The opportunities for business growth online are well documented and search engines like Google generate billions in revenue daily, so why does local business still struggle to see the potential? I suspect there are a few reasons like the lack of understanding, the inability to identify the direct benefits to their business or perhaps the initial costs.
The social media revolution has been the turbo charge of the internet, forcing an acceleration of online traffic and people from all ages becoming very comfortable interacting online, which is both good and bad for local business. Good as there are new opportunities to engage with customers and potential customers, but could be bad for business if their online portfolio is poor and visitors endure a negative experience. It is this unknown causing local business distress, especially the fear of doing damage to a well respected business they have built up over years of commitment.
Doing nothing and hoping that your business (business sector) is immune is an option, perhaps your contracts are solid or your products extremely specialist and you are not actively working seeking new sales opportunities. If not and your business is reliant on sales growth, then making sure your online portfolio supports your sales & marketing efforts is a sensible business decision.
OK, but first we have to discuss the reasons why so many local businesses are steering clear of the internet.
- Cost, is always a serious factor and so many businesses have spent thousands on websites that are at best dated and never lived up the hype. There are so many better options today, reducing the development time and project cost, resulting in websites that allow local business to compete with the multinationals.
- Benefit, understanding or identifying the end goal is important. Like everything else in business you want to measure the performance and adjust your approach as you go. Google analytics and webmaster tools will show you exactly what you need to know
- Internet myths and misleading promises, with so many exaggerated claims about achieving quick riches or droves of people visiting your website and social media profiles, it is a good idea to take a grounded view. There are no ‘Quick Fixes’ or clever software that will make your website an overnight success, the rules of online engagement are exactly same and only ongoing effort and hard work will ensure success.
Armed with the correct information, knowing what can be realistically achieved with your online portfolio, it will be so much easier to make a business decision on your budget and potential return on investment.
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