7. A WEBSITE SAVES YOU TIME
Most (if not all) businesses, at some point during a sale, must provide information to their customers, which takes time. It does not matter whether it is in person, over the phone, in a brochure or through emails. By having an online catalogue, you can provide vast amounts of information about your products and services, thereby saving time in the long term. And what is time? Time is money!
How can this happen? Let’s look at some possibilities:
- Automatic emails to everyone who enters their address on your site.
- Social media autoresponders
- Scheduled social media posts
- Online stock—automatically updates
- Contact forms on your site
On top of this, each individual business may have additional ways it can automate some of its work.
Another way to maximise this is with a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) page.
I bet, with each client, the majority of the questions you are asked are the same each time, right?
Well I can’t guarantee that will stop, but we might be able to reduce them.
With a FAQ page on your website, you can put the answers to these repeated questions online. Some of your customers will be able to get the answers there (hopefully before they ask you). This might even help create more business, as some people might not want to put in the effort to call your company, but are willing to read your website.
8. A WEBSITE IMPROVES CUSTOMER SERVICE
Customer retention is just as important as getting new customers—even more so if you include the referrals that they bring. Through websites and the Internet, business nowadays are able to provide more effective customer support. This means increased customer satisfaction and profitability.
Many people find it easier to talk through websites rather than calling you or speaking face to face.
A broad range of marketing tools is available to help you develop and strengthen your relationships with both current and prospective clients. One example is that your website can store information from your visitors, such as their birthdays/anniversaries, etc. When these special events occur, you can use this to build your relationship with and/or market to them.
People often say that many still prefer to do business with people they “know.” While I would agree that this helps, it is very easy to give your website a more personal touch and make people more likely to want to do business with you.
Some things you can try:
- A video message from you
- Informative videos
- A picture of you
- A strong social media presence
9) YOU CAN OVERTAKE THE COMPETITION
While you’re contemplating whether or not you should get a website, your competitors are usually doing so, thereby growing stronger and attracting business that should have been yours!
If you are in direct competition for a contract with another business that has a website that markets well, creates trust and has a clear call to action, that business has an advantage over you.
By having a good website, you will be playing on a level field with your competitors and will be able to get ahead of any companies that don’t have a website or that have a poor, outdated website.
eCommerce spending is increasing every year, making it more important that you do not fall behind. A study taken at the end of 2014 found that 71% of companies planned to increase their digital marketing budgets in 2015 by an average of 27%. Let’s make sure you aren’t being left behind.
10) A WEBSITE PROVIDES ADDITIONAL AVENUES FOR SALES
Through eCommerce websites, the Internet can provide a perfect avenue for securing sales without people having to travel to your store or office. Depending on your business and target market, websites can offer the most cost effective means of securing that business, both local and farther afield.
You are effectively opening the door to a much broader spectrum of people. For example, you run a company that sells “flower vases” in Liverpool. Your only clients are people in the local vicinity, either living in or visiting Liverpool. However, you know that your products are good enough to attract people all over the UK.
You take your business online with an eCommerce website and all of a sudden you can advertise and sell to millions of new people.
This point is really obvious, but we’ll say it anyway: There’s absolutely no way that a website will cause a decline in sales (as long as you don’t have a messy, “homemade” website). There isn’t really much risk in getting a website for your business; either you stay as you were or you more than likely grow.
It doesn’t even must be an online store; simply giving visitors plenty of helpful information in a simple and personal manner will create a connection that may help build more of an attraction and rapport with a prospective client. The more you give to visitors, the more confident potential customers will feel in making a purchase.
11) YOUR CUSTOMERS EXPECT IT
The Internet has become such a tremendous influence in people’s lives in terms of solving problems and fulfilling needs that many people, especially the younger generation, use it for literally everything.
I know I personally look online for every holiday I go on. I look for where to eat and what to do, seek answers to questions, conduct research…everything.
The Internet has replaced the Yellow Pages; people often start their search online with the older generations, such as the Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation, getting involved. This allows people to quickly investigate and compare products and services before setting foot in a store or having to speak to anyone at a business. An online presence allows your business to become part of that research and to have a chance with that prospect as opposed to being disregarded.
That said, make sure you include a phone number on your website. Customers might not use it, but it’s always comforting to know that there’s a person you can talk to if a problem arises.
Add your web address to your stationery, business cards and any other advertisements, and you’ll have visitors knowing exactly where to go for answers to their questions and where to send their friends for great service.
12) YOUR PHYSICAL PRESENCE COULD BE ANY LOCATION
One thing that really attracts many people, myself included, is a website, and even more so for a business that is solely online. You are able to do business from any part of the world. Your physical location doesn’t must be strict and confined to one place.
How does a weekend away sound? While you’re gone, your website is still generating leads and money for you.
13) YOU CAN CONDUCT RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS
Through your website you have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of your clients and also get feedback so that you can continuously improve your service or product.
You can do this by asking for feedback—organizing debates and polls on your website to gather information and thoughts from your customers and clients, then analyzing that data to carry out improvements or change your marketing strategy.
One example is getting people to write their email addresses on a piece of paper and handing them in at your store; this would be difficult and slightly strange. On the other hand, it’s common practise online to get people to type their email addresses into a box, especially when they’re getting something in return, such as a newsletter, a special report or an eBook. Once you have an email address, you have another way to reach your potential customer.
Then you have tools such as Google Analytics. Using this, you can see what percentage of your viewers buy something, how long they stay on the site and who signs up for email lists and newsletters. If you are looking to progress further, you can purchase other tools, such as Moz, to really maximise your analytics/research. You can then enhance your site based on this analysis. You’ll really take your business to the next level.
14) YOU CAN GATHER CONTACT INFORMATION
One of the key points for many websites is to gather visitors’ information in order to market to them in the future. I will be discussing different ways to do this later in this book.
However, having a website in general increases your chances of this, as your site should contain web forms (and links) through which visitors can email you with any enquiries or requests for information. This is just one fast and effective form of communication that enables you to communicate very efficiently with potential customers.
Using the contact information you get from your website, you can send offers/information to all the people in your database automatically!
Unlike old-school newsletters which are expensive and time consuming, you can use your website to quickly and consistently build relationships with your prospects and clients, directly leading to more sales.
Referrals and word of mouth are still extremely important for any business, and always will be one of the best ways for small businesses to get new clients. If your business sees this a lot, why not consider adding a “refer a friend” link to your site that will allow your current clients (or visitors) to send your link to a friend who may be interested in your services. This will increase the number of your referrals and will make it easy for people to refer business to you.
A website is a cost-effective marketing tool with a ONE-TIME fee, and it continues to pay you back. It expands your customer base, enhances your advertising and marketing efforts, and gives your business a mark of credibility.
When you consider the continual growth in numbers of Internet users and companies on the Internet, some of which may be your competitors, it will cost you to NOT have a website.