If you’re a business owner on the fence about creating a website, I’ll save you some time—you need one. A good one. A professionally designed, lead-catching, sales-increasing, brand-differentiating website.
Consumer behavior changes over time to adapt to modern technology, and consumer behavior has changed to adapt to the digital age.I’ll give you an example—the Yellow Pages. The telephone was a disruptive new technology in the late 1800s and changed the way consumers did business. As more and more households began to use the telephone directory to find local products and services, business owners realized advertising in it was a smart bet. By the 1930s, advertising in the Yellow Pages was standard operating procedure for most businesses. It made perfect sense—the majority of U.S. households used the directory on a daily basis.
Then came the world wide web and a new disruption to the commercial status quo: the digital transformation. As more and more consumers realized they could find what they needed online faster and more effectively than a phone book, behavior shifted away from using the printed directory. By 2011, 70 percent of all Americans rarely or never used printed phone directories. Also in 2011, more than 59 percent of consumers were already going online to find local businesses.
Fast-forward to 2019, and the number of consumers that go online to find a local business has jumped to 97 percent. If you want them to choose your company, you need to be found online—meaning you need a website.
WHY YOU NEED A WEBSITE IN 2019—NO MATTER WHAT INDUSTRY YOU’RE IN
Look, in 2019, you need a website. You needed one the day you started your business, but better late than never.
At Blue Corona, small business success is our middle name. We WANT you to succeed. So, in this article, I’ll cover:
- Eight non-negotiable reasons why you need a website
- Common objections debunked
- How much a website costs
- How to make a website for your business
Why You Need a Website No Matter Your Industry—8 Non-Negotiable Reasons
Deloitte’s analysis in Connected Small Businesses in the United States found that digitally advanced small businesses:
- Earned two times as much revenue per employee
- Experienced revenue growth over the previous year that was nearly four times as high
- Were almost three times as likely to be creating jobs over the previous year
- Had an average employment growth rate that was more than six times as high
This applies to all industries, even industrial and manufacturing. Digital advancement starts with a website. If that’s not enough to convince you, here are eight non-negotiable reasons you need not just a website, but an optimized, accessible one.
REASON #1: 30 PERCENT OF CONSUMERS WON’T CONSIDER A BUSINESS WITHOUT A WEBSITE
Your website is your number one marketing asset because we live in a digital age. Americans spend on average 23.6 hours online per week and are on their mobile devices for up to five hours per day. By now, consumers expect companies to have an online presence (including a website) and will consider a company that DOESN’T have one as less professional.
REASON #2: PEOPLE ARE SEARCHING FOR YOU ONLINE
One of the benefits of having a website for small businesses is to be where your consumers are. There’s a reason so many companies invest in a website with search engine optimization (SEO): 97 percent of people go online to find a local business, and 93 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine. Believe it or not, there are 3.5 billion searches on Google per day, and at this very moment, there is someone in your area online and searching for your exact service. Guess who’s getting their business? Not you.
REASON #3: THE MAJORITY OF OF CONSUMERS USE WEBSITES TO FIND AND ENGAGE WITH BUSINESSES
Yup. According to LSA’s (Local Search Association) April 2017 report, “The Digital Consumer Study,” 63 percent of consumers primarily use a company’s website to find and engage with businesses. That’s a pretty big chunk of consumers. Combine that with the fact that 93 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine—you do the math. Another compelling reason your business needs a website? Research by YellowPages and LSA found that, on average, consumers use approximately three sources before making an individual purchase decision, and 30 percent automatically strike a business from consideration if they don’t have a website.
REASON #4: COMMERCIAL TRANSACTIONS IN EVERY INDUSTRY—INCLUDING B2B, INDUSTRIAL, AND MANUFACTURING—ARE INFLUENCED BY DIGITAL WEBSITE CONTENT
The majority of companies that don’t have a website say it’s because their industry isn’t online. I hear this mostly from business owners in the B2B, industrial, and manufacturing industries.
If that’s you, I’m gonna have to call you out on that.
A full 75 percent of B2B buyers say digital website content significantly impacts their buying decision, and 62 percent say they can finalize their purchase selection criteria based on a website’s digital content alone.
The average B2B buyer now makes an average of 12 online searches before interacting with a vendor’s website, and they are already 57 percent of the way through the buying process before they want to speak with a sales representative. Even for industrial and manufacturing companies—67 percent of purchases are influenced by digital. Not only that, but half of all B2B customers today also expect a supplier’s website to be a helpful channel and more than a third expect the site to be their most helpful channel.
REASON #5: 75 PERCENT OF CONSUMERS ADMIT TO MAKING JUDGMENTS ON A COMPANY’S CREDIBILITY BASED ON THE COMPANY’S WEBSITE DESIGN
Common Objections Business Owners Make Against Having a Website
We work with small businesses every day, and when it comes to not having a website, we’ve heard just about every excuse on the planet—and they’re all incredibly misguided. I’ve listed the most common objections below, and our typical responses.
OBJECTION #1: “MY BUSINESS IS TOO SMALL, AND I DON’T HAVE THE BUDGET FOR A WEBSITE.”
This is the most common objection we hear from small business owners.
Look—your website is your number one marketing asset. Saying you don’t have the budget for it is like saying you don’t have the budget for an LLC license—you’re going to get in big trouble later if you don’t fork over that initial investment.
Get a website—it doesn’t have to be fancy and expensive, but it needs to exist, and it needs to be able to be found by search engines.
OBJECTION #2: “I ALREADY HAVE ENOUGH BUSINESS. I DON’T NEED A WEBSITE.”
Even if you have more business than you can handle, you need a website, no ifs ands or buts. I recently read an article on website ownership that argued against this. Here’s an excerpt:
“Recently I went to a popular restaurant in a tiny Virginia town to try and sell the owners a website. The restaurant was located right on the waterfront overlooking Chincoteague Bay. I went just before lunchtime in the dead of winter on a weekday. I figured business would be slow and I could chat briefly with the owner.
The owner was gracious and allowed me to run through the basic benefits giving me her full attention — even taking a few notes. I figured I had a good chance of closing this deal. I finally said, ‘Do you think a website is something you’d be interested in hearing more about?’
This was her reply: ‘We opened this place as a bait and tackle shop. Then people wanted coffee so we provided that. Then some asked for sandwiches, so we provided that. Later they wanted a few tables where they could sit and chat while they ate their sandwiches, so we got tables and chairs and began doing lunches. That led to dinners. Then we didn’t have enough room so we added the screened in porch for the summer. People loved the porch so much that we winterized for the colder months. Now that it’s January, we thought we might be able to close one day a week and get some time off. But we can’t. We’re too busy. We’ve never advertised and we’re tired. If a website is going to bring more people in here — no thanks!’”
Oh, how wrong that business owner is. If that were my client, here’s what I would have said:
“A website doesn’t need to be built for the purpose of adding new customers. According to the National Restaurant Association, 83 percent of Americans look up dining locations, directions and hours of operation on their smartphones or tablets. Did you ever think that your customers—now and future—may like to see specials and menu items while they’re on the go? What if they’re in a hurry and want to order quickly and leave? What if they want to know your hours and can’t make a phone call? A good website will answer basic questions right away—which could free up time if you’re spending a lot of it answering questions on the phone.
You can add a reservation widget, which again can save your hosts time and make operations more efficient. You can build an online community with recipes, blogs, and places to get local produce. You can become not only a local favorite, you can gain popularity nationwide and turn your brand into a product all its own. There is SO MUCH a website can do to boost your bottom line without adding more customers, and while you may have enough customers now, you never know what the next decade will bring. It’s best to get your foot in the door with digital now in the event that it’s necessary in the future.”
OBJECTION #3: “OUR CUSTOMERS AREN’T BIG COMPUTER USERS.”
Your customers aren’t “computer users”? That’s baloney. What this business owner is forgetting is that “computer users” aren’t just people using desktop computers. It also includes people browsing websites, social media, and apps on mobile devices.
Not only do 89 percent of US adults use the internet, but 77 percent of them own a smartphone, and in 2016, mobile web traffic outpaced desktop web traffic for the first time.
Smartphone = computer user.
OBJECTION #4: I DON’T NEED A WEBSITE BECAUSE MY INDUSTRY DOESN’T NEED ONE/I’M NOT AN ECOMMERCE OR AN ONLINE BUSINESS.
This is a HUGE misconception a lot of people have. Just because you’re not ecommerce does not mean you don’t need a website. Consumers—even B2B buyers—still need to find you, learn about you, and trust you because they buy from you. The large majority of our clients aren’t ecommerce, and each one of them has seen considerable revenue growth from having a website.