Like so many small business owners, the concept of a website seems to be more of a luxury rather than a necessity. In today's hi-tech world, that way of thinking couldn't be further from the truth. With customers searching the internet more than 85% more than any other traditional reference materials, having a good web presence has never been more crucial for business owners.
With today's virtual world, 9 times out of 10 the first impression your customer will get of you and your company will come from the internet. Even with a professional, eye-catching advertisement or offering the best specials around, potential customers will still search the internet to find out more about your company before making a decision. Without a website, most customers question the legitimacy of businesses and are more likely to search for your competitors who do have obtainable information on the web. To make sure you don't lose potential clients and customers, be sure to create a stunning website that clearly conveys your businesses products and/or services for your visitors that will compete with your direct competition. Remember, your website is your first impression and you only get one!
As a business owner, we all know there are several forms of advertising you can chose from to reach your target audience that can range from $500 a month to several thousand dollars a month to maintain, but inevitably your potential customer will always end up at your website for more information. A properly functioning and maintained website can also be your front-line of advertising by coming up on all of the major search engines when visitors are looking for your specific industry. When this occurs, it has the potential to save the business owner several thousands in advertising costs and drive large amounts of traffic straight to your business.
Te best thing about have a well maintained website, is the ability to keep your potential and existing customers up to date with all of your latest products and services, as well as deals and specials. Think of your website as a virtual newsletter/catalogue that your visitors can access at their will. Keeping your website visitors up to date can be the best way to existing customers returning for repeat business.
In the past, before websites were so popular, potential customers followed a certain pattern to make informed choices about a company they were interested in... search advertisements, call the company to get more information, repeat and make their decision. This process could prove to be extremely time consuming for businesses, spending large amounts of time talking with callers, trying to answer the questions they may have. With a company website, all of your potential customers questions can be answered in one place including services offered, pricing, hours of operation and more. By this, a business saves hours of phone time and can focus on more important aspects of operations.
When potential customers are looking for a knowledgeable and reliable company to use, nothing helps the decision making process like a showcase of prior work or services you have done in the past. Like the saying goes, "pictures are worth a thousand words" and nothing eases a potential customers mind like a portfolio that they can view to get a better idea of the type of business you are. "Before and After" pictures are a prime example of this feature that provides a great sense of confidence in a potential customers choice.
With the ease of information today, a main source of decision making influence comes from past customer testimonials. Not only do potential customers look for a legitimate looking company via their web presence, but they also highly value the experiences of your past customers as well. Your website gives you the ability to display what you customers have said about your products or services as well as their experience with dealing with your company. This will also give your potential customers a sense of ease if they see that your past customers have had a great experience with you.
So you have worked hard to build your business and you have steady flow of customers that come to your location and purchase from you, but what are you doing to reach the percentage of the population that make the majority of purchases online? In a recent study, it was discovered that nearly 70% percent of adults in the U.S. make at least one purchase online a month, while 33% of adults make at at least one purchase a week." That means, having a product based business and not having the ability for customers to purchase online is costing you a large amount of income. Providing an eCommerce system to your customers will give you the opportunity to expand your reach and increase sales.
An integral part of any business is the customer service it provides to its customers. With your website, a large portion of your customer service can be taken care of at the click of a mouse. A comprehensive FAQ page has the ability to answer many repetitive questions your customers may have, contact forms give your customer an alternative method to contact you with questions and a live chat directly on your website adds a perfect solution to your customer service repertoire. These features will greatly increase your customers experience and increase your chances of repeat business.
While we could probably make a list a mile long about the advantages of a properly built and maintained website, these are the key things we could think of. Just remember, while having a website is a plus for any business, we can't stress enough the importance of maintaining that website to make sure it is performing properly to ensure you are getting the best return on your investment. Just think of your website like your vehicle. If your vehicle is not properly maintained, it will begin to preform poorly and eventually stop working at all.
Make sure to check out our blog on how to properly maintain your website to keep it performing properly.