Despite the growth in Internet Businesses and the surge of consumers that browse the internet for service providers and retailers, there is still a large gap in the number of small businesses who employ the use of social media and websites to promote their businesses. We find that this number increases in the less urban areas in Jamaica. I have deduced that it is either these businesses don’t think they need a website or social media to succeed or they don’t know or understand the benefits of these tools for marketing.
Even a business that is doing well without a website or social media, could do better. After all there is no such thing as being too successful. And when i talk about a website i’m not referring to posting an electronic version of an outdated brochure. I refer to a well thought out, effectively designed website which will bring about results.
There are many benefits to having a website as a small business. A few of which are:
- A well designed website will save you time and money. Your website will be always available online even after hours, so you/your staff won’t have to answer the phone as frequently because now people have another way of getting the information they need about your business: through your website. Even better, you can reduce or even eliminate the cost for printing and distributing hand-outs, brochures, newsletter, etc. All are already available online and ready for printing at any time.
- You Stop Being Invisible.I’m not trying to be flippant, but by creating a website you stop being invisible to the people trying to find you online. More and more studies are telling us about the ROBO effect where customers are learning to research online before buying offline. They’re typing their problems or needs into the search engine of their choice and are researching the companies that appear for those queries. If you don’t have a Web presence, there’s no chance of you showing up and you never even enter into their thought process. In 2013, you can’t afford to be invisible.
- With a website, your business can be listed in various online directories including the mega web directories of Google, Yahoo! and Bing and other business-specific online directories. For your customers, these are like on-demand phone books that will come in handy and can never be tossed away.
- A well designed website will be a powerful tool that helps spreading electronic word of mouth for you business. Traditionally, word of mouth always count for a lot. With today’s web technology, online sharing and social bookmarking have made word of mouth more viral than ever. If people find your business trustworthy, they’ll possibly share it with their friends on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or on their personal blogs. The sharing can be go on and on and on. Without a website, you’ll miss all of these opportunities.
- You Build Authority. Though the Web has been around for some time, it’s true that you didn’t always need a website to find your audience. It was a lot easier to market via direct mailings, Yellow page ads and local word-of-mouth. However, today your website and your social presence are the factors that customers are looking for when they research a small business. They want to know that you’re stable enough to have a dedicated Web presence. That you’ll be around tomorrow should something go wrong. That they can get a hold of you when they need to. By creating a website, you set up shop on the Internet and show customers that this is where they can come to find information about you, to read articles that you’ve written and to learn more about your company. All of these things build authority. Without a website, you’re at a huge disadvantage as a small business owner trying to speak to your customers.
These are just a few of the benefits that a website has for you as a small business. Sure the cost can sometimes be exorbitant but that is all dependent on how complicated a website your developing. I advice that you set a budget that is manageable for your business and find the developer that is willing to work with your budget and still give you a well designed website. At the end of the day it is considered an investment, one that if done right will give you good returns. If poorly designed/developed, you site won’t work very well with your users and search engines. Thus, you will possibly get only a few leads from the website – not enough to compensate for the costs. Thus, what you need is not only a website, but a well designed/developed website.
Contact Us at Websol for a consultation and we will be happy to work with you in finding your innovative solution. We specialise in assisting small businesses get online.