Business marketing isn’t what it once was. In fact, in the last decade (or even half decade) the playing field has changed so drastically that it can often feel hard to keep up. With that said, one thing is no longer a question – traditional forms of TV and print advertising are evolving into other formats. The internet is the new frontier.
Due to the shift towards online and digital marketing, small business website design is a huge part of our business. And, it’s something we truly love to do. If you’re considering a redesign or new website for your small business, here are some things to think about:
Consumers look online for first impressions
In many cases, it’s no longer necessary to physically visit a business or chat with a representative to get an impression of the business. Instead, consumers can turn to things like Google, Yelp, and more to read reviews. Or, they can simply explore the online representation of your business: your website.
With the seemingly limitless options out there, consumers form judgements about a business within seconds. They land on their website and quickly judge based on the aesthetic and functionality (and… speed). In fact, some studies say consumers will form a judgement from your website in as little as 50 milliseconds. If your website design doesn’t align with the level of quality and professionalism that they’d expect from your type of business, they might dismiss it and move on. On the flip side, if your website stands out from the crowd and elevates your professional brand, it might lock that lead in.
Even if you have a storefront in a bustling part of town or a great word-of-mouth network, running a business without a dedicated website leaves you a step behind. The amount of information available at any time leaves consumers constantly seeking multiple touch points before deciding to patronize a business. Your friend told you about a great new restaurant downtown? I bet you checked the menu and reviews online before deciding to actually go.
Modern consumers still might come across your business through a more traditional form of advertising. But they’ll often look at your website to explore your brand and offerings further before making a purchasing decision. Without a professional web design for your small business, these prospects may even wonder if your business is real or legitimate. Existing without a business website is like putting a lid on your marketing box. It limits the effect the rest of your advertising efforts can have.
It’s an investment in business growth
Some business owners get turned off by the need to spend a chunk of money at once for a web design. They might think it’s better to spend it in smaller amounts over time on traditional or digital marketing. What this outlook misses is that an effective small business website design is a long-term investment. It acts as a literal nonstop, 24/7 marketing force for your business. And, it also acts as a landing zone for all almost any other form of marketing.
Without a website, you’re missing opportunities for consumers to become aware of your business, your credibility and your value. You’re risking the possibility that money spent on other marketing efforts will lead prospects into distrust or confusion. Especially if you’re considering digital marketing services like PPC or SEO, you want to be sure you’re sending traffic to a website that will convert.
This goes beyond the simple necessity of having a small business website. A web design that’s plain bad is just as bad if not worse because you’re giving exposure to a terrible impression of your business. At its core, a quality website can be just as important and less risky than the perfect brick-and-mortar space. It’s a key ingredient to the business pie for any small business, and one that can leave a real bad taste if left out of the mix.
Still hesitant and not sure if you need a small business website? Here’s an exercise to help you consider the importance for your industry: make a list of your top competitors. Look them up. Do they have a website? If so, they’re already steps ahead of you. They’re controlling their own messaging and brand experience, and benefitting from the additional marketing power. If they don’t, you’re missing an opportunity to be steps ahead of them!