Over the past 30 years, the element of time has influenced consumer behaviour. With the change of working patterns and lifestyles, people now expect information to be instantly available, and shops to be open all hours, in order to fit around their schedules.
The rise of the internet and smartphones have created a new consumer who will search, share, and even give instant feedback online. However, recent reports (We Are Social, 2015, and Sensis, 2015) state that approximately 50% of small businesses do not have a website. If that is you, maybe you should read the following reasons.....
Reason #1 - Online Brochure - A website is a relatively inexpensive way to showcase your products and services to a wide audience, letting customers know who you are, what you can offer them, and how to get in touch.
Reason #2 - Image is Everything - In today's world a company without a website, is a company without a face. Customers will want to see your website, to check to see if you are a 'real' company. A (well-designed) website builds credibility and trust with customers.
Reason #3 - Low Barrier to Entry - Continuous developments in technology mean that you can now have a website designed at a fraction of the cost you would have paid a few years ago. If you feel that websites are too expensive, you may have a quote for a bespoke, custom-built website. In most cases, a customised template design will deliver the same results.
Reason #4 - More Customers - From flowers to flights, customers are more likely to go online and search there and then for the information they need. Smaller cost items are also more likely to be bought there and then as well. Having a website with high Google rankings means you will appear near the top, potentially attracting new customers who are searching for products and services similar to yours.
Reason #5 - Open 24/7 - Even when you sleep, your website is still promoting your company. It also allows customers to contact you outside of office hours. Having your email connected to the website means you get those enquiries directly, and have the flexibility to respond when you want.
Reason #6 - Communicate with your Customers - Using a blog or news feed on your website allows you to update customers on new offers, events, and products. Websites also allow customers to get in touch with you (email & chat) so you can answer questions before they decide to buy. Prompt responses also builds customer confidence.
Reason #7 - Compete with the 'Big Boys' - A well designed, visually appealing website projects a certain image. If you offer a product or service that is competitively priced, useful, and in demand, there is no reason why you cannot use your website as a marketing tool to compete against larger companies. You can set up e-commerce, online chat, display videos, and even make a reservation - all without spending thousands of dollars.
Reason #8 - Build Your Own Database. You may have plenty of followers on social media, but what if the platform stops working, or, as in the case for Vibe, shut down? How will you keep in contact with them, and update them on new products or a sale? A website allows you to build your own database(s) of customers, enabling you to then send out email updates.
Reason #9 - Blogging - Creating a blog allows you to establish your credentials. Having a popular blog with useful, topical, funny articles will increase brand awareness and help drive more customers to your business. Not sure what to write? Start off with an introduction, and what you hope to cover in your blog. You do not need to publish every day, or even every week, but you do need to post on a regular basis (Google search engines love new content!).
Reason #10 - Cross-Promotion. Your website and social media channels should be working together to promote your company. For example, your blog posts should feature on your Facebook Page or Twitter account. Your website should act as a both a destination and distributor of your social media accounts. Some websites allow you to schedule and publish your blog on your website, Facebook page, Twitter account, and LinkedIn profile simultaneously - saving you time.
So those are the top 10 reasons I can think of, but do you have any more? Post your reasons in the Comments section below - would love to hear your thoughts!