BUILDING A STRONG DIGITAL PRESENCE—BEGINNING WITH YOUR OWN WEBSITE

 

 WEBSITE OR WORD OF MOUTH?  

Are you a small business owner who’s enjoyed relative success? Do you have a steady stream of loyal customers? Maybe they’re even customers who have no complaints except to say that, digitally speaking, you’re nowhere to be found. If so, perhaps you’re inclined to brush them off, all the more so when they ask about your website. 

After all, isn’t that like asking you to fix what isn’t broken? 

“What’s it matter?” you ask. “You found me? And what’s wrong with word of mouth? Our work speaks for itself!” 

If this sounds somehow familiar, just know that you’re not alone. What's more, you’re not wrong either. That’s the good news.

The bad news? They, too, have a point.

Rotary model or iPhone 8, good work does indeed speak for itself. It's just that, in the time of the latter, it only travels so far on its own. As such, a strong digital presence is a natural extension of word of mouth (not a substitute for it), and the vital function it serves is only amplified with a well-made website, particularly in the case of small businesses. 

A 2017 study performed by Verisign reported that 87% consumers believe that small businesses with websites are more credible than ones without an online presence. In all likelihood, it's even higher than that, a year having since past.  But that shouldn't concern the small business owner in the least. Think of it this way, to take it one step further: what is word of mouth if not a fairly accurate yardstick with which to measure credibility? 

Word of mouth, it turns out, has more in common with digital visibility than you might've initially thought. 

And that’s what’s great about building a strong digital foundation with your own company website: it houses all your business’s most essential information. Not only that—it articulates your services as well as your identity, all on your own terms. It also allows all the word of mouth you’ve acquired to find meaningful integration. Interestingly, that integration also has a way of multiplying in the wake of a new website. Whether in the form of reviews, testimonials, or general endorsements, your own website can propel more of each.  

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PARTNERING WITH AN AGENCY TO CRAFT A PERSONALIZED AND AUTHORITATIVE WEBSITE

While a thoughtful and personalized website will admittedly take more time than something hastily thrown together, it will also pay dividends once it's done, requiring minimal upkeep in most cases. If you’ve ever wondered about broadening your reach to include new clientele, your business’s own website serves as a golden opportunity to do exactly that. 

To the small business owner, that all sounds great. How could it not? Implementing it, however, can quickly prove more problematic than promising. Spare time, in other words, isn’t a luxury small businesses traditionally have. 

With that in mind, consider partnering with a small, in-house web design and development team.  If you do, rest assured, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. One of the main ways you stand to benefit, after all, is by forming an agency-as-partner dynamic. 

These kinds of partnerships have a strong track record of delivering vibrant work with observable results (increased traffic, stronger qualified leads, better conversion).

Considering the terms, it isn't hard to see why. That is, a small agency’s success is entwined, inseparably, with that of your own. Even more to the point, it takes one to know one. 

There's something to be said for a team that hears your voice, knows your story, understands your customers (not to mention services), takes that vision and translates it into words, images, and experience, all to outstanding effect, ushering in promising new opportunity.  

The truth is, there's an appreciation that comes with a shared firsthand knowledge of the day-to-day, and the work that in turn springs from it is personalized and authoritative because you know what they know: when your customer base is small, you can be exceptionally responsive to the needs and desires of those customers. 

But what about when it comes time to extend your reach? 

A small agency has the capacity to understand the nuanced nitty-gritty of what you, a small business owner, do and that's because it's strikingly similar to what they, a small agency, does. Who better to articulate your business than a proven ally? Having an agency handle the job of your website frees you, in real time, to tend to new customers with undivided attention.

Done right, the agency-as-partner dynamic yields a website that’s both unmistakably you (and your business) while, at the same time, functioning as a reflection of your longtime customers and what's important to them.  

This paves the way to finding more who are just like them simply because it's mutually beneficial. 

Finally, this partner dynamic contributes to your ulterior web presence by making you that much more scalable when the time comes to add, say, a monthly newsletter, which—come to think of it—is probably just a matter of time, am I right?

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ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS

For now, consider the following, just to get the ball rolling. And if defining goals in stated terms proves elusive, as is sometimes the case, one way to set the stage is simply by getting better acquainted or by sharing the intricacies associated with a day in the life of your business. Drafting a list of questions has also been known to help reveal and articulate goals while presenting an actionable path forward. For instance:

  • Is your business well-represented in the context of search engines?
  • Do you have content on your website that’s calibrated to attract new leads?
  • Do other high-quality websites reference you as an authority? Are prospects aware?
  • Is your website fostering loyalty, retention and referrals?
  • Does your website or your deals drive your customers to action?
  • Are you well-positioned against competitors in your market?
  • How is it all measured? What metrics are in place and utilized in-house?