“If you build it, they will come.”
Although this misquote from Field of Dreams is inspirational for many people, it is not a solid marketing plan. Regardless, it is a pervasive idea among many small business owners. You cannot open your doors and expect customers to find you. If you want to attract them, you need to stand out. They need to know how to find you. While being invisible to your customer base is bad for business, driving them to your competitor is even worse.
Three reasons your customers look elsewhere and how to fix them.
Your Business Is Not Online
I am often surprised by the number of small businesses without a website or online presence. You may think that your business does not need a website, but even the most niche businesses do. Potential customers search online for basic business information. This includes contact information, hours of operation, pricing and location address. If you are invisible online, your customers look elsewhere for someone to serve them.
Even if you are not ready for a website with all the bells and whistles, a basic landing page is a good start. A well designed landing page is home to important information about your business. It is a reference page that can be easy to find through a branded web search, and it’s an easy way to draw potential customers to you instead of your competitors.
Your Information is Out of Date
Do you have a website? Is your information correct and up to date? If you are not sure, take a few moments to look and correct what you find.
We also always recommend that you invest some time to claim and verify your Google Business listing. Google relies heavily on geographical location in an attempt to provide the most relevant results, so if you’re a pizza joint that wants to show up in “near me” searches, a Google Business Listing is an easy way to gain some traction.
• Is your contact information visible and up to date?• Are your hours of operation included?
Your customers are not detectives, and they do not want to hunt you down. If you answered “no” to any of these questions, it is time to cleanup your web presence. Customers do not take you seriously if they cannot reach you. As a result, they shop with your competitors.
Your Website is Not Optimized for Mobile Devices
Your business has a website, but how old is it? Was it created over five years ago? When did you last update it? How does it look and function on a smart phone or tablet?
A customer assumes a website is out of date when it is difficult to use on their mobile device. If they cannot read or navigate your website, they will not stay long. They assume you do not take your business seriously, and your customers look elsewhere.
You may think it is unreasonable for a customer to judge your business based on the design of your website. However, the reality is that customers are fickle creatures, and good designers understand this.
If your website is a bit dusty and out of date, it is time for an update.
Do you think your website can wait? Do you think it can wait until next month or next quarter? You may think I overstate the importance of a good website. You may think your customers are different and do not care about your website. If you are still unsure, ask your customers for their opinion.
Ask your customers what they need from your business website. Ask them how to make the experience better.