Think of the last time you had to look for a business name or phone number. Did you peruse through the phone book and magically know which category to use for your search? Most likely, you visited Google, entered your city’s name and what you were looking for to find what you needed. What if the kind of business you were looking for did not have a website, but rather a Google+ page or a vague entry in some online directory? Would you contact that business, or would you look for a business that had a nice, clean website that provided all the information you wanted instantly and from the comfort of your home or office? Like it or not, that is the reality of being in the 21st century; customers simply search online to find business information and their offerings. This means that small businesses without websites are left out.
A website can be one of the most important things you can do for your small business. An online presence can be the most cost-effective, yet powerful manner to reach more customers and increase profits. If you are a small business without a website, you simply can’t do business in the modern age without an online web presence.
A business without a website, no matter how professional their physical location may look, will feel cheap, untrustworthy and seemingly appear stuck in a bygone era. If your business can’t invest the money into web development, then don’t expect customers to frequent it. The unavailability of a website doesn’t only put into question a business’ spending priorities, but it also raises major concerns about the effectiveness and innovation of management.
Furthermore, a business’ web design should correspond with the costs of products and/or services offered. Websites are normally a customer’s introduction into the small business. A shabby, outdated 1999 law firm website won’t get as many new customers as one with a vibrant and modern looking website. Having a professional looking, high quality website is vital for any small business seeking to make a good and lasting first impression.
Every business, whether large or small, needs to advertise. Even local businesses that sell their products to local customers need an online strategy that balance with paper-based marketing campaigns. Just imagine being able to distribute flyers with unlimited space for pictures and text, that is what your website should be. Comparing the cost of a professionally developed website to traditional print advertising, you are reaching a much larger market share for a smaller cost.
Let us look at a practical example of tires in a local auto repair business. If that business doesn’t have a website, it would rely on word-of-mouth advertising, as well as pricey coupon campaigns for discounted tires. Potential customers would wonder what the business offers exactly – does it only replace tires? Does it do oil changes? And will work be under warranty? Having a website will allow the business to list the products and services it offers, including pictures and prices.
Get More Customers
A website can also make advertising through word-of-mouth extremely easy. Without the presence of the web and social media, telling friends about your business can be difficult. Today, websites encourage users to tell others about visits reminders and pop-ups to “like” their brand or “share” a link. The amount of potential online referrals and social media shares is just too much to pass up for any small business looking to gain an edge over competition.
Many small businesses believe that a simple Facebook page is enough for an online presence. While such a fan page may have essential information, like operating hours and directions, it is a clumsy method to communicate with customers. Not only are there many people without Facebook accounts, excluding potential customers, a Facebook page just doesn’t have any distinguishing features. If the tire auto repair company’s only online presence is on Facebook, it would just be another auto repair shop lost in a sea of Facebook pages.
Be Convenient, and Beat the Competition
Having a website when none of your competition does is a good way of increasing your customer base. Just imagine 40 years ago when you were the only print business in the area with a phone number. The other print companies will focus on printing and coming up with better products at lower prices. Now, if you were the only business that people could call for more information; any customer who’s faced an inconvenience will be forced to call and come to you.
The same thing applies in today’s modern world, but this time with the internet, and not the phone. Forcing customers to get in touch with you through means that inconvenience them is a sure-fire recipe of losing them. Having a publicly listed email address and quick replies is essential. Many people want to be able to see answers to their questions, which you can provide on your detailed, up-to-date website. While many small business owners will believe that they don’t have the time for web design, web development or web management, not creating time for one will be detrimental to your business objectives and you might as well not have the business at all.
All Day, Every Day
While many brick and mortar businesses have opening and closing hours, as well as a traditional work schedule, with a website, customers will be able to view your product offerings any time of the day and at their own schedules. If you have an online store, people can buy your products anytime of the day, from any part of the world.
It is unfortunate knowing that even today, many small businesses still don’t have websites. Statistics estimate that 46 percent of the 28 million small businesses in the U.S. still do not have websites. Get an edge over competition by getting the services of a qualified and experienced web design service in Louisville, like Design Web. We can provide a web site for your business for less than $1000 and in less than a week. Contact us today for a quote!