This is a question that needs to be investigated. Let’s look at business in South Africa as a whole. What is the first thing that any consumer in South Africa does when searching for something? They Google it right? Then why when we are surfing the internet, we find that a majority of the businesses have old out dated websites, most are not connected to social media and they are done cheaply. This is a concern since the first interaction the consumers will have, is with your website. That is the first impression that the consumer will get of your business.
We know that first impressions last, and that it is something that is very important to establish a trust with your customer from the start. If you look at your website design and really be honest with yourself, is that what you want your customer to see?
So here is the question why not invest in a professional design, and maintenance? The problem here is that we have not adjusted our mindsets to the new technology that is available to drive our businesses into the future.
Let’s be Honest with ourselves
Our psychology needs to be educated in justifying spending money on a website. So let’s look at it realistically, we want the most return from a product that we want to spend the least amount of money on. We want to drive a luxury car for the price of an average car. We cannot expect to spend R 5000 and get a R1 m in return, that is thinking is for the lotto players.
Why would you go back to the news website if it was not updated regularly? If the news remained the same why go back to that site? The same principle works for your website; why should your customers go back to your website if your information remains the same? All the tools to keep your website interesting has been invented, it just needs to be used. Besides for the point I just made, the internet is a living creature, it is constantly evolving and bettering itself, technology changes and that way people use the internet changes, so you have to constantly keep your presence online up to date with the latest trends and technologies.
We can talk about this the whole day long. I recently had a customer tell me that their business relies on word of mouth, the next breath they were telling me that their business is struggling. Economic times? Yes, partially, but my belief is that businesses in South Africa are suffering because there lack of the use of the technology their customers are using. Social media is the future of word of mouth, how quickly can an established business get hurt when people share the bad news online? Very quickly! The same principle counts for the way you conduct your business in a good way. Social media is now starting to become a professional career choice and universities are staring with courses in this field, soon you will be able to get your degree in this medium.
They are saying that ecommerce has a negative impact on in store sales, this is only true if the store does not sell online. They would not lose that 25% in sales to online stores if they offered the same. Everything is happening faster. We don’t need to send letter in the post anymore we instant message. We don’t have to make time to go to town, we have it delivered. Getting the picture, if you do not change with the times you stay behind. When the telephone was invented, the businesses that embraced the technology of the time made leaps in their sales while the others who did not withered and died. What business today does not have a phone line? The same counts for the internet, this is our new vehicle to driving sales to our business. As a matter of fact, walk to the closest person around you and ask them how they would find a plumber, the answer would probably be let me “Google it”.
Here we get to the next point, not only has the online technology grown, but is now accessible on all your technology devises, this means that you must not only be available on the internet, but you must be responsive to all the devises that are used by customers. By this time, you would be feeling overwhelmed by all the adjustments you must make to your business website, well here is the truth, if you kept up with maintenance on your website you would be smiling, and would only need to make adjustments here and there, if you did not, I have more bad news, technology will keep on changing and if you do not get your online presence up to date you will eventually whiter and die.
In today’s world, your website and use of social media is the most important marketing tool you have at your disposal, do not put this at the bottom of your marketing and business priorities, this is the vital change you can bring to your business today.