In fact, not only should you want an online avenue to help generate sales leads, engage potential consumers, and just be where the people are, but in this day and age, you need an online presence.
And while it may seem obvious to the computer repair girl or the self-employed web designer, there are many, many businesses out there – nearly 50 percent if recent numbers are to be believed – absolutely oblivious to the importance of having a website for their business.
So why, you ask, do I need a website?
It’s simple: just like a hungry shark in chummed waters, the internet is where you need to be swimming.
Sure, friends and family are great customers.
But they have only so much need, money, and goodwill to go around.
Growth and sustainability are required to keep a business going strong, and that doesn’t happen without at least a little fresh meat.
To build a business further, one must find customers beyond those already in the front door.
And the reality is that those would-be clients are looking for businesses online.
Where Phonebooks Used to Reign
Once, not so long ago, we almost religiously used a giant book of numbers to solve our every need.
Phonebooks were more than just hockey pads for kids or makeshift stepstools for mom.
They listed all the numbers of the people and companies in an area so that we could find help locally when we needed it.
As thorough as it was – some of those books were mighty thick – the yellow pages were a limited source of information.
Unless a company paid to place an ad, chances were poor that you would know much about a company save for the name and number listed under some basic heading like “plumber” or “paint, retail.”
Even those that paid for ads were limited by the technology and the human resources of the company compiling the book.
But now, not even 150 years since the first telephone patent, the phonebook has been replaced.
Behold the era of online search.
Where the People Are
While only 50 percent of businesses are thought to be online, studies show that consumers see the internet as one big virtual shopping mall.
In fact, according to one such study, 91 percent of all U.S. customers report looking for their goods and services online and 93 percent admit to researching their selections on the worldwide web.
With numbers like this, it is not a question of “why I need a website for my business”, but rather “why I need a responsive website”.
What’s in It for Me
Let’s face it. Business is about making money.
Sure, doing something you love and being able to put bread on the table is great, but when it comes right down to it, if you’re not breaking even, the rest is just temporary.
And no matter your size, location, or market, business sustainability in the 21st century means going online.
“In fact, Amazon now boasts a projected e-commerce market share of 41 percent, or 4 percent of all retail sales, and an enormous position in the global market simply by effectively utilizing online presence.”
There are many other compelling reasons to have a website too.
Reason #1: Does Anyone Really Care About Company Websites?
In fact, websites continue to hold authoritative value with consumers, making such spaces excellent opportunities to convey your company identity and message.
Customers see a well-put-together digital space as a demonstration of your knowledge and professionalism.
Well-designed websites allow you to cater to both your target market and those you wish to capture.
By having your own site, you can tap into that which resonates with your audience and ensure that the products, services, or information you want them to receive gets through effectively.
Reason #2: Is a Website Cost Effective?
You bet your last advertising dollar it is.
Being online is one of the most cost-effective forms of connecting with customers, and for small businesses, it’s a game changer.
Just think about it: no printing or postage, just quick, easy, 24/7 access to the products and services that make your business unique.
And with ever-progressing technology such as new Search Engine Optimization (SEO) software and mobile device apps, you can connect with those would-be customers in more meaningful ways than traditional advertising ever could.
Best of all, when you have your online presence set up correctly, your customers will actually come to you.
Reason #3: How Does a Website Help Me Reach My Customers?
In every way.
Whether they are searching for ratings or services, products or parts, creative ideas or how-to advice, the ability to reach a customer in a way that is both meaningful and unique to them underscores why small businesses need a website.
And because each business is as unique as the people who open it, websites are the perfect vehicle to let customers better understand you, your products, services, and staff.
A website makes it possible for a conversation to exist before consumers step across the threshold.
A website allows business relationships to develop in a way that customers appreciate.
As every good business owner knows, customer connections are the best way to a healthy bottom line, and with the help of a website, those relations couldn’t be easier to build and foster.
Reason #4: Is a Website Really That Easy?
Even for those of us without innate technological prowess, websites are far easier than they first appear to be, and they are getting easier all the time.
“Now is the best time to embrace an online space, as there is a never-ending collection of resources available.”
And while there are so many experts, tutorials, and tools out there to help guide you to success, it isn’t just easy setup that makes websites such a rewarding investment.
As more and more people turn to the internet for all their information.
Thus, being online makes it easy for consumers to find you and for you to build a potential customer base through smart content marketing.
Websites provide a whole slew of ways for you to connect, update, promote, and get feedback, all with minimal effort on your end.
So, What Kinds of Companies Need Websites to Succeed?
In a word: yours.
From artisans to craft makers, tech supplies to wholesales, there are a whole host of consumers out there just waiting for the right bait.
And while some entrepreneurs jump on existing sites to sell their wares – think eBay, Etsy, Amazon, iCraft Gifts – there are many for whom a website of their own is certainly the best way to go.
One business type that truly flourishes online is the service industry.
Websites help spread the word, share examples, and expand the market for the service industry without the overhead costs associated with advertising or brick-and-mortar locations.
It allows many service-based businesses to keep their costs down and their prices competitive.
But websites aren’t just about selling something.
“For many, an online site provides an opportunity to connect with consumers while presenting the company’s image in a way you control.”
For Business to Business (B2B) companies, an online presence is of the utmost importance.
Potential partner companies will be definitely eager to obtain corporate information.
Thus, you should make this accessible so as not to dissuade them.
Does My Business Need a Website If I’m On Social Media?
While you might be inclined to assume that all online formats are the same, it is important to remember that the internet is like an ocean with plenty of different fish swimming in the waters.
Social media is one creature, and a very fickle one at that, with ever-changing algorithms making it impossible to predict.
What works today could be detrimental to your success tomorrow.
But What If I Have a Facebook Page – That’s Enough, Right?
Sadly, many businesses think of Facebook not as social media but as a kind of free website.
Some of these companies have since learned that without a proprietary website, their online presence is at the mercy of constantly changing rules of the social media platform (like Facebook) and a fickle public.
Websites, on the other hand, can work in conjunction with social meeting, providing an anchor that, while constant, is certainly not stagnant.
“Untouched by the social sway, websites also keep business owners exactly where they like to be: in the driver’s seat.”
All control remains yours, from the message and content to the ways in which information is shared.
So, I Guess I Need a Website Built from Scratch?
While some call it the digital era and others see it as following the trends, the reality is that sharks don’t swim for long in empty waters.
You are an ever-evolving, pressure-resisting go-getter who is not about to let an opportunity to succeed pass you by – so why stagnate?
“In this digital age, being online isn’t just a luxury for a business – it’s an absolute necessity. Thus, shaping a website of your own should be an important part of your overall business plan, as one of the top priorities for success.”
Think of your website as your virtual store, marketing campaign, and information source all wrapped into one easily accessible package that ebbs and flows with the natural progression of your business.
It shouldn’t be rushed, but rather carefully constructed with the same amount of care and attention that you put into all the other components of your business.
You didn’t just whip up a logo or a name, right? You thought about it, researched it, and reworked it until you got it just right.
The same should be true for your online presence.
It will take a careful mix of marketing, public relations, coding, design, copywriting, UX tweaking, photography, and more to get the original yet effective website your company needs and deserves.
It sounds like a lot, but don’t worry – this is achievable!
Help Is Available
Of course, if you are reading this, then chances are you are not in the website design business and that starting the process to create an effective webpage might seem like a daunting task.
That’s okay: everyone needs help sometimes.
And that is why we pride ourselves on the exceptional websites we build.
From the smallest detail to the overall impression of a site, our company is here to help yours be all it can be online, so that you can be all you want to be offline.
Call us for a free consultation to see how we can get you in the right waters.
You have a great big sea out there to conquer, so let the other small fish swim alone.
Get in touch now!