A good question.
In addition to creating a “place” on the Internet for your business to live, some call it virtual real estate, your site should be the hub of your marketing plan. Even if your site is simply there to establish your credibility, it is an important asset for your business.
A July 2014 poll by Wells Fargo and Gallup showed the number of US small businesses having a website has grown to 59% up 3% form 2011. The more interesting part of the survey to me showed that 89% of the respondents use their sites for advertising products and services while only 55% use them for communications or relationship building with their customers and vendors.
Seems like there is a disconnect between the small business owners and today’s web readers. While selling and marketing of products and services is critical for business success (you do have to pay the bills), the primary focus of your website and of your business in general should be solving your customer’s, client’s, or patient’s problem. A dentist’s objective is to relieve their patient’s mouth pain, clean their teeth, and improve the appearance of their teeth. A plumber’s focus is to stop the leak and keep the flow going. A chiropractor’s practice is built around relieving back and body pain caused by misalignment and poor nutrition.
But that’s what they do not who they are. Today’s consumer wants to know that you know your stuff so they can get to know you. The most successful small businesses build relationships with their clients and patients before, during, and after the “sale” – and one of the most effective ways to do this “relationship building” is through your website and email newsletter.
Of course, since you’re reading this, you already know all about the importance of relationships. And if by chance you don’t, I’m sure the will be some articles here in the future discussing them.
What do you think? Should small business websites be all about the sale or should they be building community? How do you do this? Let me know in the comments below.
Moving your business forward!
PS – this same survey shows that just over half of the small businesses responding had a mobile ready or mobile responsive website. Since mobile devices are gaining more and more of your client’s eye-share and mind, shouldn’t your site be responsive? Contact me here if you have questions about how responsive your site is or how to fix it.