Does Your Small Business Website Accurately Represent You?

Theodore ScottHere at SBOB, we love small business. It’s part of our general adoration of all things small. Let it ring from the mountaintops, Small is Beautiful!

But we are not convinced that small businesses – micro-enterprises of all sorts – are generally using the internet to their best advantage. Business concerns that involve ten or fewer employees at long last have the same marketing advantages as big corporations, via the web, but are they making the best use of the opportunity? In too many cases, the answer is no.

The ‘level playing field’ that the internet provides means that even if you’re a solopreneur, your voice can be heard just as loudly as anyone else’s. Your brand can be as visible as you want, with appropriate effort.

The strongest base for any brand online is their website. Yet many small businesses fall prey to one of these quagmires:

  • Their website was built c.2005, and looks like it.
  • They built the site via the cheap and easy route of pre-fab templates.
  • The site is dependent on the services of a webmaster.
  • The site is a brochure, presenting information but lacking interactivity.
  • There is no regularly changing content on the site.

We’ll look at each of these situations in detail, suggesting ways to upgrade for each, in future posts. For now, we’re looking at the question: Does your site accurately represent you?

  • Does it look like you?
  • Sound like you?
  • Does it say what you want to say to people you want to please?
  • Would you recognize your personality and mission upon visiting your site?
  • Would you be attracted to the offer your site makes?

If it makes you a bit uncomfortable that I’m insisting your site should reflect you, as a person, that’s the point. That’s the difference now from before, when we were faceless behind an institution. Marketing on the web requires more authenticity, more verifiable authorship. People buy from people, right? The internet is too large for corporate identities to be effective. It takes personality to make connections that work.

What does ‘personality’ mean in your specific case? That’s the (as we used to say) $64,000 question. Is it your love of golf, your status as a father, your faith? Is it your commitment to teamwork or excellence or the cutting edge? Maybe it’s your dedication to the hottest new trends, or your fascination with complexity, or with simplicity. Whatever it is, your site should be full of it.

And what kind of person will readily relate to the personality that your site projects? This is another consideration. Here’s an example: you’re a nutrition counselor and a Dad. You might shape your site for single dads in urban locations; or you might design it for dads of special needs kids or dads of girls or boys or nerds or athletes or …

This is the single biggest challenge of the web: to use it effectively for marketing, you will need to be able to articulate and show your personality and message in smooth synch, combining to create one distinct irresistible compelling force. How do you go about accomplishing this? Please share your insights in the comments …


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