It's hard to believe in this day and age that there are small business owners who do not have a website or use social media to market their business. Their reasons are varied but generally fall into three categories:
-I'm too busy running my business to get around to it.
-It's all too complicated and/or expensive, and I don't know where to begin
-Don't fix what ain't broke.
Of course, some businesses are doing well without an internet presence but, for how long will they thrive in this digital age? With the way the general population rely on the internet these days, those business owners who choose to ignore this trend do so at their peril.
Here are a few reasons small business owners should consider having a web presence.
1. People can find you
Seriously, this is the most important reason. The vast majority of the population now turn to the web instead of the yellow pages. They turn to the internet to research options, prices and information when buying a product or looking for a service provider. And, they do it by either using a search engine or engaging in dialogue in various social media avenues. If you don’t have a website or a social media presence, your business simply won't appear. That's a heck of a lot of people who won't even know you exist.
2. You can brand your business without the expensive outlay of traditional advertising
In days gone by, the idea was you got yourself a logo and a slogan. Then, if you could afford it, you advertised in newspapers, on radio and television and perhaps did a few leaflet drops. You hoped to get your name and brand out there so that people would remember your business when looking for something you provided.
By using the internet to brand your business, you have the potential of getting your name and brand in front of literally millions of people at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.
If you're not sure how to do this, consider looking at hiring someone to do your social media marketing until you feel confident doing it yourself. If they're good at what they do, they will be able to drive traffic from your social media pages straight to your website, and you can learn from them as you go.
3. Use your website to create good customer relations.
Good customer relations equals return business. We all like good service when we walk into a shop or a business, and the virtual world of the internet is no different. Good service anywhere means we are likely to return and recommend a business to friends and family.
Your website and social media sites can be effective sales tools if you use them to your advantage. Use them to connect and communicate with your customers. Hear what they have to say, address their concerns and provide information. Create a relationship and build trust with them and then provide an easy avenue for them to act upon their wants or needs by buying your product or service.
4. You build belief in your business
The vast majority of internet users do at least some research into a company or product before buying. If you don't have a website or social media presence, you run the risk of customers dismissing your business out of hand.
Potential customers equate a website and/or social media presence with longevity and stability. They see you backing yourself and your business by putting it out there in cyberspace, and they know, should they need information or assistance, you are there.
Your website becomes your office or shop, and your social media platform becomes your spruiker. Use both so customers perceive you as an authority in your field.
With email and all the communication options available on various social media platforms, it becomes easy, convenient and inexpensive to respond and keep in touch with customers.
Here are just a few ways to use your web presence :
build a customer base and make it easy for them to shop online by storing their details
create an email subscriber list and email customers with discounts
send out a newsletter with information about upcoming sales or specials
everybody loves a freebie so give some free tips and advice
No more waiting in line at the post office with a pile of mail or hiring someone to do a leaflet drop. With the internet, it doesn't matter if it's midnight or late afternoon, you're able to respond or initiate a communication with customers at your convenience at virtually no cost.