In the early 2000s (ages ago in Internet time) having a website for a small business meant either hiring a web development company or, assigning the task to an individual in your organization to design and develop it. With that complete, you arrived on the information highway and were cruising along down the road. We can all agree internet marketing has changed leaps and bounds since those early days and sometimes we whimsically look back on the good ‘ole days when all we needed to do was create a website and some good business cards.
There has been a lot of changes in online marketing techniques and I believe most of them are for the better. The perpetual nature of information these days challenges us all to provide the best resources, service, and websites to online searchers. These present day expectations separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Functional websites for small businesses are the ticket to long term success in your industry. Is your website working for you or against you?
Old World Web Marketing
Marketing your business online used to be very traditional – with one additional ‘cool’ feature – an online web address, which you listed on every brochure, business card, and magazine advertisement you placed. And you small business website was powerful. So much product information, industry knowledge and articulate value propositions could be displayed graphically. It was an unprecedented time in the marketing world.
But as time passed, that once game-changing website seemed to pull in fewer sales. In the end, a decision, perhaps not a conscience one, but a decision all the same was made.The site wasn’t bringing you what you wanted, so you just decided to keep it up on the off chance someone found it. But in the meantime, you switched back to the dependable strategies you used before you even created a small business website.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but those old marketing techniques won’t get you that far anymore either. We’re living in the middle of the technology age where there’s a website for everything. I know how hard it can be to move forward after you’ve been met with failure before. The search may be difficult at first, but once you settle on a proven internet marketing business, you’ll start to reap the benefits.
Modern Day Web Marketing
I find it curious that a small business that specializes in a particular market segment – and advocates to their customers all the good reasons for leveraging their unique abilities – doesn’t apply the same thinking to the growth of their own business. Having a competitive edge in your industry means everything and being able to display your expertise through your website is how you’ll start to build your brand awareness and target audience.
Just having a static small business website is not enough – certainly not today. It requires constant attention to understand the ever changing conditions in the Internet, as well as the practices of those who use it to find relevant information, i.e., your target customer! Your potential customers don’t want cold calls or random emails, instead they want to visit your website, see all your information in one place, browse your site when it’s convenient for them, and judge if they want to do business with you. Your customers do all this without even knowing your name!
Your website needs to be a thorough and engaging resource that interests visitors and entices them to call you. The roles have switched. It’s no longer about you trying to sell someone on your product, it’s about offering all the necessary information to your searchers to make an informed decision and become a dependable lead that contacts you when they’re ready.
Websites for Small Businesses
Small business websites are on the rise as more and more entrepreneurs are recognizing the immeasurability of online marketing sales results. Regardless of the market specific products or services small business advertise, internet marketing can bolster your reach. But, there is still progress to be made.
Having a small business website allow you to:
• Reach a wider market outside of your local area
• Increase your brand awareness and name for advertising purposes
• Save sales resources by giving searchers all the information on your site
• Achieve more revenue and leads
Many business have adopted and made progressive strides in internet marketing, but some are still lagging behind. The following Clutch.com research produced the following statistics:
• 29% of small businesses do not have a website
• Only 58% of Midwestern small businesses have a website compared to the Northeast (72%), the South (73%), and the West (77%)
• 17% of small businesses with a website have still neglected to launch a mobile friendly version of their site
Many small business are still failing to see the importance and relevance of having a small business website. This can occurs for a variety of reasons:
• They don’t realize the revenue their missing out on
• Some business owners may not be comfortable with developing technology
• They think the costs to design and maintain a website through an internet marketing company will be too high
Especially in lesser developed regions, it sometimes takes longer for businesses or industries to adopt newer technologies and marketing methods. Because of how popular internet marketing has become, there are several options for small businesses looking to create a website presence. Many internet marketing companies offer a variety of service packages depending on the needs of the customer. These services are well priced and remove the burden from the customer of the website design and development.
Choosing an Internet Marketing Company
It is important to analyze a few internet marketing service providers before you settle on one because their services and specialties can vary greatly. Use this questionnaire to help you determine which business is right for you to partner with. Most internet marketing companies list the industries they work with or provide customer reviews so you’ll be able to see what kind of customers they work with.
Do some research upfront to determine what areas you want the most help in and go prepared to your initial first meeting. If you come with specific questions and topics to discuss, your meeting will be more beneficial and you’ll be able to quickly see if they’ll be able to provide the services you want. Having a well designed and optimized small business website is important, so you want to make sure you’re getting the best service. Make sure the company you hire has a graphic designer and programmer so you don’t end up with a generic looking website.
Find a trusted internet marketing company that specializes in creating websites for small businesses. Online marketing has changed drastically over the years and you’re losing business if your not updating, or don’t have, a functional website.