Home » Business Basics » How to Sell Website Services to Local and Small Business Clients
By Anna Ortiz on May 8, 2020
Today’s business climate demands that companies of all sizes cultivate a strong online presence. But many small, local businesses have been late to jump on the digital bandwagon. When the online marketplace was new, it made sense for global businesses to have a website because it allowed them to expand their customer base, while businesses with a local customer base didn’t necessarily need a website as an essential component to engage in localized commerce. However, as increasing numbers of consumers migrated online, businesses with a local focus found themselves left out in the cold, and this situation magnified when mobile started to dominate the big picture. Now, even the smallest businesses have websites. Unfortunately, these sites often present as afterthoughts and don’t really add much value to the business.
All of this combines to create marketing challenges for web designers and web developers who provide business website services. Fortunately, strategies exist for communicating the value that a great website can deliver for any business.
The first step is, to begin with the current website and offer suggestions for how it can be improved. The vast majority of salespeople do not have the technological background to offer in-depth explanations for exactly why a site doesn’t work, so it’s best to focus on the user experience. After all, the end result is far more important to potential clients than the nuts and bolts behind the scenes. For example, if the site is loading slowly, tell them that; also let them know if there are distractions that cause users to click away. Take a close look at the site from the point of view of the customer and identify areas where the user experience can be enhanced. However, it’s important to walk a fine line to avoid coming across as overly critical. It’s best to stick with just two or three major problems rather than presenting the business owner with a long list of issues, even if they do exist. Areas of focus include the following.
Research suggests that users tend to click away when they encounter websites that are slow to load, yet website speed continues to be a major issue on small business websites. Research suggests that users may only stick around for a few seconds before moving on when a website appears sluggish.
Whether it’s for a mom-and-pop shop or a multinational corporation, a business website should provide optimal ease of use. Many customers say their biggest issue with websites is difficulty in navigating the site. The best business websites feature a clean and simple interface that won’t leave the user playing guessing games.
Functionality is another essential element of an effective business website. Website functionality encompasses several variables, but the biggest complaint most customers seem to have is with videos and complex graphics that distract their attention and slow down the site. Another major functionality issue occurs when the site isn’t optimized for mobile devices. Google statements claim that more than 60 percent of searches for goods and services are performed using a mobile device and 79 percent of smartphone users have used their device to make a purchase in the past six months.
It’s a little easier to sell a website to a business that doesn’t already have one, but you still have to show the business owner that a website has value. For instance, an independent restaurant owner who depends on a local consumer base may not see the need for a website, but you can point out the value in making reservations, browsing menus, and checking specials online. This approach speaks to the heart of why small, localized businesses need websites. Small business owners have to be smart with their money in order to survive, and they need to see that a website will provide a positive return on their investment before they will make a firm commitment.
The obvious advantage for a small business to have a website is that it drives traffic and results in sales. However, some less obvious benefits exist, as well. For instance, when financial institutions make lending decisions, an official business website serves as an indication of professionalism that speaks to overall credibility and stability. Websites also function as 24-hour marketing entities.
A well-designed website also enhances real-time productivity. For instance, instead of calling the business and asking questions, potential consumers can peruse the website and use the contact form if they want more information; and studies have shown that people are far more likely to reach out via contact forms than they are to pick up the phone and call. This not only allows business owners and employees to concentrate on the job at hand without interruptions from the telephone, but it also results in more thoughtful and thorough answers.
Every 21st-century business can benefit from a website. The key to selling a website to a small, independent business is to identify what is unique about that business and the ways in which an online presence can make them shine.
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