Some small business owners think they don’t need a website for their business. Many other business owners know having a website is important, but aren’t 100% sure why. We’re going to look at some of the biggest ways a business can benefit from their website.
1. Get Found By More People
This one may seem obvious. However, there are still people who have plenty of reasons they think their business doesn’t need a website. They may believe they should wait or just use social media platforms.
However, without an actual website, you’ll never maximize your online exposure. Some owners know this, but they think the website will cost so much money that it’s still not worth it. This is never really the case, because there are so many options at different price points.
Beyond cost, and more importantly, the reality is that most other businesses are online and most customers expect businesses to be online. Having a website is just a cost of doing business at this point.
It’s a lot like accepting credit cards. You can say you’ll only accept cash, but you’ll lose a lot of customers. Would you go to a gas station that only takes cash? Most people would not.
Similarly, few people look for a doctor in the yellow pages or read a physical newspaper to find about new restaurants. People find these things, and everything else, online. So, if you want to benefit from all of the exposure available online, you first need a website.
2. Connect Earlier in the Buying Process
One growing way to attract more customers is to find them earlier in the buying process. This normally means marketing to them when they’re researching. Buyers use the Internet first when shopping. This provides a huge opportunity for you to leverage your small business’ website.
That isn’t just about ecommerce either. Even buyers who don’t buy online, still do their research online. Research consistently shows that over 80% of shoppers research online before buying in person.
There was a report by Forbes Insights in 2016 that pegged it at 82%. This is a trend that is not new, and is not going away. A study by GE Capital back in 2013 found that 81% of purchasers research online before visiting a store.
This means less profit for businesses that don’t think online reviews are important or avoid content marketing. Conversely, this can be a huge win for your business if you do capitalize on these opportunities.
There are two big categories of research that a buyer can do. You can use your website and other digital marketing tactics to take advantage of both.
The first category is someone looking for which of many products or services is best for them. They are searching for things like: “cheapest new car”, “most affordable refrigerator” or “coolest new sneakers.”
People in this category are reading reviews and other content. They know what type of product they want. They are looking for information that helps them compare and contrast different products or service. Your website should help them in this process.
Have as much information about your products and services on your website as possible and it will benefit your business and your customers.
It could also mean they are looking for the solution to a problem. Searches here may including things like: “how to unclog a shower”, “how to lose weight”, or “how to start a business.” The buyer is slightly sooner into the buying process here.
Answering these sorts of questions on your website is where you bring your digital marketing to the next level with content marketing. You write blog posts with useful information on how to solve people’s problems. When your product ends up being the solution, they’ll already view you as an authority figure.
3. Beef Up Your Word-of-Mouth Referrals
A lot of business owners say that word of mouth is their top method of getting new customers. What some don’t realize is that having a well-design website is necessary to maximize your word-of-mouth marketing.
How this works isn’t immediately obvious, but it’s actually quite simple. In the past, before the proliferation of access to the Internet, people had to blindly trust word-of-mouth referrals. When your friend made a compelling case for a restaurant, the logical next step was to give them a try.
Now with smartphones, people can instantly fact-check the coffee shop suggestion from their mom. That’s right people don’t even trust their mom these days. They’ll Google the name of that place, and see it only has 2 stars on Google and tell their mom that place is horrible.
So maybe you have 4 or 5 stars on Google, Yelp, andthe other review sites. Why do you need a website too? The reviews are not enough. People want even more. They often click that “Website” button or link to learn even more before visiting the establishment in person.
People want the maximum amount of information available to them immediately. That is in part because people hate to make the wrong decision. If they can’t find the information they will often avoid making any decision. For a business, that is the same as that potential customer deciding not to do business with them.
Ensure you have a well-designed, functional website that has a clear and compelling call-to-action. Make sure it is responsive and mobile-friendly, because more than half of your visitors will be on their phone. Finally to get the biggest benefit from your website make sure you have all of the information a potential buyer will want to see before making a purchase.
Other Ways Your Small Business Can Benefit from a Website
These are just three of the biggest ways your business can benefit from having a website. They are by no means the only ways. Your website is also the hub for all other digital marketing efforts.
Your website can be the landing page for your online advertising campaigns. You can also use a tracking pixel, to remarket to previous visitors to your website. You can get more leads by using a contact form or offering a lead magnet.
Without a website, you can’t even begin to effectively leverage most online marketing. Have other reasons why having a website benefits business? We’re always looking for more reasons. So let us know in the comments.