Here we are approaching the middle of 2014 and the number of businesses not using an effective website to grow still surprises me! Leading up to a recent Internet marketing seminar presented by Google here on Maui, it was interesting to note a study* revealed that over 68 percent of small businesses in Hawaii still do NOT have a website! With over 85 percent of consumer purchase decisions beginning on the Internet, don’t you think it’s time your business uses website marketing to grow your business? Below, we’ll explore and debunk the 4 most common misperceptions we hear for why business owners claim they don’t have a business website:
- I don’t need a website for my business because my business doesn’t sell products but offers a service instead – Regardless of the type of business or if selling products or services, with more than 85% of consumers beginning their decision making process on the Internet, you simply cannot afford to miss out by not utilizing an effective business website marketing strategy. Here’s why: As the consumer progress through the purchase decision making process most begin by utilizing the Internet and web to research the topic and products they are interested in. Once they have educated themselves to become a well-informed consumer they migrate from researching the service or product itself into a phase of locating possible sources and suppliers of the service or product they are seeking. By the time these consumers purchase they are well educated buyers who continue utilizing the Internet to eventually narrow the potential product suppliers or service providers capable of fulfilling their needs. After deciding what they want and when they are ready to make a purchase commitment, consumers then select a service provider or buy a product from the businesses that earned their trust and proved credible while they were performing research to formulate their decision criteria. Find out more about how the modern consumer buying decision making process requires correctly aligned content here.
- I don’t have a website because I can’t afford a website – This is a common mistake we hear from small business owners. The reality is even the smallest of budgets can afford a basic web presence. It baffles and amazes me how many small business owners here in Maui still lack even a basic static brochure business website. I ask how you can afford NOT to have a website if you want to stay in business and in particular if seeking business growth! Do it yourself website design and hosting options are plentiful these days and perfectly reasonable options to get a business started on the web. Beyond a basic monthly cost for services, the only investment necessary is going to be the time someone in your business will need to invest in creating and adding content for a business website. If you can use a computer to browse the web and a word processor or email tools, there are simple easy to use solutions such as Wix, Weebly, SquareSpace and other low cost basic do it yourself website tools costing less than $20. a month and some include basic templates to get started. As your website grows and needs with requirements increase, options to add more capabilities may be added with increased program participation and costs. Some include domain registration and hosting options or those service may be acquired from separate sources such as BlueHost, HostGator, GoDaddy or NetworkSolutions for those preferring more flexibility or already have a domain and hosting. After the business generates traffic and begins seeing some success from the website is when step up to a lead generation and sales website for increased ROI.
- I don’t have Money or Time to Manage and Maintain a Website – When I hear someone say they don’t have a website or their business website is out of date because they don’t have the resources (time or money) to manage a website, I ask them how they spend their time on marketing now and where they currently invest marketing budget to generate leads and customers. I also ask what goals they have for their business website in term of how much they want to earn and grow their business and how fast they want to reach their goals. I also usually ask the business owner if there was a way to measure the success of their internet marketing investment and resources (time or money) available to grow the business would it make sense to consider doing so. Once the current (and often ineffective) marketing expenditures are evaluated it is usually an easy case to justify shifting current marketing or advertising budgets and resources into a repeatable measurable Internet marketing process. Though this should not be undertaken without carefully planning to be able to measure progress to ensure growth goals are being achieved and to plan adequate resources will be available to sustain efforts, a fully integrated marketing strategy typically will produce significantly more revenue than traditional marketing methods.
- I have a Facebook Business Page so I don’t Need a Website – Though it is a worthwhile tactical step to build and use a Facebook business page to contribute to web site marketing success, participating in Facebook without a website is like renting an apartment in a landlord’s building vs. owning the business space and managing the space as you see fit. You and your business content will always be at the mercy of Facebook’s ever evolving decisions, rule changes and rapid user interface changes. A separate business website permits you to control the content on your business website and who sees it as well as where and how your content is distributed instead of being held hostage by the whim of any one company such as Facebook. Besides the ability to value business website content as assets in business valuations, managing a business website you control avoids the business dynamics caused by acquisitions and volatility. During a business valuation for the purpose of selling a business or obtaining funding, few will place a value on Facebook likes, friend counts or other analytics for the popular social media site because you don’t own the content or the audience. Whereas a business website able to demonstrate a repeatable lead generation and sales process would be valued so long as a buyer or lender can see the evidence of the value and is certain it could be repeated by the new business buyer or is likely to produce the revenue to support the loan being sought. A better approach is to utilize Facebook as a way to share the content on your website and to drive traffic to the website where the visitor can be converted into a lead and nurtured through the sales process. Would you like more advice and information about using Facebook in conujunciton with a website? Request a FREE website marketing evaluation.
Internet marketing for small business does not need to be overly difficult or time consuming. Are you utilizing a measurable business website marketing strategy or simply winging it and hoping for the results? We’d like to hear how your business leverages web site marketing to find new leads and customers or grow your business. Use the comments section below to share your business success or failure stories or ask questions about how to get more ROI from business website marketing.
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*Sources: 1. Google/IPSOS, Survey of business with less than 250 employees, October 2013.