No matter what people think, the website is still your most important digital asset when it comes to digital marketing. In fact, as has been touted for years, your website is the center of your entire online marketing endeavor. Having a small business website gives prospective customer’s and website visitors unlimited access to finding information regarding your products and services.
Everything you do should seek to send customers and visitors straight back to your website, and then on to an email list.
So I’ve made a list of eight reasons to have a website for your small business, whether you are a startup business or an experienced entrepreneur.
1. You Own It
- The main reason why your website is the most important is that you own it. If you have a self-hosted website (whether it’s built with WordPress platform or another builder), as long as it’s self-hosted on a server you rent, you can move it and use it how you want to without interference or worry from someone else telling you what to do. Even if you lose all social media accounts tomorrow, your website will still be there.
2. Social Media Can Be Gone Tomorrow
- It’s not likely, but any one social media account could have changed drastically when you wake up in the morning. It can go from free to paid, it can also change the rules, and so much more can happen. As an entrepreneur all the hard work and time you put into building up that social media network with content and engagement could disappear. It could be all for nothing tomorrow.
3. It’s a Destination
- You’re really expected to have a website today if you have any type of business. No matter how small. If you send new or existing customers to a Facebook or Twitter page instead, they will not view it in the same way as they do a real website that represents your business and only your business without distraction. You can use the website to direct customers to other media, but your website is first and foremost your storefront. Your storefront is available 24/7.
4. Everything Leads Back to It
- Everything you put out there on the web, on social media, in brochures, your business card, books, games, apps, guest blog posts, bookmarks and other marketing collateral all lead right to your website because that will remain constant. Your website will always be your website.
5. You Control It
- When you own something, you control it. You can update it, change it, move it, and do whatever you want with it. When you use builders like GoDaddy Website Builder or native builders that can’t be moved, you’re trapped in that space and rebuilding is harder to do. You can have as many features, email addresses, sales pages and more if you control it; and it’s not hard to manage.
6. They’re Inexpensive
- Having your own website is an inexpensive investment for your small business success. You can buy a domain name for less than 15 dollars a year and hosting for less than 10 dollars a month. The only expense left is having someone build your site if you prefer or don’t have the time to invest. With self-hosted WordPress (for example) you can easily find a skilled virtual assistant for less than 1000 dollars to build it, or you can pick a theme and give it a go on your own. It’s really not hard – at least give it a try. (Hint: If you can use one of the native builders, you can use self-hosted WordPress.)
7. It’s Your Brand
- Your website design and content can serve as a “digital marketing and sales” magnet to attract new leads and customers to your online or home business. When you own your own website, you can brand it how you want to. You don’t have to leave any “built by” notes up, or notifications about your hosting company or anything. You own it; it carries your branding. It’s really that simple.
8. Customers Judge You
- A first impression is usually a lasting impression. If you don’t own your own website and use a builder or try to pass off a social media site as your destination, people will judge you. Potential clients need to know that you serious business owner and may decide not to work with you. Instead, create the best website you can within your budget and reap the benefits.
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As a home business entrepreneur you may not even realize that you still need to network to ensure that your business grows. You may also feel overwhelmed with the idea of face to face networking when you have a home business. But you need not worry – networking doesn’t have to be painful, and even an introvert can do it successfully. Just follow these tips.
1. Set a Goal for Networking
- Without a goal, you’re simply dreaming and moving haphazardly toward a moving target. And, we know how that works. It doesn’t. You need goals for networking in general and specific goals for each type of networking you do, both online and offline. Set a criteria for how many people you wish to engage in conversation and connect with for each event.
2. Practice Your “Elevator Speech”
- When people ask you what do you do, what will you say? You don’t want it to sound unnatural and like a sales pitch, which is why the term elevator speech receives so many groans today. Instead, be authentic and talk about how you serve your audience. When you put the focus on the audience, you’ll find that it passes your lips with less resistance.
3. Use Social Media
- Develop excellent profiles and keep your social media activity up to date, planned, and targeted. You never know who you’ll meet online who can help you reach your business goals. Focus your posts and interactions with the intent of being a helpful resource to the people you meet.
- There are many meetup services available where you can meet all kinds of people and plan all sorts of events. Make the most of your endeavors by creating an outstanding profile and setting a goal for your participation. Who knows? You may have fun in the process.
5. Who You Know
- The best thing to do about networking is to start with people that you know. Ask them if they have colleagues and acquaintances that they can introduce you to. If you encourage people to recommend you to others, then you’ll meet more people who want what you’re offering.
6. Get Involved Online and Off
- Don’t just stick to one or the other; both online and offline networking will work to help you get to know people, build relationships, and make more sales. It doesn’t matter today if you have a home business; people are used to it now, so no need to recoil at the idea of telling people.
7. Your Local Chamber of Commerce
- Your local chambers of commerce is an excellent place to start building your business relationships. If you get involved, you can create a niche for yourself by offering to lead training seminars for home-based business owners, sponsor events, and do other volunteering activities. While networking shouldn’t be your first thought when you volunteer, ensuring that you choose a group to volunteer for that consists of your target audience is fine. If you’re going to volunteer anyway, its a win win solution.
8. Attend Industry Events
- Whatever your niche, there is an event that corresponds to it. Find the events that consist of your audience and attend at least one big one per year. If you can get on the speakers’ list or buy a sponsorship, that’s even better.
Networking is an important part of building a business, whether you have a home business or a bricks-and-mortar business. Start with something small and then build as you go. You won’t regret it. You can be very successful with networking as a home business owner. Today, most people don’t have an issue working with someone who has a home office, so you can go into any situation with confidence. The important thing is that you can do what you say you can do and follow through.
As a home business entrepreneur, you know that you need to network. You know networking will help you get to know people, build relationships, and even build your reputation as an expert if you know what you’re doing. To be successful with networking it is important to avoid these eight common mistakes.
1. Not Having a Goal
- You should create a goal for general networking but also for each networking channel, be it online or offline. Before any event, write down the goal you want to achieve. For example, you want to connect with at least three new people, so that you know when you leave if you’ve been successful or not.
2. Not Being You
- Many people think that because they have a home based business, they need to exaggerate and make themselves look bigger and better than they are. But the truth is, you simply need to be your authentic self because it is you that makes your business and offerings special.
3. Not Listening More Than You Talk
- Practice mindful listening. Repeat back to others what you heard, mirror their thoughts, and ask appropriate questions. They’ll actually remember you more when you show genuine interest.
4. Hanging Out with Competitors
- While you do want to get to know your competitors, you will make more sales by networking with the people who need what you offer. Commiserating with colleagues is useful, but it won’t increase your client base.
5. Not Pushing Your Boundaries
- Going to events can be intimidating, but it’s important to push your boundaries if you want to grow your business. You can start slow with online events, and then move gradually into offline events.
6. Acting like a Wallflower
- Don’t go to an event and stand in a corner all alone. Mingle and get to know people. A good method to help you accomplish this is to volunteer to be a greeter at the event. Handing out name tags, programs or helping out at registration requires you to speak to people directly.
7. Being the Last One Standing
- At any in-person event, you want to make your exit before the last minute. Being the last one at an event can be a sign of desperation. Instead, leave people wanting more.
8. Having No Energy
- When you speak to people, project your voice, smile and show some likable energy about you. You want people to feel good when you talk to them.
Common networking mistakes that home business owners make can be avoided with just a little bit of knowledge and planning. You can be very successful with networking as a home business owner. Today, most people don’t have an issue working with someone who has a home office, so you can go into any situation with confidence. The important thing is that you can do what you say you can do and follow through.