A Website Can Be Your Business’s Life Preserver
It’s sink or swim time for small and midsize businesses.
The coming months represent a challenge few (if any) of us have ever dealt with before.
Traditional digital marketing objectives of finding new leads and growing your online visibility have just been taken into hyperdrive in terms of importance.
We’re all faced with new and dire decisions to stay afloat as we try and navigate the fallout from the Coronavirus.
The global economy stands to lose an estimated $2 trillion. Some industries, such as travel and hospitality, will be decimated.
Others at least have an alternative: move operations online.
Within the span of a week, working remotely became a borderline requirement. But while it may seem like – pre-COVID19 – a virtual workplace was more of a novel concept, it’s not necessarily accurate. We’ve been heading this way for years.
According to FelxJobs, Between 2005 to 2017, there was a 159% increase in remote work.
Now consider the shift that will result from the currently mandated lockdowns.
Video conferencing, social media, and web traffic, in general, are seeing surges. Investment application Robinhood, for example, has experienced such high traffic form people trying to move their money that it’s crashed repeatedly.
You don’t have to be a master economic analyst to see that we’ve just entered a new era of online. Imagine this crisis WITHOUT the internet! Yikes!
Just as scary is how many businesses have never established their brands, digital content, or online sales.
However, for those that have their finger on the digital pulse, the dark tunnel ahead has a light at the end of it.
Opportunity In Every Situation.
We said at the beginning, it’s sink or swim time. Enough about the “sinking.” Let’s get to how your business can swim. To do that, we need to illustrate further the trend of life increasingly lived online.
As working from home becomes further ingrained into our culture, guess what else does? Buying from home.
Online behemoth, Amazon, is fighting tooth and nail just to keep up with the near-overwhelming amount of shopping being done on their site resulting from the crisis.
It makes sense: people are not going out into public to shop (assuming they even have the option to do so). While we’re stuck in our homes, we still will need to purchase goods and services.
Let’s look at some numbers:
A recent study done by Coresight Research found that:
- Nearly half (47.2%) of US internet users said they are currently avoiding shopping centers and malls.
- Roughly three-quarters (74.6%) said they would steer away from shopping centers altogether if the outbreak worsens.
- Some 32.7% of respondents said they were avoiding physical stores, and more than half said they’ll avoid them if COVID-19 spreads.
It bears mentioning that this study is from the end of February, so it wouldn’t be unrealistic to assume these figures are even higher now.
So for ANY business that wants to get through the storm, you have to accomplish at least two core online objectives:
- Be able to be found
- Be an attractive option
There’s no getting around either of these. Ignore them at your own peril.
It’s Good To Be Seen!
Let’s look at the first objective.
93% of business decisions start with a search engine search.
People staying home more doesn’t just mean they’re shopping online more…they’re also shopping AROUND online more.
Unfortunately, you do have competitors in your industry. People now have ample time to pursue different options before buying products or services. A survey conducted by Visual Objects from March of 2019 found that:
- 40% of small businesses still don’t have a website
- 28% of those claimed they weren’t likely to have one in the near future!
Obviously, the world changed by leaps and bounds since this study. But it’s still alarmingly clear that many organizations are not prepared to cash in on the virtual shift.
They may not even be prepared to survive.
Don’t Let Your Website Look
Like A 3rd Grader Designed It.
…in the case of many sites, a 3rd grader probably could have done better.
Once upon a time, you could just throw your website online. Add some images and your contact info and call it a day.
Today, a website is the foundation of all things related to marketing your business. It’s the bedrock; all online roads lead back to it.
Your website can no longer serve as a simple information platform. It has to convey your brand.
What makes you different or more attractive than your competitors? It’s been demonstrated that, just like face-to-face first impressions, people form opinions in less than a second after their eyes hit your site.
Even the businesses that do put a little effort into their website may not be aware of how it looks or functions on mobile devices.
As more and more searches are performed on mobile, your website’s responsiveness becomes yet another crucial factor.
Will people take the time to try and zoom in on their phone’s screen to navigate your outdated site? Or will increasingly short attention spans make them say “whatever” and check out something else? No one can say for sure.
But your outcome isn’t looking promising if your site isn’t looking sharp on mobile devices.
Help In Weathering The Storm
The concepts mentioned above are only a few examples of how important your website used to be.
Considering the current economy and paradigm shift of living online, that importance can’t be overstated.
Before, many businesses that had enough sense to know they needed an online presence figured they could build a website on their own. They weren’t wrong, per se.
But again, elements like your layout, webpage copy, and functionality all play a critical role in how the mighty Google chooses to let you be seen.
So while it hasn’t changed that, yes, you could build your own site…doing it and doing it right are two different ballgames.
Another misconception is that outsourcing your web design is a costly and complicated process. It doesn’t have to be.
RBD is a web design firm that has been specializing in creating websites for its clients that accomplish the essentials: look amazing and function properly.
For over ten years, they’ve known the importance of communication and understanding a business before the development begins.
RBD seeks to understand what makes your business tick. Then that vision is brought to life through a website designed to stand out.
Now is the time to take your online visibility. Once the tough times are over, you’ll already have a brand ready to hit new levels of success.