No one today can dispute the power of the web but an astonishing 53% of small businesses in the US have no website. Some may have a Twitter account or Facebook page and they may even manage to have a pretty decent size list.
However, very few small businesses are even leveraging the relationships that they already have with their existing client base.
I am not a marketing expert, but as a small business owner I have invested my own time and dollars to try and better educate myself about marketing and marketing online.
Now I am not going to pretend that a website is the answer to all of our prayers, but if you take the time to consider these 4 key points below it may help you to determine what a website can do for you in your business:
Your Website Can Help You to Reach Large Numbers Quickly
The one thing every marketing guru will say is that there is no reason to market yourself anywhere, whether it is via social media or thru more traditional marketing channels like television or print publications, if you have nowhere to refer that audience back to. In fact it would almost be considered a “missed opportunity”.
Why? Because when you are marketing your business you should always look for an opportunity to reach large numbers, of ideally your target audience, as quickly and as inexpensively as possible. This may be writing a guest post on a popular blog, being profiled in your local newspaper or landing a spot on a local television show and you always want to refer those visitors back to your website.
It Allows You to Leverage Your Exposure and Build Your List
Once you have gained that kind of exposure you want to leverage it by directing people either to your website where they can get more acquainted with you and your product or service or capture their contact information (usually via an opt-in box) to put them on your mailing list.
Starting or growing your list is a strategy in and of itself, and will be discussed in another post, but if done well can prove to be the most fruitful of all of your marketing efforts online or off.
It’s a Cost Effective Way to Stay Connected to Your Community
Small business is still very much about “community”. Yes I know that word is tossed about all over the place but as a small business owner, the more you can show your “softer side” the better. The most popular websites on the planet are either search engines, news sites (like CNN & The NYTimes) or social media platforms.
When a person is looking for information about a new topic or product they will most likely begin their search on Google. It’s such a common phenomenon Google is practically a verb.
News organizations almost live and die by who gets what up on the web first and the various social media platforms are essentially one big giant referral network created by their user’s content and engagement.
Remember that last word “engagement” – that is how you build your community online. It doesn’t matter how many followers you have it’s how many of them are engaged (i.e. interacting) with you on a regular basis. Always remember quality over quantity here.
You Can Save on Operational Expenses
One of the greatest advantages of the web is how cost effective it is compared to some brick and mortar operations.
You can use your advertising dollars more effectively, because you can target your audience in a myriad of different ways and track your campaigns with better accuracy.
You can also leverage your “hours for dollars” by automating your sales process online and conducting sales transactions online. You can sell to just about anyone – anywhere.
You don’t have to worry about rent for a brick and mortar office or shop, benefits and payroll for a slew of employees and if you are selling info products you don’t even have to worry about storing inventory.
There are a slew of other reasons why you should have a website, but these 4 key points over time can bring new business to your door, help you to build and maintain your existing relationships and still save you time and money.
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