Do you own a small business? Then you need a robust and vibrant website. It is as simple as that. If you don’t, it is highly likely that your business will fail.
Look, I get it. I have owned a small business for more than 30 years. The last thing that I have wanted to put much time and energy on my business website. I am not alone. If you took five businesses closest to you – and searched each one, examine their websites. My guess is that most are lacking in some significant ways.
I bet some haven’t been updated in years. Others look like they were created by the owner’s nephew on a basement computer using free software 5 years ago. Some even have skipped using a stand-alone website and just use Facebook. That is a huge mistake for a variety of reasons. Among other things, Google hates Facebook – so people searching for your business will have a much harder time of just finding you.
Here is the thing: your website is almost always the first introduction a new customer has to your business!
When asked, people will tell you that they heard about your business from a friend, a relative, or drove by it. But the truth is that even if that was what prompted you to consider you, they looked you up on Google and went to your website.
You invest tens of thousands of dollars in many vital aspects of your business to earn money. Isn’t it time you had a website you can be proud of?
Here are 10 reasons why a small business website is a crucial element in your success.
1. Grow Your Business
Understand that even before the pandemic, more than half of Americans use the internet to shop today. There are almost 31 million small businesses in the United States.
If you want to grow your business, you need a business website. A strong online presence allows you to reach a larger audience. You can extend a localized business well beyond the boundaries of your community.
A website will help you talk about your products and services. You can inform customers and other potential buyers about your business. With a website that is easy to access, you can reach all 4.9 billion internet users.
You may find customers across your state, your country, and even internationally interested in your products and services. Many small businesses in the US say that they were able to grow their business with a website.
With a website, you can reach a larger service area. Building a good website can open up many doors to tremendous opportunities. If you’re looking for ways to build your business, you need to consider your website first.
2. It’s 2021 – not 1981.
Let’s face it, so many local small businesses market their business like they existed 40 years ago. These are good companies with great and talented owners and employees. But they altogether drop the ball when it comes to maintaining a website that properly showcases their business.
A website in 2021 needs to do a few basic things. First, it needs to introduce a prospective customer to your company and the products and services you sell visually. They started looking for your business because they had a problem. Your website needs to show them how they can solve that problem by coming to you. For example, if you are a tire repair business, your website needs to visually show what your process is to someone who has never needed this service and is afraid they will be taken advantage of. You need to show a simple, 3-step process that makes the customer know that you are the right place to go to get their tire fixed quickly, expertly, and at a reasonable price.
Your website also needs to be a hub of expert information in the field you excel in. If you are a counselor who specializes in adolescent issues, then you need to offer information about these topics. Before someone ever calls you, they often want to read about these issues to know that they are not alone and that you are this area’s expert in solving their problem.
3. Improve Customer Experience
Having a business website allows your customers to have 24/7 access to your company.
The recent pandemic led to the closure of many physical stores. However, you can still provide customers with an in-store experience with a quality website. Using a smartphone or tablet, your customers can browse your products, read about the services you offer, and even purchase products without you or your staff lifting a finger.
You don’t have to be a million-dollar company to sell anything from bagels to hunting supplies online. Your customers expect it – and are disappointed when they find out that a local business they want to spend their money at won’t let them because they failed to invest in a decent website.
4. Low Operating Costs
The truth is, employees are expensive. Wouldn’t you love an employee who worked on-call 24 hours a day, was ready anytime to answer a customer’s questions, and rung up a sale even at 4 am on a holiday weekend?
A quality website can do all of that. A good website today integrates sales, payments, and inventory managing and shipping. Compared to your physical store, your upfront investment will be much lower. You can upgrade your services as your website becomes more successful.
You can create original content like blogs and do targeted advertising. Soon, you can build an independent custom website.
5. Track Your Customers
One of the great things about an online website is that you can track your customers. With simple web analytics, you can study your customers and identify what brings you success. You can use this data to improve your products and sales further.
Ever wonder how ‘the internet’ knew you were in the market for a red bike for your son’s birthday? One day you look online but hold off on a purchasing decision. The following few days, everywhere you go online on your laptop or smartphone – there are red bikes offered from all kinds of retailers – most of which you have never visited.
Those companies pay a small few to target someone who has shown an interest in the products or services that they offer. Could you imagine having sorted through a million prospective customers in your business to narrow down this field to just those who have shown immediate interest in precisely what you sell?
6. Attract More Customers
Studies show that 43% of shoppers now research products and consider positive reviews before buying. Having a quality website can drive a buyer’s purchasing decision. An online website can help your business stand out amidst your competition.
Visit your three closest competitors. How do their websites look? Stop being the business with the worst website. Having a quality business website is now an expectation among your customers. Even, or especially if you’re a local business, you need a website to attract customers. If you don’t have an updated, quality website in 2021, buyers may think your business is not open or interested in new customers.
7. A Great Website Integrates with Social Media
Part of owning a local business today is having a strong social media presence. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are essential to building your brand.
Social media allows you to connect with your customers. You can interact with your customers about new products and sales.
Social media allows you to reach a wider audience. Content like surveys, videos, pictures, and articles are effective in attracting users. You can also showcase your brand’s personality.
But here’s the thing, why take these steps if you don’t back it up with a quality website. Let me explain. You own a company that makes and sells custom wood gun stocks. You take the steps necessary to build a small audience on social media of people from all around the country interested in your products. Based on a post you made on Facebook about these new stocks you have made using Michigan cherry wood, a prospective customer decides. So they decide to head over to your website and find out more and make a purchase. Once there, they find a website that doesn’t work well on his smartphone (more than 50% of web users search on their phones today), doesn’t answer the questions he has, isn’t interactive, and has no way to allow him to place an order. You can bet this customer will look somewhere else.
It doesn’t have to end this way.
8. Websites Built in 2021 Are Easier to Setup and Manage
Setting up a small business website is easier than ever nowadays. So is managing your website after launch. The bottom line is that business websites came a long way in the past few years.
Starting a website a few years ago may have been a nightmare for some. It would take weeks for a developer to complete and website. If you needed to make changes to your website, you would have to contact the developer.
Thanks to new technology, it’s way easier to manage a website today. At Think Street, we want you to easily manage and build on your website long after we are done setting it up.
All you need to do to make changes is log into your website. Select the part you’d like to change, then add photos, text, or others.
Apart from web design and content, it’s also easier to keep track of your security. One of the main threats to online businesses is cyberattacks. We can show you how to secure your website from hackers.
9. Showcase Your Products to a Much Larger Audience
If you’re a small business, having a quality website is a great way to promote your business. Owning a small business might mean that your products have only a localized presence. Even if people outside hear about your brand, they may not feel convinced to check out your products.
A small business website is a great platform to showcase your products. You can show potential customers what they’re in for when they come to check out your store. You can also integrate your web design into your marketing plan.
Use your website to outline and showcase your products and service. Not only can you promote your products and services on a website. You can also post video tutorials and PDF instructions.
How-to videos and infomercials are popular on websites. Videos are the best type of content to boost a website.
10. Showcase Your Credibility
Having a business website will show followers that you are a legitimate business. Place yourself in the shoes of your customers. If you’re a new customer of just about any small business today, you want proof that they have the right products and services. Many prospects will cross you off their list and move on to a competitor if you don’t.
Your website is also a great place to showcase your work and testimonials or customer reviews.
As you build your website with SEO, you will also raise your small business’s visibility. If you’re a small business trying to build your brand, consider working with Google by submitting a site map of your site periodically to help Google properly index your web presence.
We also recommend taking control of your Google My Business listings. These are incredibly advantageous to small businesses today. It prioritizes you as a local business for people looking for your services.
Launch a Website for Your Small Business Now
Now you know ten reasons why your business needs a quality, updated website. If you’re a small business, you can save money, boost sales, and gain more customers by taking the steps outlined here.
Need help in getting started with your small business website? Contact us today. I would be more than happy to discuss a plan that works for you. We have helped dozens of local businesses just like yours.