You may feel like your website was just redone, and now, it may need it again. In fact, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, then it absolutely is time to update. Technology advances so rapidly that new devices can be rendered vintage after a mere three or four years. This is true of phones, tablets, mp3 players, and yes, even websites. Business owners can find this frustrating, but keep in mind why it is important — even vital — to your success. In short, it pleases your customers, saves you time and money, and keeps you well-connected.
As a business in the 21st century, it all boils down to what others see. This means a website (a good one) and typically a presence in social media. As a company, you need to be visible, and your visibility needs to impress and invite.
1. Customers First
As a business, you need to put your customers first. They are, after all, the reason you’re able to stay in business. John Wanamaker, founder of one of America’s first department stores, once said, “When a customer enters my store, forget me. He is king.” This is becoming increasingly true, both in brick-and-mortar stores and online. The Economist published a survey revealing growth in consumer power to the point that it’s bringing an overhaul to the way people buy.
2. Mobile First
How are customers changing the way people buy? They’re going mobile. An updated website helps your company from the outside in. Currently, an updated website does not just include the minimalist, sleeker look of current designs (which is important in being visually impressive/inviting) but may or may not display well on a phone or tablet. It means having a website that is designed for the mobile user first and foremost. Connect with your customers wherever they are.
Visual.ly came out with a mobile statistics infographic shedding light on the importance of this update.
- 95% of mobile users use their devices for searches
- 52% of all searches are done on a mobile device
- 9 out of 10 mobile searches result in a purchase
Think about it this way. If your website is obsolete, your company will follow suit. If they can’t find you, they won’t use you. If they aren’t impressed, you will lose them.
3. Social Media
Another way to reach customers is via social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instragram, etc. Let me first caution that you should not use social media in place of a website. HubSpot gives seven reasons why using social media as a website substitute is not wise. It damages credibility, lessens company value, gives you less control, doesn’t let you own transactions, takes away your hub, negatively impacts analytics, and disrupts communication. Your website is most important. Once you have a mobile first website, then focus and invest in social media platforms.
There are already a plethora of different social platforms with new ones surfacing rapidly. Even the seemingly steady ones, like Facebook, are constantly fighting the danger of becoming obsolete. In order to connect with your customers, you need to understand them. In the long run, it’s better to choose a small number of social platforms that your customers use rather than waste your time and efforts on too many.
For example, if your customers are of an older demographic, you’ll probably choose Facebook. If they’re younger, you may look into SnapChat. For a 2014 study, take a look at Business Insider’s article on social media demographics.
4. Basic Tech Reminder
For most of you this goes without saying, but many business owners are still out of the loop with basic technology in the office. Making sure your company has a working, wifi-connected printer, computers that don’t take forever to load, and phones that work on a consistent basis help your company from the inside out. Some companies invest in an Intranet to communicate with one another in a fast and more private way; others use Google Chat or Skype instead. Some companies have a BYOD (bring your own device) policy whereas some provide employees with all they need. According to Small Business Chronicle’s article on technology and the workplace, giving your employees the right kind of updated tech helps them work proficiently and productively.
Technology advances at such a rapid pace that it can be hard for businesses owners to not feel lost or behind. Remember that this isn’t about keeping up with the Joneses or even the Kardashians; regularly updating your business’s technology is about keeping up with your customers, or even staying a step ahead.
One of the best parts of our technology age is that new jobs are surfacing from this growth: business owners, you can hire social media gurus, website designers, SEO specialists or teams to bring your business up to speed. You don’t have to know it all when it comes to technology and social media to stay updated. Another bright side to updating your technology is the ROI: it speeds up, and, after the learning curve, simplifies your business practices in ways we couldn’t even imagine 30 years ago.