Spend just a few minutes online, and you’ll likely be faced with a barrage of facts, stats, and success stories related to the Internet and small businesses. You may even have an acquaintance who has credited the magic of the web to a recent spike in profits. If you’re still waiting in the dark, the question is why?

Surprisingly, you’re not alone. Research shows that nearly half of small businesses in the United States do not have a website. Further numbers will showcase countless companies also lack Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and LinkedIn profiles, missing out on valuable lead-generating opportunities. In fact, with 84% of American adults using the Internet, these small businesses may be missing out on their biggest chance to attract new customers. This is a massive problem. If you’re not yet convinced your company needs an online presence, we’d like to give it one more shot.

 

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The Essentials

Even if you’re not so sure about social media, you can’t deny the immense benefit having a dedicated business website can bring. Here you have a one-stop shop where potential customers can get all the information they need. You can showcase your products, present a beautiful portfolio of past work, include basics such as hours of operation and location, advertise sales and special events, and even provide answers to some of your customers’ most frequently asked questions.

Customers who contact you have very likely already sifted through your website, especially since 85% of consumers use the Internet to find and select local businesses. As a business owner, a strong website results in more well-informed customers, who have fewer questions, and are closer to making a final decision. And if your website has done its job, they’re not only more knowledgeable; they are also far more likely to be ready to make a purchase. Your website has saved you time and your customers have already been sold! A clear success.

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Getting Social, Gaining Profits

A reliable website that gives appropriate information and opens a direct line of communication between you and the customer is only the first step, however. If you’re neglecting your social media presence, you’re missing out on massive possibilities for leads and profits. In 2016, social media is influencing an incredible percentage of all consumer buying decisions. Web users rely on the perceived authenticity of social platforms–and look to social networks to discover lifestyle trends–to help them choose what items to purchase. But a social presence doesn’t just equate to increased monetary gain. It has further implications that will support your brand for the long haul. Social media is all about authority and influence and about developing a recognizable brand. Countless companies have had major wins via social media, and this reveals itself in a flurry of followers, engagement, and sales.

Think of social media as a way of reaching out to prospective clientele and attracting them back to your website to close the deal. The secret here is to make it a conversation, not a broadcast. Social media is advertising, but it’s subtle, and it’s about genuinely connecting. A business that engages with customers directly through social media demonstrates a far better client retention than one that ignores the vital aspect of social.

 

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Putting it All Together

How would you sell your product to a customer who just walked through your door? You’d explain benefits, discuss how the product is superior to the available alternatives, and try to steer the customer to close the deal. Content marketing works in much the same way, but with a technological twist. Today’s customers want value, not just from the product, but from the time they spend looking for the product. Writing an informative blog that answers questions or crafting a video that shows customers how to do something at home: these are just a few examples of content marketing. When consumers feel like they’re getting real value from a brand–and not just a standard laundry list of reasons to buy–positive feelings toward the company are generated. This results in potential sales from the customer, but also creates brand loyalty, and, in our sharing-based culture, creates ambassadors who will push your products further outward to their friends and followers. What an incredible win!

And the icing on the cake? Content marketing costs three times LESS than conventional advertising and drives engagement far more effectively. A website-based blog also draws more attention to your website from search engines, meaning your site is going to rank higher on search engines.

Common Excuses

If having an online presence is so vital, why aren’t more small businesses taking action? The biggest objections by business owners include time, money, and a lack of knowledge. Many people view the cost of a website as being prohibitive to their bottom line, not understanding the enormous payoff of a fairly modest investment. Other small business owners are concerned with the time and effort involved in setting up a robust Internet presence. They fear this will be too much of a distraction from doing the work that directly brings them profits.

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But the reality is, the cost of not having a strong online presence is much higher. And the objections and excuses can’t make up for lost business. Every passing day your business isn’t on the Web, you’re pushing potential customers into the arms of your competitors. Your goal in business is to generate more revenue and sales; don’t let the best, easiest, and most user-friendly channels for doing so slip through your fingers. All of the stats in the world may not prove how valuable having an online presence can be, but when you take the plunge, the real world results you’ll experience will be monumental.

Simple Solutions.io can help set you apart from your competitors, bringing your brand the respect, recognition and following you deserve. Forget statistics. Let’s get you online today and watch as incredible results and increased profits come sailing through the door of your business.


Also published on Medium.

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Angela Swanson

Angela Swanson is the Founder and Owner of Simple Solutions.io, a web design & web marketing agency dedicated to a holistic approach to the online presence. Angela’s forté lies in creative problem solving and go-getter strategies delivering amazing results to businesses and their brands--without sacrificing authenticity. With actionable steps, she helps businesses go beyond average and embrace their incredible potential. The outcome? Awesome sales and profits and a rockin' brand identity. With years of experience in marketing, organizational communication, and management, Angela brings a diverse and valuable skill set to her approach. She is also Founder and Co-Owner of Sweet Papaya Creative, a creative video production and editing company, in the portland, OR area.