responsiblog

Why Your Small Business Needs a Website

October 2018
small business plan concepts written out in notebook

Are you a small business owner? Is finding new customers a concern worth your attention? In 2018, it was for 66% of you. How does a small business owner do such? Well, by creating an online presence, of course! In 2016, 90% of marketers said their business gained exposure after their social marketing efforts. Building a web presence for your business and brand is not just what it sounds like. Having an accessible website is not just putting something out there, it’s increasing your small business’s presence in people’s minds and mouths. If people see your business or an ad for your business, they will use your website to find out more about you, and then possibly tell their friends about it. Think of it this way: To have a small business without having a website in 2018 is like having a small business without a phone in the 1970s. If the service is readily available, professionally installed, reliable, and generates business, why not take advantage of the opportunity to grow your brand? We’ll tell you about:

  • How pervasive the internet has become in all walks of life, not just finding the right small business
  • How pervasive online shopping has become
  • How you can control what people hear about you or your business
  • How well you’ll reach those precious new customers once you have a flawless website from Responsival
  • How having a website adds value to your business

Websites are a basic modern convenience

The vast majority of Americans do online research before using a business

The internet is becoming a necessity. Kindergarteners and pre-schoolers learn how research on the web in school. Having a web presence is not only helpful to your business, but vital in this day and age. People like to do their research before patronizing a business. According to this recent study, between 70% and 80% of people research a company online before visiting or using their services. With the internet came us inherently social human’s fastest growing invention: social media! While 81% of Americans have at least one social media account, only 77% of small businesses use social media in their marketing methods.

computer on desk

Is social media necessary for your business? It can’t hurt. It helps to have social media icons on your website showing your potential customers you’re on other platforms, but this is a choice based on your target demographic. Social media is more effective for a business if the nature of the business is inherently social. It’s also important to use the right social media platform for your target audience. For example, more young people and more women use Instagram.

The bottom line is, if a consumer googles your business, a website should come up. When you have website, it is simple and effective to optimize it to show up in Google results when people search for your kind of service in their area. If your business has no website, no one will find it.

Other than getting your name out there, websites have practical information that your customers will appreciate having at their fingertips:

  • Knowing business hours - people have to know when your business is open and they have to know it quickly and easily or they’ll find someone else. Customers are impatient!
  • Information about products -  you can provide descriptions of products in your own words that will give people a taste of the quality of the service and of your personality before they ever meet you, or your employees.
  • A website also provides a database for your employees. Post instruction manuals and scripts about your products for your employees, so they can properly communicate what you want to your customers.
  • Comparison shopping - People click around different service’s websites to find the best bang for their buck. If your service is a more affordable option than your competitors, a website is the place to advertise that right off the bat. Include your prices as compared to your competitors. This recent study concerning ecommerce found that 46% of online shoppers would like to see more product comparisons from ecommerce sites.
  • Tracking orders - if you’re open to building an ecommerce website, and we’ll tell you why should be in a second, customers like to track their orders.
  • Inventory and product availability

In the past people made a phone call to find out this basic information after seeing your number on a sign or getting it from a peer. Now, if a consumer needs information about services they use the internet. It’s all about speed! Speaking of speed, this study found that if a company’s website took longer than 3 seconds to load, 53% of people hit the back button to try another, faster website.

E-commerce is a low-cost and effective way to grow your business

Make money while you sleep. Someone’s awake and online shopping

If your business does not have a website, it cannot compete against e-commerce websites. Making purchases online, an easier way to shop, is a trend that’s not going anywhere. People today would rather click to buy than spend more time and money getting to a store. Fewer and fewer people appreciate the traditional mode of shopping. If your competitors have a website and you don’t, you’ve been kicked off their list.

shaking hands at a table

Business has always been centered around customer service and making the customer feel special. A personalized shopping experience formerly only relied on interactions in person or over the telephone. Now companies have made it their goal to reach a personal level on their websites, like “knowing” the shopper’s name. If you open your business to e-commerce you will benefit from the following:

  • Faster buying and selling
  • 24/7 buying and selling
  • Little to no geographic limitations to buyers
  • Lower cost expansion of your business
  • Offer terms, conditions, and information associated with your products with no extra hassle

People love to online shop. What do you think anyone does in their free time during the work/school week? The percentage of E-commerce’s share in global retail increased from 8.6% in 2016 to 11.9% in 2018, and is expected to reach 17.5 percent by 2021. Don’t miss out on this global change.

Control your narrative

Let everyone know how much customers love your business

Even if your customers can’t online shop for your products, (either because that’s not a relevant process to your service or you aren’t ready for that yet) they need the opinions of others. Just think, would you feel comfortable using a business or service that you knew nothing about and had no recommendations? Whether the recommendations are from friends or strangers online, some back up helps.  According to this recent survey, 68% of consumers claimed a positive review online would positively influence their decision to use a local business. After reading a positive review, 37% of consumers claimed that their immediate reaction was to visit the business’s website. If you have reviews on Google but no website, you lose that 37% of people to your competitors who do have websites.

come in we're open sign on door

Having good reviews is an excellent asset to the health of your business… so what about bad reviews? Don’t rely on review sites like Yelp to spread word about your business. Provide customer testimonials on your website in order to control your influence and public perception. A website will allow you to showcase your products or services on your terms. Provide beautiful high-res pictures that prove to customers why they shouldn’t seek business anywhere else.

Reach thousands of potential customers

Make that person who never leaves their house a regular customer

A website does not limit the amount or type of people you will reach. Mailing information brochures to a select amount of people is more of a waste of money and paper than having a permanent website up that gives information on your business. Paying to have a professionally installed website will end up saving and making you money. Look how quickly people use a business if they have a website: According to 2016 data from Google, of consumers who search locally on their smartphone, 68% of them visit the store within 24 hours. Almost 50% of them make a purchase in the same day.

graphs on a tablet being held

What do other small business owners have to say about it? According to this study from Business 2 Community, 75% of small business owners believe that internet marketing is an effective or very effective way to attract new customers. This does not have to include additional advertising. Having a permanent, beautiful, and professionally designed website will seal the deal between you and a potential customer. If you have any sort of advertising already, this will usually just lead people to search for your website.  If you don’t already have a website for your business, you should be freaking out. Not as much as if you have an ugly, existing website though. Why? Because 74% of the small business owners surveyed in that study have a website. However, only half of them stated that their website has a responsive design. We can get you that! There’s a reason we’re called Responsival. With our designs you’ll already have an advantage over half the business owners with a website.

A website adds value to your business

An online presence is an important credential

Another advantage of a well-designed website is the added value to your business should you decide to sell. A potential buyer will first search the internet for any information they can find out about your business. If they find no website, that is an immediate turn off to buyers. It’s like trying to sell a house without a front door.

thumbs up

A robust online presence with contacts already in place in email lists, reviews, and subscribers is more likely to attract potential buyers. People want to buy businesses that already rank high in search engine searches, or have good search engine optimization (SEO). If you don’t even have a website, you’re already not doing well in the area of SEO.

How do I make a website?

You don’t have to!

Your website has to look good. It has to function on mobile as well as desktop devices. Yes, people still use their desktop. The time spent on a desktop site is longer than a mobile site and has also stayed the same over the past year.  You don’t have to have the skills to build a beautiful website that will attract customers. Fortunately, there are people out there, like the people at Responsival, whose specialty it is to build you an effective website that will reach as many of your target customers as possible, and function beautifully on all devices.

happy man sitting at an office desk

Whatcha waiting around for here in the digital age? It’s clear that it’s time for a professionally designed website for your business. More people will find out about it and might even use your business in that same day. Increase your sales by making your products available online. Have a leg up against your competitors by having a way nicer website than theirs. Check out some of the work Responsival has done and see why these websites are so effective!

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