Is a Web Site Really Necessary For Small Businesses?
Some small business owners may feel that a Web site isn't worth the money, time or effort. In truth, it would be hard to find a wronger notion. Although a business owner may want to only function locally, a Web site is still essential for the company.
Even if their target audience rarely uses the Web, small businesses still need a Web site. Despite modern society's slow yet steady integration with the World Wide Web, some people — particularly those in the Baby Boomer Generation — want little to do with the Internet. By having a Web site, the business owner at least has a chance to let the visitor become a fan of the company's site. The benefits of having a Web site go beyond just demographic appeal.
A Web Site Outperforms the Yellow Pages
Far more advertising space can be put on a Web site versus a phone book. A Web page can have thousands of client-pulling words, whereas the phone book is limited to at most a few hundred words. Email marketing is not possible with phone book advertising, even though it's one of the most effective marketing methods.
Another limitation to phone book advertising is a physical one. The Internet allows products or services to be seen across the globe. In the Yellow Pages, however, the advertisement will only be seen by people in the local area.
Small Businesses Need Affordable Promotion
Large, full-page Yellow Pages ads can become quite expensive. Radio advertisements cost even more, and a Web site is cheaper than television advertisements by a landslide. Of course, other means of marketing exist, but they usually aren't cheaper than a new dot-com and monthly Web hosting charges.
Web Sites Go Beyond Locality
No legislation states that a small business must remain local. Regardless of how small a company is, being linked to the Internet grants the opportunity to market on a regional or national level. A single Web site could eventually turn a small business into an international giant.
Small Businesses Need Competitive Advantages
Local businesses would love to hear that other nearby businesses lack Web sites; it would give them a clear advantage over their competitors. Small businesses should study their rivals' Web sites for more than one reason:
- It exposes what the company should be offering.
- The tone, style and vocabulary of another company's sites could help reveal a new demographic.
- It allows the company to mimic their competitors' best and ignore their worst.
Business is business, no matter how small or local it is. A company may not want a global presence, but all companies want to stay out of the red. A Web site helps achieve this goal. As an absolute worst-case scenario, some Web traffic would still be better than none.