For our latest blog looking at marketing and business growth in 2021, we chat to Danielle at Black Nova Designs to find out why the uncertainty of the year ahead means a website is essential for all businesses.
How do you feel about the year ahead now that we’re nearing a full 12 months since Covid-19 completely altered our lives? It feels almost unreal to be saying that! We don’t think there are many people out there who can say their working, home or social life is just the same as it was before. Now that the vaccination programme rollout seems to be having an impact on the numbers of people getting seriously ill, we’re all starting to wonder what will happen next.
The announcement of the ‘roadmap to freedom’ was exciting, but that positivity has been slightly tempered by the cancellation of several big equestrian events this spring and summer. The scientists guiding our Government are also starting to drop in the occasional mention of more restrictions next winter. So, we just have to wait and see…
Coping with Covid-19 as a business owner
If you run your own business, that means another year of being flexible and reactive; always having a plan B in your mind in case life changes. You still can’t rely on face to face selling at events and a digital presence is essential. But, as our friends at Black Nova Designs will tell you, that’s something that businesses needed to consider long before the Covid-19 pandemic. Danielle Holmes, director at the Calne-based IT firm comments:
“Here at Black Nova Designs we have seen the pandemic accelerate and amplify trends which were most definitely already there. Businesses who hadn’t started a digital transformation before 2020 would have needed to before long, even if Covid-19 had never appeared.”
15 years of digital transformation…
Just imagine that it’s 2005 again, and you’re about to move to a new area of the country. Your horse (or horses, lucky you!) will make the move too, so you need a livery yard, equine vet, farrier and more. The idea of Googling everything was quite new and many small, rural businesses just weren’t online anyway. Facebook hadn’t really reached these shores. So what would you do? You could have called in at a local feed merchant or riding school, asked in country pubs, looked in local magazines, scoured village notice boards and possibly even used the yellow pages to find what you needed!
…meant that by 2020, digital was essential
Fast-forward 15 years to early last year and the we sourced information was already totally different! People would automatically Google or use social media to find the equestrian business or advice they want. Equestrian businesses could still just about cope without a website, particularly if they relied on word-of-mouth recommendations or face-to-face selling. Then, just over one year ago, we were told to lock down. Pubs closed, equestrian events were cancelled and limits on our social interaction had a huge impact on our lives. Covid-19 made it essential for every business to have a digital presence. Use of search engines and social media rocketed in 2020 as people were mostly stuck at home with few people to talk to and extra time on our hands. Danielle explains:
“We work with people selling beautiful country clothing and riding boots as well as equine vets, riding instructors and saddle fitters. All of them have one thing in common – they know a website is going to be pivotal to their survival in today’s climate. But they also share similar concerns about the time and money they need to invest . They worry a website won’t give them the return on investment that new equipment, advertising or a trade stand will. But a website is worth investing in, now more than ever before.”
That’s because if you rely solely on recommendations, face-to-face sales or social media, you risk being invisible to potential clients. Anyone who searches online for a business just like yours may have no idea you exist. Not everyone is on Facebook or Instagram and all it takes is an algorithm tweak to limit your reach.
A website doesn’t need to cost the earth
Thankfully, having your very own website designed and built really doesn’t need to be time consuming or expensive. Black Nova’s website packages are surprisingly affordable. Plus, their expert team will give you all the training you need to update the website in the future. That means you won’t need to pay them (or anyone else) when you want to add or remove information. Over to Danielle one more time:
“It doesn’t matter if you want a really simple website or a full e-commerce website – we can do it all. We can also help you update or redesign an existing website to bring it right up to date. If you want to make sure the end result looks really professional and save your own precious time, we can connect you with an expert network of graphic designers, copywriters and photographers to help you with logos, wording and images.”
A professional, clear and helpful website will help you cope with the ups and downs of the year ahead. If we do go back to something like normality this summer, your investment in a website won’t have been wasted. You’ll have an extra tool for the future, so people looking for a business like yours find you. If you’ve seen success from face-to-face sales and added e-commerce sales during the pandemic, just imagine where your business could be in the future when you have both! How many people searching the internet will suddenly know you’re out there waiting to help them? The move towards a digital world isn’t going to stop, so an online presence will help futureproof your business.