A recent 2012 poll estimated that 51% of small businesses still don’t have a website. What are small business owners losing by NOT having a website? Customers!
1. Most People Don’t Use Phone Books Anymore
Many small business owners need to realize that people aren’t using phone books any more. As a matter of fact, a recent national survey discovered that 81% of people are willing to opt-out of receiving a phone book. If you are like me and don’t use a phone book, you can help save paper and opt-out here: opt out of yellow pages.
2. Many People Won’t Buy Unless You Have a Website
Many people will research various companies online before they make their purchasing decision. They want to see your portfolio of work or the products you offer, read about your company, etc. If your company does not have a website, you are losing out on potential customers and revenue.
3. Image is Everything
Your website says a lot about your company and its image. A company without a website is a company without a face.
4. Your Yelp, Facebook, or Other Social Media or Directory Page is NOT Enough
It’s possible to create a Web presence without a full site thanks to sites like Yelp, Facebook, and other social media sites. However, you don’t have control over any of these. You have no say on how they’ll let you connect with customers, and you can’t completely customize your pages. By relying on *other* sites to house your information, you are severely limiting yourself. Small business owners not only need a website, but they need to have control over it as well. Don’t get me wrong – Facebook and other social media sites can be very helpful, but they should be used in addition to your custom professional website, not instead of.
5. Search Engines Are Skewing Search Queries Towards Local Sites Even When a User Doesn’t Include a Local Modifier
Major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing are now localizing your searches based on your IP address. For example, when you perform a generic Yahoo search like ["florist", "pizza"] you will get the local business shortcut if Yahoo feels you meant to imply local listings. It’s a great feature, as you won’t have to sift through listings halfway across the country. If your company doesn’t have a website, your business is not listed along with the rest of your competition that do have websites.
6. Websites Are More Cost Effective Than Traditional Print Advertising, and Save Paper
Online marketing is less expensive than traditional marketing. No brightly colored postcards and brochures to pay printing costs for, no expensive ads to take out in magazines and newspapers, and no rediculously expensive yellow page ads. Website marketing focuses on free or low cost methods, such as publishing marketing articles, press releases, and blog posts, and generating inbound links to increase your website’s ranking with the search engines. And since search engines are now skewing searches toward local sites, that makes marketing your website to your local area even easier!
Although there is still a place for traditional marketing, many businesses are discovering that website marketing suits their needs much better in today’s virtual world. The majority of consumers start looking for a product online, so if you are pursuing a traditional marketing campaign you may just be throwing money away. In order for marketing to be effective, you have to broadcast where your target market is, and since the majority of consumers are online that’s where the majority of businesses should be, too!
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