Even today, 40% – 45% of small/local businesses don’t have a website at all, let alone one that has a competitive online presence.
We had such a great response to our first post: How Much Does It Cost To Build A Website For A Small Business? We have decided to create a more localised article specifically targeting local businesses.
Here are some of the benefits you might not have thought about:
Create a “Long-Lasting” First Impression
Often when local customers are looking for a “local” business to either assist them with something or even a local shop. A well-made, inviting and engaging website results in leads either by phone or email if you are a professional and you either do not have a website or it is not as professional as you are, you will be overlooked by the market. Everything about your small business is reparenting you and what you can provide. You need to treat it as a BRAND.
Look "Ready for Business"
A professional website can make a start-up business look and perform like one of the big boys. When your site appears near the top of the search results page, because your content & images sparkle and your layout & navigation workflow is engaging, you’ll know when your website is up to scratch when you are able to compete with larger and older sites in your market niche.
Easy Access to New Customers
As a local business, you probably have a loyal existing customer base, with a website those loyal customers can refer your site to their friends and relatives using only your web address and they can instantly see what you offer and if you are professional enough to go ahead with, remember first impressions are everything. Also, random or organic visitors who come to your site via search engines will find you and stay with you if they find what they are looking for. Search engines are powerful tools and search engine optimisation tools are an equal opportunity way to be found. See our SEO Packages.
Encourage Two-Way Communication
By having chat tools on your website customers can quickly and easily contact you with questions without even sending an email or filling in the contact form, some chat programs let you be proactive as they let you know if customers are on your website so you can approach them to see if they need help, almost like they are in store. You can also set up forms and surveys on your website that will allow your customers to send feedback and opinions so you can improve your service.
Peek Into What You Customers Are Doing On Your Website
Just like when customers are in-store and they are browsing, you can get a feel of what they are doing and maybe why they are not buying your products or services. Well, there is software out there that does the same thing. We use HotJar, it’s fantastic and gives insight into how your potential customers are engaging with your website and more importantly identify any parts of your website that is not optimised correctly and may need a tweak to get more customers buying. Hotjar can give you video recordings of the visitor’s actions on the website and also heatmaps which show you hot spots on your website where visitors have clicked and moved their mouse to.
Reviewing Your Analytics
As part of our SEO Packages, we review the analytics provided by Google Analytics and other tools to monitor, amend and track visitor information and how they are engaging with the website and through search engines, also specifically targeting local area’s is vital to getting the right demographic onto your website. If you want to do this yourself then by adding an analytics tool like Google Analytics, you’ll have a powerful tool that will inform you of your visitors, their locations and demographics and so much more. Without a website, you will not be able to track this information.
Expand Your Visibility
Let’s face it if you are reading this you probably aren’t a big brand store or a nationally known brand. But even if you are a start-up or small business, let’s face it you’ll gain more visibility on the Internet with a website than without one FACT. The main reason for this is because millions of people are searching the Internet at any one time and you might be the one business that has what they are looking for. Don’t miss this party.
Improve Your Advertising Effectiveness
Every piece of promotional material that you put out there should have your website address on it to show customers that you are a “proper” company and it will help you gain additional exposure and encourage visitors to check your website out for more information and even place orders when your premises is closed. By distributing your website address you are expanding your reach and offering more than one promotional avenue to your audience.
There was a time when small business owners only had access to a website that was best seen on a desktop. If you wanted a mobile website, you’d have to recreate the website in a mobile format or create an app. But now its standard practice to make websites responsive. Responsive websites allow your information to be seen on a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone. The site will “shrink” intelligently so all your information can be read clearly. Always require responsive design when having your website built. All of the websites we create are responsive and we find that at least half of all visitors come from a mobile device! That’s a staggering percentage, if your website is not mobile-friendly then you are losing out in shed load of customers.
Easy to Use and Always Up to Date
If maintained and created properly your website should always be kept up to date and “current”. If your website is set up properly even the busiest business owner can make changes and edit easily from any device. Don’t pay a programmer every time you need a change to your website, have them set it up properly so you can make the changes, this way never again will you have outdated pricing information on your website for your customers to challenge you on.
Expand Your Market
Local businesses generally have a small client base, they serve a particular area, however, with a well-crafted and optimised website you can break through the geographical barriers and become accessible from anywhere in the world. Selling products online has become cheaper and easier for you and your customers.
Extend Your Local Reach
By extending the local reach to customers across the globe, your business will be able to take orders 24/7 365 days/year. Imagine sleeping and making money at the same time! You can provide your customers with all the information they need to make informed decisions. Local search has been a high priority for Google in the last few years and they have created tools to help you market your business to desktop and mobile visitors alike.
When You Change Locations
As your website is bringing in more customers you may need a bigger store or warehouse, and if you move premises customers can still find you because your main marketing tool can be updated, and customers can easily access it. Your website is flexible and if your search engine optimisation (SEO) is done properly your business will appear to online visitors who search for you.
Save Money, Reduce Environment Impact by not Printing and Distributing content.
A website can act as your online brochure or store that can be changed or updated at any time. If you use a content management system (CMS) you can make changes quickly and at no charge. Its fiddly and costly to have material printed and you need to constantly be doing it to keep customers up to date with your product, let alone bad for the environment. With a flexible website, you can add new content at no cost and the customer can access at any time, over and over again.
Easy To Build An Email Marketing List
By adding subscriber and sign-up forms to your website, you will be able to automate the collection of email addresses to add to your email marketing list (ensure they have given you consent to email them of course). Having well-written and optimised content will convert visitors into leads and even buyers. Legitimate email addresses can be hard to come by, but you can make it easier for visitors to sign up because they are interested in what you have to say.
Own Your Internet Brand Identity
Having a domain name (www.yourcompaname.com) establishes strong online brand identity. Couple that up with a personalised email address for the company, yourself and your employees. This serves to build your brand and look professional.
Having a website will increase your company’s productivity because less time is spent explaining product or service details to customers because all this information should be made available on your website so customers can view it 24 hours a day. This self-serve opportunity will give you more time to engage with your customer and better serve them.
Educate Your Customers
Your website can offer free advice about your products and services. This information can be delivered in a well thought out and consistent way so all customers get the same information any time they want it. Some visitors might take a quick glance and place their order quickly while others might review and analyse every inch of your product before they make a purchase. By adding loads of quality information to your pages and products you can satisfy both the customer and SEO.
Promote & Sell Products & Services
You should provide professional photos and detailed descriptions of your products or services. Explain to your customers why your products or services are superior to the competition. Explain to visitors how your products or services can benefit them in their personal or professional lives. Updating your products/services periodically you’ll keep on top of the search results and pique the interest of your customers as new products become available.
Promote Your Brick and Mortar Footprint
Displaying crucial information on your website that’s available 24/7 means that mobile users can find your premises using their mobile phone. Today, the majority (60%+) of searches are now done by mobile devices vs. desktops. This means that customers won’t be looking you up at home, they’ll be searching for you on the road.
Use Specific Pages as Training Aids or Sales Tools
If you have spent time creating great content on your website there’s no need to produce static or printed material. You can use product information pages to educate or train staff, suppliers and customers. Printed material old fashioned, creates waste, bad for the environment and eventually go out of date BUT your website is ever fresh and up to date (assuming you keep it that way).
Great Tool for Finding New Employees
Recruitment agencies are often expensive and even posting a job on sites like Reed or Indeed can also be costly, so with your own website you can advertise the roles available and it also gives the candidate somewhere to read up on what you do and the services/products you offer. So, when you ask that dreaded question in the interview “So, what do you know about us?” they have half a chance at answering it properly because your business is online.
Improve Customer Service
Perhaps the most important benefit of having a small business website is to improve your customer service. Information requests can be processed immediately and electronically. Special deals and bonus buys can be positioned on the site and broadcast through email and text messages. Customer reviews and concerns can be gathered online, and action can be quickly taken.
Bottom line: If you don’t have a website, your company is at a huge disadvantage.
We know you are busy running a business, we know you are not digital marketing experts, We Can Help!
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