Your website is your business’ calling card.
50 years ago, potential customers might have wandered by and seen your physical store on the street. They might have browsed through your products and services casually before deciding to make a purchase.
But now, your potential customers are more likely to find you on the web. Just as a physical store in past generations made your business “real,” your business basically doesn’t exist in 2019 without a high-quality website. Casual browsing is more possible than ever online.
When customers look for you, they’ll look for your digital footprint first. Building an informative, high-quality website is the single biggest marketing step you can take for your burgeoning business.
Think of your website as your first impression: It matters almost as much as any interactions that follow, and sets the tone for your business’ future.
Here are just a few of the main reasons why your website needs a business, and why keeping it up to date is so important for your future success:
#1: Reach More Customers
For a physical store, the potential customer reach is based on the number of people who happen to pass by. Foot traffic has historically been key to maintaining a robust business.
When it comes to businesses in 2019, think of your web visitors as your potential customer reach. Online, that customer reach is truly impressive: nearly 287 million users in the U.S. alone.
If you play your cards right and market your business well, any one of those millions of users could happen upon your website, just as they might have “happened upon” your physical business in times gone by.
The internet is an invaluable resource for your business and offers the potential for near-infinite growth if you are diligent and disciplined about your cyber presence. It’s important to make it a high priority if you want your business to reach the widest customer base possible.
#2: Gain Credibility
In today’s marketing environment, your website should not be an afterthought. Businesses with a website appear more established and credible.
It’s the first thing potential customers will look for when they’re searching for products and services in your area or when they look up your business’ name.
Customers often rely on websites to establish the trustworthiness of a given brand. For example, according to a recent survey at Weebly, while 58% of businesses don’t yet have a website, 56% of consumers don’t trust businesses that don’t have one.
This is actually great news. It means that, with a website--and especially a high-quality one--your business has an automatic edge over the competitors in terms of credibility, brand trust, professionalism, and reliability. Don’t give up that edge: Pay attention to your business’ online reputation, and how it could help you in the future.
#3: 24/7 Customer Outreach
Think of your website not only as a calling card, but as an easy form of 24/7 customer support and outreach.
Customers can buy your products or services any time the mood strikes them, so they won’t have to wait until you’re ready to get on the phone or until they can visit your physical store. This often means more sales for you, and less stress in the meantime!
Your website works for you, even when you’re not working. Putting in the effort upfront means far less busy work later on.
With a great website, you can spend more time running your business and less time making sure people know about the basics. You can focus on what really matters, while your customers have all the baseline information they might need.
#4: Save Customer Support Time
How often have you fielded questions about “the basics” of your business, from store hours and frequently asked questions to product and service availability?
With a website, customers won’t have to ask repetitive questions. They’ll get all the relevant information online, using your website as the foundation.
It’s easy to place all the basic information for your business directly on your website, and it’s more convenient for you and your customers alike.
Include your hours, procedures, and anything else customers might want to know, and you’ll cut down drastically on the time you have to spend emailing back and forth to answer common questions.
#5: Lower Cost Than Physical Store
High rental and real estate costs can devastate a company, even before you’ve gotten a real chance to get started. Startup costs can sink you early on, and you’ll want to avoid them if you can.
With a website, you cut out many of those initial costs. In fact, you can even build your own free or very low-cost website with a platform like Squarespace or Wix. The websites you build on these platforms will still look sleek and professional, even if you’re not a professional web designer. They offer the perfect way to jumpstart your business’ online presence, no matter what level of experience you have.
With a great website, your startup costs immediately go down. Don’t miss the opportunity to increase your bottom line with minimal initial investment. A website offers one of the largest returns on investment that you’ll see while building your company.
#6: Get Reviews
Reviews are a great way to build both trust for your brand and a wider foundational customer base. Many potential customers head online first to see others’ reviews to make sure their purchase is worth it.
On platforms like Yelp and Facebook, reviews might be sparse or mixed. You can share satisfied customers’ stories directly on your own website. This builds credibility for your brand and builds customers’ trust in your ability to deliver on time, effectively, and as expected.
90% of consumers say they check out online reviews before they actually visit or purchase from a company. This means that the vast majority of your potential customers will be looking to your reviews to see whether or not to trust you with their future business.
#7: Create Partnerships
A healthy online presence gives you an opportunity to partner with other brands. In particular, you can partner with brands that have similar missions or objectives to leverage both of your audiences and build on your collective customer base.
You can do this by promoting your brands together on social media or by creating deals, joint packages, or discounts together. It’s especially beneficial if the other brand isn’t a direct competitor but offers related services that could supplement your products or services.
This way, the other brand gets the benefit of their own audience plus yours, and vice versa. Promote related products and services together in order to leverage your shared marketing strategies.
#8: Increase Brand Loyalty
Your company’s website is a wonderful opportunity to build your brand. You can tell your brand’s story on your established platform, from start to finish.
Think of your website as a chance to have creative control. Why did you start your brand? Who is your audience? Who are you serving and why? How are you planning to get there? How is your brand different?
You can use your website to answer all of these questions and more. Your potential customer base wants to get to know your brand, so think of them as your built-in audience. This is the one dedicated space you have to talk about your brand, and nothing but your brand.
You can also start groups for other marketing strategies, like an email newsletter, for customers who are truly interested. They’re likely to head to your website first. Once they are used to your brand’s tone, voice, and content, customers are likelier to follow you on social media and engage more directly with your brand.
#9: Easy Marketing Opportunities
If you don’t know much about search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, don’t worry. Even simple SEO strategies can make a big difference, even if you’re running a small business.
Just learning a little bit about keyword research and how you can employ that in your company blog will go a long way. You can add on to that existing SEO strategy with email subscriptions to build your customer base. Title tag optimization is another straightforward SEO strategy that can work for your business and drive more traffic to your site even if you’re not an experienced content marketer.
#10: Displays Products and Services
In a physical store, you might agonize over the layout of your products, considering how customers might sift through them. In a restaurant or other business, you might consider how to present your services most effectively to potential customers.
In a website setting, you have much more control over how your customers see your products and services. What’s more, you can change that perspective quickly. If you don’t like how a product is displayed, just change the layout, images, or description right away.
The bottom line: A good website gives you more control over your own business and how customers perceive it. That’s ultimately what business owners seek.
Launch Your Website Today
If you’re ready to give your business the best shot of succeeding, focus on improving your online presence. There’s no better step you can take to build a successful business, whether you run a startup or an established company.
At Logical SEO, we can help you build your online reputation effectively. If you’re interested in creating or optimizing a website, take a look at our web design services to see how you can grow your business’ potential.