Expecting to lure in customers without having a digital presence is like moving to a deserted island and hoping all the neighbors pop over for a visit. If you don’t place your small business somewhere where people can easily find you — like the internet — they just aren’t going to.
The Advantages to Small Businesses Cannot Be Ignored
According to recent market research, a majority of respondents reported going online to find products and services from small businesses, and only 8.4 percent said they found new places to shop by walking into brick-and-mortar stores.
1. Influence Customers While You Sleep
When you don’t have a website, you limit your business influence to the physical location of your storefront. Consequently, this also places restrictions on the times when you can engage with and influence your customers.
2. Access a Global Audience
Ninety-three percent of consumers are only willing to travel up to 20 miles to make routine purchases. And 87 percent said they won’t travel more than 15 minutes. This means if you only have a brick-and-mortar store, your customer base is limited to people who live within a 15–20 minute radius.
The takeaway: if you want to spread your message far and wide, you’ll need a website.
3. Harness the Power of Positive Reviews
While the majority of consumers head online to find a business, the second most powerful influencer in purchasing decisions is word of mouth. That can mean recommendations from family and friends, but it also extends to helpful reviews from strangers who have experience with a product or service. In fact, a cool 90 percent of customers say their buying decisions are affected by online reviews.
So how can you harness this powerful influencer? Simple. Collect all those good reviews, testimonials, and accolades you’ve stacked up and publish them on your website to wow potential customers.
In this case, it’s okay to brag.
4. Become a Trusted Expert
A storefront only goes so far when building a brand. But a custom-built website gives you access to the 3.77 billion people who are surfing the web every day.
In addition to getting exposure, your online presence will help you establish yourself as an industry authority. By sharing credible blog content, expert insights and tips, helpful videos, and, of course, all those five-star reviews, you’ll be building a brand that customers trust and want to engage with online. And the good news: there are lots of social media tricks to help you make the most of your time on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
When you think of your brand, don’t limit it to your logo or your storefront. Instead, consider the possibilities you have for growth and scalability when you get online.
5. Make Selling and Marketing Easier
When you invest in a website, marketing and sales become a whole lot easier.
For example, rather than asking your sales team to cold call, you can set up an online marketing campaign that captures leads from people who are actively searching for products and services like yours. This means your sales team can pitch and sell directly to people who want what you’ve got.
Furthermore, online marketing — whether it be paid search, SEO efforts, social media marketing, or content marketing — allows you to connect with consumers who are searching for you.
Think about it this way: 81 percent of shoppers conduct online research before making a purchase. If you invest in creating great content for your website, you’re giving those savvy shoppers the facts they need to make a decision. And better still, you’re controlling the messaging.
6. Attract Local Customers
Earlier we talked about accessing a wide range of customers, but what if your business is looking to stay small and local? Do you still need an online presence?
Yeah, you do.
Why? Because 72 percent of consumers who did a local search ended up shopping at a store within five miles. This means that even if you are simply looking to attract a local audience, a website can do wonders for your business — even if it’s as simple as providing directions to your store and the hours of operation.
TL;DR: A website is a vital tool for your small business. And with DreamHost’s Remixer you can build your own professional website in minutes — no coding required. So forget that empty island. Let DreamHost help you move your business online today.