My AllBusiness.com colleague, Keith Girard has a useful article about small businesses and Web 2.0. He talks about a survey that says only about 11% of small businesses are using what we call Web 2.0 technologies to connect with their customers.
Part of me is not surprised at how low that number is. It wasn’t too long ago I wasn’t even sure what Web 2.0 was. For weeks, I kept bugging Comcast trying to get them to connect me to this new Web 2.0 I was hearing about. (They politely told me to go away.)
For those of us who are really into the Internet, Web 2.0 makes sense. We use the technologies. We understand how they work. And sometimes, we see the significance to our companies and our culture.
But it’s easy to fall victim to the “Silicon Valley Syndrome”. This happens when we assume everyone has a blog, everyone tags, comments and bookmarks and everyone watches YouTube videos on a regular basis.
They don’t. Some people I know (gasp) don’t even know what YouTube is.
Small business owners might be the least Web 2.0 savvy people on the planet. Because they’re busy starting, growing and sustaining their businesses. They typically don’t have a huge amount of time to invest in learning and using the latest Web 2.0 technologies.
Maybe they should.
If your customers or potential customers are using the Web, then you should be too. Even if your customers are not intense Web 2.0 maniacs, you can still benefit by using the connecting power of Web 2.0 technologies:
- More people can find your web site (through better search engine placement)
- Better communication with your customers
- Increased ability to educate and inform your customers before and after the sale
- Inexpensive feedback channel
- Lower costs through greater utilization of Internet communications
When you give your customers a greater ability to communicate with you, they will. When you offer them more information, more advice and more expertise about how to accomplish their goals (in the context of your product or service) they’ll trust you. They’ll believe you have the ability and the willingness to help them get what they want. They’ll understand your goal is to help them, not pick their pocket.
As these things happen, you’ll get more new customers, more repeat business and more referrals.
The good news is, Web 2.0 technologies (if used well) can help you do these things better and it doesn’t cost much. Everyone wins! So, what are you waiting for? Just Web 2.0 it!