There are a whole host of reasons for why you haven’t got around to creating a website for your business, from a lack of digital confidence to the perceived ‘expensive’ cost of a great looking website. However, what if a great website is the one thing that is holding your business back from reaching that next level?
Think about it, how often do you use the internet and search engines to look for something? Be it a local restaurant when you are exploring a new town/city or a local plumber to help in an emergency. If you are doing it, then there’s a high possibility that a whole load of your potential customers are doing the same – so make sure you’re there to introduce them to your business!
In this article, we outline the key reasons why small businesses can benefit from having a website.
Build Trust and Credibility Around Your Brand
Building a brand around your business is not always as easy as it initially seems. Obviously, the main component of a brand is a great service or product, there is no substitute for that. However, there are many things that you can do around your business to help build a positive brand image and nurture your relationship with customers.
A website is a great tool to help you build trust and engage with your customers, providing them with more value for their money. Looks really do go a long way, and with a professional well-designed website customers will immediately begin to trust that you are a legitimate business (this is especially important for e-commerce businesses).
Regular blog posts are incredible for your website’s SEO, but the creation of great content will also keep your customers engaged with your brand. In addition, you can provide them with extra value through posts that promote the use of your product/service or simply educate them on how to get the most out of what they’ve got.
For example, if you sold a food/drink product, you could post exciting recipes incorporating your product; or if you were a garage, you could give your readers top tips on how to look after their car tires.
All of this works to grow the relationship between your customers and your business, increasing brand trust and affinity – which ultimately leads to customer retention.
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SOCIAL MEDIA IS ENOUGH, RIGHT?
The first pit stop for any small business when they take the step to go online is to build social media accounts across different platforms.
The biggest risk with relying on social media channels as your only form of online advertising is the lack of control over platform changes. Facebook is a prime example of a platform that changes its news feed algorithm regularly, the latest 5 years of which has led to an overall decline of business page post visibility. They state the changes are to move Facebook back to a more ‘Community’ based approach with more posts from family and friends visible than businesses. However, many critics have stated that they believe the move was to force businesses who wanted to be seen using sponsored content or paid boosts.
The advantage of a website in this sense is that you are always in control of the content and its direction. Of course, Google algorithms change and ranking factors move now and again, but overall if a user comes to your website, you decide what they see and you have complete control over the content they see. The beauty of owning your own business is that you don’t have anyone telling you what to do, so why let a social media platform control your message?
Just as platform algorithms change, so do trends and what platforms people use. The rise of Instagram as a visual media platform has been incredible for businesses that produce great graphics or imagery to connect with potential customers.
As quickly as they come, platforms also can soon disappear. Remember the good old days of MySpace, Bebo or MSN? Again relying on a platform that you have no control over to engage with your customers can sometimes be a ticking time bomb. On the other hand, a great website can exist as an online base for your business, always in the same place for your customers to find you.
The Exponential Potential
The reason why 99% of businesses go online is to increase their customer base, it is as simple as that. Even by just creating social media profiles for your business, your goal is to reach new potential customers and create awareness. So why just stop at social media profiles? Yes, they’re free and a great start to your digital presence, but if you are serious about building your business beyond your existing customer base then you need to be where they are looking!
When was the last time you searched on Facebook for something you needed doing like a landscaper for your garden, a plumber for your bathroom or a new gadget? It is more likely that you are in the 81% of people who perform at least one research-related browse on Google before you make a large purchase decision; or the 61% of online users who research products online before they buy.
The old saying ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it’ is true in this sense, and having a well-optimised website ranking on Google gives you the chance to be that search result that users go to when making their buying decision.
- Professional websites can help provide so much more value to your existing client base through engaging content, whilst also drawing in new customers and building relationships.
- Social media platforms can change algorithms or updates that can deter users from ever returning overnight. Don’t get us wrong, they are an incredible tool to market and engage with customers, but make sure a professional website is always there if your customers ever need you.
- Moving your business online is all about reaching new clients. Make sure you are in the places that they are looking during their buying decision.