Times are changing. Since the 2008 recession, small businesses have been on a decline. Yes, new ones open all the time. But more small businesses close every year than open. The world of online shopping has taken over the mom & pop stores on the main street.
If you are one of those few that aim to gain freedom through your small business it could be a long hard road. Yet, innovation could single handed make your business survive. You need to embrace new technology and becoming a leader rather than a follower. This will set you apart from everyone else.
Being a leader with a website
Almost half of all US businesses do not have a website according to Entrepreneur.com. That could mean that as much as half of your competitors do not even have a website. I would also hazard a guess to say that half of the ones that do, they have not updated it in the last year.
An easy way for your business to stand out from the competition is to have a current and up to date website. Contact information is critical here. If your hours or phone number change, update your website. It always amazes me how often I cannot find basic contact information. Or I end up finding outdated information on websites of other businesses I am planning on shopping with. Being a small business is a chance to stand apart by posting contact information. This is something the big boys seem to have forgotten.
Nothing is more relevant than a first impression. Having a website that looks like it came from the stone era will not impress anyone. And when I, as a user, browse to a site on my phone that is not mobile friendly I leave very fast. Websites that are out of date do nothing more than telling the potential client that the business does not care. A bad user experience or poor navigation will drive clients away with ease.
Increase your proven brand
A website can set your brand as the authority for your field. It will also help establish your small business as legitimate. Having a full domain name, with website and email attached, will instill trust. The will impact anyone that you do business with. Nothing says hobby business more than only having a Facebook account. Or a non-professional email for that matter.
Creating authority can be as simple as writing about the things you do. I have seen companies that have gained a huge following. And all they did was answering questions that they receive on a daily basis. If I am looking for how to fix something, and I find your company website that answers that exact question I am there. And if your product helps me to solve that problem, well you got my business.
Grooming & Marketing your customers
No, I am not talking about hygiene here. We are not asking you to comb your client’s hair. Grooming, in this case, is referring to growing your brand through relationships online. When you build the relationships online, you build trust. Once the client is ready to jump on board and needs that product, you become all they think about.
Your marketing efforts online should focus in one place. When someone frequents your website, they show interest. You will know without a doubt that they like your content. And you alone control 100% of that content. Social media is great when it comes to getting out there. But your content will get held hostage by the platform you post it on. Facebook is always choosing who will see your content and when. You no longer have all the control.
Amazing websites drive clients 24/7/365
Because you are sleeping does not mean your client is. Having a website that optimized for your client base means that they can find you whenever they want. It is like having a small sales force working all the time. And all you have to do is add the content your clients have shown interest in and answer their questions.
Not every website that is amazing is fancy. Being amazing is not related only to how your site looks. Amazing is the effect your site has on potential clients. It is how clients engage, and the content you provide that in turn will drive your business.
Cost alone should not drive website design
Most websites cost money. Yet this money spent should not feel like a drain on resources. Most websites are a long-term investment in your business. The more effort that you put into a site design and content, the more you can gain.
There are many ‘drag and drop’ website builders out there. And with enough effort, I am sure you could come up with a site that does OK. But think of this another way. I am not a structural engineer. So, you would not hire me to design a skyscraper. Same goes for web design. A professional web developer can save countless hours and deliver a product you can be proud of. In the end, you get what you pay for. Spend your time and money wisely.
But my type of business does not need a website
Excuses can only serve to hurt your efforts. I have yet to find a type of business or industry that could not use a website to showcase something. Even if that site is only a simple site that explains what you do and how to get in touch. A quick search should find at least one site that is in your industry.
Besides, with a website, your business could then be in a position as a trendsetter. Sometimes being first into the pool is exactly where you need to be. Make everyone else follow you, and good luck with them catching you.
Well, there you have it. If I have not convinced you by now that you need an amazing website that will dazzle your clients I never will. I would love to hear your thoughts on if your small business needs a website, or what your current website has done for you. Let’s talk in the comments below.
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