You’re a small business owner or an aspiring small business owner who likes to do things the old way: through word of mouth. You don’t really want to have to deal with a website because of its perceived costs and complexity. So you feel like your network of customers alone is good enough to propel you towards success. This is a smart strategy and one that has worked for many businesses for as long as history has been recorded, but now we’re in an entirely new age. But you may have some objections.
These objections will be answered as you continue to read this article. We’ll give you all the information you need to make you aware of all of the opportunities that you’re certainly missing out on.
The Internet Is Everywhere
Let’s be honest, the internet has taken over our lives. You probably use the internet on your smartphone just as much if not more than your desktop. Websites reported in 2017 that on average, 63% percent of their visitors were from mobile devices. These small devices have made the internet portable. That means more and more people now use the internet every year. By 2021, 53% of the global populations is expected to access the internet, and a lot of that has to do with smart technology.
Now more than ever, as a small business owner, you need to create a business that fits your market. Just as you performed the market research necessary to start your business, you have to reevaluate your consumer base in terms of their usage of technology. According to Pew Research Center, 95% of people in the U.S. alone own some sort of cellphone while 77% percent of people in the U.S. own smartphones. If you’re business is located in the U.S. there’s a strong chance that your market spends time on the internet.
Other businesses have taken advantage of these statistics by building websites.
Normally, telling someone to follow the crowd is a horrible argument. That’s not what we’re saying here. At the same time, smart business strategies involve looking at what makes other companies successful and imitating those processes to boost your own success. You don’t want to be the one left holding the bag a few years down the road. The longer you wait to build your website, the greater the costs are in lost opportunity. Deloitte found that small businesses that leveraged digital media,
- Earned two times as much revenue per employee
- Experienced revenue growth over the previous year that was nearly four times as high
- Were almost three times as likely to be creating jobs over the previous year
- Had an average employment growth rate that was more than six times as high
- Were also three times as likely to have exported over the previous year
Why are companies that use websites experiencing such growth? Well, we know websites aren’t magical. So, they must be taking advantage of the many things that a web page allows you to do.
Websites and Blogging
Building a website allows you to host a blog. Having a voice is key to marketing within your niche. It’s what allows word of mouth to get going. Imagine you’re at a public square selling your products. How do you get customers to trust you? Well, persuasively, one way to build authority is to use ethos, an appeal to character. You want to show potential customers that you’re an expert in your field. Well, having a blog is a way to spread your expertise around.
The more visitors share your post, the more exposure you receive in social media. Increased exposure boosts your web traffic, giving you more opportunities to convert those visitors into customers.
Businesses that consistently blog have almost 4.5x more lead generation than those that do not blog. Here lead generation means that blogging leads to sales, which is your ultimate end goal.
A blog page offers yet another location to plant a call-to-action, such as a subscription offer. After reading your informative post, a visitor will be more inclined to respond to your subscription offer, meaning you can conduct focused marketing on your fresh leads. Without a blog, you strangle potential leads.
You become the thought leader of your market through blogging.Blogging about relevant topics in your industry, from the best deals to the latest trends, will establish you as an authority figure in your market. Early adopters follow thought leaders. Gain enough loyal followers and your product will spread by word-of-mouth alone.
Blogging builds trust. According to Kissmetrics, 96% of users that visit your website are not ready to buy anything. You have to convince them, earn their trust. What better way to show your prospects that you know a thing or two about your industry than a well-researched blog post?
Blogging tells your brand’s story.Blogging allows you to tell a story about your mission, your values, and your ideas. It allows you to build a reputation that will span generations. Seth Godin puts it best when he says, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but about the stories you tell.”
Blogs feed SEO. Search engines crave rich content. So, a high-quality blog post will propel your ranking, in turn driving traffic to your site. Years after you have written your stellar post, Google will still continue to feature it. This way, old posts constantly generate leads.
Besides Blogging, You Should Get a Website Because…
Your customers expect it.
In the United States alone, there are over 220 million online shoppers as of today. The number is expected to increase. Customers who can’t find your company’s website may deem you to be unprofessional. The culture of privacy awareness that have sprouted from attacks by hackers may lead customers to avoid you altogether in the future. It’s why 30% percent of customers won’t consider your business if it doesn’t have a website. We as consumers have grown accustomed with the convenience afforded by 24/7 customer service.
Instead of taking calls that drain your time away, you can set up automated chat services on your websites. You can also build a knowledge base and refer your customers to a page that tells them everything they need to know about the products and services you offer.
A professional email goes hand in hand with having a presence on the web.
You can email newsletters and discounts to anyone who subscribes to your website. All they have to do is send you their email address. A professional email signals to those receiving your mail that you are an authority
Social Media Is Not the Answer
Remember MySpace? Social media companies don’t always last. Society shifts and new apps rise to meet new demands. At the moment, people are spending less and less time on Facebook. Instagram is doing a lot of the heavy lifting. Why? Generally, people are tired of the company Facebook pages and are in search for a more genuine experience. The response a business owner should have is to separate business from social. You should have a business site to inform potential customers about your products and use social media to genuinely connect with your followers.
If you don’t believe us, here’s what Mark Phillips, a business consultant at Monster, has to say about social media versus websites:
A lot of people think a website is unnecessary today due to social media.
People incorrectly assume they can market and grow their business online using only social media channels.
Social media channels are great for building awareness for your company, products and services but they are only one piece of the entire vehicle.
Awareness is merely the first stage of your marketing efforts and must be supplemented with lead capture, nurturing and calls to action to turn that attention from social into customers.
Think of the various social media channels as the wheels of your vehicle. They are important pieces of the vehicle but useless on their own.
Your website is your vehicle.
Every marketing channel and strategy should tie back to your website for one reason:
You own your website and can control the path your visitors take.
Want to collect leads? Set up email marketing opt-ins on your website and filter them off to your CRM.
Want to educate your audience? Write epic blog posts, with embedded videos, checklists and audio to be wherever is most convenient for your audience.
Want to pull free traffic off the internet? Perform SEO on your content and get it optimized to rank.
So in short, yes you definitely still need a website today.
I would argue a website is more important than ever due to all of the available marketing channels and strategies available to you and your business today.
So, now that we’ve gone through reasons for building a website for your business, let’s answer some of your potential objections.
What’s a fancy web page got anything to do with my business?
A website will make your business professional. We live in a digital age and it’s becoming increasingly important to own a virtual office. People expect to find information about anything from Google. By not having a website, the user will just find your competitor’s website instead.
Isn’t this whole website thing for tech geeks?
You don’t have to know a line of code to have a running website. We at Codesmith Dev specialize in helping small businesses like yours setup and optimize a website that puts their brand out in front. If we didn’t have a website, you wouldn’t be able to read this, nor would you be able to easily contact us for help. You wouldn’t have even known we existed!
Won’t I lose money building a website?
There are many revenue streams that you can use to monetize your website. if you diligently grow your website. Some include:
- Affiliate marketing
- Pay per click advertising
- Selling ad space
- Selling your own digital product, like Ebooks
Serve The Community
As internet users, we’ve grown accustomed to the free exchange of information. You don’t have to be Walmart to have your voice heard on the internet. You just have to have a great idea that people will be willing to share. Users want to interact with businesses online rather than driving over to an address. Yet 80% of small businesses are not taking full advantage of the digital tools out there, tools that will drive their growth. If you fully leverage your businesses full potential by building a website, you will be part of the minority reaping the benefits.
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