April 5, 2012

2 Min Read
Opportunity: Building an SMB Website Development Practice

By Dan Berthiaume

Website management and development is one of those seemingly small business tasks that has a huge impact. In the digital era, a website is the avenue by which most customers will interact with a business, and its functionality and ease of use will go a long way toward shaping their impression.

Especially as the web has become as ubiquitous a business tool as the telephone, customers will assume a company with a clunky website is behind the times and probably incompetent in other areas, as well.

SMB Sites Feature ‘Seinfeld’ Era Functionality

Yet many SMBs still operate websites that would have been considered state-of-the-art when “Seinfeld” ruled Thursday night TV. According to an analysis of more than 1 million global SMB websites (including 700,000 in the US) by SMB DigitalScape, six in 10 SMB sites lack a contact phone number.

In addition, about three-quarters of SMB sites do not have a contact email address, two-thirds fail to offer a form-fill option for customers to submit information, and more than nine in 10 (93 percent) are not compatible with mobile devices.

MSPs Should Start with the Small Stuff

MSPs serving SMB clients are sitting on an amazing opportunity to increase revenues from existing customers and obtain new ones by offering to make some basic website fixes. They should start by reviewing the websites of all their existing SMB clients. Any client lacking a site is an automatic candidate to have one built, and developing a basic site could be a useful add-on to entice an SMB to purchase a larger service.

For those SMB clients with sites, after review MSPs should approach them with a list of basic problems, such as missing emails, phone numbers, etc., and offer to resolve these issues free of charge. Once this is accomplished to client satisfaction, MSPs can then begin to sell higher-level, but equally crucial, site upgrades such as mobile-enablement. Again, these more complex site improvements can also be used as incentives with other, more expensive services.

Furthermore, MSPs should carefully examine the sites of potential SMB clients. Offering a free upgrade for easy-to-fix items such as missing email addresses is a great way to get the foot in the door and build trust, which can then be used to obtain more website business or perhaps to even provide other managed services. Remember, taking care of the little things also helps take care of the big things, and website features are little things with a big impact and big potential payoff.

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