In a tough economy that leans on small businesses, a successful small business website is more important than ever. Not only can a small business website act as a business card and an online listing for your company, but it offers a way you can interact with customers with zero effort on your part, directing them to your locations, prompting them to buy your products or encouraging them to leave their feedback.
The truth is, there are a lot of reasons your business needs a website – trying to list just one won’t be very effective at all. With that in mind, let’s go through some of the very compelling reasons you can’t do small business marketing the way you’d like unless you have a website.
First, every search engine out there has a maps application that invites small businesses to claim their listings. You’d be surprised at the exposure you can get just from having your company listed in Google Maps just like it would be listed in a phone book. And speaking of phone books, Yellow Pages directories have gone online, as well.
Additionally, social networking sites like Facebook have options to add business pages – these pages often come with added capabilities such as the ability to have a lot of “friends.” You can then use these social media pages to direct people to your small business website.
Of course, those options don’t necessarily require a website. So do you still need one?
The answer is an emphatic yes.
Beyond the ‘Walled Gardens’
Every option that you read above is what’s known as a “walled garden.” Your business entry is just one leaf in the walled garden of Google Maps or the Yellow Pages, for example.
If tomorrow the walled garden decides to close, your source of customers is, similarly, gone.
That’s why you need to control your own business model, your own small business marketing and your own online presence. The business model of each walled garden is to mint money from the premium listings doled out to the companies who pay for them. Businesses are more than willing to manipulate these walled gardens for personal gain. Map spam, for example, is definitely out there, and it is rampant.
Even if your customer finds your business at these walled gardens, you’ll have far more control if your web presence is successful independent of the Googles and Facebooks of the world. That’s the power of a real web presence, and it’s why your small business does need a website.