Continuing with this week’s theme about the business need for a website, we press on with some thoughts on why just having a website may not be enough — the website must also be effective.
Many businesses owners, especially small, local business owners, end up deciding that they don’t need a website. Even those who are convinced of the necessity may choose to go the inexpensive route, tossing up a quick representation of their business that is never updated and contains only bare minimum information. If you’ve been thinking that you can get by without an effective website, check out these potential benefits of an efficient, regularly-updated website that contains all the information that potential clients need to decide that your business is the right choice for them.
1. Your Website is Always Available
You have relatively strict operating hours, and chances are, they’re the hours when most of the population is at work. It’s after hours, however, when potential customers take to the internet in droves to locate solutions for their problems. From searching for an exterminator who can handle a bug infestation to locating a provider who can install solar panels in their home, customers need access to that critical information at times when it might not be convenient for your business. Your website, on the other hand, doesn’t need sleep, nor does it require family time. It doesn’t shut off simply because you’re not available. Instead, it keeps providing quality information to anyone who needs it. Also, keep in mind that no matter what your business provides, you can probably sell it online. Small local businesses can use their websites to set up consultations and estimates; those with products to sell can certainly embrace the opportunity offered by online stores.
2. Reach a Cast of Thousands
Your website has the potential to reach a broader audience than any other advertising campaign. It’s not just a brochure; it’s an ongoing source of information concerning everything about your business. There’s no way to estimate the number of people who will be reached through your website. It’s also much cheaper than a professional brochure or a recurring newspaper ad, yet will reach comparably more people.
3. Target Advertising
When you reach out with an advertisement, you can’t predict the number of people who will see it and actually be in need of the product or service you’re offering. Sure, you can take a wild guess and hope for the best: ads for businesses that cater to families in malls or near parks, ads for the latest and greatest technology near colleges and universities, or ads that cater to an older generation near senior living facilities. Your website, however, is an ongoing advertisement to people who are searching for exactly the type of goods or services you provide. It should display the professional nature of your company, impressing potential customers and pulling them in so that they’ll decide that you are the ideal business for their needs.
4. Ease of Communication
Do you have contact information for all of your customers? Even if they have it, do they read your emails, or tuck them away to “read later” and then never get around to them? Your website is the perfect opportunity to stay in contact with your customers. It’s the ideal place to announce sales, get the word out about special promotions, and let your customers know when you’re experiencing technical difficulties–for example, a weather-based store closing, a glitch in the phone system, or even a problem that has online ordering bogged down. If your website has a blog, you can also use it to update your customers on all the important happenings around your business and in your industry: the latest advances that are rocking your field, a change in location that is going to have you shut down for a few days, or even a discussion about a debate raging across your industry.
Your website can also significantly enhance your customer service department. Simply offering an online ticket system can make all the difference for customers who are in a hurry to have an issue resolved. Sure, you’d rather provide that personal service that comes from customers calling in directly. Providing that online option, however, may be the difference between a customer who ends up unhappy with their experience with your business and one who is pleased with the way you handled a potentially sticky situation.
5. Provide a Quick Way to Check Important Information
Have you ever been on your way to visit a store, only to realize halfway there that you don’t have any idea what time they open? You might elect to turn around and go back, putting off your errand for another time or even seeking out another place to get the item or service you were after. What about making a phone call: after several instances of a busy signal or reaching an answering service, do you start to wonder if the business is even open for the day? The quickest way for your customers to check on that critical information is to visit your website–and that’s a service that they will appreciate. It can also direct new visitors to your business for the first time, connect them with important information about what they need to bring in for a first visit or appointment, and offer a frequently asked questions section that will prevent them from needing to call you over “something silly” or wonder about it until their next in-person visit.
6. Establish Your Authority
You can have an endless list of credentials a mile long, but if people don’t know about them, they won’t trust you as an authority in your field. Instead of taking the chance that they’ll never see them, use your website to showcase your capability. Link to posts or articles that you’ve written, include awards that you’ve won, and, most importantly, show off your knowledge in a way that will enable your customers to connect with you. Answer their questions, show off your knowledge, and develop your website in such a way that it adds benefit to customers who visit it even when they aren’t ready to make a purchase. That added value will have you at the front of their minds when the time comes to make a purchasing decision.
7. Stay in the Game
Here’s the bottom line of website design: chances are, your direct competitors have them. If you want to stay in the game and be considered for just as much business as they are, you’re going to need to have a website, too. Small businesses experience around 39% higher revenue when they have a website. Why? They’re easier to find. Customers feel much more comfortable when they can browse your website, learn about your company, and even check out reviews from previous customers before they make a decision in favor of your company.
Building an efficient, effective website for your business allows you to showcase your skills, show off your work, and communicate with your customers. It improves your customer service, provides your customers with access to critical information, and helps increase your business. The question, then, might not be why you need a website. The question is how you can afford not to have one! If you’re ready to start building a website for your business or need help making your existing website more efficient and effective, contact us today. You need a website that will work for your business, and we’re here to help you get exactly that.