Many small businesses wonder whether a website is worth the money and effort, especially when they have no plans to sell their products and services online. Getting a website for your business can be an intimidating process, especially considering the wide and often confusing array of available options.
While getting started may seem like quite an undertaking, an online presence is an important part of any modern business strategy.
Be Accessible 24 Hours A Day
You can only keep your business open so many hours in a day, but your website is always available to potential customers. Even if your site doesn’t offer a shopping cart, it still arms visitors with the information they need to decide whether to become your customers. You website can give users a wealth of information, from what products you carry and services you offer, to the best route to get to your business and ways of contacting you during and after business hours.
Maintain Consistent Branding Online and Off
When coupled with online marketing and social media profiles, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Places, and Yelp, a website is a powerful tool for helping you maintain consistent branding. Your website and social media accounts gives you a lot of control over the way your customers see you business, which is why it’s vital to ensure consistent information across a variety of profiles. Everything from your street address and hours of operate to your logo and motto should be mirrored from site to site.
Beyond covering the basics of your business, your website gives you a voice. It lets consumers get to know what it’s like to shop at your store, what separates you from the competition and the giant conglomerates. When done right, it can also make you an authority in the field, someone potential customers feel they can rely upon.
Be a Resource for Researchers
Because of the wealth of information available on the internet, people have become accustom to gathering information before deciding on what and when to purchase something. In fact, according to The National Retailer Federation “over 92 percent of adults regularly or occasionally research products online before buying them in a store.”
That means even if your customers aren’t purchasing online, odds are they’re learning about what they want to purchase before they even consider heading to a brick and mortar business. If you don’t have a website, or if your website isn’t giving customers useful information, then you’ve potentially just lost a sale.
A small business website can be a powerful tool for connecting with your customers. Of course having a website is only part of the equation. That website must have accurate and up-to-date information, it must be well thought out and constructed so your customers can quickly and easily find the information they’re looking for, and it must be easy to find. Otherwise, all you have is a nice online business card that isn’t working for you.