Think about it, when was the last time you used the yellow pages?
We all have them (mine’s become a monitor base) but they simply are no longer convenient. The ease of searching the internet or “Googling” means that fewer people are using printed books when searching for products and services. So why would you continue putting your efforts and marketing dollars into advertising there? Especially when it’s so much more expensive!
So many small businesses do not have a good searchable website, or worse they have no website at all! We know that small business owners are among the busiest people, and we’ve heard all the excuses, some claim they do not have the time or financial backing to develop a good website. This is a BIG mistake! Customers are continually searching the internet looking for products and services. Whether it’s right or wrong, they often judge whether or not to do business with your company on the basis of your website. Here are some small business website myths revealed:
- It will cost tens of thousands of dollars to create a website. Not necessarily. There are plenty of excellent websites that can be produced for under $10,000 and can help drive new customers to your business. However it is true that the more pages there are on your site (for those of you with a great deal of information to share) and the more features your site has, the greater is the investment.
- I don’t have the staff to update the website. This is certainly a legitimate concern, since having an out-of-date website that is never updated is possibly worse than having no website at all. But many Content Management Systems (CMS) are so good now (especially ours!) that it is an easy task to update the website – If you can write an email or use word then you can use our CMS!
- My competition does not have a website so why would I need one? The other variation on this is when we hear “My industry isn’t into technology, so we don’t need a website.” It simply isn’t true. In fact, if you are seriously asking this question you’re probable either headed for retirement or extinction.
- I can get away with a simple, freebie website. All too often we see that a company has created a ‘brochure’ website. It has a Home page, About Us (maybe), Hours, Contact Us and perhaps a Company History. But since the web is such an interactive visual medium (not to mention the ability to really engage with social media & videos) a brochure website is boring and not at all engaging.
- I don’t have lots of frequently updated content for my website. Another way for you to avoid the ‘brochure’ website syndrome is to use things like photo galleries showing happy customers and employees, or a short video, like something that shows “behind the scenes” or the quality processes that go into your business. An interactive Q & A is another way to engage visitors.
- All that SEO stuff is too hard to figure out. SEO or search engine optimisation refers to using the words and phrases on your website that your customers will use when searching for the type of products and services you offer. Let’s say you are a dry cleaner and there are several competitors in your area. A new family moves into town, or an existing family is unhappy with their current drycleaner, and while they can ask people for a recommendation, chances are greater that they will search for a drycleaner on their own as well. What do you think will they type into the search engine? Often the search phrase will include the type of business you are in (dry cleaner) as well as your area, county or town. Create your own list of possible phrases, but an in-depth analysis of what people are actually doing (this can be done by your search marketing vendor) will probably surprise you. Having optimised keywords (one per page being best) will bring your site higher on Google and Yahoo. Having a website that is search optimized is fast becoming the single most important thing that can help your business.
So if you are a small business and have a less than great website or no website at all, you are missing a great opportunity to be there when potential new customers are looking for your product or service. And you are also missing an opportunity to tell your story in a fun and engaging manner. Customers are looking for what you have to offer. Will they find you?