Small business websites are a big investment. Whether you are still to take the plunge, or you already have a website here are 15 benefits you can expect.
- Builds Long Term Relationships
Your website, especially combined with business blog and social media engagement, is hugely effective in creating long term relationships both with the local community, and also with clients and potential clients. The commercial benefit is huge, as more and more of these long term relationships will turn into loyal customers for your product or service.
Your website explains what you are about and why you deserve to be trusted. Customers can do their research before they hand over their money.
- Social Proof
Testimonials and links to social media sites demonstrate social proof of your credibility. Any logos linked to your product or accreditations further reassure your prospective customers that you are genuine.
Via your website, your customers have access to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and at no additional cost to themselves.
- Market Expansion
Your website gives you the opportunity of expanding geographically in the future.
- Add Value
You are in business because you are an expert in what you do, and you can communicate this on your website either via a blog or information on your service or products. This will give potential customers a reason to visit your website, but it will also add value to what you already do.
- Open All Hours
If your site is an e-commerce website, or via a contact form on your website, people can get in touch and even make purchases at any time and at no extra cost to you.
Putting your prices on your website is the ultimate in transparency. This is easy if you provide a product, but if you are a service provider, you probably have strong views on this. We are almost unique for Chartered Accountants in that we put the prices of the majority of our services on our website. Our prices are well researched and this helps with both our credibility and trust, no one is a victim of a price ‘plucked out of the air’ depending on how much it is perceived that they can afford, which is a downfall of some small businesses.
- Promotes ‘Buying Local’
Even if you are an online business, putting an address and a map will increase your appeal to local people. We know this is true because we have experienced it ourselves. The internet and social media are increasingly being used by businesses and direct consumers to source local suppliers.
Your website acts as a permanent advert for your business, available to anyone with a website connection.
- Standardise Customer Experience
Creating a clear picture of what you do and expressing it on your website will in turn help you standardise your customer experience, This provides consistency which means that no one ‘falls down the cracks’ and ultimately does not receive the service or product that they expect.
- Growth Opportunity
The sky is the limit for small businesses in the information age. If an investor was looking to invest in your type of business, they would go first to your small business website. You may not be looking for anything like this now, but who knows what the future holds. Your website is an important asset which can form a clear part of your exit strategy.
- Two Way Marketing
Static websites are becoming less and less common, and most small business website are now highly interactive. This means customers can quickly and easily comment and give you feedback via your website and social media. This can be viewed as free market research and a good way to develop your product or service.
- Mobile Friendly
Responsive design now means that your website can be easily viewed on a mobile phones and tablets as well as laptops and pcs. This will encourage more visitors which in turn increase the benefits you will gain from having a small business website.
Website analytics are the golden bullet of marketing information that your business can use to understand its customers better, so that your can develop and improve what you offer. Who visits your website? At what time? What is their gender? Where are they from? Where do they go on your website? What page do they exit? Look at the main trends, and don’t get distracted by the exceptions and this information can revolutionise your business.
Are you reaping all of these benefits? We would love to hear from you if you can think of other reasons that small businesses should take the plunge and develop their own small business website.
By Claire Georghiades FCA, Co-Founder of Accounts Resource, reproduced with permission15