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In today’s Jetson-like world, it seems as though every company has a website. To go without one is madness, pure madness! But small businesses aren’t as present online as most people assume. According to Inc., only 60 percent of very small businesses (companies that have five people or less) have websites. Their social media presence is that much worse at twelve percent.
It’s possible to do business without turning to the World Wide Web – people did it for centuries – but technology makes all kinds of things easier, including commerce
For cannabis companies, especially, the need for websites hasn’t always been crystal clear: weed is popular with or without Wi-Fi. Local jurisdictions certainly didn’t need the web to help them initially as they opened their doors to dozens and dozens of people crowding the pavement outside.
But as the newness tapers down, and more pot shops emerge, cannabis companies must prove competitive. And one of the best ways to increase profits is to show up in a Google search.
If you run a dispensary or a bakery or anything marijuana-related, there’s many reasons to build a website. Take into consideration (or toke into consideration) the following:
A website is the cornerstone of your business
The Internet is the first place most of us go to learn about anything (Thanks WebMD for my newfound hypochondria!). When looking for cannabis, some shoppers want to know about a dispensary before setting foot inside. A website gives you the opportunity to provide the 411.
With a website, you’re able to tell your consumers about the products you offer, your hours of operation, and your location
You can also give them a means by which to contact you. Many people prefer to email questions; using the phone? So five years ago.
Worth noting is the misconception that websites only work for big companies and not small ones. Yet, per LocalVox, seventy percent of US citizens use the Internet when shopping locally. A small, local business benefits from a website by procuring local customers.
A website allows you to market yourself
From search engine optimization to content creation, online marketing is the latest and greatest in selling yourself! Online marketing allows you to syndicate content and drive it back to your site. What’s more, many syndication tools are free. By comparison, a newspaper ad can cost several thousand dollars.
Besides, per Forbes, some newspapers balk at running marijuana-related ads even in legal states (because of illegality on the federal level)
Marketing on the Internet is much less restrictive; anyone can pretty much put up anything they want, which is why my cat has his own blog.
A website allows you to reach new customers
While you probably have your share of regular customers – customers that are vital to your business – an influx of new blood is essential as well, particularly if you want your business to behave like a pot shop and “grow.”
Though you may have mastered the word-of-mouth marketing, a lack of a website leaves you missing specific demographics (i.e., anyone who isn’t privy to the word-of-mouth inner circle)
By having a web presence, new customers learn about you. It’s simple: people can’t patronize your business unless they actually know about your business.
A website makes you look credible
For some shoppers, there’s something sketchy about a company without a website. Maybe we’re spoiled, accustomed to relying on our smartphones
But, whatever the reason, a website does provide credibility for a business, which is important for those involved in cannabis. It says, “I’m legit. I have an owner who invested in marketing. I abide by health and safety standards. I am not someone selling weed out of the bathroom at Denny’s.”
A website keeps you competitive
Perhaps you’ve heard that alcohol is a recession-proof industry. In short, we continue to spring for merlot although we can’t pay our mortgage. Because cannabis offers a similar escape, it makes sense that it’d come with a similar immunity.
Some business owners get comfortable with this notion, assuming that they don’t need a website because pot is in such high demand. However, if your competitors have a website – and they do! – your company needs one too. Just because people are going to buy marijuana, there’s no guarantee that they’ll buy it from you.
A website opens the door to other types of marketing
Social media marketing, the act of taking to Facebook or Twitter or wherever else to engage with your customers, post relevant content, and advertise your discounts, can be done without a website. Technically, you only need a social media account to make social media marketing work. But a website allows you to push people from social media to your site, where they can learn so much more about your business.
A website isn’t expensive
Once upon a time, websites were quite expensive: you had to hire coders and graphic designers and someone who could tie the contact page to your AOL or EarthLink email. Today, websites can still cost you a pretty penny: if you want one that’s complex, the price goes up and up.
But websites void of every bell and whistle are cheap. Web publishing software allows you to build your own in a few hours (depending on how tech-savvy you are) or talk your computer-loving friend into doing it for a slice of pizza and a couple of grams of Alien Technology. You do have to pay for hosting, though the cost is minimal (around ten dollars or so a month).
There are many places online that offer free website builders. Some of these include WIX, Website Builder, IM Creator, Jimdo, and Yola
Whether you own a cannabis company or a business that sells anything else, a website is no longer an indulgence. It’s not an option, either. Somewhere between dial-up and wireless, it became a necessity.