Posted: October 23, 2018
By: Janet A. Johnson
In my work with clients to start-up and grow their businesses, I find that some struggle with the question of whether or not they really need a website. In fact, a Telstra research supports my experience and reveals the following:
So how do we close this gap? By showing small business owners the value of having a website, in terms of ROI, and assuring them that they don’t have to carry the burden of a website build on their own. In this article, I will discuss some of the fundamental reasons ‘WHY’ entrepreneurs and small business owners need a website to survive in today’s technology-driven society.
First, let’s establish that having a website is not just about selling your goods and services. It’s also about creating an online presence that will provide an enabling platform for improved customer services, as well as better means for every transaction. Here are 9 fundamentals on why a website is a vital necessity for every business, along with their limitless expectations and opportunities.
If this were the only reason on the list, it would be enough. Thanks to technology, we now have a culture where more people are opting to shop online because of easy access. This also saves time. Whether it’s to have their meals delivered by UberEats, groceries by Instacart or having Amazon deliver just about anything right at their doorstep, the reality of our technology-driven society is here to stay. As a result, most potential buyers now expect to find any and everything online.
Now that we have established that customers expect brands to have a website, let’s understand that our competitors have already filled this gap. They have websites! They realize that consumers typically start their buying journey with research and/or recommendations from peers and social network connections. If you intend to compete, this is another reason why you need a website. What better way to position your brand for consideration than to be present, online 24/7. Otherwise, you’re giving the competition an edge and consumers a reason to buy from another brand.
As potential buyers, we are often swayed by third-party experience and influence. In fact, a survey conducted by Dimensional Research indicates that 90% of consumers claim that online reviews influence their buying decisions. Since potential buyers are already looking for you online, your website offers you the opportunity to also include customer testimonials. What a great way to impress potential buyers!
If you haven’t realized that it’s difficult to control what others say about you or your brand on social media channels, let me awaken you to the idea. To tackle this, use tools that allow you to “listen” to what is being said about you or your brand on social media. You can then choose how to address them, but it’s also important to find a way to control your brand narrative. This will help to counteract what you may not be able to readily control.
An effective way to control your brand narrative begins with influencing public perception by creating your own story via a business website. This will help you get your message, mission, and personality in front of your target audience faster than print ads or snail mail brochures. It also lends itself to showcasing your brand authenticity. In addition, it’s good to include your social icons linking to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other networking platforms. This helps others to easily connect with and share your content for others to see.
Here’s a big bonus: Use your website as a marketing tool and position your company to reach thousands more of potential customers for less than you would spend mailing brochures by traditional mail. Combining your website with marketing tools, such as Blogging, SEO, Email Marketing, Landing Pages, Calls-to-Action, Analytics, Social Media, Lead Management and Marketing Automation are opportunities you should not ignore. They are designed to help you reach new customers and generate repeat business. See Easy Search Marketing Best Practices and Selling Authenticity: Personalizing Your Brand for quick tips on how to position your online brand.
Nobody wants to work at 3 a.m., but some people like to shop then. Having a business website or eCommerce store means that you can sell products or services all the time — not simply between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
An online business can mean a dramatic boost in sales, especially when you factor in additional customers who are not restricted by geography. Your online presence also supports marketing campaigns, customer service, client relationship building, brand recognition, and almost every other element of the revenue stream.
Consider this: 81 percent of consumers perform online research before making a purchase. That means they go to Google and type in one or more keywords, like “best leather shoes” or, if they know what they want, “handcrafted Italian leather women’s shoes in Los Angeles.”
If you don’t have a website for your business, the chances of showing up on the search engine results page (SERP) are zero. But if you have a site, you can optimize it for search engines, thereby increasing your chances of appearing at the top of Google’s results and getting more visibility with potential customers. Long-tail keywords, Meta descriptions, and titles are just some of the things you can customize on your site to improve your search engine optimization (SEO).
In addition to providing products and services, your website can be used as a resource center by providing tools that benefit your customers or employees. This can take the form of informational or training videos and other instructional materials to help them learn everything they need to know in varied subject areas.
Finally, not only can you display your products or outline your services in detail with beautiful images, but you can provide short video tutorials or downloadable PDF instructions to give hesitant customers no reason to go elsewhere to purchase.
So, unless you are not interested in growing your brand, you need to have a website. With the varied options available today, building a business website or e-commerce store is just at your fingertips so there’s really no excuse to keep putting it off… Besides, are you willing to give up one of the best means of free advertising?
Hi, I am Janet A Johnson a Management Consultant and Life Coach with over 15 years strategic program/project management and business management experience. I am the owner of StrategyNook LLC, a consultancy agency specializing in strategic project management, business management, web development, branding, internet/social media marketing, life coaching and stress management. Schedule your free consultation today and let's talk strategy and customized solutions.
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