Your Small Business Still Doesn’t Have a Website?
When the McDonald brothers started serving burgers out of a small establishment in southern California in 1940, people came by to try a burger because they had heard about the new restaurant from their friends and co-workers. When customers discovered they could get a cheap burger and fries quickly from the McDonald brothers they wanted to share their new find, so they told their friends. The McDonald brothers didn’t need a website – the internet hadn’t even been invented yet. But times have changed.
In a recent Discover Card poll of small business owners, 46% of respondent said that it is a myth that every business needs a website. However, according to a recent study conducted by BrightLocal, 59% of consumers use Google at least once a month to find local businesses. And an additional 17% use Google a few times a year. That means 76% of consumers use Google throughout the year to find local businesses. So, does every small business need a website? Only if you want to be found by consumers, grow your business, and turn a profit.
The No-Website Blues
There are a few reasons that some small businesses don’t have a website. For some, it is simply a matter of cost. They don’t have the extra money to spend on things like customer acquisition or marketing. They rely on their network of family and friends to give them a trickle of business throughout the year.
However, the greater segment of the small business community without websites simply believes that their business simply doesn’t need one (41% according to the Discover poll). The basic hurdle here is that some small business owners don’t believe that a website will benefit their business—at least not enough to justify the cost of creating and optimizing a site.
Websites Are Must-Haves
Although many small businesses don’t feel they need a website, I’ll bet none of them operate without a phone. The fact of the matter is that in order to survive, small businesses need to be found by the people who are looking for them. And they need a way to communicate with customers. But the phonebook is dead, much like the 8-track tape.
Although it is true that businesses can be found on Google without having to build a website, the competitive advantage of these businesses is much lower than those with websites. Not only do 76% of consumers turn to Google to find local businesses, but 47% of consumers are more likely to patronize a business that has a website (Discover). That means that in a fair fight (and I mean a fair Google search) between two competitors, it is more likely that the business with the website will get a prospective customer’s cash than a business that is website-less.
Social Media is Not a Thing That Your Kids Do
But the web is developing at an even faster pace than anyone could have predicted and consumers are adapting to the new social media space that has been created for them. Remember the McDonald brothers? People came to their hamburger stand because they’d heard it was good through their network of friends. Today Facebook and Twitter are the social grapevine, and 43% of consumers say that they would consider using a business that they encountered through social media. So, beyond websites, if you’re small, local business can optimize its marketing for social media as well as a great website, you may even be able to back off spending more expensive forms of marketing like billboards and radio spots, and bring in more customers at the same time.
Google Is the New Phonebook
In the 21st century, your small business website is like the phone that is vital to your business, and Google is the new phonebook. If you are a small businesses owner who wants to grow your business, earn more money, expand, and become successful, you won’t be able to make it unless you have a website.