The first step to effectively marketing your business online is to solidify your presence with a great website. Of course, this may seem like an obvious component of internet marketing, but you may be surprised at the number of businesses that either have a poorly designed site that looks like it was constructed decades ago, or worse: no website at all. If this is the case, it may be time for you to consider refreshing your outdated content or finally obtaining a website for your business.
Why Your Small Business Needs a Website
According to recent studies by E-Marketer, Barlow Researchers, the U.S. Census Bureau and Jupiter Research, only 53 percent of small businesses have a website for their company, an increase from the 45 percent of businesses with a website in 2009. The majority of business owners who are currently abstaining from growing their profits online do so because they think that their “business does not need one.” This is actually a common misconception. As the general public increasingly relies on the internet for information, it is becoming incredibly important for business owners to manage the information that potential customers will see. Without a website, your business is going to have a difficult time being noticed by prospective consumers.
For example, if you own an ice cream shop but don’t have a website, here is what will likely happen when a potential customer performs an online search for ice cream shops in their nearby vicinity:
1.) Customer searches for ice cream shops in a popular search engine, such as Google
2.) The search engine reveals websites and local listings for ice cream shops close to your location
3.) Your ice cream shop is not listed in the search results, or the shop is listed under various review sites or business directories (such as Yelp or Google Places), but the listings are unverified, have the wrong address listed, are missing contact information, etc.
4.) The customer does not choose your business, and instead opts for something more familiar, like Baskin Robbins
Your small business gains credibility by having a solid website. Without one, a customer will likely assume that your ice cream shop is as shady as the tattoo parlor with the blacked out windows in the nameless strip mall in that bad part of town. The point is that a website is an essential part of a successful business, with a role just as important as your store hours posted on the front door or the helpful information given out by your employees. With a website, you can:
â™¦ Save money compared to more traditional forms of advertising, such as newspaper ads or billboards
â™¦ Keep your customers informed about new products or promotions
â™¦ Target a wider audience with new ways to sell your products or services
â™¦ Have a permanent home for your business online, which makes it easier to reach your entire audience at once as well as working to inform local business directories about your correct address and contact information. This also allows you to keep a running portfolio of your work in one public place
â™¦ Save time by relaying information to your customers in a concise and direct way
â™¦ Improve customer service by acting as a credible source for your industry and providing potential customers with F.A.Q.s, helpful blog posts and contact information for assistance
â™¦ Allow potential customers to have 24/7 access to useful information, such as your address, contact details, store hours, products or services offered, etc.
How to Get a Great Website
It is not enough to simply purchase a domain and throw a few lines of code up. A good site should act as an aesthetic guide to your business for potential customers, as well as a technical assistant that has been optimized for the search engine crawlers too. The best way to start building your website is to hire a professional who can optimize the site for search engines, as well as creating exciting visual and written content that is specifically designed to help those who visit your site. There are many different components of an optimized website from a technical standpoint, which makes it difficult for those with limited coding experience to implement. For instance, the visual side of things can be tricky for non-experienced programmers to get right. It is for this reason that most small business owners form partnerships with internet marketing firms who can design a fantastic website that the business owner can either purchase all at once or lease month-to-month.
Obtaining a website is only the first step in effectively marketing your small business online. In next week’s article, we will discuss why a good-looking website can only get you so far, and what business owners can do to attract more potential online customers.
Are you looking to boost your online presence with internet marketing? CyberMark International can help you! Please call 623-889-3380 today, or fill out our contact form and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.