1. Search Traffic Vs.Â TraditionalÂ Advertising Media
This is perhaps the most important reason to have a website, so let’sÂ start here. It’s all about accessibility. Think about it. IfÂ you want to find a product or service, what’s the first thing you do? If your impulse was toÂ try to remember where you stashed the phone book, you’re in the minority.Â If your first instinct however, was to reach for your mobile phone and “Google it”, then you’re part of a select group of people known collectively as “just about everyone”. There are 3Â billion + internet users on the planet. That’s half the population of earth.
Nobody’sÂ carrying around a giantÂ 5 lb. yellow phone book, but what we do have within arm’s reachÂ is a smart phone. The internet, literally at our fingertips. Even if you’re one of the few who don’t use a smartphone, for most the internet is never more than a few steps and a couple clicks away. This is how an increasing number of people are finding businesses, products, services, and locations the moment they need to. The internet and search engines are an indispensable part of the flow of information and commerce, and if you don’t have a website Google may not even know you exist. Consequently neither will the millions of people who use it everyday looking for what you’re selling.
2. Convenience and Accessibility for Your Customers
Once a potential customer becomes aware of your company (presumably through an online search), your website becomes an invaluable marketing tool. It offers (or at least it should) all the important info about products, services, pricing, business locations, contact info,Â etc. your audience should need in order to make the decision to choose you. The real benefit here is thatÂ it does thisÂ 24/7 365 days a year. For instance, say you sell mattresses. It’s 2 am and a potential customer is tossing and turning because they need a new one. And so with nothing better to do, they decide to find out if the mattresses you sell are just the greatest thing ever. (They are right? Good.)Â Rather than having to wait until a normal hour to call you, theyÂ can find outÂ immediately by going to your website, which will confirm that yes, your mattresses are in fact just about the greatest thing ever.
Okay, that scenario is probably not extremely common but the point is, regardless of time or location, a website allows your business to be “open” and accessibleÂ toÂ potentialÂ customers. Your website is an invaluable tool and in many ways, your best salesperson and most dedicated brand ambassador. It’s a constant resource and point of contact for your clients. They can find out general information, ask a question, consult a FAQ, schedule an appointment, or pay a bill, all through your website – if you have one.
3.Â Cheaper, More Effective Marketing
There are still plenty of ways in which traditional marketing (print, radio, tv) are 100% valid and effective. It depends on your industry, market, demographic, etc. Traditional advertising isÂ by no means dead or irrelevant but for the average small business, the cost/value of traditional vs.Â online marketing isn’t even close. We’re talking about ROI. Print, radio and tv advertising are not only temporary but comparatively expensive. They’re also steeped in the increasinglyÂ outmoded “mass marketing” paradigm. Depending on the size and needs of your company, a website isn’t necessarily cheap, but it lasts longer and is far more multi-purposed. ItÂ empowers you to target your customersÂ with impressive precision at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.
Google Adwords for instance, is a PPC (Pay Per Click) service that allows you to create ads which appear on Google search results pages (SERPs). The beauty of Adwords is the impressiveÂ level of control it gives you over the ad settings. Users can customize theÂ keywords and phrases that will trigger the ad, set their daily advertising budget, andÂ targetÂ the type of prospective customerÂ who’ll see it based on a variety of metrics, including location and even device. There are other similar services, and waysÂ to leverage your website and its content to reach not only a broader audience, but a precisely targeted one as well. Email marketing is another invaluable tool,Â and social media is a powerful (and mostly free) promotional vehicle for your company. The CMS platform WordPress offers thousands of marketing plugins and tools, many of which are free, that can elevate your site above the competition. The list goes on but you getÂ it. Simply having a website provides an almost endless wealth of ways to promote your business, products, or services.
4. Brand Credibility
Pretty much every well established, credible company has a website. Though you have to be neither well established or credible to have one, I mentioned those criteria because having a website helps infer them. It’s up to you to deliver on whatever promises your brand is making, but the point is having a website goes a long way in qualifying the integrity and legitimacy of your company. A survey of US consumers showed that 83% considered having a website or being active on social media, to be important factors when choosing a small business to patronize.
With so many fast and cheap waysÂ (dubious though some may be) at your disposal to start a website, there really isn’t any excuse not to haveÂ at least a landing page. Companies without some type of online presence just look out of touch and generally less on the ball than those that do. You want to be hip, right? Get a website. Websites are cool.
Consider that when a potential client is window shopping companies from an online directory like Google My Business, they’re scanning a list, quickly filtering out companies to mentally narrow the field. The decision making process hinges on several things, one of which is quickly determining the quality of the companies they’re considering. That’s hard to do with just a name and phone number. A website offers a quick snapshot of your brand, as well as all the info they need to make an informed decision. If you don’t have one, you’re much more likely to be dismissed in favor of a competitorÂ that does.
5.Â Your Competitors Have One
Speaking of the competition, yes, a majority of them most likely already have websites. That fact in and of itself is enough reason for you to get one, as it represents a major advantage for them if you don’t. It’s important to remain competitive and, in review, a website empowers your company not only to reach a wider audience, but toÂ become more accessible to that audience, target specific market segments, and generally appear more professional. It also enables you to be more competitive in terms of features and services. Offering customers the ability to schedule an appointment, chat with a service representative, or login to a member’s section are just a few helpful features that can set you apart from your competition. Just don’t be that one business that stillÂ doesn’t have a website.
Let’s Re-cap, Shall We?
Having a website is not merelyÂ an advantage. In this day and age it’s quickly becoming a necessity. As less agile forms of marketing continue to decline, a new consumer dynamic is emerging. And asÂ technology continues to more closely harmonize with ourÂ everyday lives, we’re becoming a more informed, equipped consumer. We’re more closely connected to the products and services we’re shopping for, and moreÂ personally investedÂ in the brands we patronize.Â Immediate value is becoming theÂ expectation. The online space is an evolving frontier of customer service and enhanced brand value. Your website is a fundamental brand touchpoint, a pillar of your marketing strategy, and a gateway to your customers. It’s a comparatively cost effective tool that empowers you to exceed the increasing demand of consumerÂ expectations. Savvy companies willÂ find ways to capitalize on the wealth of capabilities a website equips them with to distinguish themselves from the competition.
Hopefully this helps shed some light on why it’s important to have a website and the potential benefitsÂ ofÂ having one. I’ll revisit and expand on some of these points in later posts, so stay tuned. In the meantime, did you still have questions? Give me a shout!