Yes, it’s 2013 and some small businesses still don’t have websites! Why? Why don’t they have a website? Are they too busy to create one? Not worth the time or money? Do they only have seasonal customers? Those questions are valid, but not for keeping your presence out of the web. Yes, there’s Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, TripAdvisor, and many other sites that list, categorize, post info and reviews, but they aren’t YOU. All these services help your word-of-mouth factor and ranking, but they don’t come straight from the source. You are the direct source for the accurate description of your business and its services or offerings.
Below are twenty-one reasons why small businesses need a website. If these don’t convince you to get at least a basic website up, then perhaps you don’t like making more money.
- Your website is your official online presence.
Who better to provide accurate, concise information about your business than you? You control your image directly. That hi-res photo of your pizza is making me hungry.
- An accurate listing of important business information.
Your address, phone, fax, email, directions, etc. are important to getting them to you. “When are you open today?”
- It’s easy to share your business information.
Add that www.yourbiz.com URL to your business cards, flyers, ads, commercials, wall graffiti, tattoos, and anything else that can get your client this quick info.
- A quick way to reach all your customers.
“Fill out our contact form,” “leave us feedback,” “read our blog,” “see our website for specials.” It encourages interaction.
- It’s cheap to change business information and services.
Your website can be as dynamic and evolving as you want it to be. Newest info can be changed on your site quickly and cheaply so it becomes a valuable resource for your customer. “This week only – 1/2 off side dishes.”
- A great way to interact directly with your customers.
“Let us know how we’re doing,” “tells us what you want,” “take our survey.” Ask them directly to get the answers you want. “What toppings do YOU like on your pizza?”
Sell your products and services online with no physical space required. Cheap and easy to set up, track, ship and share.
- Tracking customer behavior.
Using services like Google Analytics you can monitor what pages they visit on your site, how long they stay, if they convert to a lead, what keyword they use to reach your site, and so much more.
- Capture customer information.
By having a contact form on your site, you can amass an email list or database of prospective clients. You can get accurate info for that order too. Tough accents or poor phone reception don’t matter when typing.
- Provide helpful resources for your customers.
Helpful links, resource pages, related articles and sites, anything that gives your site visitor an added sense that you’re there to help boosts your opinion. “Organic pizza is having a renaissance…read article here.”
- You can manage your website with little effort.
Using tools like WordPress, you can easily log in to your website and make changes to the content without any web design knowledge. Put up that daily special on the day it’s special.
- Social media integration.
Share your deals, specials, sales, promotions, incentives, stories, and anything that can help stir up a buzz about your biz by putting it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and others. Once it’s on social media, it can be shared infinitely by friends of friends of friends…”this pizza rocks!”
- Write a blog.
Create and share stories relevant to your business, how-to articles, helpful tips, links, “21 reasons why you should eat local pizza.”
- Expand your brand.
A website can be as big or small as you like and the cost to create and manage it is relatively small. Continue your branding in the digital realm. It’s like that prehensile tail you always wanted.
- Special promotions.
Offer web-only promotions to customers. Offer incentives to visit or share articles and deals with others. It’s all trackable if you do. “The first 10 blog post shares get 15% a large 2-topping pizza.”
- An easy-to-remember address.
They probably won’t remember your physical business address, so they’ll just go to www.yourbiz.com and check out the address and/or directions.
- People can find you while on-the-go or traveling.
They can go to your site to look at your services, products and make purchases when they’re not at home or in your office or store. You can sell to anyone with a computer or mobile device anywhere in the world.
- Expand your customer base.
Why limit yourself to finding people through 20th century methods? Offering as many venues for customers or clients to acquire your products or services is doing them a favor. Make it easy.
- Track how you need to improve.
Using analytics tools to track your site performance and see what pages are least popular and find out why they don’t fill out that form is fantastic for adjusting your approach to find out what DOES work. Maybe that green-tinted photo of your 10-meat pizza looks gross.
You can pay Google, Yahoo and Bing to put clickable ads in their search engines when someone looks up your business keywords. This method is proven to work. It’s also trackable so you know if your ad campaign is working or not. Budgets big or small can benefit from this type of targeted advertising. Plus, it’s always editable, so unlike physical ads that have set time frames, you can edit your pay-per-click ads as much as you’d like.
- You can’t afford not to.
Your customers want to be able to look up your business while at home, on the go, after business hours, and call you, order your products, check out your hours, services, or leave a comment, feedback, take a survey, and so much more. None of that can happen if you don’t have a website. With your website, your business can be open 24-7 even if it’s not.
Hopefully this helps you or a small business owner you know understand the importance of having an online presence. Just get a site up with your basic info. Start there then build on it. You don’t need a masterpiece, you knead a masterpiece. I think I’ll get pizza for lunch…