Christmas 2009 will go down in history as the year the small businesses sector realised they needed to get online. Consumer behaviour appeared to change forever as people preferred to go online to do their Christmas shopping. Consequently high street retailers struggled like never before, while their online counterparts enjoyed record sales. Something had to change and the government launched a scheme to help small businesses develop an online presence. However, getting a website is only the first step to realising your businesses potential online.
As with all marketing activity, your website must have a clear objective; do you plan to sell directly from it, do you want it to drive footfall offline or will it act merely as a brand platform? It is vital you define your objectives from the beginning, only then can you begin to measure its success.
One of the main reasons why online advertising has overtaken all forms of traditional advertising, from television and radio to print media, is due to the transparency it offers. The same applies if you are running your own website. You can track all activity on your website and –crucially – gain an understanding of your customers and the way they interact with your brand.
Matthew Wright, owner of jewellery business Smith & Sons comments; “Our business was badly hit by the recession and we knew we had to adopt our model. So we built a website and have been completely overwhelmed by the value it has added to our business.”