The availability of Internet-based technology gives small businesses more control over brand development, marketing and customer engagement. While tech start-ups traditionally benefit most from these services, Internet tools provide affordable and attainable solutions for small businesses in every industry.
The Independent We Stand (IWS) campaign reports that 97 percent of Internet users conduct online research on local products and services before committing to a purchase. Reviews and testimonials, a business’s website and other public information play important roles not only in a customer’s decision to buy a product but also in whether they share that product with others online.
Despite this, Local Search Association Insider (LSA Insider) reports that nearly half of small business owners’ websites are not accessible via mobile, and Hibu reports that 45 percent of small businesses don’t have a website at all.
Now is the best time to make a change. Small business owners on a budget can build clean websites with programs like Wix and Squarespace, which even support online storefronts and integrated messaging services. Various social-media platforms, discounted print-out shipping label services and other valuable online resources are available to Internet users for free or for minimal cost.
Business owners can also choose to outsource labor they struggle with or don’t have time for. 99 Dollar Social posts fresh content to a business’s social-media pages daily, and Hootsuite delivers advanced social-media optimization tools like the ability to schedule posts across multiple platforms within one unified dashboard.
All-in-one services like Infusionsoft, which generates personalized marketing software for small businesses, and Yodle, which maintains a business’s online presence, help small businesses with everything from appointment-setting to social media.
Related: The Evolution of New Generic Top-Level Domains