Is your business ready for today's mobile world?
Ian Bowen-Morris, CMO at London-based Telnames, explains why you need to be asking the right questions when it comes to thinking about what your business really needs from online tools
Despite national awareness campaigns and Government-nominated online Tzars pushing the benefits of everyone getting online, almost half of UK small businesses still do not have any kind of website. Many still rely on word of mouth, traditional local advertising like local press and yellow pages, but in today's connected world, things have changed. People have become used to searching for the services they need online or using social media to get referrals from friends and contacts. Much of this is happening locally and increasingly on smartphones.
The typical reasons that many businesses are not yet online are not because they don't think they need or want to be, but rather it involves time, effort and cost and there are so many other priorities to focus on when building your business.
Those that have ventured online have typically bought a domain name with a basic template-based website with monthly fees for hosting. Once their site is set up, it's often left idle because it's either too much hassle, too costly or simply because they don't have any fresh content. So many of these types of sites look and feel out of date and are therefore of little interest to search engines like Google. Often they look awful when viewed from mobiles as they were really designed for PC viewing. This has now become a real problem with the boom in smartphone adoption and usage The UK also has a high penetration of smartphones (47% according to YouGov in May, heading for 55% next year) and, according to Google, 95% of smartphone users have searched for local businesses and services. Crucially, 68% of local information seekers call or visit a business after finding information on their smartphone. It's clear that every small businesses needs to have a mobile-friendly web presence to grow in today's mobile world.
One mistake that many website owners make is thinking that they need to have all their website content available on mobiles. In many cases this can't be done; in most cases it shouldn't be done! The mobile user has different needs for information and content from those of the computer user. They 're on the move and just need the essential stuff – enough information to help them decide that this is the right service provider for their needs and ease of use in making fast, efficient contact. They don't have time to wait for pages to load or to browse irrelevant content. So, as you build your online presence, ask yourself, "Is this content essential and relevant to my customers on mobiles?" Or perhaps the real question to ask before you start is, "Do I really need a traditional website?"
The vast majority of UK SMEs are service providers, great at converting a lead once they get a call and talk with the customer or client. For these a simple, cost-effective and smart place online that outlines clearly what they do and how they can be contacted is all that is required. It doesn't need to be heavyweight, expensive or a hassle to build. It simply needs to work well, look good and be easily accessible.
This is what the new service from Telnames provides. With a .tel name, everything you'd expect to see on a directory profile page is there, all your contact information and business profile displayed in a smart, mobile-friendly way. Everything is included – a top level domain name to get found in search, a smart page and hosting – all for one small annual fee of just £14.95.
It's easy to set up and update and can get your business profile online in less than 15 minutes. As you own it and control it, you can make changes at any time e.g. adding a new mobile number or even a special offer or link to a video. You can then share your business profile and contact information from one place, to anyone anywhere.
Our customers since launch have come from a wide range of independent businesses from shops, restaurants, pubs and kitchen fitters to consultants, freelancers and alternative medicine practitioners. They all seem to like the fact that they are in control and that the Telnames service addresses the key obstacles to getting online – it's easy, quick and very affordable.
The list goes on, but to see further great examples, visit http://pinterest.com/telnames (which is, of course, listed on http://telnames.tel). We'd love to see your business featured there, so why not take advantage of the exclusive discount below and get online, get mobile and get found today?