There is no denying the importance of a website for a business. It’s your “online front door”. The purpose of your website is to help you get found – your business will never be found without one. Right?
This recent blog shows that just over 40% of SMBs use a website for advertising or promotional purposes. They claim that the issue is acute for Micro SMB’s, the smallest of the SMB segment (we call this segment Very Small Businesses, or VSB’s). This segment spends less than $2000 annually on their website.
The rest of the article goes on to discuss what tools can be created that make it easy for a VSB to do all the things they want to do with their own website for less than $2000/yr. But is that a reasonable goal, and do these small businesses really need their own website?
Instead of stating what seems obvious – “every business needs a website” – why don’t we look at the things a VSB in particular is trying to accomplish (keeping in mind their budgetary constraints)? The article mentions three main areas of focus:
- Advertising and Promotion
- Lead Generation
- Integration of digital and physical touchpoints
It seems that each of these individually would cost much more than $2000/yr, and that’s not even taking into account the technical effort of building, integrating and managing these features on the website.
This is why we have started seeing many businesses using their Facebook page as their web presence, and making micro-payments on boosted posts to cover their advertising and promotion needs. But focusing solely on Facebook brings a host of issues, not the least of which is that you are limited to the “walled garden” of Facebook, and don’t get any benefit from people searching on search engines, and particularly on mobile.
At Bizyhood, we have noticed this issue ourselves for over a year and have spent our time focusing on providing VSB’s these three functions at a price point they can afford. And the answer is for the businesses to have their own Page on their local digital publisher’s site. This page solves the three items above simply and elegantly:
- The VSB can put their basic business information on the page as well as all promotions and events. An added benefit is those promotions and events also get promoted by the publisher themselves.
- The ability to add calls to action to your page to generate leads
- A single place to add new functionality to integrate digital and physical touchpoints, simply by upgrading to those features vs having to build them by hand into an existing website.
We are not saying that VSBs should not also have a website. We still recommend it, and in those instances, their page on their local publishers site is the ultimate “About/Contact Us” page. They can still have their own site and brand, but rely on their local publisher’s page to give them the deeper functionality to get closer to their customers (the third bullet point above).
It’s time that the real needs of the VSB be addressed, and it’s not via a website, and not via a private page on even the most popular of social networks. A true public page that offers the VSB the features they really need is the answer. Because the bottom line is that these VSBs simply want to be found. Their own page on a local digital publisher site does just that.