90% of UK adults are online – so why wouldn’t you be?
It’s estimated small businesses without websites lose a collective £343 billion in revenue every year. Having a website could increase revenue per business by a whopping £174k per year, on average.
We’ve rounded up recent research to explain why SMEs don’t feel like they need to effectively manage their online presence, and why these excuses are causing businesses to lose precious revenue.
2 million UK SMEs don’t have websites – and it’s costing them time, money and customers.
1. They’re too busy
The most common reasons listed by business owners for not setting up or improving their websites are that they either don’t have enough time or that they currently can’t handle more customers.
This isn’t surprising. We all know that running a small business is a labour of love. When there are mountains of orders or paperwork that need to be dealt with immediately, it’s understandable that setting up a website won’t – or can’t – be a priority. The day-to-day operations of the business have to come first.
However, this is a misconception, because having a website is actually a great way to save time.
Having an informative, user-friendly website means that customers will look here for information, cutting down on the time it takes to answer questions by phone or email. They can simply be directed to your website.
Again, some business people might still feel that a website is not a priority. However, as above, a website can lead to a massive rise in revenue. In one survey, 83% said that a good online presence gave their business a competitive advantage over other SMEs without websites. To keep your business as that the top of its game, it seems a website is essential.
2. They haven’t needed one before
For better or worse, times have changed. The amount of people using the internet goes up every day. The latest statistics from the Office of National Statistics (2018) indicate that 90% of UK adults are online. This hikes up to 99% in under 35s.
Your customers are online – so why aren’t you?
Even more compelling is that 81% of consumers look online before buying. If you aren’t visible to these customers, they aren’t going to choose your business as the place to spend their cash. Not having a website means fewer customers and less revenue.
Websites also do a lot more than allow you to get found online by prospective customers.
Websites are 24/7 sales staff that can handle the majority of customer queries for you – without you needing to lift a finger. Like print advertising, it can give all the information consumers need.
A good website will also improve your reputation as a business. Even if a customer does not find you online, they might look you up online; a user-friendly, reliable website will make your business look reputable. It’s especially good if prospective customers can read (positive) reviews about your business online.
You might not think you need a website, but you are already doing many things a website already does, like answering questions and placing orders, just in a much less efficient and effective way.
A good website makes your business look reputable and trustworthy.
3. They think word of mouth is more important
Interviews have suggested that SMEs think that word of mouth is a more important way to establish their business’ reputation. They take this to mean that a website isn’t necessary.
Of course, this isn’t true. Investing in a website does not mean that you can no longer use word of mouth recommendations, or that these are less effective. Websites work alongside word of mouth to help bolster your business’ reputation in the same way.
What’s more, integrating sharing features and linking to social media through your website means that your online presence can actually become a form of word of mouth, through likes and shares! People love to share products and services they have enjoyed, and having an online presence makes this super easy.
As above, a website does more than just get your name out there, it can be a repository of information in a way that word of mouth can’t.
In fact, it works great to back up positive in-person reviews. When a prospective customer hears about you from a friend, they can then look your business up online, establish that you are reputable (from a great website) and read more positive reviews to back up their trusted recommendation.
A website can work just like an interactive and dynamic business card or flyer that never has to go out of date. It’s the perfect way to make sure that word of mouth reviews actually translate to profit.
4. I don’t know how to create a website; it seems too difficult
It’s true that online presence management and website design can be hard work.
It’s also true that it doesn’t have to be.
The idea that creating a website – especially a great-looking one – is difficult and requires a lot of skills is a complete myth. 21% of business owners said that they lacked the technical expertise to make a website, but this is simply not true.
Creating a stylish, modern website is easy with online website builders, and does require any knowledge of fancy stuff like coding – or any prior knowledge at all!
5. Their business is ‘too small’
35% of surveyed businesses said they were ‘too small for a website’. Guess what – this is wrong too.
Small businesses – with under 50 employees – actually have the largest projected increase in revenue when they introduce a website – a huge £106 billion per year collectively. So it is actually the smallest businesses who could use a website the most to help them find customers and translate these into profits.
If this isn’t convincing enough, we should also ask what makes a business ‘too small’ for a website? Even the smallest businesses still need to establish their reputation, find customers, and provide information to prospective clients. Having too many interested customers isn’t a bad problem to have!
6. It’s too expensive
This isn’t true either. There are a diverse range of options and packages for different budgets on the market, depending on what you need. Some businesses may only want a website and hosting, others might want content creation, social media setups, and detailed analytics.
7. My current website’s not great, but it does the job
Websites have huge potential to draw in customers – especially when paired with an effective and comprehensive digital strategy.
This where analytics come in; you might feel like you are getting plenty of leads from your website, but are these converting into customers? Analytics can show you if your website is actually performing, and help you understand the true potential of an improved website.
So why is it important that your website fulfils its potential? It’s about much more than looking pretty.
According to one survey, up to 60% of SMEs have an out-dated website – but updating their website was seen as nice-to-have, but not must-have. But if it’s old, not optimised for search engines, or not mobile-friendly, then it probably isn’t doing a great job.
A dated, ugly or difficult to use website isn’t going to attract customers. In fact, it will do the opposite. Think about all the times you have left a website because you can’t read the information easily, or you can’t navigate it properly, or it crashes. It’s frustrating, and it doesn’t build trust. With the proliferation of great websites on the web, it’s likely a prospective buyer will just go elsewhere in search of information or a product.
60% of consumers start their research on search engines before heading to a business’ website, so making sure that your business appears first in search engine rankings is essential. As Google prioritises mobile-friendly websites, having a modern and well-performing website is essential to performing well in search results. At Twenti, we help charities get their websites to the top of search results using the Google Ad Grants. to make sure you design your web pages in a way that will get them seen, first.
Mobile-friendly websites are also important because it’s now more popular to go online on smartphones than laptops, and 33% of UK citizens see their phone as their most important internet device.
Mobile sites are also easier to integrate with other digital strategies – like social media ads, that might be viewed in-app and then link to your website.
Don’t settle for a rubbish website – because your customers won’t.
Having a great website is really important – but it’s most effective when used alongside other online platforms.
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