So let’s say that you’re just crawling from under your rock. Your business has been running just fine and dandy for the last 20 years JUST the way it is, thank you. You don’t need no stinkin’ website! Well, do you?
The following link from 2010 is a little outdated, but if you’re crawling out from under your rock anyway, this shouldn’t be a problem. SEVENTY PERCENT OF CONSUMERS GO ONLINE FIRST FOR LOCAL BUSINESS INFORMATION! Yes, in CAPS. It’s THAT important. And that is a 2010 survey. You can go to http://www.localsearchstudy.com/ to see results and data on 2012 trends. They have a great PDF for freely available download that covers information that I’ll hit in some articles in the near future as well.
70% of consumers go online FIRST for local business information
So what will they find out about your company? According to this article on http://lokolee.com, only 54% of small businesses even HAVE a website as of that writing in 2011. So for about 46% of companies out there, searchers are going to find zilch. nada. Maybe some mentions of your company that got picked up by one of the internet yellow page directories, but likely no useful information. If your company info DID find its way into a directory, it likely contains nothing more than a name, address and phone number. No products carried. No current sales. Might not even have your current phone number or address. Certainly nothing even close to inducing some interaction with your company. So do you think with 70% of folks looking for services or products locally online first, that YOUR company is going to get the phone call, the visit and ultimately, the sale? Odds are against you, my rock-crawling friends. Big time.
As the years pass, more and more consumers are comfortable with the internet and searching in general. With the internet becoming “old school” for a lot of people, it’s not like it’s some new-fangled invention as it seemed to be back in the days of “AOL is king.” Today’s teenagers, 20 and 30-somethings are probably FAR more familiar with internet searching than they are lugging out the 5 pound brick that is the printed yellow pages. In the space of a few seconds with a PC, tablet PC or smartphone, local businesses can be pinpointed and identified as a local source for whatever service or product is desired. If someone is using the phone book as a source of information, a couple seconds will just about get you up out of your chair to go FIND the 5 pound brick. It’s really a matter of expediency and convenience.
On a personal note, the last time I glanced at a yellow pages directory was while walking it down from the end of my driveway to put it in the trash can. Granted, I *do* spend my life on the web, but I don’t believe I’m that different from a lot of potential customers out there these days.
I am honestly just getting warmed up on this article, but as I look at it, and the word count… Really what more do I need to point out? 70% of people search online for local business information first. ‘nuf said.
You need a website. Period.