Does My Small Business Really Need a Website?
Why do small businesses need a website?
Websites increase credibility, visibility, and access; generate more leads and close more sales; reduce marketing costs; and help you scale your business. The investment you make in a quality website designed for your business is an investment in its future which will increase your bottom line.
Why You Can’t Use Social Media Instead of a Website
Many small business owners are confused about why they need to pay for a website when social media platforms are faster to start up and cheaper. You can set up a social media account in a few minutes, and establishing one is free. However, using social media as your primary online presence instead of a website isn’t an effective marketing strategy alone.
A website gives you complete control over content and design. On social media, the design of your business page must follow their templates. If you wish to offer a contest or promotion, you have to know and adhere to the platform’s guidelines. As you might have discovered, decisions which can dramatically affect your business are made without your input.
When Facebook recently changed its algorithm and decreased the number of other users who saw the pages of these businesses, owners could do nothing other than accept the change or leave. Also, on social media platforms, the comments, questions, and feedback that people post are automatically public. To control which of these are seen by everyone, you have to continually monitor your page.
With a website, you have complete control over all aspects of your brand and messaging. Another factor to consider is that 84% of customers trust a small business with a website more than one with only a social media presence.
How a Website Increases Credibility
Customers used to be suspicious of businesses without physical addresses. Real estate equaled credibility. They now trust businesses with an easily accessible website either in addition to or in place of a physical location. If you don’t have one, your potential customers may immediately dismiss the idea of buying your product or service. Even if you don’t regularly visit websites or rely on technology to make a decision on whether you will buy from a business, most people do today.
A website, though, makes your business appear to be organized, successful, on the cutting edge of your industry, and transparent–all desirable qualities you want associated with it. A well-designed website equals increased credibility with your customers which equals more sales.
How a Website Increases Visibility and Accessibility
Not that long ago, if someone needed to find a business, they looked in the phone book. Today, they look online. 78.6% of North Americans are online daily. Approximately 140,000 new websites are launched and over 4 billion Google searches occur daily. Customers look for the goods and services they need online, and if your business doesn’t have a website, they will likely spend their money at someone’s business that does.
A website also offers 24/7 access to your business and inherently, if designed properly, more leads. They can find answers to FAQs, watch demonstration videos, download resources, and email you with questions about your products or services. In addition to improving your accessibility, making these assets available through your website frees up time you now devote to these tasks if you don’t have one.
How a Website Generates More Leads
A website provides you with a method for collecting data on your prospects and existing customers and an opportunity to generate new, consistent leads throughout the year. You can share new product announcements or services or invite people to sign up for your email newsletter. For eCommerce retailers with brick and mortar, you can entice people to visit your store by offering an online coupon or free in-store gift.
It also leads to more sales through webrooming which small businesses can benefit substantially from. Forrester projects that web-influenced purchases will total $1.8 trillion in 2017. Adweek states that almost 80% of local searches on mobile devices led to purchases, with 73% of those being in a physical store rather than online. 76% of those were made the same day, and 63% within a few hours of the search.
How You Can Reduce Marketing Costs with a Website
Your website works as a 24-hour digital billboard and public face of your company. If it can hit certain key performance indicators and generate a targeted amount of leads, it will pay for itself. This is why it’s vital to work with a reputable, yet affordable website design company that can help you perform design a website that works best for your industry, location and type of business.
After the site has paid for itself through increased sales, all new business it attracts becomes revenue that you wouldn’t otherwise have. A website also reduces marketing costs needed for traditional methods such as fliers, print ads, and brochures which are becoming less effective in the digital age. Additionally, any changes or updates can be made at a faster and less expensive rate than for print marketing materials.
How a Website Helps You Scale Your Business
Scaling your business means finding a way to add revenue at a rate that far outpaces the expense and resources it costs you to generate it.
This can be achieved by reducing the cost of delivery of your product and by reducing the wait time for your potential customers. A website can assist you with these by reducing your overhead and offering self-service checkout options.
Forbes also highlights the critical need for a strong public persona of the CEO who wants to scale up a business to the national level since business now operates under the P2P (people to people) model. A well-designed website plays a central role in accomplishing all of these tasks.
Why Your Business Needs To Be a Part of the 83%
If you are looking to reduce your overhead costs and increase your sales, having a website is relevant in any industry.
It isn’t something that can be replaced by your use of social media, and the investment you will make in designing a quality website which is matched to your particular business needs far outweighs the cost of not having one.
As GoDaddy and Redshift Research found, 83% of small business owners who already have a website feel it gives them a competitive edge over others who do not. You owe it to your business to be part of that 83%.