At first, when certain retailers started going out of business, I was sad to see them go. I felt I was going to miss the shopping experience of getting in my car, driving over to one or more places, finding a parking spot and then wandering each store, looking for the merchandise in which I was interested. As I used the internet more, I realized what I thought was a great shopping experience was also what was the worst thing about shopping.
Gas, effort, aggravation and the waste of time when I couldn’t find what I had wanted made me realize that online shopping wasn’t the evil I thought it would be. As time has gone on, I see more and more businesses successfully use online sales from everything like freelance services to restaurant menus to e-commerce and while it continues to grow every day, it’s still surprises me that even Google stats show up to 71% of small businesses do NOT have a web site(the average is above 50%). Why are so many registered businesses not taking advantage of a web presence when it’s proved itself as such a powerful sales and marketing tool?
No matter what you sell or what service you provide, there are some factors and advantages of which you should be aware:
78% of consumers will check out your business online before becoming a customer. If you don’t have a web site or have a poorly design or badly functioning site, they will go to your competitor’s site to consider them.
A web site does business for you 24/7. With little (but wise) investment, a web site sells for you around the clock as well as provides customer support and information.
While your store, shop or office may have a physical location, which you should localize through your SEO efforts, you can use the web to reach out anywhere, even globally! According to AMR Research more than $1.3 trillion of goods and services will flow through internet B2B marketplaces. Do you really want to ignore your part in that figure?
Use the Technology
Online business, as opposed to traditional print mediums, reduce your marketing costs overall. A website has a wider reach and can attract a wider audience in terms of numbers. There are, naturally, start up costs involved in making an entry into the digital market, as with any evolution of a business. As with any investment in growing your business, you need to take care and pay for the latest technology as any savings by using obsolete technology will put you behind competitors as well as slow your growth.
Digital marketing is much less costly than traditional advertising avenues, such as television or newspapers, and it also allows you to easily adjust promotions and other outreach to specific targets either through A/B testing or the grouping of consumer databases you set up by customer preferences. The same methods can be used for your market research. One questionnaire, for instance, will help you separate your customer base into groups, which will help you use more targeted advertising.
Do It Right!
Your site can be a simple one-page site as long as the viewer knows what it is you offer within two minutes of clicking onto your site. If they are convinced your services or products are what they have in mind, they will stay and navigate around.
If your site looks cheap, then the viewer will think your service and products are cheap and not in a financial way. A web site, as with the way you dress and present yourself to prospective customers, is an extension of your brand and your company – a digital salesperson, if you will.
The right web hosting company is important, as any time your site is down or isn’t functioning properly is business lost. A good web hosting company will also act as professional IT services that can look after you web related issues.
So, it makes sense for any business to have a web presence but keep in mind, as with any professional office, from a presentable and efficient receptionist, to salespeople who know how to close a deal and engage customers, to competent customer service, it’s important to make sure your web designer, web hosting company, social media manager and anyone else involved in an area with which you are not familiar is a competent professional. If you put your best foot forward, then you can only succeed and your business will evolve and grow. Isn’t that what business is all about?
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