There are nearly 8 million small businesses spread out across the U.S., which collectively generate 44% of all economic activity, and employ 46.8%of all private sector workers. Indeed, while large multinational enterprises like Apple and Google command the spotlight and make the headlines, make no mistake: small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy.
And while we are sharing undebatable facts: small business owners know — better than some executives and decision makers in big companies! — that wasting money on “nice-to-have” purchases is simply not an option. Every expense must be justified, rational, and support or boost the bottom line. A flawless, functional website meets this standard.
But we would not ask you to merely take our word for it. After all, we just finished pointing out that small business owners need to make decisions based on objective facts — not subjective guesses. As such, here are 10 fundamental reasons why small businesses need a website:
#1: Customers Expect It
The most essential reason why small businesses needs a website is that customers expect it. A study found that 76% of customers check out a company’s online presence as part of their due diligence.
And what if most or all of your customer engagements are in-person rather than online? Surely, in that case you do not need to have a great business website, right? Wrong! A separate study found that 81% of customers go online and check out a business’s website before heading to a store!
#2: Showcase Your Products and Services
A smallbusiness website allows you to showcase your products and services, and provideimportant, timely, and accurate descriptions. This helps your offerings standout in a crowded, competitive marketplace.
#3: Compete with the Big Players in Your Marketplace
Justbecause your business may be relatively smaller in terms of market share and(possibly) the geographic area you serve, this does not mean that need to looksmaller. On the contrary, a functional and well-designed website can make youlook as established, reliable, and impressive as a Fortune 100 enterprise. Thisis a critically important aspect, because many customers “just a book by itscover” and decide within the first few moments (actually, seven seconds to be exact!) if a website is impressive or amateur. If it is the former,they stick around and go deeper. If it is the latter, they head for the exitand never look back.
#4: Get Found 24/7/365
Inthe “old days” before the web (sorry if this notion horrifies some youngerreaders!), customers were fine with contacting a business during normalbusiness hours. How times have changed! These days, customers want informationon-demand — and failing to deliver on this expectation is very costly. A great websiteensures that your small business is “open” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365days a year (even if you are fast asleep in your bed!).
#5: Climb the Search Engine Rankings
Oneof the most important — and profitable — reasons why small businesses need awebsite, is that it can dramatically improve search engine rankings. And if youthink that this is not important because you get most of your customers throughconventional advertising or good old fashioned word-of-mouth referrals, thenthink again! Consider that:
· Google handles around 63,000 search queries a second, or about 5.6 billion searches per day.
· 68% of all online experiences start with a search engine.
· 39% of customers say that they are influenced by a relevant search.
Afunctional, professional business website means the difference between climbingthe search engine rankings and getting found by prospective customers — ordisappearing from the search engine landscape and missing out.
#6: Convey Your Unique Brand Voice
While no two small businesses are exactly alike in every way, there is one,singular truth that all small business owners can readily agree on: being seenas “just another generic business” is disastrous. Why? Because when customerscannot tell one business apart from another, they focus entirely on price — andthat is a race to the bottom.
Awebsite is the perfect vehicle to convey your unique brand voice, shareyour compelling mission, and put a “personal face” onyour business. What’s more, when your business changes — for example, you mayadd new products/services, expand into new markets, establish new strategicpartnerships, and so on — your website can evolve and grow with you in a veryefficient and affordable manner.
#7: Provide Customers with Reviews
Today’scustomers — whether they are buying a new TV for their living room, or lookingto procure equipment or services for their business — are heavily influenced byreviews. And “heavily influenced” is not an exaggeration. A study found that awhopping 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations!
Awebsite is the perfect place to showcase some of your glowing reviews, so thatcustomers can easily find the authentic, relevant social proof they need tofeel confident in your business.
#8: ImproveCustomer Service and Satisfaction
Agreat website plays a crucial role in helping you educate and support yourcustomers, before and after purchase. This is crucial to enhancing customerservice and satisfaction.
Atthe same time, it can also make your operations much more efficient andcost-effective. For example, if you determine that a significant number ofcustomers are asking the same/similar questions, then you can create a“Frequently Asked Questions” page on your website, or a helpful “explainer”video. Your customers will get the answers and advice they need right away(even if it is 3:00am!), while you and your team will spend less time fieldingthe same inquiries over and over.
#9: Establish Credibility with Strategic Partners
Wealready discussed (but a reminder does not hurt!) that a website helps youestablish essential credibility with your customers who, if you did not have awebsite, would be inclined to head straight to a competitor. But that is notthe whole story.
A websitealso helps you establish credibility with strategic partners who, in a varietyof ways, could add significant value to your operations and offerings — andultimately boost your competitive advantage, revenues, and profitability.
Forexample, a business in another sector may be a perfect fit for yours when itcomes to cross-promotion (i.e. you refer certain customers to them, and theyrefer certain customers to you). If you do not have a website, then thatbusiness is unlikely to know that you exist. Or, even if they do, just likeyour customers they will see the absence of a website as a “red flag” that convincesthem to head in another direction.
#10: It is Much More Affordable than You Probably Think!
Lastbut certainly not least: some small business owners are reluctant to get awebsite (or improve on their very outdated website), because they fear thatdoing so is going to cost them tens of thousands of dollars — plus all kinds ofweird, mysterious “maintenance fees" and "service charges.”
Agreat website — which is one that is functional, fast-loading,professionally-designed, and loads perfectly on desktop monitors as well assmartphones — is surprisingly affordable, and far less than you think (andfear!). The key is to work with a reputable and honest web design company that has proven experience serving small businesses.
The Bottom Line
If any,some — or probably all — of these reasons why small businesses need a websitemake sense to you, then be assured that you are in the right place! Contact theNoble Webworks team for your free, no risk consultation. Let us show you why weare the web design company that small business owners trust and recommend.