The internet has changed everything for businesses – especially small businesses. The ubiquity of internet-connected devices has completely revolutionized the way that consumers interact with businesses – for the better. It’s now easier than ever to market your website, connect with consumers, and increase your profits.
So why are 46% of small business owners still lacking an online presence? It would seem that the primary reason is cost. Small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) often run on razor-thin margins and don’t have much money to set aside on building, deploying, and marketing a website – business owners are often worried that investing in business web hosting and setting up a website won’t pay off.
However, an investment in a new website is worth every penny for a business owner – for the following six reasons.
1. Consumers Expect Businesses To Be Online
What’s the first thing you do after you learn about a new product? Do you go to a random store and hope to find it on the shelves? Do you ask a customer service representative to explain the product to you? Do you look up the company in the Yellow Pages to learn more about their products?
No. You grab your smartphone or your laptop, and you Google it. That’s what you do. If you want to learn more about a product or a business, that’s the easiest way – and consumers always choose the easiest way to do something.
If a consumer learns about your company and then enters the name of your company on a major search engine and doesn’t find anything, chances are that’s where they’ll stop caring about your service.
Consumers expect businesses to be online – and that’s the first place they’ll go when trying to find out more about your products or services. If you don’t have an online presence, you’re missing out on a lot of sales.
2. Websites Offer Incredible Marketing ROI
Building a website can be a bit expensive – especially if you hire a professional design firm to do so. However, once you have your website built, you will have all the tools you need to keep it updated, modern, and operating for at least five years or longer, and if you choose WordPress with a cheap WordPress hosting plan, it will likely cost you less than $100/month to keep it up and running.
This gives websites incredible marketing ROI. For $100 – the cost of a newspaper ad – you can have a fully-functioning, beautiful website that appears whenever local consumers Google the services you offer, and functions as a gorgeous marketing tool that provides consumers with information about your location, services, and products.
3. Customers Enjoy Increased Accessibility
Your website is accessible 24/7. You don’t have to rely on walk-ins to inform consumers about your services or products. Your website functions as an always-on, always-ready portal at which consumers can learn about your products and services, and be persuaded to come in to your business.
In fact, many modern websites even allow integration of online ordering – consumers can place orders fully online, and come and pick them up at their leisure. This increases sales, and makes potential consumers more likely to convert.
In addition, a website is the easiest way to let people know where you are and when you’ll be open. Nobody likes driving to a store only to realize it’s already closed for the day, or the address is outdated.
By having current, up-to-date location and hours information on your website, you can ensure that you’ll never miss out on a sale due to outdated or faulty information.
4. You Can Reach Larger Audiences
The internet is global – it’s everywhere. How far will a newspaper ad get you? Probably just your town, or your county. How about a television commercial? The metro area of your city, if you’re willing to shell out big bucks for it.
On the internet, there are no limits. Your audience is as large as you want it to be – anyone interested in your products and services can easily find your website if it’s built correctly, allowing you to expand your audience from local to global.
And you can reach these global audiences without sacrificing local appeal. Your online presence, with a robust Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy, can easily draw in people from around the world – as well as customers from your own backyard.
5. It’s Easier To Keep Your Customers Informed
A website gives you an easily customizable, updateable method by which you can keep your customers informed. If you have a new product, a special sale, or any other news or information to share with your customers, it’s as simple as updating your website.
Think of your website as a dynamic, ever-changing brochure or catalog. Unlike a print catalog or a pamphlet which is expensive to manufacture – and becomes outdated as soon as a product is sold out or a service is changed – your website can constantly be updated to showcase new products, services, and other information.
It’s like the old thought experiment – if the tree falls in the wild and nobody is around to actually hear it, did it make a sound? If your store has a sale and none of your customers hear about it, did you have a sale at all?
6. Building Your Brand Is Easier
“Brand Building” is just a fancy way of saying “building consumer trust in your company”. The more a consumer interacts with your company and has a pleasant, easy experience, the more you “build your brand”.
Providing your customers with an online presence allows them to interact with you constantly – they can check your website whenever they want and review your services or interact with other consumers who love your company.
In addition, you can start releasing branded content on your website – this increases consumer trust in your company by providing them with useful, detailed information.
Imagine you own a tractor supply store – you could write a post about the best, most reliable batteries that can be purchased at your shop, and publish it on your website for all of your consumers to see. This allows customers to engage with your brand in a fun, informative way, increasing their trust in your brand and making them more likely to buy your products.
Building A Great Website Isn’t Magic – But It’s Darn Close
Building a great website and a robust online presence isn’t magic – you can’t ask a web developer to wave a magic wand and triple your sales – but if you still don’t have an active online presence, you would be surprised at the benefits that a well-designed, expert-implemented website can bring.
More business owners than ever are turning to well-made, smartly implemented websites to increase their sales, bring in more customers, and increase profits. Consumers expect your business to have a web presence – and as long as you don’t have one, you’re going to be losing money.
So don’t be left behind. Find a great business web hosting company, build your online presence, build your brand, and build your business.