Guest Author - Violette DeSantis
If someone told you that nearly half of all small businesses have yet to build an online presence you might not believe them unless you are one of the small business owners. Well, that is in fact the case according to a 2009 Ad-ology survey.
Some businesses that cater to local clientele have a perception that being online is not important. If they do not sell goods and services worldwide they may be thinking that having a website is an unnecessary expense they could do without. In reality though, people are trying to find businesses online.
Advertising in the yellow pages is a good idea if your local demographics are rural and in the baby boomer and above age group. Even then, it seems more people are online than ever. The Internet World Stats reported that 78.6% of North America was online on December 31, 2011.
Businesses over the years have seen a drop in people reaching them through the yellow pages. Many businesses are upsold on search services in addition to print versions of their local yellow pages. This may get a business page views of their online listing but they are competing with other advertisements selling similar services on the same page. Add to that scenario, the possibility of a competing business listing in the yellow pages having a personal web link associated with their listing. An internet user is more apt to click a link than to pick up the phone these days.
Today, if you want to be successful, you need an online presence. Even if you advertise in the yellow pages, you should have a website URL that is published in the print version or a part of your company’s online listing. If you jumped onto the social media bandwagon before you had a website, update your social media accounts to link to your site appropriately.
Getting set up online probably won’t be as time consuming or costly as you might think. Based on your budget, you can hire a contractor or two (freelance writer and web designer/programmer) or another business that specializes in building a website. Some businesses can sell you a theme that they will customize to your specifications. A few businesses even offer the service of managing your website monthly.
Depending on your region, you could save money in advertising once you are online. You may find that your own website is all you needed for customers to find you.