Are you still not promoting your small business online?

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English: Flymo hover lawn mower
English: Flymo hover lawn mower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s amazing to see how many small businesses that have a physical presence are still not promoting their business online. Some small businesses don’t yet have their own website and others who may have a website merely use it as a listing of their products and services and provide their contact information.

Perhaps these small businesses can’t find someone to do their website design for them or they believe that hosting a website costs too much money. Yet a website for your small business doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. With WordPress you are able to come up with a website that looks professional and can handle online queries. There may be reasons why some small businesses don’t want to stick their necks out on the Internet but that’s another story.

Small businesses that already have an online presence and are providing information on the products and services and contact information could be missing opportunities to promote their business. It makes sense to include a short write-up of your back story or origin story in the “about us” section. This is an opportunity to say how your business was started and why. It’s an opportunity to give your business credibility in the eyes of your potential customers. They want to know what sort of people are behind the businesses and what they can expect from your quality and service.

An online presence gives you the opportunity to go further. Some small businesses may feature a weekly or monthly blog where they can deal with customers’ problems or challenges. You may have a small lawn mower business and on your website explain to readers how they can maintain their lawnmower, when they need to get it serviced and how they can use it efficiently and more safely, for instance.

As you progress with your website, you may want to add simple tools that visitors to your website can use. The larger insurance and banks provide online calculators for bonds or housing loans, for example. Some small businesses feature an inexpensively made video that shows customers how to operate tools and equipment. A food or small dairy business may feature recipes once a week.

A computer business owner was saying that it was too difficult for him to sell products online. It would kill his pricing and he would be beaten by the large computer retail discount stores. But in this case even if you are not geared up for selling your product or service online, you can still provide information to potential customers on when it’s time to upgrade their laptops, information about the importance of online security to prevent cyber attacks and general advice about common faults with laptops and other computer devices.

There is an erroneous belief that merely setting up a website will drive a stream of potential customers to your site. When it comes to online, Google search remains supreme and it’s important to get someone to optimise your website for this search engine. Social media can also help your business gain potential traffic as can links to other websites that are related to your small business.

One thing that is a must for small business websites is to promptly answer potential customer queries. I have found that even the largest of companies in Europe, for example, provide a page for contacting them but sadly I have received no replies. This is not right. Make sure when you receive queries, no matter how basic, that you answer them within at least one business day.

If you still haven’t got an online presence, perhaps it’s time you went online and looked at what your competitors are doing and sit down with someone who can help you plan to make your business more visible and helpful online.

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