THE younger generations turn to their mobile telephone to search for information about anything they need to know in 2015. If your business is not online you may be missing an entire generation of business from these individuals. They are not alone; every age group now owns smart phones and tablet computers and many will rather use their favourite search engine than turn to the telephone book to find a suitable business for their particular needs.
Those potential customers will also turn to Facebook and Twitter for help, advice and suggestions. Where small businesses in the Caribbean fail to maximise on the opportunity of presenting an online presence, hoping that word-of-mouth remains their best marketing method, customers will become annoyed when they try to find out more about a business and fail to find a website or Facebook account providing simple, basic information.
The cost of setting up a basic website has reduced significantly during this past decade. Where people are not particularly technologically minded, it is easy to set up a website by using a template where the majority of work has been prepared for you and you only need to add your own information to become a business with an online presence.
Any small business in the Caribbean that fails to move into the marketing and advertising techniques suitable for this decade will find that they may lose business to competitors who are prepared to accept the online challenge, which can go as far as setting up an online store to display your products and services and make sales while you sleep.
A website that works perfectly and can be viewed on a computer, laptop, tablet computer and smartphone, is no longer a luxury. It is crucial as part of your business planning so that your business can attract new customers with a highly interactive and engaging existence both locally, and globally. Why restrict your small business to your island’s population?
A friendly website blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts, give small business owners the opportunity to present their own character to their customers, make special offers easily available without an expensive marketing campaign and be found relatively easily through the major search engines. Your online brochure and catalogue make it easy for customers to find out about you, any events that you are planning and ensure that all information is up-to-date.
Your small business will gain credibility because your online interaction allows you to present information that presents you as an expert and where you are worried about the cost of setting up and maintaining your social media and website, they are business expenses and can be set against your tax bill.
Your website is available 24 hours a day helping your potential customers to conveniently review your operation when you are closed for business.
Where you take the time and trouble to build your Facebook and Twitter accounts and an email newsletter signup facility, you will reduce your overall costs for both advertising and marketing while increasing your target audience.
Organising a website for your business, along with the associated social media accounts, provides your potential customers and current purchasers with up-to-date information and always just a few clicks away. This will improve the customer service that your small business is able to operate and will set you apart from your competitors who fail to see these advantages.
Samuel Rosenberg is the founder and CEO of Axcel Finance Ltd., the leading regional microfinance institution. Share your thoughts and email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org