Consumers behaviour is constantly changing. Whereas in days gone by, people would just use local services, which then evolved with the telephone to placements in the Yellow pages. Nowadays, the internet is just so prevalent that it’s counter intuitive to run with no online presence at all.
Despite over 97% of consumers searching for products and services online, only 51% of small businesses have websites. Furthermore, user behaviour has changed so much that people want to vet businesses before committing; knowing their goods & services, finding out prices, and even getting reviews & testimonials. By not having a website, none of this can be controlled, and research shows that over 30% of consumers won’t even consider a business without a website.
In addition to that a website really comes into it’s own by helping small businesses to promote and sell their services, as well as to distinguish themselves from their competitors. It should be seen as one of your most powerful marketing tools. Having a well-maintained website really helps to gain that competitive edge, as well as enhancing your brand and improving your customer services.
There’s so many reasons to have a small business website, here’s our top recommendations:
Build your Brand Authority
A website helps to build an immediate first impression. A clear design, nice layout, and good content helps to improve your brand almost immediately. If you’re not a salesperson then a good website can do the talking for you.
If you are a start up or just gaining traction, then a polished website can help make your business look even more professional. This can help to reassure prospects when doing their research and it helps compete against others in your sector who are more established.
Help find Customers
The average person spends six hours per day online, with a lot of that across multiple devices. By having a website you have a presence, so new customers can start to find you, whilst existing customers can continue to be kept updated.
If you offer engaging content and build your website properly, then you can even utilise Search engine optimisation (SEO) to start ranking well on Google, helping to drive lots of free traffic & engaged users to your site and increase your sales. If you can get your website optimised & ranking highly then you can even start to compete with big-name brands. Something previously unthinkable without a big marketing budget.
Improved market research using data
Setting up Google Analytics onto your website helps to understand how users interact with your site. You can gain insights such as :
- Where are they from
- What pages & content are they most interested in
- How have they found my website
- What are their interests & demographics
Knowing all this data helps to build a marketing plan & create content that speaks to these people or change elements that are not working. Rather than go in blind with new content or services, you can use this data to help build a strategy that is proven to work rather than guessing blindly
You can also use a website to easily capture email addresses through a contact form or newsletter offering. It can be very hard to get solid email addresses but by creating good engaging content you can encourage users to leave their email addresses. This can then be used to help build a database you can use for email marketing or lead generation, to turn these into customers, or updating existing customers with new products & services.
Saving money on printing & other materials
Rather than having to design & print lots of different marketing materials, your website can act as a real-time catalogue of services that will automatically be visible to all your customers.
If you want to add or update new content, you can generally make changes in minutes and have these live, either by yourself or your website design agency, rather than having to wait for any graphics design & printing and then having to send these out to your customers. What used to take weeks can now be done in minutes!
Gain a competitive advantage
Most people browse a few websites before purchasing. Having no website risks losing customers to your competitors. Having a good website helps you get ahead of the competition.
You can also visit your direct competitors’ websites to understand their layout, content, and products & services to understand where you need to differentiate or push more heavily.
Rather than having to field lots of emails and calls from customers about your products and services, you can have content on your website available 24/7 that answers all these. This helps to free up your time better spend improving productivity & generating more sales
Educate your customers
You can add lots of free advice about your products and services. Explain this content clearly so that any customers unsure can read and understand. By offering good educational content, this helps to engage customers and reassure them about your brand, which in turn can help drive visitors into customers
Expand your reach & market
A website helps take your physical bricks and mortar presence into a worldwide presence in an instant. Suddenly you are now open for business 24/7 365 days a year and you are no longer limited to customers having to travel to your store.
If you offer a service then you can capture new customers by increasing your presence in new markets, all at a minimal investment.
Offers two-way communication
Customers can easily get in touch to enquire about your services, or offer any feedback. This can help to understand what areas to focus on, or where to expand to. This market research is invaluable to help grow your business
Improve customer service
As customers can find & get in touch with you easily, then you can help to deal with any of their enquiries. This can be coupled with a ‘Frequently asked questions’ to improve your customer service and reassure them.
Dealing with customer enquiries, and adding content to your site based on this, really helps to build your brand credibility. This can in turn help to capture new customers, by gaining recommendations or referrals
We are living in the age of now, where consumers want the information they need immediately. Having your website answer all these questions whilst leaving an option to get in touch, will help to address all of these for your customers.
Social media reach is diminishing
Whilst most companies have a presence on Facebook, updating hours, offers, and posting, unfortunately social media’s power is falling. From 2017 to 2018, there were 50 million fewer hours spent on Facebook, and these numbers are continuing to fall.
Whilst you may have a page and update this, every other company does the same so it’s harder to stand out. Furthermore, Facebook constantly change their algorithms so it’s harder to even be found. Often the only new likes and visits will be from existing customers and it can be costly to advertise on Facebook to capture new users.
Facebook is also not for every business. Whilst it works well in the entertainment & food industry; sectors that have a lot of fast-moving content, traditional businesses find this quite hard to engage with their customers. If you offer a service such as Insurance, then it’s going to be very hard to write enough content at enough frequency to be prominent in your customers feed.
It’s a solid marketing investment that can drive solid returns
Websites can be built for free or you can spend thousands. Free services often have very limited options; No domain name, limited content, and even advertising on your website that can’t be removed.
Doing it all yourself means you have to manage:
- Domain name purchase & renewal: your brand name.com, often on a yearly renewal
- Web Hosting; Storing your website so it is visible, generally payable monthly
- Design: the website layout, either using free templates, paying for one, or paying for a website builder
- Plugins & extensions: Elements such as secure connections, needed for e-commerce, can help drive the cost up
Managing all this together can get complex, but a website design agency can manage this all for you. They can take your content and images, plus your preferred design and set this up to run for a standard cost.
However you choose to do it, see the cost involved as an establishing fee for a Global marketing campaign. You are taking your business and making this visible to a whole new audience. Very often, just getting even one or two new customers from your website will mean it’s paid for itself already.
Overall there’s lots of positive reasons for having a website as a small business, and very few negative ones. By establishing a visible presence online you can keep existing customers updated as well as potentially capture a lot of new ones.
If you’d like to learn more about how Dijify can help create your small business website, and help get more customers then why not get in touch today