Many businesses that you probably know of are doing well, or might seem to be, even without a website. But, I wonder, if they were to invest in a website, how much better could they actually be doing.
A website is not a version of that same old brochure uploaded to the internet, either. A website is an important internet marketing tool that tells your customers a lot about who you are, and what kind of service or product to expect from you. It’s a common question that many small business owners ask, whether or not your business may benefit from a site, or that it may not be inside your digital marketing budget. First of all, don’t be too quick by dismissing a website because your product can’t necessarily be sold online. These days, very little can’t be sold over the internet. There are more than 20 million shoppers online that purchase a wide variety of products.
Another issue with not having a business website is that you are essentially invisible without one. There are more and more articles being written that indicate how customers are researching online before buying. If your company doesn’t have a website, it will not show up in these searches, effectively rendering your solution to their problem invisible and non-existent. Having a website also lends your company authority. Today, a company’s website and social networking presence are important factors defining how serious a company is about their services and products. They want to know that a company is stable and dedicated to their products and services. A website is a professional presence that your customers can access from the comfort of their living room chair; without a website, your company is at a huge disadvantage.
Having a website also provides an opportunity to grow your market. It doesn’t matter if you provide a service or a product, as a retailer with an ecommerce site, or a service provider, your company can grow exponentially over the internet, even when your business is closed for the night, since a website is always accessible to your customers.
Providing a portal for your customers to peruse what your company does, apart from selling a product or service, can dramatically increase your company’s brand awareness. Include a FAQ page, a newsletter, or create links to social networking sites. These efforts to bring your customers onboard with your brand can only create more loyalty, and future sales.
Having a website for your customers to access, instead of talking on the phone, having face to face meetings, mailing or emailing brochures that may never be opened, or other traditional marketing techniques, saves both you and the customer time. A customer can have the information they might be seeking directly at their fingertips, without you having to interface with them to find out how you can help. Once you have put in the time, upfront, by creating a site, it is up and running indefinitely to your customers.
A website can function like an online brochure or catalog, making it a lot easier to update customers about a new product or service information. Using print material, like newspaper ads, flyers, or mailings are time consuming for the business, expensive, and might not be very effective. New products, special promotions, or upcoming events can be sent out in real time, and with social networking links these promos can access a huge market with current, up to date information and news.
Now that we have established that your company NEEDS a website, your business website also needs to look professional in order to be taken seriously. Even customers shopping the traditional brick-and-mortar way will look online prior to making a purchase. Your site may be the first chance that your business has at making a good impression. Your website should be fully responsive for mobile phones, not be too heavy with embedded video or flash content to avoid long loading times and frustrated customers, and be very easy to navigate by utilizing multiple menu access points and easy to read and understand information. Without a positive impression from the start, not only will a potential sale most certainly be lost, but your company will lose a customer as well. So, create a site for your business, but do it right by making it a good one!