Over our seven years of business designing and building websites in Fredericksburg, Virginia, we have come to some determinations about how we run things and what differentiates ourselves and many of our clients, from the traditional company. Like the majority of our customer base, we are a small, local company with challenges and opportunities commensurate to our size and impact.
We are micro-business
One key difference between ourselves (and our clients) and the rest of the economic pie is that we identify and function as a micro-business. This term may not be familiar to everyone, but this title is important in distinguishing our role and reach, as well as that of many of our clients. One of the key determining factors between a small business and a micro-business is in the size of the employee pool. Small businesses may have hundreds of employees, while micro-businesses are much smaller and leaner, usually consisting of less than 10 people. Most of our clients fall under this scale as well.
Challenges and fluidity of OUR micro-businesses
As micro-businesses we face challenges and opportunities that differ significantly from the (larger) small businesses. Some of the categories in which these differences rest are customer acquisition, maintaining relevance in marketing, and making impactful changes to company culture and policy. Many of our customers come from friends, family, and referrals via previous customer testimony. Our customer acquisition is not as costly or committed as some of these larger corporations with dedicated, custom CRMs. Micro-businesses maintain a more intimate and direct interface with their customers, relying greatly on face-to-face interaction, personal touch, our websites, social media communications, and email campaigns.
For our league, the face of customer interaction undergoes much less time in “policy implementation” than that of larger businesses. What does a big business like McDonalds do when they want to change how they greet customers? Chick-Fil-A is known for their “my pleasure” response. What if they want to change the way they go about engaging with their customers? Upper level management must change their implementations, test programs must be undergone, surveys are conducted, and market research must be undergone. If this process proves profitable, it will trickle down to management, and eventually, a few years later, it may survive as policy.
In a micro-business, it just changes. The decision makers are tied closer to the stake of the company, and flex much faster (which has its pluses and minuses.)
How we get new customers as micro-businesses
Often times marketing ideas and business concepts larger companies use end up trickling down to our micro-businesses.. But this doesn’t always make sense! As micro-businesses, we need to think differently. With less than 10 employees, website and social media efforts must be conducted efficiently and with greatest impact in mind based on the size, scale and power of our smaller businesses.
The Relationship Website is one of the most valuable tools for micro-businesses. Typically consisting of 5-25 pages, including general company info, owners’ history, testimonials, and specific products/features this small website design is primarily information based, and is oriented toward helping a potential or existing customer get to know the company better.
“I saw the truck drive by”, or “went by shop”, are common introductions. Many of our clients have heard of us from someone else. Whether it’s a direct referral, or someone’s neighbor, traffic on the website happens naturally as you do your work, drive your truck around, or go out and network with other businesspeople. When they then arrive on your website is the chance to say, “I am here, we are legitimate, and here is our info”. The goal being to keep that lead warm and give them good reasons to call you.
Traditional Website Vs. Relationship Website
Small (not Micro) businesses often opt for the traditional website as a critical piece of a much bigger “marketing system”. With 10-150 employees, these companies rely on social campaigns, coupon mailers, google adwords, postcard mailers, and paid Facebook ads. A budget of $1,500 plus per month on marketing is a minimum requirement to even considering a marketing system like this. The website is a large part of this figure, with fresh landing pages, constant upkeep, and weekly changes. A Relationship Website, on the other hand, should have some monthly changes so that it can support incoming referrals and increase the effectiveness of the smaller and more personal marketing efforts of the owner or smaller staff at a micro-business.
We have learned and seen over the years that a relationship website is not about getting traffic via adwords and other previously mentioned means. Our websites strengthen existing relationships, aspirate our interactions with customers, and convert warm relationships with pending customers. A relationship website is what makes sense for micro-businesses like ours and yours.
That’s what we do at Websites for Anything.