Putting my obvious bias aside (and many other business owners will back me up here), I firmly believe that if you are operating a business in the 21st century, irrespective of where you are or what your business does, you must have a website. Smart phones, tablets and computers are everywhere in our modern society and they are all “jacked” into the internet 24/7.
For the business owner, this means, regardless of who your customers are, they will be searching for you on Google. Very few people are reaching for the Yellow Pages these days – it takes far too long (no wonder the Yellow Pages have begun to move online) and can be confusing with the numerous listings. But if your customers can’t find you on Google, I’ll bet that they will certainly find your competitors in the search results and you will lose their business.
This also applies to businesses that traditionally operate out of a small town community, like Innisfail, where I live and work. It’s important to remember that there are no borders to business anymore and, because of technology, the world is much smaller than it used to be.
Despite these facts, I still find myself, on a regular basis, trying to convince businesses in my home town that a website is a necessity – even for them!
Here’s three of my counter arguments:-
A website expands your business beyond the borders of your community.
With a website there are no boundaries for your business. Once online, your site can sell products and services around the globe – it can even sell them while you are asleep! And, with the multitude of shipping options available nowadays, you can “move” your products very quickly to any destination on the earth.
So, why would you settle for doing business in a tiny demographic when you could go global?
As Donald Trump often says, “Think Big!”
A website can level the playing field for the “little guys”
Regardless of the size of your small business or its location, your website can compete on the same level as any other business in your particular industry. You may not have the flashy storefronts of your competitors or the sheer magnitude of their operations but a website doesn’t have to worry about these things.
Your site can compete on the same level if it offers:
– An easy to use interface.
– A clear Call to Action (CTA).
– Helpful service (through contact forms, online videos, pop-up chats, tricks or tips).
– High quality products or services.
In short, if your website can deliver the same service as expected from the “big guys”, it has a chance at grabbing customers that would have once dismissed you as “too small”.
You can connect with customers like never before.
Businesses, both large and small, can now build their brands and followers through the use of an effective Social Media strategy. With very little effort, you can start a conversation with your customers and, as a result, grow a better understanding of their needs and wants.
Conversely, customers can carry on these discussions completely separate from your business involved and, as long as those discussions are positive, this will help to build the public image of that your brand.
Examples of this include:
– Fashion products being spruiked by customers on their Instagram accounts.
– Special announcements being launched instantly on Twitter.
– A loyal Facebook following (a great source of testimonials).
– Hashtags leading directly back to the source – your website.
A properly built and managed website allows a small town business to build and expand beyond what was traditionally possible. By making your business easy to find, helpful and value for money – you will not only encourage locals to stick with you but may just hook into some lucrative “outside” business and from there – the only way is up!