If you own a small business or franchise and you’re debating on whether or not you need a website, blog or social media – keep reading.
You may think, “Really? Do I really need to be online for my small business? I’ve survived without it until now, why should I go through the trouble and expense?” OR “But I don’t sell anything online, so what’s the use?”
The fact that you don’t sell online is precisely WHY you need to be online. Let me explain. If you rely on having people come to your place of business, then one thing MUST happen first. Ready? THEY HAVE TO FIND YOU.
Sure, you may already have a large repeat business, or benefit from great word-of-mouth, but if you need to grow and acquire new business (and really, who doesn’t?) then you have to be where these new customers search. And guess where that is – online! Studies show that for the #1 traditional way for a small business to get found, the trusty ole yellow pages, consumer use has fallen by 50% since 2004. So that leaves print and broadcast media. But no one is reading publications anymore, and broadcast media is generally too expensive and casts too wide a net for your small business. At the end of the day, it’s all about your customer and understanding their needs, wants and actions.
If you aren’t following or at least aware of what consumers are doing, then you’re bound to find yourself out of step. And this is perhaps the biggest reason of all; your competition is probably already online. So if a customer is searching, guess who they will find? At the very least you need an online presence to level the playing field. Need cold hard facts to really digest how big a shift this is?
Consider this: Seattle has implemented an online yellow pages opt-out program and Dallas will discontinue production altogether after 2012. So it’s pretty simple really, the first rule of local advertising is now having an online presence. Just Get Found!