A business with no website is NO business
One business has no chance to thrive and grow at its full potential if it does not use all the available tools.
Internet is one of these tools, it is the best way to grow a business with a limited effort, and should hence be regarded as the number one tool for any business.
Let’s analyze a study case :
Mr Johnson meets you at a conference in London, you paid a lot to hold a market stand there. He’s impressed by your silk-feel business card, the modern style of your flyers and the accuracy of your services or your outstanding project. After a 15 min talk, you write his name and contacts down on your prospect list as it’s obvious, he will be a customer at some point. Mr Johnson gets home, the day after he talks with a great enthusiasm about you to his colleagues, he wants to show them your company. As a normal reflex, he Googles you and…finds nothing. Or even worse, finds a mid-age looking website or bad reviews as top results. Business stopped there. What could happen next ? He Googles a little more and finds another company, doing the same as you. Mr Johnson will never be your client.
The point is : why invest a lot in Marketing, Products and Sales i it can all be destroyed by a 10 seconds Googling ?
How you should get started
This article will provide you with a recap of main steps to get started on the internet. They do not necessarily need to be achieved in this order nor be all followed dependently on your business type, but if you intend to skip a step, you should always think the return on investment : « Does saving money on a precise point compromise my web strategy ? ».
A visual identity
It’s considered as a common practice to have a logo. It’s an addition to your business name and stands for it in situation when texts has a limited scope : flyers that are quickly thrown away, business cards that are some time just overlooked, TV ads, … In those cases, the viewer keeps a souvenir of your logo. They will be able to pair it up with your business on next time they see it.
You should find colors that are consistent with your business. Colors have an implicit meaning (green stands for ecology, orange for dynamism, etc) though they are strongly depending on cultures and your target audience.
Pictures / Photos
It’s easy to find pictures on the web nowadays at a reasonable cost. If you need business specific images you can also hire a photographer or a drawer. This step is not mandatory but should be considered to improve the visual identity.
You can launch a website without logo or graphics or anything specific to show, but having a visual identity will reinforce your image.
The core of the question is the website. It should feature your full visual identity. Much could be said but we will stick to the obvious :
- You can be found, referenced, quoted in articles or on social networks, reviewed
- You join the trend
- You make information about your company available, your rates, the way to contact you, to find you
- You get a new channel to sell your products (ecommerce)
- Have an interface between you and you customers / partners (extranet)
- Clients get to know your company
Saying more would just be quoting what has already be said by experts. A good reading could be the Forbes article about it : 3 Reasons Websites Are Vital for Small Businesses
Social networks offer a way to deliver real time information and sometimes generate buzz or get a community on your projects or products. It can be regarded as cheap marketing as most of time they cost nothing, unless you decide to buy advertisement.
If the trend pushes business to be on social networks, it’s a very critical topic, and you should not overlook it. We recommend you to get your business present on social networks but keeping an eye on it : don’t leave unanswered posts, reply to all comments and post regular stuff otherwise, you will give a negative message and it might be worse than having no social network. If you’re not familiar with it or not comfortable, you should delegate that task to an expert. It’s easy to get slandered on social networks based on fake data provided by a competitor or an angry customer. Best solution, don’t get Angry customers 😉
Blogs lost popularity when social networks emerged. However, more people are getting uninterested by social networks an prefer to use less intrusive solutions as blogs. A blog, unlike social network allows you to include your visual identity as you can customize it completely.
It’s also a good way to be different from your competitors. Note that as social networks, a blog is profitable only if you take it seriously, post frequent articles and answer questions and comments.
As stated in the first words, Businesses without website are missing an important market share, it’s like jogging without shoes, and unless having a very good reason to run without, you should take the step.