Marketing your SME is both an art and a science. Figuring out what type of marketing to prioritise is another big question. Statistics from MYOB's latest survey on SMEs show that 52% of businesses felt that having a website generated more customer enquires and enabled them to have a more professional image. This all begs the question, do you have a website and how good is it?
MYOB Head of Small Business Ingrid Cronin-Knight says, “Customers now expect to be able to find a product or service online. For most businesses, a website is a must, as is having a social media presence, for reaching and engaging with current and potential customers."
Quality is also in the mix here as well. While having a website is one thing, there is not point if the right people can't actually see it.
A modern day shopfront
Sam Williams, Managing Partner of digital agency, Aamplify, says that being found is no longer enough - you need to rank in the context that someone is looking for you – that context could be on a mobile device, social setting, or researching answers to a more complex problem someone is trying to solve.
When someone has finally arrived at your website - what should you have on it?
Think of it as the equivalent of a modern day shop-front window. Sam says that it needs to be just enticing and informative enough that someone will move to the next stage of engagement on their own.
"As much as possible you want people to learn, relate and self-select – so when a prospective customer takes the next step they are well qualified."
Next up is creating the actual website. Some can be expensive to make from scratch but there are many sites that act like templates where you pay a yearly fee of around $100 for them to host your content. Think Squarespace for example.
The key here though is to think through what the main way is that your aiming to generate business.
"If it is word of mouth, then your site needs to help this process and reinforce your reputation as being the people to deal with in your field," says Sam.
There is no one-size-fits-all website, so look around and see what's right for you. Also look at what the websites are great at doing. Is it displaying your artistic works? Is it showing customers the technical details of your products? Or is it simply there to offer information on those in your business.
What about maintenance?
Sam says there are so many website tools these days – it is relatively easy to maintain a site yourself; however, there is no substitute for good design! Many websites have easy-to-use systems these days where you can insert new content to keep it up-to-date and fresh.
A great way to have a website that feels current is to put a blog or social media feed on it. It shows that you're continually invested in showing your viewers good content that speaks to them. Just make sure you're feeding those social media feeds often and blogging at least once a month.
Sam adds that as rule of thumb, people do make judgements about what your business is like based on your website so you need to make sure it's a good reflection of the calibre of your SME. It needs to reflect your aims, the people involved, the work you do and be particular to how you generate business.
"Your site needs to support how your business makes a sale, be it via reputation, portfolio or simply referral," says Sam.
Go forth and create
Your website is an important part of your business and can act like an online shopfront window. There are many cost effective website platforms to host your site on but remember to keep it updated regularly with good content. And keep in mind that having a website is one thing but making sure people can find it is another. Putting links to your site out on social media for example is important as it helps Google rank your site higher in search results.