s search behavior - Your customer have a particular search behavior i.e. when they feel a need for your product they search for it, compare it and eventually buys it. The question which is most important is - how do they conduct their search and if they don’t search it online, then, probably having a website might not be very helpful for you.
E.g. When I went to meet a chemist (who wanted to get his website made) in a suburb near New Delhi , I asked him - what would any average customer do when he /she needs a medicine? His response was - they would usually drive down and whichever chemist shop will give them their medicines first, they will buy it from there . In this, the sole deciding factor in making the purchase was - convenience + instant gratification. Moreover, who ever offered better discount (helps them save money), many would flock to buy their medicines from there. Important Point to be noted – he/she wouldn't search for medicines online. This was a highly competitive market where in online search did not play any decisive factor in a customer’s purchase.
Verdict: This guy did not need a website, instead a stronger business model.
2. Viewing a website influences your customer’s decision – Second point in my checklist is - does having a website influences the purchase decision of your customers. E.g. Doctors in my locality advertise in local yellow page directory and there are many who usually don’t have a website. When I asked many of them why, their answer is simple - Most of the patients ask their close friends or relatives to find a doctor. That’s how 80% of them conduct their search when they need a doctor. This might remind you of my previous checkpoint – does your customer search for you online? However, in this case, another observation which came to light was most of them after being referred to a doctor would conduct an online check about that doctor. That means, having a website with all the information plus any achievement or any articles written by that doctor, would help him build his reputation or create trust among his patients. Moreover many doctors sit at multiple locations at different timings. Having a website will help them keep their patients informed about their latest information as well add to their reputation .
Verdict : These doctors need a website. All that is needed is to educate them about the benefits and the fact they might be losing their potential patients to those doctors who already have a website.
3. Your website solves one of your recurring ongoing problem.
The other day I got a call from recruitment consultant. He wanted a website along with seo promotion. When I further probed, I got to know, he had two ongoing issues. One, whenever he would visit any corporate he used to give a PowerPoint presentation as a part of his company profile. A website would have helped him get over this irritating extra work, moreover would have helped him enhance his reputation. Another issue was, he used to get hundreds of resumes on a weekly basis. He had no way to sort them as per experience, qualification, age and so on. We offered him an online form where in any candidate who would come to send him his resume, would have to fill a simple 2 minute form as well as upload his resume. In short this helped him get rid of the headache of allocating another resource to manage and sort that data and will have a ready to use information anytime.
Verdict: This guy needed the website the most. The key was to sell him the logic and show him the convenience he will have after having a website.
There might be many more points which I can add to my checklist, I just listed the basic three. Add your suggestions in the comments below, i will update them in this blog with due credits! Looking forward to your comments.
Also, for an effective Social Media campaign that actually works,