Why Small Businesses Need a Website to Market Themselves

Some small-business owners are successful without help from the Internet. But as Web presence increasingly becomes a measure of credibility, the advantages and growing ease of creating a business website are prompting more holdouts to make the leap.

Small business owners hesitated to use the Internet to market their businesses with fear that it will cost more than they can afford. The cost of setting up a website can be minimal, and will offset the amount of potential customers who want to get a lot of information before they even speak with you. The internet has become the new global mall and your website is your store front.

Internet tools help business owners increase their visibility and provide useful information that pulls in customers. The internet has widened their circles of people they know well beyond their normal areas. Typically, we were limited to who we could meet, but now we can be meeting people all over the world and doing it all from the comfort of our offices.

Even a rudimentary site with basic information, such as location and hours of operation, can draw potential customers, especially if it appears in a Google Maps search.

We recommend using an array of Internet tools to market a business, including setting up a website and creating a profile on a professional networking site.

Small business websites help save time and trim costs by letting the business communicate with hundreds of clients instantaneously through e-mail. When customers join the business’s e-mail list, they send them information about new products, which they sell on their website. The response is amazing, one can literally sent out an e-mail at 10:02, and get an order back at 10:04. This is such a faster way to communicate with client or consumers.

Some business owners “might be a little afraid” of using the Internet, but they don’t realize its benefits. The Internet is also a way to see what competitors are marketing, and adjust their business to out due their competition.

In addition to setting up personal websites and blogs, millions of professionals are setting up Web profiles on social networking websites such as LinkedIn.com and MySpace.com. LinkedIn.com, the most popular networking site for professionals, sometimes called “MySpace for grown-ups,” saw its number of users climb to 10 million this month. Most business owners say networking on websites such as LinkedIn is secondary to having their own sites. A Web profile gives potential customers background information so they can decide where they want to do business. It’s also a way to learn about and connect with other businesses.

Bottom line, a professional looking site done by a designer or development company can do wonders for your site and your credibility. Professional designers can build your site for a reasonable cost, register you on search engines, design email promotions, and help you optimize your time and resources so that you do not spend a lot of time learning how to be a webmaster.

Here are some tips about planning a Company Website:

Remember the basics. Your company’s name, address and telephone number should be easy to find. Then you need to explain exactly what your business does.

Don’t clutter. Use visuals to draw visitors, but don’t confuse them with too many words or to many pictures. A nice balance is best.

E-mail is one of the simplest Web tools to use, and it’s also one of the most effective. Don’t underestimate the ability to market your products and collect orders, quickly and efficiently. An e-mail newsletter can help create buzz about your company.

Highlight the personal nature, not the size, of your business. Show how your products or services have helped your customers.

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