There are a lot of people out there who still think that if they’re not going to make any money directly from their website, there’s no reason on why they should even consider having one.
You and me both know that they couldn’t be more wrong.
In this day and age where almost everyone we know is constantly on their phones, tablets and laptops, searching for all sorts of different information on the internet, there are still a lot of people out there who fail to see the benefits of owning a professional website.
Having a lot of friends who run successful offline business, I constantly have to argue with them about their online presence. They think that owning a profile on Facebook and Twitter is enough for their brand. They also think that if they invest their money into building an expensive and great looking website, they’ll end up with nothing more than a badly thought through business decision on their hands, which will never help them grow their business.
Even if you own a small local business, and if your products and services might look like they cannot be sold online, there’s still a reason for you to have a website.
Just a few weeks ago, I talked about this subject with my friend who owns a great local restaurant. He has a small place, on the corner of the street, with extremely limited capacity. He’s pretty much satisfied with his business, but he wouldn’t mind if he could double, or even triple his customer base. Although willing to invest a certain amount of money in advertising, he feels that there’s no reason for him to add a website to his list of responsibilities. He thinks that it’s a lot of hard work for something that isn’t “essential” for his business.
Apropos that, we started talking more. I asked him: “Who’s your targeted audience?”; He replied: “Locals who already come regularly to my restaurant, and everyone new who plans on moving to the neighborhood.”
Then I followed up with: “If you had a website, what kind of information do you think your potential customers would look for on it?”; He answered: “Specials, the exact location of the restaurant, menu, promos, photos….”
Me: “Ok. Do you think that everyone who lives in a 30 or 40-minute drive from your place knows that you make the best veggie pizza in town?”
Him: “No. I guess not.”
Me: “Your restaurant is located in the part of the town that’s surrounded by big buildings. Do you think that there’s is a significant numbers of vegetarians in these couple of blocks who don’t know that you even exist?”
Him: “Yes, I do.”
Me: “Ha! Gotcha!”
Next to obviously helping you reach a lot wider audience who just happens to be looking for the same products or service that your business is offering, great looking and well-constructed websites can also help brands establish credibility.
In this day and age, people don’t just cruise around the neighborhood looking for places that have great veggie pizzas. No. The first thing they do, when they’re interested in something is pull out their phones or tablets, and look for it on the web.
When a person enters a certain query in the search engine and Google sends him to a relevant, well-optimized, responsive and great looking website with great content that has everything he’s looking for, that same person will nine times out of ten make a sale.
There are a number of online surveys that say that about 60% of people who search the web don’t trust businesses that don’t have websites. I think that this percent is going to rapidly grow in the next year or two.
Having a company website is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity.
In order to help you better understand how a certain website can prove its worth, even if you don’t have an online business, here are a couple of examples:
Websites Help Business Establish Credibility
To have a website that represent your business as a credible source on the internet, one must invest in its design. One must make it look as flashy and professional as possible.
Next to that, it’s of crucial importance that you, as a person who’s using your website to communicate some real value about your work to your potential customers, host it with a credible company. If your website tends to go down more often than not, and if it takes ages for it to load, most visitors will immediately lose interest in your business and they’ll start to look for different sources. In order to grab people’s attention and stimulate them to do business with you, your website also needs to have great and relevant content that instantly communicates with the visitor’s intent.
In this day and age where people’s business decision are driven by information, the only one who can really stay alive in this cutthroat world and make regular sales are the ones who establish themselves as experts in their field. Today, people only do business with experts. Why? – Well, because they can.
It doesn’t matter what kind of products and services people are looking for, there’s always a ton of choices out there for them. No one wants to pay for bad service today. Before making a decision with whom they’re gonna do business with, people spend hours and hours reviewing each and every potential company until they finally decide which one is the best for them.
By owning a good looking and serious website with a lot of great content, you can present yourself as an expert to the world and make your potential customers see that you’re worth their time and money.
Most company websites who don’t directly make sales on the web are pretty easy to maintain. They don’t require frequent changes. To keep them up and running right, you won’t have to spend insane amounts of money on expensive hosting packages that are out of your league. For a couple of bucks a month, you can find a solid hosting solution that will give you all that you need in order to keep your website working on optimal levels.
A Website Is an Additional Marketing Tool
If you think about it, there’s no better place to broadcast all sorts of different promotional campaigns and information about your company than on your official website. It’s a place that’s solely dedicated to making sure that people who have any interest in the services or product that you’re selling find out what you’re all about, and why should they do business with you, instead of your competitors.
There are a lot of ways on how you could stimulate people to make a better connection with your brand via website. One of the most popular ways is to start writing a blog that showcases your expertise and helps your potential clients see just how serious you really are about your work.
Writing a blog that can actually help people with their problems and issues about a specific subject or scenario, has proven to be a great tool for large numbers of currently successful businessmen.
A lot of today’s active buyers are influenced by content. So when your potential customers are looking to make a purchase, and they’re looking for information, be it reviews, essays, features, and benefits, they are looking for content online to influence their decisions. So, if you want to motivate them to try your products or services, you have to create consistent and relevant content that influences their purchase decisions.
To some this might seem like a lot of work, don’t get me wrong, it is, but what you’re doing here is crucial for developing your business. You’re finding new ways on how to locate new clients, educate them about your service and expertise, and thus help them see you as a credible source for doing business with.
Unlike You and Your Company, Your Website Really Works 24/7
People shop at different times. Some like to look for things in the morning, others at night. We all have different bio rhythms and work schedules.
For the sake of the story, let’s say that you work from 9 am to 5 pm, five days a week. This is a pretty standard work week, would you agree? In that specific time period, you’re available to everyone who’s interested in asking you questions about your work. After that, you punch out and they’re on their own. What happens if 10 serious customers come at 6 pm to ask you something, and you’re not there? Maybe they also work from 9 am ‘till 5 pm, so they couldn’t swing by earlier. They try calling, but you’re not answering. How many of these people will come back tomorrow? Let’s be realistic, maybe two.
Unlike you and your business, your website is always there for your customers. It holds all the necessary information about your work, like working hours, answers to FAQ and emergency contacts. Your website can also help your potential customers check if you have certain products still in stock so that they don’t end up making a trip to your store for nothing.
A Website Can Help You Gain Some Valuable Feedback on Your Business and Your Customers
By installing all sorts of different analytics tools, you can really get to know your clients, who they are, what they like about your brand, and what they think that you should change or improve when in comes to your work.
This is a great way for you to receive some valuable feedback about your business and find ways on how to make it even better. By stimulating your current and potential client base to engage with your brand, complete various types of surveys and comment on your blog posts, you’ll receive some great insights on how to better position your products and provide killer services to those who are real advocates of your brand.
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post as much as I did writing it. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.
I’ve only touched a tip of the iceberg here. There are a lot more ways on how websites could help offline business grow their client base.
I’ll write about them on some other occasion.
This is it for now. Be sure to share this content with your friends,
and I’ll see you soon again.
All the best,
Goran @ AltusHost B.V.