And why your website should highlight the fact that you are small.
Being a small business is an asset in the minds of many consumers, yet lots of these businesses fail to emphasize their size on their websites. Their sites lack details about the owners, personal photos, stories of origin, and credentials – all information that can build trust with consumers and emphasize the fact their business is a small enterprise. In many cases, small business websites are also unprofessional, outdated, and look DYI (do it yourself).
Why is any of this an issue? Because customers tend to trust small businesses more than larger enterprises. If a consumer can’t tell from your site whether you are a local retailer or service provider rather than part of a major national company, you lose that advantage.
Americans Trust and Prefer Small Businesses
Consider a recent survey that found 74% of Americans prefer small businesses and will search for one to support even when inconvenient. The same survey by market research firm Dimensional Research revealed that when convenient 91% of these same consumers will support a small establishment.
Consumers also have more confidence in small businesses. A recent Gallup poll found that 71% of Americans have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in small businesses compared with only 18% having the same feelings about big businesses. People want to work with people they trust, who provide personal service, and have a familiar face, as opposed to an anonymous global corporation. Small business owners are typically considered more invested in their businesses, accountable, and determined to succeed.
If your website isn’t highlighting your small-business status, you could be missing out on opportunities.
Tips for Showcasing Your Small-Business Status
So how do you gain that confidence and convey on your website that you are a trustworthy small business? Here are some tips:
- Provide personal information about the owners – my client Dr. Vicki Steine runs a holistic therapy practice called Your Healthy Structure. Her about page includes her background, credentials, and a personal story about why she chose to be a holistic therapist connecting mind, body, and lifestyle.
- Incorporate videos and photos – a professional video of the owner or a principal builds potential client confidence. Vicki’s home page includes her photo so potential patients can identify with her before booking an appointment. The home page links directly to Vicki’s about page, which includes a video in which Vicki talks about her approach to therapy, diagnosis specialties, and some of her techniques.
- Link to sites that explain those credential acronyms – another of my clients, Susan Levin, is a medical detective who helps people find solutions to long-lasting health problems. Susan has lots of education and certifications outside a traditional medical or nursing degree. Her about page has links to the schools, associations, and other organizations that awarded her degrees and certificates so that potential patients can understand more about her background.
- Highlight your mission and stories about your origin –
- Vicki’s personal story on her about page details a tragic accident in which she almost lost her life. She writes about working nutrition, supplements, exercise, and a healing mindset into her long healing process, and how that lead to her holistic approach to therapy in her business.
- Susan’s about page also details her personal health journey and how it led her to partner with her integrative and alternative medicine doctor, and ultimately build her own business once he passed away.
- Include testimonials – testimonials and client stories are a great way to connect with potential customers. My client Marco Bowen, who founded and runs an IT solutions firm for small businesses called ByteSize, includes both. The stories detail how ByteSize solves client IT problems, while his testimonials speak to his personal expertise and work ethic. These things set him and his personalized service apart from typical IT services providers, which tend to be either larger companies or small firms trying to appear large on their websites.
- Direct contact information – this is a must. Including a way to contact you directly through a phone number or an email address helps to shorten the distance between you and potential clients. It shows you are a person, not a big business with a customer service department.
Remember, being a small business is an asset because people want to work with people. Make sure to play that up on your website, and include details about your business, self, mission, origin, and other information that will increase your credibility and help clients identify with you.
I’m Holly Neumann, owner of my own small business Fresh Eggs. I specialize in building websites for other small businesses. I care about your business and your success, and can help you build a site that works for you. Contact me for a free consult today.