Many small businesses, especially when they are a new small business, run a lean operation. They focus on necessities and urgent matters, looking to only spend money where it is needed, and so it’s easy to see why some business owners might think a website is a luxury item they can afford to live without.
They might even believe a Facebook page is enough for an online presence, or that a sign displaying their telephone number will generate calls, or that a traditional mailer will help them sell products. But the truth is, the only way to start promoting a business is by building a professional website.
An effective website is the cornerstone of your company — it houses important information, and your customers expect you to have one.
Your website acts as a portal so customers can learn more about your company, as well as research product information and determine if they want to do business with you. If you’re a small business owner, you need to realise that a website isn’t an expensive luxury or a frivolous endeavour — it’s an affordable, fundamental tool that every company needs.
A website is the anchor for your marketing
Before you print a business card or spend a penny on advertising, you need to start marketing by building a website. A website will act as an anchor for all your advertising efforts. All business details, product information and promotions should reside on your website first. Then, you can create marketing materials that fall in line with your domain name, which will drive customers to your website for additional information.
Building your online presence through social platforms (while important) is not enough
If you think having a Facebook page or an online directory listing (like Yellow Pages) is enough to promote your business, you’re wrong.
When you publish through, or rely on, a third-party platform, you’re at their mercy.
If the platform decides to close your account, change their policies or revise their programming, you might lose the ability to connect with your audience. Yet, when you run your own website, you’re in control of both the content you produce and the platform you maintain.
Guide potential buyers to the products and services they need by creating an effective website
Think of your website as a 24-hour office full of sales staff. It provides answers to frequently asked questions and can even process sales. Websites with e-commerce and purchasing options allow users to make direct purchases online, thus simplifying sales for both your staff and your customers.
Your website acts as a digital brochure, sharing up-to-date information about your offerings. A benefit of web publishing is that you can change information in real-time — no waiting or paying for new print materials.
A website helps you connect with new customers
While you might already have an established customer base, a website is a sure-fire way to connect with new customers who might be unfamiliar with your business.
Often people turn to the internet when they have a problem.
Searching for solutions is easy — but have you thought of your business as a potential problem solver? With a professional website, you position your business as a solution for your customers’ needs. Plus, you can optimise your site with search terms related to your industry. This will expose your business to new customers on the prowl.
A website has big benefits for local businesses
One misconception about websites is that they’re only for national companies or worldwide corporations with audiences around the globe. Actually, websites are just as, if not more, beneficial for small businesses. In fact, it’s a great way to connect with locals. Plus, search engines often rank results according to location. In other words, if you’re looking for “shoe stores near me,” Google won’t offer you a name-brand result in New York (unless of course you live in New York).
So, it’s pretty clear: an online presence has big benefits even for small businesses who deal locally. No matter where you are located, you can get started with an efficient website that draws in customers.
A website builds credibility
Nothing is more important than the ability to be found. If you don’t have an established online identity, then customers can’t find you. Not showing up in the search engines (or on the Internet at all for that matter) is one of the fastest ways to lose credibility as a business. It makes you and your company look dated, out of touch and untrustworthy.
Even if you’re fantastic at word-of-mouth marketing, you could be missing out on a ton of referrals. Happy customers are quick to share what they think about your business, but what about their friends who haven’t experienced your services yet? They’ll take to the Internet. And when they come up empty handed, you’ll have missed your chance for brand new customers.