When PostcardMania was in its early stages, we had laser-like focus in terms of products. We sold postcards, postcard services (mailing lists, design, mailing), and more postcards. If you came to us for a different kind of marketing — say, web design — we would point you in the direction of a web designer I knew of.
His rates were affordable, and he really seemed to know his stuff, so where’s the harm, right?
Here’s why that was a baaaaad call, and my NEW position on handling web design…
Put simply: Almost every person I referred came back to me upset and was ANGRY that I had referred them! Has this ever happened to you?? You send a good customer somewhere and boom! They’re mad at you!
I decided then and there that I needed to be more judicious about to whom I referred prospects and clients I cared about, like you. That was business lesson #1.
Not that long after that experience, I was doing a standard quality check on the postcards my Design department was creating. (I like to make sure everything matches up with my 10 Elements of a Successful Postcard.) I noticed something weird: Many of the postcards didn’t have a web address on them! What??? This is marketing suicide!!
I uttered something along the lines of, “What the heck???” to myself, and pulled up Google to see if these businesses had websites.
They did not. At least, some of them. And the ones that DID have websites had very bad websites or ones that were pretty but ineffective (to the trained eye).
At that moment, I realized I was shooting myself in the foot by not expanding PostcardMania into the digital realm. If you have a good website, you will have better success with your postcards. Think about it… what’s the first thing someone does when their interest is sparked by an ad? They head right over to the website! What happens if that site is bad? I need not answer that rhetorical question because you know the answer. My clients needed help in this area. That’s business lesson #2.
Important Note: I’m not necessarily trying to get you to use PostcardMania for your web design. We still primarily sell and deliver effective direct mail campaigns. However, a good website is paramount in getting a good response from your direct mail. We don’t actually make much profit on our web design services, but I keep doing it because it improves overall campaign results and offering this service in the same place you’re already going for marketing is A LOT easier on YOU.
How to Choose the Right Website Design Service
During the process of building our web design department, I realized there are essentially 3 kinds of website design/hosting business models for you to choose from. I want to share with you my research so you can make the best choice for your business:
1. Do-It-Yourself Websites
• Super affordable!
• Some web presence is better than none at all (this is true but not ideal)
• Obviously a template to any visitor
• Little-to-no help if something goes wrong
• Small business owners generally don’t know how to properly set up the site to get new customers
• No search engine optimization help to get you found in Google. (Search Engine Optimization is simply making sure a website is set up properly so that when people are searching for what you sell, they find YOUR website.)
2. Affordable Monthly Subscription Sites
• Professional site (templates that don’t look like templates thanks to customization)
• Help is just a phone call away
• Very affordable
• Super easy for the less tech-savvy
• Can include set up for search engine optimization (PostcardMania’s does – our website design/hosting is $495 for our postcard customers and $49/mo including 2 hours of changes every month. See templates…)
• You have to pay monthly until forever or your site comes down (you don’t own it)
• Changes must be made by provider
3. Custom Websites
• Complete flexibility – you can make changes yourself instantly if you desire
• As many pages as you need/want
• You own it – you are not ‘married’ to the provider with a monthly fee forever
• Not tied to any template design so can do whatever you want on the site and allows for more complex programming and interaction with visitors
• Can be quite costly (depends on the provider)
• Can take a long time to get done
• Huge variations in cost – difficult to ascertain why
PostcardMania provides custom and template sites, so if that lines up with your needs, give your marketing consultant a call at 1-800-628-1804 for a website consultation that is completely free!