The shopping season in the Philippines runs all year round starting from graduation time to one-month-long Christmas season, spurring up the economic activities across the country. The same thing happens in the United States where Black Friday and Cyber Monday contribute the most about the dramatic increase in sales, both from brick-and-mortar outlets and online retail.
Famous examples of small and medium enterprises in the country include food delicacies, all-natural cosmetics, health supplements, custom-made shoes, handicrafts, fashion apparels, health drinks, general merchandise stores, and hardware stores. Services, on the other hand, include hair and make-up salon, travel agencies, car wash services, car repairs, transportation, and delivery services. So think of the great benefits you can get if you involve promoting your products and services using a legitimate website.
Unfortunately, not every business enterprise in the local market knows the importance of having a website, despite the fact that a lot of consumers now search for products and services online. As online marketers believe, if a small business does not have a website, the business owner is missing a huge percentage of potential customers that could be visiting his store.
Reasons why some local businesses still don’t have a website
Having a business website gives you the ability to promote your products and services conveniently while allowing your business to distinguish itself from other competitors. There are consumers who depend heavily on the internet to know everything about a new service company or product. Through a website, you can stand out in a congested marketplace, share valuable information, and establish credibility for your brand.
As you can observe, many small-time business professionals without a website in the Philippines are less tech-savvy, especially those who are over 50 years old. A consumer cooperative is also an example of a business that lacks the initiative to use a website. Small and medium enterprises seriously neglect the need for a business website because they don’t understand its importance and how it can help their business grow. For others, maintaining a website is time-consuming, expensive and complicated in various aspects.
And for those who have been running their businesses for a while, they are just “doing fine” without a website. Imagine how much the internet has changed the lives of business professionals over the last 20 years. Business operations have significantly evolved around the use of smartphones, tablets, Google, and social media with no more boundaries. You won’t notice these fast changes if you are busy running the same routine over and over, mainly if most of your clients are “repeat customers” and old referrals, thus suppressing your capacity to expand. As a result, your current business may potentially shut down if you fail to integrate the use of technology on it.
The reasons why some businesses still don’t have a website can be summarized below:
- Lack of knowledge on how a website can help a business become profitable
- Lack of understanding of how websites can help customers
- Not knowing the long-term adverse effects for not using a website
- Not easy on the budget to build and maintain a website
- Not getting enough help from professional online marketers
- Can’t keep up with technology-driven business life
- Not interested in technology at all
Reasons why every small and medium enterprise should utilize a website
Even if you are just an ordinary local shop owner, a marketing consultant, or a service contractor, chances are that people may be able to find your website among the list on the search results. Some are just contented in using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for marketing purposes, but these platforms are not enough. A business website delivers your services everywhere, promotes your products and draws customers to you. Aside from that, it never shuts down, and your online presence will always be felt.
If your current business offers a diverse range of products and services, then you should consider checking out these reasons why it’s vital to own a website:
1. An online platform finds customers for you
According to Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), over 90 percent of the national economy is fuelled mainly by small and medium enterprises or SMEs, primarily consists of industrial sectors involved in “green” product manufacturing and imports today. Several SNEs are venturing to livelihood programs and “green practices” that offer alternative jobs and business opportunities to many Filipinos. No wonder if you can see these homegrown products in different bazaars, trade fairs and shopping malls across the Philippines. In the United States, 88 percent of the country’s SME owners agree that having a website has made it possible for their customers to find them quickly.
Since people are now relying heavily on search engines to find information, maintaining a website increases your chances to make new connections or build networks with similar enterprises that might be important to you. Aside from this, data analyzing tools and keyword research are now becoming a valuable part of any business organization wanting to race up the search ranks.
The reason is quite simple. Consumers are continually browsing the internets which enable them to search your business and learn what you can offer. However, with today’s crowded online marketplace, creating informative contents will be the key as search engines continue to enhance the algorithms to serve online customers better. So if someone is searching for an interesting product or service that your business can provide, expect your website to show up in the list of search results, possibly converting that “inquirer” to customer.
2. Clients are now expecting a website
As a business owner, you should always think of what’s in the mind of your potential customer.
Because if you are the client, would you trust a business without any legitimate website? Of course, every shopper is expecting to see your products and services carefully laid out in a well-written business page before making an inquiry. Now, if you don’t own a business site, customers will definitely look somewhere else, and you will miss the chance to sell.
3. A website builds reputation and credibility
Utilizing the presence of social media can make your business grow, but their platforms may restrict your movements in terms of flexibility, control, and preferred design. Having a business website gives you the power to control the contents, boost your online presence and enhance your brand appearance, thus elevating your credibility in the process. In fact, consumers prefer to search for businesses with a website than relying on a social media page for information. Your website can make a massive difference in attracting new customers because it proves the legitimacy of your business.
4. A website enhances communication
The success of any business organization relies on its ability to bring in more customers and let them stay. If you only use conventional marketing strategies such as email blasting and print ads, you will likely spend thousands of dollars or pesos just to reach your customers with no guarantee. Traditional marketing is now becoming obsolete, and it seems more expensive than website promotion. Introducing a website enables you to reach millions of potential customers from both local and international marketplaces while paying less for online exposure.
Through a website, you can easily measure the results, find better clients, and ultimately build your own empire. A business website isn’t only meant for gaining customers, but also serving your existing and repeat customers better. If you keep one, you can update your client database and other business information while allowing you to focus on different aspects of your business operations. You can perform email campaigns, drive traffic to your site and build loyal customers because you can now promote your brand with credibility.
5. A website lets you control your own story
Do you know that online reviews critically influence the buying decision of customers? Review sites seem helpful to promote your brand, but you can do a lot more if you can fully utilize the online features of your website. Encouraging your satisfied clients to make a testimonial can be an effective way to bring in new customers as people are now searching for services online.
Since you don’t have the control over what people might comment about your business, you can create your own narrative in an attempt to influence their purchasing decision. Website contents can help you send your message across your target audience and build the connection from there instead of flooding your customers with email campaigns. You can also make use of social media platforms to share your web contents, thus providing you better sales leads.
6. Technical expertise is not required
Everyone can easily create his or her own website since there are several “website building” tools available over the internet. Online tutorials and community-based groups also exist across different platforms to provide expert assistance and relevant skills for creating a business site. Who knows, your business competitors might have been running their own website by now. You should be aware that most consumers soon begin their shopping spree with in-depth research, customer reviews, and recommendations from various social media connections.
7. No need to put up the “Sorry, we’re closed” sign anymore
Running a business website allows you to sell products and services 24/7 without worrying about closing time. Your online presence would mean a tremendous increase in productivity while supporting other internal operations, including online marketing, customer service, and business development among others. A shopping mall restricts your sales, but an online shop will continue to boost sales since your business can still reach those clients far away from your area. Integrating your website to other marketing materials enables you to generate more clients and broader job opportunities for others.
8. A website can establish your business image
Some clients want a fresh source of information to support their day-to-day routine, and your brand might be able to provide that. If you always have new posts, uploaded videos and product brochures in your website, you might become an “expert” resource person which could lead your business to a broader market. Business ideas are popping up each day, and your customers want new information at your end. As time goes by, your website will be equipped enough to compete with different industry leaders or possibly create a stable connection with global counterparts.
9. The website is a perfect spot to show off
When you have a website, you can display your products and services in full detail using eye-catching images or clearly-explained descriptions. You may also utilize it to share video tutorials or downloadable PDF files to give site visitors no reason not to contact you. Operating your own website isn’t just about promoting your products and services but also providing useful information to your audience. And the great thing is, you don’t need to become a technical expert to make a business portfolio.
10. A business site is all about growth
Many large-scale enterprises started from humble beginnings, and the use of websites became a massive part of their success.
While direct conversations with clients can be as crucial as sending email campaigns, a website provides you the full capacity to send out “virtual” business cards to thousands of online users without even clicking a link. With a fully accessible site, you can make transactions, meet clients and send your product to all customers anywhere in your region. Customers from neighboring cities may probably become interested in hiring your services, resulting in higher sales and broader service coverage.
As your online popularity grows, your website may also receive sponsored ads, affiliated links, and referrals from various sources, further driving up your earning capacity. Therefore, having a comprehensive website is about gaining a competitive edge if you only know how to maximize it.
Unless you are the type of business owner who does not care about brand recognition, you need to build a website. In fact, establishing an e-commerce store has become a staple need for all business professionals having a clear vision in mind to expand farther.