by Karen Webs
Wednesday, 12th Dec 2018 | 01:00:49 PM
Think of it as an online billboard. Instantly you have another chance to introduce people to your products and services and another way for people to find you.
The first reason why small businesses need a website, even if your business has five employees or less, is because that's where so many of your potential customers are for so much of the time.
This means that there are a whole lot of eyeballs that could be visiting and interacting with your small business's website - if you had one.
If you operate one of those small businesses that doesn’t have a website and that fact alone doesn’t persuade you to develop an online presence for your business, here are six more reasons:
1) People use the internet like they used to use the phone book.
I used to tell small business owners that it didn't matter if they had a website if most of their business was local. But now almost everyone is increasingly using the internet to get information - even local information. Potential customers are using their Smartphones and tablets to decide where to go and what to buy. So your small business has to come up in local search or beware; people who are searching will find other local businesses rather than yours.
2) A business website gives your business legitimacy.
People expect businesses to have their own websites, just as they used to expect businesses to have a real physical business address and hence not having a business website might raise questions in the opinion of your customers.
3) A business website gives you another marketing channel.
Having a business website gives you an automatic online presence. Think of it as an online billboard. Instantly you have another chance to introduce people to your products and services and another way for people to find you. (Of course, how many eyes your billboard attracts will depend on your conscious marketing efforts to get people's attention, such as Search Engine Optimization, blogging, using social media, and online advertising.)
4) A business website gives you another opportunity for data collection/lead generation.
For instance, getting people to write their email addresses on pieces of paper and handing them in at a physical storefront is hard. But getting people to type their email address into a box on a website is much, much easier - especially if they perceive that they're getting something for it, such as a newsletter, a special report or an ebook. And once you have the email address, you have another way to reach your potential customer.
5) Ecommerce spending is increasing every year.
Consumers want online options because of the convenience of online shopping, as well as the ability to reach customer care support staff without having to take trips to the physical premises for issues that can be resolved over an instant online chat.
6) Webrooming can lead customers into your store.
Webrooming refers to a shopping process that starts with online browsing and then leads to buying in-store. This type of shopping allows customers to touch, feel and test products before purchasing. Another reason to have a website for your small business is that if you have a brick-and-mortar store, investing in building an online presence such as an ecommerce website can increase your offline store’s profits thanks to the growing popularity of webrooming, where customers research items online before purchasing them in-store.
What’s Your Reason for Not Being Online?
One small business man I spoke to told me that he didn’t have a website because he wasn’t looking for any more business. He’s an electrician and as busy as he wants to be for the foreseeable future.
But if you actually want more business, a business website is now like the business card - a must-have for any business – and don’t think you need to offer ecommerce to have one. A website that serves as a digital business card, providing searchers with information about your business and what you can do for them is still worthwhile.