Why Small Businesses Need a Website in 2021

For sure you’ve read all the stories about the number of businesses around the world that have closed down because of the economic effects of the global pandemic. 

The media tends to report more “gloom and doom” because it sells. The truth is, there were a good number of businesses that made money – even generated record-setting profits during the lockdown.

What was the common denominator among these businesses? They all invested in building an online presence and the foundation of their Internet-based model is the website. 

How The Pandemic Highlighted The Need For A Website 

If there’s a lesson that can be learned from the global pandemic that put even the world’s most powerful economies on lockdown, it’s the importance of having a presence on the Internet for your business. 

While many brick and mortar businesses closed down, those that invested in e-commerce and simple business websites continued to ring in the cash registers. 

Think about it. When you needed food and supplies delivered to your home, all you had to do was place your orders at an e-commerce website or arrange for home delivery via a courier app. 

And when economies opened – it didn’t change anything. 

Many people still preferred to stay at home to work or run errands through the Internet. People discovered that working from home was not just more convenient – it was also more productive.

Of course, the threat of getting infected remains real. More so now that the virus has mutated into 2 strains as of this writing: the United Kingdom and South African variants.

The combination of these factors has led to a surge in online spending. Here‘s a shortlist of countries that experienced an increase in e-commerce transactions at the time of the new normal:

  • United States – 18%
  • Russia – 45%
  • Brazil – 66%
  • Mexico – 79%

Analysts expect a significant increase in the volume of online traffic in the United States as the rate of infections continues to climb. 

If you don’t have a website, the good news is – it’s not too late to set up one for your business. Consumer behavior has changed. Your business has to accommodate changes in consumer behavior to survive the new normal.

10 Reasons Why Your Small Business Needs A Website In 2021

A survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management COVID-19 response revealed the following results on how the pandemic has changed the business environment:

  • 43% of respondents started to rethink their business strategies.
  • 32% of respondents focused on finding new ways to deliver products and services.
  • 22% of respondents have asked their employees to learn new skills that are transferable to the business.

Having a website ticks off all the boxes. 

It’s a new business strategy that gives you another avenue for delivering products and services to your customers and generate income. To maximize the benefits of having a website, you’ll have to learn new skills such as SEO, Social Media Marketing, email marketing, and content writing.

Sure, engaging in social media marketing is great for promoting your business. However, when it comes to running an online business, the website should be the cornerstone of your strategy.

Here are 10 reasons why your small business should have a website in 2021.

1. Hedge Your Business Versus Uncertainty

The threat of a lockdown is still there despite the availability of vaccines. The virus can still mutate and more study needs to be done on the effectiveness of the vaccines that are currently being used. 

If you don’t have a website, what will you do if another lockdown happens because COVID-19 mutated into a deadlier, more infectious strain? 

With a website, your business is protected versus uncertainty. If another lockdown is mandated by the government, you can get a good night’s sleep knowing that your business has another address on the Internet. 

2. Keep Your Business Open 24/7

The mall and commercial office spaces have closing hours. The Internet doesn’t. Long after you’ve locked up the doors of your establishment, your website remains open to attend to the needs of your customers. 

Your website can still accept and process orders for your merchandise. Are you a consultant or a service provider? Your potential customers can still book appointments on your website. 

Lockdowns, weekends, and holidays won’t matter either because your website will remain open 24/7. 

If customers place their orders on a Sunday, you’re already assured of business on Monday. All you have to do is to deliver the goods first thing Monday morning!

3. Accommodate the Needs of Your Customers

According to a study conducted by Omdia, Internet usage has increased by 70% since the pandemic. Omdia which is the research arm of Informa Tech believes that the surge in Internet usage is clear proof that consumer behavior has changed.

Consumers preferring to transact online is no longer a trend – it’s the current reality. 

And having a website is not only for people who want to buy. People have different reasons for clicking on a URL:

  • Request for customer assistance or support
  • Learn more about the company
  • Read your blogs
  • Research relevant information to address a specific need
  • Find out the products and services that you offer
  • Conduct competitor research
  • Find out the location of your store(s)
  • Find out your contact information

A website will make work and life easier for your customer. It will accommodate the changing behavior of consumers. 

4. Competition Has Gone Online

With so many businesses closing down, you might think there’s less competition. On the contrary, competition has become tighter. 

Customers have become more discerning about their choices in order to get more value out of their money. You’ll need to have every advantage over your competitor. And if you don’t have a website, your competitors have a big advantage over you!

Given the increased amount of time spent by consumers online, you can be assured that more small businesses are realigning their budgets to fund their websites. 

Your potential end-users are all searching for information on the Internet from their mobile devices. If you don’t have a URL, you’ll never be found. 

5. Level the Playing Field With the Big Boys

The Big Boys in Business – Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba – all made money during the pandemic. Likewise, other big companies that were in struggling industries such as Fender and Gibson guitars, earned record-setting revenues. 

They survived and made money because the Big Boys invested in e-commerce websites. Their customers were able to place orders safely and conveniently from their homes while on lockdown. 

A website will level the playing field with the Big Boys. If you’re a retailer of guitars but your products are priced competitively, you might drive customers away from Fender and toward your e-commerce website. 

If you’re a retailer of consumer goods and electronics of the same brands sold by Walmart or Amazon but have a wider selection of budget brands, more people may prefer to do business with you. 

Keep in mind that with the continued innovations in digital technology, more consumers will be dependent on their mobile devices to conduct research before purchasing. 

It’s no longer automatic for the Big Boys to generate a sale. In the end, consumers want more value for their money.

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6. Capitalize on Opportunities

Think about this scenario.

You’re in the business of making homemade jam, jellies, honey, and condiments that are sourced from local, indigenous materials. Someone comes across your website and sends you an inquiry – if you can export to the European market. 

These are opportunities that happen every day on the Internet because the businesses are discovered through their website. 

When you’re operating 24/7 in a market where close to 5 Billion people are constantly searching for information, engaging with businesses, and sharing opinions, opportunities will always exist. 

7. Find New Customers

If your business is located inside a mall or a commercial building, the bulk of your market will consist of consumers residing within a 5-mile radius. 

But if you’re on the Internet, there are no jurisdictions to worry about. Any consumer or business that has access to the Internet and has a need for your products and services can become your new customer.

On the  Internet, there are no barriers or walls or closing hours. Your marketing efforts will not be limited to a locality. Your digital marketing campaigns can reach a wider audience. 

You can reach customers who have not heard of your products. If they like what they’ve read or heard about your products, you have the potential of creating new customers in different markets. 

8. Professionalize Your Business

If you think having social media pages is enough to properly represent your business, the majority of your customers will disagree with you.

A survey by Verisign showed that 84% of consumers shared the opinion that a business with a website is more credible than a business with just social media. 

A website is a one-stop-shop for consumers who want to know more about your business and the products or services that you offer. The standard website has 5 web pages with each one having a specific function.

  • Home – Contains the Brand Value Proposition; “Why we offer the best solutions for your needs/concerns/problems”
  • About Us – Gives the visitor unique insights about the people behind the company; builds familiarity and confidence that there are real people running the business.
  • Products and Services – A virtual showroom of the products and services offered by the company. 
  • Blog – Provides the visitor with fresh, unique, and engaging content developed to highlight the expertise and value of the company.
  • Contact Us – Provides all the information needed to reach out and connect with the company. Your website will be fitted with buttons that can improve sales conversion and generate valuable leads you can use email marketing:
  • CTA Button – What do you want the visitor to do? “Buy Now – Click Here!”
  • Sign Up Button – Capture leads by enticing visitors to sign up for monthly newsletters in exchange for their email addresses. 
  • Social Sharing Buttons – Make it easier for site visitors to share your blogs on their social media pages.

9. Increase Customer Engagement

A website can also be used to increase customer engagement. Oftentimes, a customer might visit a website to address a particular issue. 

The customer will go to the “Contact Us” page which provides him with various means to get in touch with the company:

  • Phone Number
  • Fill-Out Form
  • Email Address
  • Chat Support

With a website, customers no longer have to be “put on hold”. They have different ways to relay their problem or concern.  If both phone and chat support have a queue, the customer can opt to send an email or fill out a form.

This is a great way of mollifying an irate customer! 

The next step is to address the concern within 24 to 48 hours. Even if you can’t arrive at a resolution, at the very least keep the customer informed and updated.

 10. Support Your Brick-and-Mortar Business

Another way to view the website is that it’s like having a second branch of your brick-and-mortar business. Only this time, it’s located on the Internet and not inside a commercial establishment. 

With a website, you have a second source of revenue. Customers who are located far from your business will have the option of buying online rather than be inconvenienced by the long drive. 

Your business website will remain open whether it’s snowing hard outside or if your city is experiencing inclement weather. 

In fact, if weather conditions are too risky to go out, you can keep your brick-and-mortar store closed and just direct customers to your website via multiple high traffic social media channels.

Conclusion

We can all agree on one thing.

Business today is more uncertain than ever. 

When faced with uncertainty, you need to have more options. A website will give your business multiple options that you can use to overcome the various challenges coming your way.

If there’s another lockdown or if people continue to prefer working from home, your website will give them the most convenient and easiest way to reach you. On your part, you continue to generate income for your business.

Promote your products via social media but give your followers a venue they can visit to learn more about your business – the website – where you can generate leads, build an audience, and potentially convert interest into sales. 

Assure your customers that you’re concerned about their satisfaction and value their opinions by creating multiple points of contact between you and them through your website. 

If 2020 was a disappointing year for you, let 2021 be the turnaround year. 

Get a website for your business right now!

Give us a call or send us an email and we’ll set up a mobile-responsive and optimized website for your business. We can do different types of websites to suit your business needs. 

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