Marketing Strategist

Are You One of These Statistics?

I was shocked to read the other day that a large amount of small businesses still don’t have a website. In fact only 52% of small businesses have a website; this figure was at 43% in 2009. This got me thinking why this is still the case.

Why do small businesses not see the value in having a website when the big boys in town have used a website very well for their business?

Well, basically it comes down to education and knowledge. The small business man doesn’t have access to what the big business men have. They have a digital agency taking care of their needs and delivering them a positive ROI from their website. (What does that mean?)

Well big businesses have an agency making them money from their website. They understand the value in staying relevant with their market; they understand that developing customers is not just about selling your customers something. They understand that the internet can get things done cheaper and faster than what it took previously.

What small businesses need to understand is how a website can help them grow and the growth that a website can generate is multi faceted. Here is a formula of how we would use a website to grow a business.

  1. The website will find you new customers or clients.
  2. The website will get these customers or clients to spend more money.
  3. And finally the website will get past customers or clients back to spend again.

I don’t understand why any small business would wait to develop a tool that delivers the three reasons above. Everything above is all about growth, and growth is what all small businesses need.

You see a lot of small business owners will get to the website at a later date when the fact of the matter is you should be taking steps as soon as you make the decision to start your business.

Domain names and email hosting should be done right away so you can secure your web address and begin to liaise with clients from a dedicated email representing that business name. But that is the tip of the iceberg.

A small business can benefit from a web presence by having easy to find contact details that potential customers and suppliers can find to contact you. Presently 60% of small business websites don’t have a contact phone number.

Also a website these days shows you are a serious business and the website doesn’t have to be fancy but it could give prospects the opportunity to do some research on you before they contact you. The data proves that prospects like to do this with 72% of people surveyed saying they researched online first before contacting the business.

Plus the power that the search engines offer these days can only be fully realised if you have a website. The likes of Google and Facebook and other online channels have some powerful targeting options to get your website in front of targeted prospects that need your services. But you will need a website to fully utilise these services.

Not to mention showcasing what you do and sell so that the potential clients can view your business and do their own research as to whether your products or services are a match for them. Many businesses have a core message that they need to promote. Well they should anyway (and for more information on developing a core message read this article on the topic). A website can deliver this message to your market 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Another big reason that small businesses don’t have a website and I hear this a lot is that I don’t need one, my business relies on referrals or I work with a small group of clients so I don’t need a website, and I think what these business owners are trying to say is I don’t actually have a business, I have a job that I have categorised as a business.

Let’s hope your small group of clients or your referrers keep up the work or you may be in trouble and heading to hard street.

So basically if your small business does not have a website you will need to get one ASAP. And here are some more reasons why and a few ideas to get the ball rolling.

  1. You should get to work on registering a domain name that is closely related to your business name and get this domain hosted so you can set up dedicated business email addresses. Too often businesses leave this to later to find they can’t have what they want because it is not available. It’s also wise to get this done before any web design is started to avoid added costs of making changes.
  2. Websites take time to develop and take time to tweak to make effective, you cannot get a website done in a week or two and have it work well. All too often I see small business owners not fully understand what goes into creating a digital strategy. They spend months on other systems to get them working right but when it comes to the website they just put minimal time in. You need the plan and strategy first before you even start the design. This takes time to develop and create.
  3. As a business owner you are unaware of what opportunities you are missing out on by not having the website. The website when done correctly is a salesman that doesn’t get paid wages promoting your business 24/7. You have to remember a lot of your potential customers will be doing research on weekends or at night making their shortlist of who to call. You need to make sure you are one of them.
  4. You need to get clear on the core message that your website will promote and this is where most of my time is spent with my clients. You see I have smart clients that fully get that the website is powered by content and strategic content is how you build connection with your market. Don’t get me wrong, we have clients who just want a website and they supply content themselves because they don’t want to pay us to create it for them and that is ok also, but we usually find that we are going back and revisiting their content and core messaging once we have launched the site and ran a marketing campaign around it for 3 months or so.
  5. Remember there is no such thing as a cheap website, if you want cheap then you need to get the hours down and getting hours down usually gets sacrificed in design and development and definitely no strategy. So what appears cheap usually in the long run costs more to actually get a result.

So here is a closing thought…now knowing only 52% of small businesses have a website that would leave 48% of businesses that don’t and what a perfect opportunity for you to beat the remaining 48% that don’t. Get the edge for your business and get a website if you don’t already have one!

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