I believe the answer to this question has become quite unanimous over the years. Many “experts” in the digital marketers are saying YES, with some going as far as to say “no website means no business“, and if a small business wants to succeed, then it needs to have a digital presence. Despite this overwhelmingly pro opinion, there are still plenty of successful businesses kicking around with nothing more online than a review here and there. But, I get it. Website’s can be pricey, and often there are other areas of the business that need attention. So, does this mean that there is a way to still be successful without a website? Do small businesses really need websites? Let’s explore this a little further…
Why Some Successful Companies Still Don’t Have Websites
When the internet first began linking its way into family homes, there wasn’t much of a desire for businesses to rush online since usability was still in question. The internet was plagued with slow, dial up connection speeds, high hosting prices, unattractive designs, and a significant lack of marketing support for small business owners. During that time, paper, cable TV and FM radio were the main marketing avenues for advertisers to reach potential customers. There really wasn’t a need for a domain name. Think of this being as the modern day equivalent to purchasing advertising space in the yellow pages (debatable, I know). The companies that still do not have websites established their dominance and strong marketing reach with strategies that were once very relevant. With this type of success, and a strong market share, there can be insignificant motivation to spend more money.
Why These Small Businesses Really Need a Website Now
Over the years, there has been an exponential increase in access speeds for lower costs and dirt cheap web development service fees. This has led to easier and smoother access for internet users (consumers and business owners) and, in turn, has carved a nice, firm trough in our busy lives.
Along with the growth of the internet, other areas of technology have also made significant gains in terms of growth and advancement. For example, most cell phones are now smart phones with lightning fast internet connections. With this increased exposure to web content, there has been a shift in marketing avenues. Time spent online is increasing every year with Canadians spending an average of 36.3 hours online per month. Even the way people are watching television is changing. Though people are still watching television, the method of program delivery is changing to favour more online streaming opposed to conventional broadcasting. The point is, we are seeing a steady, gradual change towards the internet being the primary way in which North Americans receive their information. Think about it…when is the last time you had to use a phone book?
Further Evidence as to Why a Small Business Really Needs a Website
If the above reasoning wasn’t enough to convince you that today’s small businesses need to be online, think about the following:
Your Competitors are Online
Your competitors may be converting your potential customers simply due to the fact that they are easy to find and access.
Access to Information
You can provide the answers to many of your potential customer questions by having a website. No longer do you have to worry about an employee or yourself not answering the phone and failing to convert a sale. By being online, you can provide answers to general questions such as: hours of operation, location, and what types of services you offer. You can also provide more specific questions like: how many Blue Jays hats do you have in stock?
Your Customers are Evolving
With the baby boomers making their way out of consumerism, and the millennials promptly becoming the main battery to the economy, there is an accompanying change in customer attitudes and expectations. Consumers are are now more electronically adept and are looking for the best deal from where ever they can get it. Most services and products can now be delivered online. If you need proof just take a look at Amazon’s Groceries. Your once-loyal customers may now be looking elsewhere.
For now, there is some leeway for current, well-established small businesses to go without a website, however, there will come a time where all that hard earned market share will lose its pull. By that point in time it may be too late. For new small businesses, we strongly encourage a website be ready to go long before its first sale. If you are in need of a website, we at Innervation Technology and Design offer affordable web services for small businesses.
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