It’s hard to believe, in this day and age of widespread Internet usage, that 40% of businesses do not have websites.
What’s holding them back?
Misconceptions about business websites
Here are some of the most common misconceptions that keep businesses from expanding their marketing reach through the Internet.
1. Websites are an unnecessary expense.
Websites – like all types of marketing – should be considered an investment. More than 2.4 BILLION people worldwide use the Internet. Why wouldn’t a business want to be in that arena?
You say you’re not the global market type? Are you sure? Recheck your assumptions. There may be a market for you overseas, if not in direct orders, in people there who may be visiting your area.
If you’re not interested in reaching the world, keep in mind that 274 million Internet users reside in North America. If you did want to reach the world, then don’t forget that 87.7% of Europe use and have access to the internet on a daily basis. You can click here to learn more about these internet statistics if you are looking to branch out further.
Website costs vary widely, depending on what kind of site you want. But let’s say it costs $2,500 to build a custom website (although some are considerably cheaper; you can even build your own site for no fee).
Break down that cost as a per-day expenditure for your marketing and you’re looking at $11 a day for the first year. That’s pretty inexpensive.
Don’t forget, this is for round-the-clock coverage. Websites never sleep. Or go on vacation.
How much do you pay your top sales associate? I bet it’s more than $11 a day. How many sales would you have to make to that investment bring returns?
2. People know where to find me.
Your existing customers certain do, but what about your prospects? You can’t be sure even local people know about you, depending on the geographical size of your market.
Visitors, too, might be able to find you – IF they happen to drive past your storefront when you’re open and IF they can tell by looking at it exactly what you have to offer and what your prices are.
3. Not every marketing avenue is right for every business.
True – as far as it goes. But there’s a reason why traditional marketing channels – newspapers, magazines, radio stations and so on – have websites. Surely that tells you something!
4. I can’t compete with the Big Boys. Why bother?
Every industry has its giants, but that hasn’t stopped millions – 26 million, at last count – of very small businesses from opening up shop. And the overwhelming majority (95.4%) of businesses in this country, according to Microbusiness Strategies, have fewer than five employees.
For every McDonald’s restaurant, there are thousands of mom ‘n’ pop eateries that are successfully competing against the fast-food behemoth. They offer something – whether it’s customer service or location or menu or any of a hundred other variables – that McDonald’s does not.
Company size is not a limiting factor. Imagination is.
5. OK, OK! I’ll put up a website. I have no intention of doing anything with it but it’s better that nothing.
Setting up an website and just leaving it there is like putting a sign at the back of your property. If no one sees it, what’s the point?
The more you do with your website — like keeping it fresh with new content and getting rid of outdated information — the more visible it becomes. When your website has a lot of pages, interesting and valuable the content, good use of keywords and descriptions, the better your website will perform.
Even if you put up something and never touch it again — not recommended, by the way — when your potential customer is looking for your type of goods or services in your particular area, your website should show up in local search engine results. I
But be aware: Leaving up old and outdated information (especially regarding hours, contact information and so on) will cause your prospects to shop elsewhere.
6. People are willing to travel only so far for some things, so why should I have a website that reaches the whole world?
Which century are we in again? FedEx, DHL and UPS have made billions of dollars bringing products to end users. Even food can be shipped directly to your home.
Travel is no longer required to shop; I bought my last two cars online.
I’m not that unusual. The National Newspaper Association says that, in 2011, 49% of shoppers went online when looking for or researching a product.
Even the smallest, most highly segmented niche business now can be found through the power of search engines. You are better off reaching a smaller, extremely targeted market that is looking for exactly what you’re selling than to blast your expensive advertising off to the world.
This is how the small company can compete successfully – even without a huge physical location, millions of dollars invested in inventory or with hundreds or thousands of people on the payroll.
It’s about reaching out to your market where they live, not where you do.
How much do you use the Internet in your buying decisions? Please share in the comments.