Only 46 per cent of Canadian independent businesses have a dedicated business website according to a recent RBC Poll. Other studies and common knowledge point to the fact that a majority of Canadians are searching for and/or buying products and services online. They are becoming increasingly more comfortable in doing so at all demographic levels.
Jim Mulligan, the national director for Retail at RBC Royal Bank stated, “Businesses need to be visible where consumers choose to be, so investing in an online strategy is fundamental to attract new customers and stay competitive.”
So why do more than half of Canada’s business entrepreneurs not have a dedicated business website? A better question is why do 46% of these independent businesses utilize the internet website?
Challenges to having a Dedicated Business Website
The poll gives some insight stating that a large percentage of businesses rank finding and keeping customers are challenges that require promotion over the internet. This is because that is where there customers are hanging out. Without a business website dedicated to customers a business is not giving their customers what they want and thus sales will reflect that omission.
Statistics Canada reports that more than 80 per cent of the Canadian population is online. Growth in online sales has been steadily increasing for years. RBC’s poll states that, “… twenty per cent of entrepreneurs admit that keeping up to date with technology is among their top challenges.”
In my opinion technology is not the problem. It is more a matter of education of oneself on the tools and services available to online marketers.
Systematization is First Step to Dedicated Business Website.
Every day there are new online tools and services that come to market to assist small business marketers. However, they typically are islands unto themselves causing confusion, stress and no real results. What is needed is an understanding of how to plan, install, systemize and manage these tools for the most effect on the bottom line.
Systemization is vital to integrate external marketing strategies (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Radio, TV, Newsprint, etc.) to bring prospects to your dedicated business website. Once on your website, your job is to let prospects know they are in the right place for the product or service they need. Then you must convince them why they should buy your product or service over any other similarly available product or service. Your system needs to be easy people to navigate and very repeatable over and over. It must also be easy to maintain in a short time period.
Systemization takes both time and training to implement correctly but once completed it will simplify the task of maintaining your online presence freeing you up to pursue other business or personal interests.
Social Media Can Feed Your Dedicated Business Website
“Small merchant online and social media strategies can result in market growth and greater profitability,” as noted by Brisebois in the report on the RBC Poll. The poll also finds that when it comes to implementing social media, “only 39 per cent of entrepreneurs surveyed say that they use social media to promote their business.” Perhaps the reason is lack of understanding or perhaps time constraints. Either way, training for systemization is the answer.
Mulligan suggests correctly that businesses with an ongoing social media strategy afford positive benefits for entrepreneurs such as (and we quote):
- Improved market awareness;
- More lead generation opportunities;
- Increased relationship building opportunities with existing customers and prospects;
- Better reputation monitoring; and
- Additional traffic to existing web sites.
We all want to build our brands, capture more qualified leads and build customer loyalty. Clearly in today’s increasingly digital marketplace there is a real opportunity for that large group of businesses to build their web presence with an inspiring social marketing strategy and an engaging website that systematically brings better leads that convert to raving customers for life.
Where to Start
Training Business Leaders, among a few other companies, offers training courses in digital internet marketing, search engine optimization and live presentation marketing. These courses are aimed at increasing the number of prospects to your dedicated business website, generating qualified leads and converting those leads into customers who provide revenue for your business.
Link to: RBC Poll article