According to an Associated Press article by Joseph Pisani, there are still some small businesses operating without a website. Despite the fact that it is cost-effective and can sometimes take less than 20 minutes to set up, a 2013 survey conducted by Google and Ipsos found that fifty-five percent of small businesses are not promoting themselves online.
Since websites can boost sales, cut down on phone calls and bring more people into retail outlets, it’s hard to believe that many small business owners are not taking advantage of this marketing opportunity. The surest way to lose business is to make sure customers can’t find you, and you do this by not being on the web. No outrageous technical skills are required to produce your own website. In fact, companies such as Google, Wix.com, VistaPrint.com, and Weebly.com require no technical skills at all. Users simply choose a template, drag in photos, and paste in words.
In Small Business Sense, author Kim George lists “20 Surprising Internet Marketing Stats You Should Know About for 2014.” The article states that “Marketing your business via the internet has become the most cost-effective strategy used for advertising these days.” Some of the surprising statistics provided to help small business owners get the most out of their internet marketing endeavors included:
• Email Marketing: This marketing opportunity has a return on investment of over 4000% – now that is cost-effective! Emails with social sharing buttons in them can increase click-through rates by 158%, which indicates a strong interest by the recipient in what you are offering.
• Social Media Marketing: 72% of all internet users are active on some type of social media platform, and 85% of customers expect businesses to be active on social media. Even the older demographic is becoming more comfortable with using Facebook and Twitter to communicate. One-third of consumers now use their social networks to search for new brands, products and services.
• Business Blogs: Companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those that do not. You’ve got something to say about your industry, product or service that consumers want to hear. A blog shows that you are knowledgeable and willing to share information, and helps your company become recognized in search engine rankings.
Even if you think that you are just a small local business, be aware that 97% of all consumers search for local businesses online.