The two most common questions small business owner's ask when considering whether or not to have a small business website designed are:
There are a host of answers but the main one is very simple...
...you should have a website because it allows you to develop a relationship and interact with your new and current customers in a cost effective way!
That interaction can occur without you being physically present! Your website works for you 24 hours a day 7-days a week. When you’re sleeping it is still working! When you’re sick it is still working for you! It doesn't need to take vacation nor does it get sick!
Just like you would invest money to advertise in the Yellow Pages you should also invest money to establish an effective online presence with a small business website.
There are a few things you must consider before you create a web site:
At this point you have several options:
You should keep in mind just because someone can build you a website doesn’t mean they know how to properly market your website on the Internet! This is a major mistake business owner’s make that causes them to waste thousands of dollars.
If you build it they will not come unless you are where they are looking! A beautiful website does not make sales, generate leads or bring customers to the store if it cannot be found.
If you are still having doubts read the following:
Yahoo! and comScore Study Finds Online Consumers Who Pre-Shop on the Web Spend More In-Store
Sunnyvale CA., July 30, 2007 – ...The study, which examined the impact of search and display advertising on in-store sales for five major retailers, showed that consumers exposed to online advertising tend to research or ‘pre-shop’ online prior to purchase, and this behavior ultimately leads to increased in-store sales. These highly-engaged ‘pre-shoppers’ spend an average of 41 percent more in-store when compared to consumers not exposed to online advertising.
"Although recent research cites 89 percent* of consumers shop for information about products online, less than 7 percent** of retail sales actually take place online," said Amy Vener, Senior Director of Retail Category at Yahoo! "This means retailers have a prime opportunity to engage this audience of ‘pre-shoppers’ through online advertising to capture incremental sales in-store."
*BIG Research 2007
**Forrester State of Retailing Online 2007
As you have just read, a lot of people search online prior to shopping. Now imagine a local customer finding your website online, see a product they like and taking the initiative to either order online or visit the store to purchase the product. And too think it all started by visiting your website.
Here’s the bottom line...
...if you believe creating a website can boost sales and keep in contact with your customers to keep them loyal to you then by all means go ahead and do it.
However, if you are still stuck and pondering the two questions…
Then hold off on making a decision until you feel more comfortable. There is a chance you could be losing out on additional customers but it’s best to be absolutely sure you want to move forward with your new small business website.
What Is SEO - Search Engine Optimization (SEO) gets your site listed at the top of the search engines for your most highly searched keywords. This translates into more targeted traffic to your website, and hence more leads or sales.
What Is Social Networking - Social Networking leverages social sites where people go to others for opinions and referrals. Leads generated from referrals are more likely to convert into a sale. And word can spread fast.
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