As a startup or small business owner one of the first questions you ask yourself is “Do I need a website for my business?”. This year, we’re seeing more and more businesses use social media as their main sales channel instead of having their own website. Although social media is a great channel that works, it is always a good foundation to have a website for your business. Having a website is like opening a door and inviting potential customers into your business. Your website provides a communication hub for prospects and customers to learn more about your products and services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Again, depending on your industry and what is working for you, a website may not be the number 1 option for you but it is something you should consider.
Here are some reasons why YOU SHOULD have a website.
1. Digital is the future, and present.
In a time where 87% of Australians access the internet daily (2016 Sensis Social Media Report) and spend an average of 10 hours a day online (Ernst & Young 2015 Digital Australia report), having a user-friendly and impressionable website is very important. As a business, you can’t afford to not have one in place.
A study commissioned by Australia Post which surveyed over 8,500 Australians across seven audience segments, found that up to 92 per cent of consumer service-related purchase decisions were influenced by just four advertising channels (websites, personalised direct mail, TV ads and catalogues and flyers) with websites having the greatest influence. The 2015 Navigating the New Digital Divide research report by Deloitte found that Aussie shoppers are some of the most digitally influenced in the world. Out of those who were interviewed, 65% of them researched online before going shopping.
2. You need to make a good first impression
Whether you’re a retail or service business, you will find a large percentage of potential customers search online before they even consider making a purchase or enquiry.
Businesses need to understand that a large amount of consumers make their buying decisions based on their digital experience with your brand. Your website plays a big role in that digital experience, especially іf your business is іn a highly competitive mаrkеt. First impressions are important. Whether it is a completely new potential customer, or someone who has just been referred to you, a person will make split-time judgement about your business. This means you only have a few brief seconds to convey enough value to engage a potential customer.
Also, the quality of your website design is a direct reflection of your brand, so it is important that your website looks professional, and has an appealing design.
3. Allows You to Market Better
Now, this is a key reason why I ask “What’s your website like?”. A website is more than a digital brochure. It is a digital hub for both content and data. Through your website, you can start to improve marketing efficiency and track ROI better. Brad Dalli, Founder and CEO of Dalli Digital, recently wrote a post “3 Digital Marketing Fears Debunked”. In this, he wrote about “how can I know if my money is well spent”. Dalli states that “analytics are going to become your best friend” and summarises how digital marketing can help you track ROI, zone in on your goals, and allows you to find something to work with your budget. It is through your website that you can do this.
A business needs a website that is easy to manage but most importantly, allows for open integration. Simply by adding scripts to your website, you can start to track what people are looking at, capture conversions and link them directly to marketing spend through social media and paid media. You can also trigger campaigns based on user engagement or traffic source. Not only that, through cookies, you can begin to capture demographic and behavioral data of your visitors. This will allow you to see who are actually interested in your business, what interests they have, if they are male or female, what age group they belong to and what content they are engaging with.
Having a good website will give you the foundation to market better now, and in the future.
4. Provide streamlined customer service and experience
A website will make life easier, not only for you, but for your customers as well. A good website allows you to communicate with your customers in a quick and easy manner. When there is a common question that is being asked over the phone, you can then publish a related, detailed content piece online to help other customers with the same problem.
Integrating with services like Zendesk or Intercom allows you as a business to provide customer support service without having to be available 24/7. Your customers will then have a streamlined experience with your business with the perception of having more touch points and engagement. A good website can help you ease the burden of customer support so you can focus more on growing your business.
5. Gives you credibility
A well-designed website assures your visitors that you are not some sketchy operation. It indicates that you are an established business that has invested time and money into creating a decent online presence. Without this, potential customers could be inclined to go to your competitor that does!
You may think your already established website will be enough, but please consider having it redesigned to provide your business with a modern, professional image and to help inspire even greater purchase confidence. This is becoming particularly important as businesses move away from the traditional bricks and mortar approach to a predominantly or solely online-based business.
Now, I we are not saying a website is the messiah for your business and you have to go and spend $20,000 on a crazy top of the market website. Websites are now more affordable than ever, especially if you don’t need all the bells and whistles that most bigger businesses need. You can have a beautiful, user-friendly website up in a few days and at an affordable cost. If you are looking for one, check out our new website builder www.shuttle.website.
What businesses need to understand is that a website is more than just a front or ‘Digital Brochure’ for your business. A website is a marketing, sales and customer service tool. It lets you market better, it supports your sale process by assisting in the decision-making process and allows you to engage with current and potential customers. In a time where the market is becoming increasingly saturated, a decent website could be the deciding factor between you and Joe Bloggs from down the road.