According to the March 2013 MYOB Business Monitor (a study of over 1000 Australian SMEs), only 38% of small to medium businesses have a website. Is your business one of them? And if you don’t have a website, are you missing out on sales as a result?
In today’s digital age, businesses need a relevant, effective and up-to-date website. Not just because “everyone has one”, but because websites are fast becoming central to business and marketing. Statistics show that 80% of all sales are influenced by people researching online. Customers are researching, and their purchasing decisions are being influenced, on their computer, tablet and mobile phone screens.
Here are 5 reasons why I believe each small business should have a website:
(1) A website makes it easy for people to find your business, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
With so many people conducting research online before buying or booking offline, your business is potentially losing customers by not having a strong website and online presence. A well-designed and executed website acts as a sales tool that can be accessed anytime. With correct Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and fresh, relevant content, you have a much greater chance of being found during the search. And your contact details are right there for customers to get in touch – in the way they prefer, whether that be by phone, email or social media.
(2) A website makes it easy for your customers to refer their friends to your business.
Last week I jumped on social media and asked my friends for recommendations for a conveyancing solicitor. While one company was already top of mind due to their strong radio advertising, I was more interested to hear of recommendations from friends who had enjoyed a good experience with a solicitor. And I wasn’t let down. Eight friends came back to me with recommendations.
While they didn’t provide actual links to the companies’ websites, they did provide the business names. All I had to do was head to Google and find the websites. Of the 8 recommendations, two businesses didn’t have websites, and as a result I didn’t consider them at all. I didn’t have time to phone each one, and the businesses with websites communicated about their business (either positively or not-so-positively) through the content and design of their site. From there I was able to make a decision and contact my chosen option.
If your business has happy customers, make the most of their goodwill by making it easy for them to recommend your business.
(3) A website gives you your own online “real estate” to deliver information to your customers and potential customers.
With the popularity of social media, some people feel that a website isn’t necessary because your business can have its own Facebook Page or other online presence. While social media provides great opportunities for small businesses, it doesn’t come without risk. You do not own the social media platform, and as a result your company’s online presence can be impacted by a simple change of terms and conditions.
Your website is your own real estate. You have complete control over the design, the content and the way it is all portrayed. You can communicate your own personality. You can populate your site with as much content as you like, so that customers can spend time discovering more about your products and services if they wish.
(4) Your website acts as the “mothership” for your online activity.
Your business might have a Facebook page, an Instagram account and a LinkedIn company presence. You might tweet, pin and +1. And this activity can help build your brand’s presence and profile among your target audience. But your own website can draw together all of these online activities to one central point. You can drive traffic to your website from your social media profiles, and your website can let your customers and potential customers know the best ways to stay in touch via social media. A website pulls it all together to a cohesive online presence.
(5) Your website is an important sales tool, offering relevant, up-to-date information to customers.
Your website can let customers and potential customers how you can solve their problem or challenge. The content of your site can address their concerns and answer their questions. It can help overcome the obstacles to them buying from you. You can show examples of your product or service in action, share galleries of images and demonstrate the best way to get great results. You can go into great detail in a way that isn’t easy in traditional advertising or marketing techniques. You can position yourself as an authority in your industry and build trust with your customers by sharing your knowledge and expertise. Your potential customers can leave your website confident about what you offer and how it can help them.
With today’s technologies and website options, an effective, easily updated website is within reach of every small business. Even with a modest budget you can create a strong online presence that can help drive your business and attract new customers.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions about a small business website.