Research has been demonstrating that smaller businesses, are in general not taking enough advantage of the internet space.
With all the social media activities and demands, this may be surprising to hear, and even disappointing to some, it should be noted that those taking advantage of the internet, are really experiencing significant gains.
So why are so many small businesses still missing out?
Entrepreneurs can often be charged with the harsh reality of just keeping the lights on. The internet and communications technologies are complex to many and – not all are interested in spending their time figuring out what SEO means, and for others, they’re just not necessarily built for it.
In a recent discussion with approximately 15 of my clients and potential clients with small businesses, employing 1 to 40 employees, all of which are from the commercial sector – much was revealed. These Entrepreneurs also have a need for online presence of some sort; either a website, social media, e-commerce site or online advertisement.
What I discovered was of considerable interest, while most understood the importance of an appealing website, many simply opted for social media instead.
The revelation I got was that small businesses, most of which don’t have a social media specialist, a digital marketer or even a general marketing practitioner on staff, think that using a social medium to host a Web presence is easier. Why? Primarily because these sites offer a simple template, where all that is required is for it to be populated. And, among those who were involved in e-commerce, sites like Amazon.com or eBay or some local online shopping hub seemed to most as convenient.
Unfortunately, those who choose such direction may be missing out on the true value of having their company’s own, well-defined space on the Web.
The value of a domain for a small business is far more significant than many realize. Not only does it provide the foundation for your business’s home page, but it can also be used to point to its Facebook or other social media sites. It may even be used for branded email, a hallmark for “real” businesses.
It turns out that the greatest inhibitor for setting up a website is the lack of technical knowledge. Other perceived obstacles are cost, support and investment of time. After getting past those concerns, the bother shifts to web maintenance and content management.
Online presence has proven to be more affordable and convenient for both businesses and their customers - easier access to information and faster buying decisions.
Here are a few takeaways:
A great way to differentiate yourself is to find ways to continue great relationships and support with online customers. Let them know you care and that they are appreciated.
You are the expert of your product or service. And even online, special preference will be given to local businesses. Don’t miss the opportunity to remind people how available you really are.
Make sure your online presence is all that it can be. Again, there are cost-effective ways to look like you really know what you are doing. Looking established will set you apart right from the start.
If you take your online presence seriously, there is no better way to compete with bigger players. In fact, it is entirely possible to take a bite out of larger competitors’ volume.