Contributed by Catherine Van Vonno
Your work mainly consists of talking to your contacts through email and social media. You subscribe to webinars discussing online marketing strategies for small businesses. Now, you’re mulling over the idea of having your own website.
Yet, you always seem to grapple with questions: Is it worth it? Is it even necessary? Will a website really give a boost to my business?
It’s easy to think that you can operate your company without a website since there are social media platforms to advance your brand. You can sign up to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for free and reach your audience more directly.
Advertising yourself is much more than that though. If you want to know what else a company website can bring to the table, here are 10 ways a website can boost your small business:
Click on the links below to jump to the associated section
1. It strengthens business credibility.
Despite social media’s commercial influence, 84% of consumers feel more secure doing business with companies that have their own websites. The same report also revealed that 65% of customers trust messages coming from a business email address compared to messages sent through a generic email account.
2. It helps people find your business.
Remember when you grab a phonebook to find a service provider? Now, people grab their smartphones, tap on Google, and search for what they’re looking for using a string of words.
Google My Business helps local companies get online visibility so people can locate them. Think about it this way: if you don’t have a website, you’re not listed in this virtual phonebook.
3. It collects customer information.
As a small company, you need all the opportunities you can get to expand your business. People may Like your posts or send you DMs (direct messages), but they are unlikely to leave their email address – unless you explicitly ask them to. If you have a website, you can set it up so that customers can type in their email addresses and subscribe to receive your emails.
4. It serves as your virtual billboard.
You don’t have to shell out hundreds of bucks to get your products displayed on billboards if you have a website. Whether you are introducing new items, announcing sales, or inviting people to an event, your website is your virtual billboard that you can also link to your social media posts and promotional emails.
5. It’s a flexible advertising platform.
If you’ve ever had to pay for printed advertising materials, you know how much costly it can get. You also have to be meticulous and let the printing press know exactly what you need. One miscalculated decision could have disastrous results that you can’t just delete and revise. If you have a website, you can post as much information as you need, revise the design anytime you see fit, and introduce marketing campaigns any way you want.
Mistakes like this happen more often than you think
6. It lets you control the narrative.
Social networking sites are teeming with trolls and disgruntled customers who won’t hesitate to post nasty feedback whether verified or not. Even if you have settled these issues, a nasty comment can quickly go viral and damage your reputation. If you have a website, you can influence the public’s perception of your business. It upholds your virtual image and lets people get to know your company through your published content.
7. It is expected by your customers.
Thanks to smartphones and social media, people are almost always online. This constant connectivity has people thinking that any company worth their while should also be visible online. Without a website, people would doubt if you’re a legitimate company to do business with.
8. It can lead customers to your physical store.
Webrooming is a marketing concept wherein customers research a business or a product before they purchase it from the company’s physical outlet. Thanks to the fast, substantial search results generated by Google, people are more comfortable finding answers online than asking a store’s personnel. If you have a website, you tip the scales in your favour so that these prospects would turn into customers.
9. It provides a resource centre for your personnel.
Your staff will have questions about your business time and time again. Sometimes these will come from customers, and sometimes they’ll just be curious. It’s not possible for you to always be there and provide answers when they need to ask about products, pricing, or terms and conditions. If you have a website, you can provide instructional materials for both your staff and customers for a smoother business operation. Having FAQs on your site is one of the simplest and most powerful marketing tools out there.
10. It gives you an advantage over rival companies.
Not all small companies have their own websites. Some just settle with the online presence that Facebook and Instagram provide. If you want to get ahead of the curve, you must go beyond social media and have your own niche online. Google would put you on top of the list of local searches when people come looking for your service.
Next: Choosing A Web Host