The Boston Globe reported earlier this month on an unbelievable small business statistic: 55 percent of small businesses don't have a website. Yeah. Despite the fact that it's 2014 and Elon Musk has said he thinks he can build a flying car, more than half of all small businesses still don't have a website.
The good news for you is that this means there are loads of potential new customers for IT contractors and web developers. So let's go over how you sell web services to companies that aren't very web-friendly.
How to Sell Websites to Small Businesses That Don't Have One
Why wouldn't a business have a webpage? Many small businesses that are still in the dark when it comes to something as simple as a webpage might assume that it’s expensive or difficult to build and maintain one.
For clients like this, you should let them know about low-cost, easy website services. A service like Squarespace can give small businesses a professional looking e-commerce site for between $8 and $24 a month.
One benefit to working with a company like Squarespace is that its websites scale easily for mobile devices. For a small business looking to expand its online presence, getting a mobile-friendly website is a big bonus.
As you talk with clients who want to set up their first webpage (or expand their current web presence to include online sales), emphasize the ROI – return on investment. In addition to the direct sales your clients might generate, simply having a mobile-friendly website can improve the way new customers view your clients.
In our article "Study Shows Mobile Developers Are More Valuable than Ever," we highlight how customers judge businesses based on the quality of their web / mobile offerings. Having a bad webpage (or no webpage) is a bit like having a messy storefront. To the modern consumer, a business that isn't mobile-accessible seems conspicuously out of touch. Rightly or wrongly, customers take this as a lack of effort and a sign of the poor overall quality of the business.
A Client's Busy Business Is Your Opportunity
One of the other common reasons small businesses lag behind the times is that they think they are too busy to build a website. That's where you come in.
As a small-business owner yourself, you know how busy life can be. You focus so much of your time on growing your business, keeping your books, and delivering services to clients, there's little time for anything else. So it makes sense that other small-business owners avoid building a website because they think it will take too much of their time.
For customers like this, emphasize the ease of the process and explain that as their IT professional, you'll take the lead and make sure it gets done with the least amount of hassle for them. Consider offering small-business packages or other bundled services that include building a company's website. If a client sees they can get a website along with other services they need, they might be more open to the idea.
What Is Your Liability When You Use a Third-Party Service for a Client's Website?
Whether you code a website yourself or use a third-party service (Squarespace, WordPress, etc.), you can be liable for data security, slow performance, outages, and even poor sales performance. IT work is so integral to a company's web operations that nearly any work you do will mean that you're taking on some liability for the company's performance.
Here’s how you can manage your IT risk:
- Don't overpromise. Make sure clients’ expectations are grounded. If you're building a new website, emphasize the return on investment, but make sure your clients don't think their sales are going to instantly triple now when they’re online.
- Use contracts that limit your risk exposure. If you have the budget to hire a lawyer, you should have custom service agreements that limit the amount of damages you can be sued for (many IT contracts say the contractor can only be sued for the amount of their fees). While these contracts won't always save you from a lawsuit, in some circumstances, they can help.
3.Cover your IT liabilities with insurance. If you're sued over your work, Errors and Omissions Insurance can pay for your lawsuit, covering your legal defense (lawyers’ fees, court costs, evidence fees) and damages you owe a client.
To learn more about protecting your IT liabilities and the cost of small business insurance, view our IT insurance cost estimates.