If you’re a small business owner it is absolutely essential that you put thought into your online presence and what it says about your brand.
If you don’t have even a basic website that serves as a placeholder for your brand. You’re already behind the competition.
But a well-managed, properly functioning website has the potential to be a lot more than just a placeholder.
In 2018, a website should be an essential part of every business growth strategy. Here’s why:
Your Competitor Has a Website
Nearly two-thirds of all business owners have a website. That means, unless your business is extremely niche, it’s likely that your competition is already online.
Contrary to what some believe, even businesses who cater to local clientele need a website to compete.
What’s the first thing visitors do when they leave your business with a card? They look it up online and try to get more information about who you are and what you have to offer.
If they can’t find you in a local Google search, they’re likely to choose the closest competitor with a site that ranks high in Google’s local results.
If your competitors are online, it’s time to catch up and take back some of that business.
Websites Improve a Business’s Credibility
One reason to have a small business website is to establish credibility.
Credibility online is a nuanced thing.
On the one hand, just having a website gives you a boost of credibility. That’s because, as previously mentioned, the conscientious consumerism of today demands that buyers search for products online, and sellers must answer the call.
But on the other hand, there’s an even stronger case for having a managed website that you invest time and money into.
One reason is that Google’s algorithm is designed to seek out businesses that are credible, and return them in search results.
The type of content you have and how it performs is part of a Google algorithm that determines your site’s worth. And as you will learn below, the internet can go a long way to expand your reach if you play your cards right with a small business website.
The Internet Expands Your Reach
Most businesses are online in one way or the other, even if they don’t have a small business website.
This usually means exasperated business owners try to make time to use sites like Facebook and Twitter to effectively interact with clients.
While Facebook is an important part of growing your total reach online, it is not a suitable replacement for having your own website. Here’s why:
- Facebook controls who you reach and how you reach people through algorithms and follows; if you get unfollowed, for instance, you’ve lost most ability to interact with that customer
- Facebook doesn’t allow you to have total brand control; how your brand is viewed and what information is most important is mandated by Facebook templates
All of this means that in order to use Facebook at peak efficacy, you’ll need to put money into advertising on the platform. With over 2 billion users, it’s a great platform for interacting with your audience, but it shouldn’t be your home base.
Using the internet to expand your reach means having your own website that brings visitors to your business page. This is usually done by keeping the site well-managed to offer a fresh user experience with good content.
Your Customers Are Online
Just like it’s important to be present where your competitors are, it’s also important to show up where your customers are.
Having a website makes you more relatable to people who use the internet in their daily lives to find the best products and services: i.e. your customers.
It also allows for passive lead generation. We already discussed expanding your reach, but with more people at your fingertips comes more opportunity to use the website to collect information and generate conversions.
Websites Provide Insight Into Your Audience
Even without having your website visitors fill in a form or email opt-in, you can gain valuable insight about people interested in your brand using your small business website.
That’s because website services like easy-to-implement analytics are available to small business owners at no additional cost.
Using the right tools, business owners can read and save data that tells them about who has visited their site like where they visited from and which campaigns were most successful at attracting visitors.
The Advertising Playbook has Changed
The advertising playbook is always changing. The beauty is that just when you’ve figured it out, another new way to market your business takes the world by storm.
But one constant is websites aren’t going anywhere.
Your business needs an effective website that keeps you in front of customers where they love to shop — online!
When it comes to advertising, a person is exposed to upwards of 5,000 ads a day. That’s why traditional banner advertising and media is no longer effective. Consumers have learned to tune it out as they comb the internet in search of answers they need.
Small business owners must be accessible to answer important questions about their products and services while winning the trust of their customers. This can only be accomplished with a well-managed website, a strong content strategy and a top-notch user experience.