It’s strange to consider that there there are still SMB (small and medium sized businesses) without a company website.
Susan Solovic The Small Business Expert, (Find Susan on Twitter) had the same observation. In a recent article, she used the following analogy to explain the critical importance of having a website in 2016.
It’s kind of amusing.
Climb into your time machine and set it for 1965.
Push the big red button. Okay, you’re in 1965.
Walk into the first small business you see and ask if they have a phone.
Go into the next small business and ask the same question. Once you’re convinced that every small business has a telephone, get back in your time machine and set it for today.
The point I want to make is that not having a small business website today would be the equivalent of not having a telephone any time after telephones became routinely available.
Why no website?
It begs the question then, why are there SMB not maximizing internet opportunities?
Solovic states: “A recent small business survey from Surepayroll stated that while 28% of AMB owners didn’t have a website, a whopping 42% said that the Internet wasn’t very important to their business.”
Her feeling is that SMB owners simply say they don’t need the internet, as a way of avoiding the problem.
There’s truth to that statement, but I think that most SMB owners find internet marketing all too overwhelming – like falling into an abyss.
But, if Solovic’s statements are true, that the SMB website is the equivalent of the 1965 phone, it stands to reason that customers rely on the internet to retrieve the same information they used the telephone for 40 years ago.
They search the internet for:
- Addresses and business hours.
- Product Information.
- Comparison Shopping.
- Order Update and product availability
And finally to establish the business’ credibility. What’s your first instinct when you can’t find a business on the internet?
I think the case is made. Not having a robust website and failing to maintain it adequately is the equivalent of not answering your phone back in ’65.
SMB websites add value to your business
.. with the following:
Having a company website, allows you to tell you own story. It also allows you to conduct business on your own terms whether it’s by email capture and creating a newsletter, having a blog or hosting an e-commerce store.
Good search page placement is important to your ability to meet your customers. Keeping key elements such as search engine optimization in-house keeps you in the driver’s seat. After all, you know your business best.
Third-party platforms like Yelp and Yellow Pages are excellent support services for things like reviews. The danger is to allow them to become your company website. Not only are they costly, but restrictive in their offerings.
Successful social media strategy and marketing is dependent on good website content.
And opening up your business to e-commerce opportunities really makes sense. Who knew that we would be selling: trampolines, cars, airplane tickets, boat motors, and mattresses to food stuffs on the internet? (And those are just the items I’ve worked on.)
Solovic identified e-commerce has a disrupter of traditional commerce. As the business owner, you may not yet see the immediate opportunities but that’s not to say that it’s not right around the corner.
Uber and AirBnB are probably two of the recent best examples of e-commerce disruptors across many industries that were totally unprepared.
Where to start?
Broadly speaking there are three areas to cover.
Begin with an audit: Does your business have a website? What kind of shape is it in? What types of social media platforms?
Develop a strategy: What types of digital marketing opportunities would best suit your business? What types of social media would work best?
Implementation: Getting the right tools and team members in place for execution.
A professional digital marketer would be able to set you on the right course. Need help? I’d be glad to brainstorm with you.