Last week we talked about how having a constant social media presence can help small mom and pop stores get an edge and compete in a world where big stores like Wal-Mart exist. Social media is just the tip of the ice-berg. I am not saying that it is not effective, it is uber effective but to truly milk social media’s potential you need to pair it with a website.
Many small businesses, be they the old mom and pop stores or brand new ones argue that they do not really need websites. Old mom and pop stores say that they have been in businesses quite long and have never needed a website till now so why bother, and brand new small businesses run lean operations and focus on what they believe are urgent expenditures, with a website not being one of them.
The dynamics of the market are not what they were, say 15 years ago. The internet has penetrated the world like never before, and it is now at a level where one could say that the internet itself is a virtual online world that exists by the side of our real one. It may sound absurd but that is the reality. Think about the potential of the internet, a platform where people from the world gather, sifting through information and adding more in the process, all the time.
A website helps you put your feet into the online world and get your presence known. All business people know that if you want to make money, you have to get out there and make yourself known. We will talk about the reasons why a small business needs a website to make themselves known in the online world:
- A website means credibility
As I said the market is not what it was 15 years ago. Now before we go anywhere we Google it. And if your business does not turn up on the search, it loses its credibility. Just like one expects a signboard on top of a restaurant, one expects every business to have a website, for the sake of contact details and address if not anything else.
If you have a Facebook page that will show up in the search, but a lone Facebook page gives an impression that the people behind the operations are most probably amateurs. Many years ago the shopfront used to be the first-impression, now it is a website. Not only do you need a website to rope in people, you need a good looking website to convert “interest” into a sale.
A website is even more necessary if you are running a home-based business. You do not have a shop or office to impress and you do need one, be it a physical one or a virtual one which we call a good looking website.
- Not having a website means business lost
A website has many hats. It works as a 24/7 sales force, a shop that is always open and an information portal and so much more. If you have a website it can double up as a store and marketing team. When your shop closes and you go to sleep, the website is still up and running, show-casing your products and even taking orders. In short not having a website means losing a lot of potential sales. Do not think of a website as expense, but rather think of it as an investment into a second branch that will work 24/7.
I have mentioned as few times that you need a “good-looking website”. This is more important than you think. A website to a person who has never met you or seen your business is the first impression he gets of you. So rather than having a bad website you should have no website, for the first impression is truly the last impression. One of the sorest point in a marketers’ life is that customers will talk more about bad experiences than the good ones. So what you need is a good website. You may lack the expertise to make and run a website yourself. However there are many digital agencies (Like Us), which specifically cater to small businesses helping them to make their first entrance into the online world a grand one, while ensuring that the entrance does not break your budget.