Company websites are unfortunately, vastly under utilized by small businesses. The irony is that a business website fully developed and properly promoted is potentially the best and the most cost effective marketing resource available to the small business owner.
Small business owners often don’t realize the huge markets outside of their local area looking for their service and products. Business owners often erroneously assume that their local business environment is typical. What they overlook is the fact that those consumers elsewhere are not always readily able to find the same goods and services or find them at the same market prices. For example; the cost of web development services is higher in larger cities such as New York and Chicago, etc., therefore it might be advantageous for a web developer in rural Wisconsin to do marketing to these areas offering the same high quality end result at a fraction of those areas local market price.
Bluntly put, the local small business owner often does not realize what a springboard their business website is for potential sales. Even if a small to mid sized company does have a website, the unfortunate reality is that their website may actually be an impediment to tapping into national or international markets.
Some of the biggest mistakes small business owners make with their websites include:
• Waiting to build a website. The small business owner may continue to put precious marketing dollars into traditional advertising products, such as bigger yellow pages ads, newspaper print ads, billboards, etc. While all these marketing products are very good marketing tools, the fact is they are all tied to the local market.
• Not establishing a logo or clear branding on their website. A website is going to be seen by more people then you think, don’t let an inconsistent design structure or poor branding scare visitors away.
• A poorly implemented website. A badly designed website will drive customers away in droves. Having a website with broken links, bad coding, poor navigation, or an unpleasant look will drive potential customers elsewhere.
• Not marketing their website. Jerry and I come across a lot of small business owners who believe that once they launch a website, customers will be banging down their doors to do business. This is not the case, a website like any other marketing campaign needs to be carefully planned and then implemented.
• Abandoning websites too quickly. Rome wasn’t built in a day; blasting out of your local marketing ceiling isn’t instantaneous either. Growth comes from cumulative marketing efforts, but can seem frustratingly slow when the daily business issues of bills and overhead seem larger then marketing results.
In the end, not all small businesses will tap into national and international markets. Many of them never even trying, because they don’t understand the capabilities and potential that can be unlocked in their business website.