Most SMB’s (Small and Medium Business’s), especially when they first get going, typically are bootstrapped for cash and therefore run a lean operation. Most business owners only focus on the bare necessities and urgent matters. Spending money only when needed. While we do understand this, we believe the complete contrary thinking is needed by business owners and that having a website is not a luxury they can afford to live without.
We personally have stumbled across many companies and brands that believe that a Facebook page is enough for an online presence. Its free, right? We’ve even come across splash pages (at least they have a domain) with just their phone number, which hopefully, in turn, will generate calls and sales. However the truth in today’s ever-on world is that building a professional website (or blog for that matter) is absolutely critical to promoting a business.
A clean, effective website is the cornerstone of your company. It has all the information your customers need and expect you to have. It is the online gateway for customers to learn more about you and your company, research product info and determine if they want to do business with you. As a small business owner, you need to realize that a website is not an expensive luxury or frivolous endeavor. It is an affordable and fundamental part of your business strategy.
1. The anchor for your marketing machinery
The first marketing activity any new business owner should be thinking about is building their online presence. This goes way before printing a business card or spending any money on advertising. Your website is everything rolled up into one. The anchor for all your marketing activities. It will include everything from business details to product information to promotions to video and photos and anything else you can dream of.
After this initial step, you can begin creating marketing materials that fall in line with your online presence, driving your future customers to your website.
2. Your website sells your products and services
It is key to understand that your online presence is like a digital brochure, sharing information that is relevant and up to date. With web publishing, you can change information in real time. It’s not printed and then thrown out when irrelevant. It is consistently changing as you progress in your business. And imagine how much you save on printing costs!
Building an effective website will get potential buyers to your products and services. Your website is a 24-hour sales team. From answers to frequently asked questions to automated sales processing, effective websites with e-commerce functionality allow your consumers to purchase online.
3. Your website allows you to connect with consumers
Even if you are an existing business and have an established customer base, a website will boost the connection to a wider audience and with customers who might be unfamiliar with your brand and business.
Your typical consumer will most likely turn to the internet when they have a problem. Searching for the solution to that problem is really easy to do. The question that arises here is – is your business a potential problem solver? Establishing a professional website for your business provides a solution for your customers. In addition to this, you can optimize your site with search terms related to your industry. This will expose your business to new consumers growing your bottom line.
4. Local businesses benefit from websites
One misconception most business owners in the SMB market have is that an online presence is only relevant for national or global companies that have customers across the globe. A website for an SMB is beneficial and a great way to connect with locals and the community. Did you know that search engines rank results according to location? Type in “bookstore near me” into Google and see what you get!
5. Website builds credibility
Nothing is more important than the ability to be found. This is true for brick and mortar stores just as it is for online websites. If you do not have an established online identity, customers won’t find you. Not appearing in search engines or on the internet for that matter is a quick way to lose credibility in today’s internet driven world. It makes you and your company look dated and untrustworthy.
If you still think that word of mouth marketing is what works for you, imagine the number of referrals you could get online – customers reviewing your product, sharing on social media, etc. Happy customers will do this for you without you even asking. Everyone takes to the internet.
6. Your website helps you control your online destiny
A Facebook page, online directory or a free Tumblr blog is not enough. Building your presence on social media is not enough. When you publish through or rely on a third-party platform, you are at your knees. If the platform decides to close your account, change their policies or revise their programming, you might lose the ability to connect with your audience. Yet, when you run your own website, you’re in control of both the content you produce and the platform you maintain.
Websites are simple and affordable to set up. Many business owners believe setting up their own website is complicated or expensive. However, we argue differently. Building and maintaining a website is easier and cheaper than you think. You can now use simple web publishing tools to build a website in a couple of hours. And the fees for hosting a website start at less than $10 per month — probably one of the cheapest marketing costs out there.
Take our advice, small (SMB) business owners — there are no more excuses. If you’re putting off building a website, you’re hurting your business. It’s time to get started! Get in touch now and let’s have a discussion.