I can’t begin to emphasize how much every business needs a website. I have come across a lot of small business owners that said they didn’t need a website for reasons like:
- It costs too much.
- I wouldn’t have the time to maintain it.
- My business is already on social media.
- I already have enough customers.
While more developed countries are embracing the internet as the future of business, most Nigerians are still wary of online payments and all other things internet. This doesn’t apply to social media, of course. We love social media so much, don’t we?
“If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.” – Bill Gates
Well, if you run a small business without a website, I’ve got news for you. Your business won’t last long without one.
According to statistics published in 2019 by the Small Business Administration (SBA), about twenty percent of business startups fail in their first year and part of the reason for this was the lack of a website or online presence. Those statistics were for a developed country so this should give you a clue about chances of success for your small business in Nigeria.
I have listed 7 reasons your small business does need a website and I’m sure you can find more if you search the internet.
1. Your small business will always be available
This is one of the best things about a website. You might miss the call of a prospective client or you are away on vacation. Your website will always be available with all information about your business that you choose to make available.
This means information about your business is available to prospective clients 24 hours of the day, 7 days of the week, and 365 days of the year. They can even check out your products in the middle of the night and you would wake up in the morning to see a message requesting a purchase.
2. The steady growth of online businesses in Nigeria
It is becoming easier for people to connect their offices and homes to the internet. Two-year-old kids are already playing mobile games on mummy’s phone. Teenagers are shopping for video game consoles on e-commerce websites.
The evolution of the internet and technology has also affected the growth of Nigerian businesses. Some successful Nigerian businessmen and women owe their millions to online businesses they started back in the early 2000s.
These success stories would include Nairaland, Linda Ikeji Blog, Nairabet, Konga, Bella Naija, to mention a few. The success of your business could be affected by these three factors:
- The number of internet users in Nigeria is growing at a rapid rate. If it wasn’t fast enough before 2020, the coronavirus pandemic surely ensured a spike in the growth. With the appearance of the pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns around Nigeria, more people have turned to the internet for news, entertainment, and business.
- Nigerian local businesses that didn’t have a website before the lockdown was enforced, suffered immense losses. What’s worse is that clients they might have had before lockdown found that it was so much easier to patronize businesses with an online presence.
- Millennials (the generation born between 1981 and 1996) may have had their time in the labour market but early birds of Generation Z (born between 1997 to 2001) are coming of age and starting their businesses. This new generation of businessmen and women grew up with the internet and are not going to do business without it. This means that your best bet of keeping your business relevant is in taking advantage of your head start today.
3. Instant Credibility
“These days, people want to learn before they buy, be educated instead of pitched.” – Brian Clark
You need a website for your small business because customers expect you to have it. According to Adweek, 81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying a product. The buying process can be explained in the following steps.
- Prospective customer first becomes aware that they have a need.
- Carry out research to identify products/services that solve their problem.
- Gather information about those products/services.
- Evaluate or compare products/services.
- Purchase preferred product/service.
- Use product/service
- If they decide on a positive post-purchase evaluation, they’ll purchase again and spread the word.
- If they decide on a negative post-purchase evaluation, they’ll try another product/service (4).
If your small business doesn’t have a website, your product/service instantly gets eliminated at step (3) above. With the growing number of online businesses these days, customers are less likely to give you a call unless they’ve read something they like on your website.
4. A website is a cheaper form of marketing
A website, as a marketing tool, is cheaper than traditional forms marketing (flyers, billboards, banners, etc.). Information about your small business isn’t just visible to your local community but can also be visible to the world. Sparoyale.ng, a spa in the Lekki-Ajah area of Lagos, can testify to this as visitors from South Africa contacted them through their website to book sessions for their group.
“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is — it’s what consumers tell each other it is.” – Scott Cook
Word of mouth is also much easier when a happy client can simply tell another prospective client to check out your website for details about your small business. New customers are more likely to trust your business and take it seriously if you have a website and custom email like email@example.com. It tells them that they can invest in your business because you have invested a little extra in it too.
Have you ever had business cards, flyers, and posters printed to publicize your business? Then you should be able to appreciate the convenience of paying 10 – 20 thousand Naira annually. That amount grants you wider coverage than traditional marketing could. And for those who say they have enough customers, a website is a great way to let all of them know about news and updates about your business.
5. You need a website because it saves you time
I remember a time when I did graphic design and clients would ask for samples of my work. I would start to rummage through my photo gallery for images and then send about 10 via WhatsApp or BBM. Then another customer would show interest and I would have to rummage for another set of images that were relevant to what they wanted.
By having a website, I can now save time by simply sending a link to our portfolio page. With that, they could view our work and even go on to check out other services and products.
I also have a friend who would go from office to office selling jewellery and fashion accessories. After John got his business a website, however, he would simply broadcast his e-commerce website link. Customers could see their products with prices on the website and could simply make an order. This meant that they skipped the step of asking him to send image samples and went straight to telling him to deliver and collect his money.
You could also compile a list of questions your clients frequently ask (or are likely to ask) and post them on your website with answers to save you the trouble of always answering them.
6. Your website is better than social media
“Your website should be your calling card or your business front door.” – James Schramko
Giving your business a social media presence is great and all but it isn’t enough. Social media accounts should be secondary to your website instead of being your primary online presence. This is because you share that presence with a great multitude of other users. Users scrolling through their feed get to see your brand but they can easily be distracted by some other post on their timeline.
Another case is that social media channels don’t give you the full freedom of expression that a website can. The look of your Facebook page, for example, is defined by Facebook’s design layout. Most creative ideas users applied to liven it up even if a bit got undone by Facebook’s recent redesign. Your website, on the other hand, can be designed to specifically reflect your brand’s personality and any changes made would be on your term.
You don’t have control over comments that are made on social media. At best, you can probably delete an unfavourable comment of a dissatisfied customer or a malicious saboteur. You can decide what comments get shown to the public and privately respond to negative comments on your own website.
7. Websites are now easier to make
There was once a time when designing a website meant spending days working in Dreamweaver or coding. Those days are long gone. Only large-scale businesses pay treasure bounties for a website these days.
You can now get online and set up your website using tools like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace to set up your website. It doesn’t even cost a fortune. Just a budget of ten to twenty thousand Naira should get you going.
It’s so easy that so many individuals are getting personal websites to blog about hobbies or day to day experiences. Try googling “Single mother blogs” and you’ll see examples of people that aren’t even doing business but using websites to generate revenue.
“Invest in yourself. When you do this, you press the fast-forward button on your success.” – John Lee Dumas
These were just a few reasons for you to leave the old ways behind and embrace the future on the internet. During the coronavirus lockdown, I hadn’t left the house for weeks but I could still see people were visiting our website. This could have been the same for people who chose not to go online with their business.
It doesn’t matter what industry you are in. Music, farming, real estate, modeling? Somebody out there is looking for what you have to offer.
If you are still adamant about staying offline though, try googling “native doctors online”. I didn’t find a website when I searched through but they were online all the same and growing in number.
If you decide it’s time to upgrade, you can contact us for a guide on how to proceed on your own or we can help you set one up. Just check out our web design packages for more details.