As I write this post I have a slight toothache. I decided to change dentist a few months back and I keep finding other things to do instead of searching out a new dentist. Now that the pain is creeping in I have to find a new dentist. The way people find a new dentist, doctor, eye doctor or any business for that matter has changed over the past 15 years.
As a thirty something I will begin my search on the web. I will not pull the Yellow Book out of the junk drawer in the house. (Everyone has a junk drawer and at the bottom, anchoring the drawer is an old Yellow Pages.) I will not drive around looking for a dentist. I will not go to the yellow book website and search on their site. What I will do is type in my browser (Chrome) “dentist + my location” and start the search.
Here are 5 Reasons Why your small business should have a website
People are using the web to search out information more than ever
A recent study conducted by Pew Internet – of the Pew Research Center – examined which activities dominate American Internet usage. [highlight1] The survey found 92% of online adults use search engines, and 59% use search engines daily. [/highlight1] Use of search engines matches up almost perfectly with use of email platforms. (http://njimedia.com/search-is-still-king-pew-internet-survey-part-1/)
You don’t have to have a degree in statistics to see that 92% is a high number. You want to make sure that you are competing for some of that 92%. As I mentioned above, the days of having people only look in the yellow pages to find your business are gone. You have to make sure that your business is as available to as many people as possible. People of all ages are using the internet to find your business and to see if your business is worth checking out.
“Come In, Yes We’re Open”
Another benefit of having a website is that it is a marketing tool that never turns off. Your site is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. People can visit your business when they want to and are not turned off by a “We are closed” sign. When some business look at a website they are usually turned off by the initial cost. The old “Well, I could do that myself, how hard could it be” thoughts start to bubble up.
Although, when you view it as a marketing tool that you don’t have to print, hand out, or move mountains to have a new sentence added, the cost even out pretty quickly. Having a website is much more flexible than only using print media. With that being said it is important to update the site when you can with new events, images, or testimonials. You don’t want your website to look like 1995 in 2012. With CMS platforms like WordPress updating your site by yourself is quick and easy.
Allowing potential clients to see the business before calling
Another benefit to a website is that it allows visitors to check out your business before calling or visiting. They can learn where you are located, your working hours, any specials you are having, pictures of the store, etc. In my case I wanted to know if they performed crowns and how liberal they are with the laughing gas :). By having a website it will also keep down the phone calls or emails about basic information. I.E., Can you fix a tooth with a crown?
When taking a trip away from home I bet the first thing you do is go online to see if there are pictures of the hotel, what services they provide, or to see if you can bring “Binky” the gerbil. This goes the same for a business. If potential visitors are more comfortable and familiar with your business before stepping in the door that is a good thing. It starts building trust before they even step in the store.
Social Media Interaction..Facebook, Twitter, Oh My!
Social Media. Unless you have been living on the moon you know your business needs to have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. So, I’m not going to go into all that but Social Media does allow you to interact with your customers and potential customers on an on going basis. Communicating with your customers is important because it makes them feel important. If they feel like they can relate to you or ask you a question they will most likely value your business. It will show that you are an expert in the field and can be relied upon for quality services.
SEO – Three letters that make a huge difference
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a way in which you market your website on the web. You want customers to know that your business exists and what it can do.
[blockquote cite=”Lisa Barone”] By creating optimized content, building relevant links and creating a brand that customers want to engage with, you set yourself up as an authority in the eyes of the search engine and increase your chances of appearing for the right queries [/blockquote]
As I mentioned earlier people are going to the internet first to search out your business. For example, if you had a bakery in Lansing and people were looking online for a bakery you would want to be on that list…right? You would assume people would search “bakeries in Lansing” and you would want to be at the top of the list.
This is an entrepreneurial age and there are numerous businesses providing the same services as you. It’s important to have as many ways to showcase your business as possible and having a website will do that.
Reference from article quote: Lisa Barone is Co-Founder and Chief Branding Officer at Outspoken Media, Inc.