Even in today's digital era, some small businesses have not yet truly grasped the benefits of having a website - Is your business one of them?
Now more than ever, your online presence is a major key to business success. Even established businesses need to make an effort to ensure they appear in the places that prospects and customers expect to find them. Even if you don't necessarily do your business online, customers and prospects expect you to have a website.
There are many aspects to being present in cyberspace. When people look for your company, they almost always use a search engine like Google. Google will attempt to match their search with the most reliable results it can from numerous sources on the internet. It may find your company listed on BBB.org. If you have a Google profile, it will often display that. Your listings on other common directory and review sites will likely be displayed. If you have profiles on social media, you'll come up there as well. It is important to make sure all these listings and profiles have correct information about your company.
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Isn't it great that there are so many places where your company is featured online?
Yes, it is! You can (and should) be listed in as many places as possible.
However, what sometimes happens is that businesses start to think that these services and listings are all they need to succeed online. This is the primary reason why many business owners ask this question - Do I really need a website?
Stop right there.
Although these sites are fantastic allies in helping drive traffic to you, they are not a substitute for the most important piece of your online presence. Your website. You want all of these other services to funnel traffic, leads (and ultimately revenue) to you. The benefit of Facebook, Google, Yelp, etc. is that it is a way for customers to find you and learn enough about you to see if they want to know more.
You want those inquiries to turn into prospects for you. You want them to generate contact with your business, which could mean that they call your phone number. However, most online researchers will first want to learn as much as they can about your company BEFORE they call you. The place where you can best tell them these things is YOUR WEBSITE.
Almost all the profiles and review sites have a place where you can list your web address. This allows those services to drive traffic directly to your page, where you can now talk directly to the prospect.
The bottom line is that you NEED a website of your own. It does not have to be fancy. It does not have to be expensive. But it needs to work, it needs to be kept current, and it needs to be listed on all the review and profile sites.
There are many reasons why having your own website is a must for your business. Here are the top three:
1. You Can Tell Your Story
A website gives you a platform to reach your audience. You control all the content that goes onto your website. How you convey your business, as well as the story around your business is up to you. You can connect with them anyway you want. Use this opportunity to your advantage to discuss the ideas behind your business, what you have accomplished, and other notes that tell the customer that you should be valued. You can also add helpful resources, such as where to find your business. However, unlike Facebook business pages and BBB, which provide important basic information, your website should be geared at helping you stand out from the competition. Often, other social profiles are great starting points for customers to then look up your website for more information. This could lead to potential customers choosing the competition that has chosen to put up a website.
2. You Will Boost Your Credibility
While basic information about your business may be available on social profiles, like BBB, Facebook or Google, your customers will want to know more about your business. Often, the first thing that most people do when looking for a business is to check out its website. If a company does not have a website, they will usually move on to another company in their research. Your customers want to know as much about you as possible BEFORE reaching out to you. A website that introduces them to your business is an important part of their decision-making process. In short, they trust you more when you provide them with information in the place where they are looking for it. They want to know what your values are, what your team looks like, what products and services you offer, and a portfolio or samples of your work. Your website is where they can find that information easily. In fact, many customers may not consider choosing a business if it does not have a website. It's a bitter truth that your prospective customers will consider you unprofessional and less credible if you do not have a website.
3. You Can Interact with Prospects & Customers 24/7
Picture a scenario in which a gardening enthusiast wants to give his backyard a complete makeover. After a long day at work, he sits down in front of his laptop to research landscaping supplies and tools. He also searches for landscape contractors in his city that provide timely, high-quality services and checks out their past projects. As a part of his research, he checks out various contractors on BBB.org and visits their websites. Without directly talking to any of the businesses, he shortlists three contractors and reaches out to them during late-night hours when businesses are closed. This is what a website can do for you. It enables you to interact with your customers round-the-clock.
Common Objections to Websites
While the benefits of websites are all-encompassing, it may be hard for those who have never had a business website to see them. Common objections some business owners may have are listed below.
I don't have the budget
Resources are limited. I get it. The good news is that websites do not have to cost a fortune. Investing in your business is investing in your future. You do not need an expensive website. You just need one. It should be up-to-date and feature your business, what you do, and why a prospect should choose you. A good, solid website can be one of your best assets. It can be up and running for less than you think.
I don't need more business
Websites do more than bring in new customers. They can also work as a customer service tool or provide helpful resources to your customers, as well as your employees. Perhaps a potential business partner wants to learn more about your business model or a previous customer was to rebook their appointment. Websites give your business this capability.
I don't sell online
Websites do not have to be ecommerce storefronts. As in, you do not have to provide products for sale on your website in order for it to be beneficial. Websites can contain important information for your potential customers to help them locate your store, know your store hours, and learn about what you provide.
Our customers are not computer users
Your customers not being computer users is highly unlikely. The world is becoming more digital. "Computers" are not just considered desktop computers. Your customers could reach your website from smartphones or simply by asking their digital assistant a question. If they need information on a business, the world of the internet is available at their fingertips.
While a website is essential for any business owner, it can also feel like a daunting process. Sometimes, it is helpful to get your feet wet first. If you are looking for a starting point, setting up your BBB profile and Google My Business profile is an excellent place to start. These profiles allow your customers to see basic information about your business, as well as professional ratings. This helps you connect with your customers and shows them that you, as a business owner, care about them.
Greencheck has a service to help get you off the ground. If you don't have a website of your own, Greencheck can help. Once you have your website up and running, Greencheck helps by monitoring the several key indicators that can help you build deeper trust with your customers and prospects. Be sure that your website is listed on your Greencheck profile. Once listed Greencheck monitors your website for spelling errors, broken links, keyword rankings, and uptime. This service is included at no additional cost to you as a part of your Greencheck subscription. You will receive regular emails about the status of your website. You can sign in to your Greencheck Account to check the health of your website anytime.
See also: 4 Essentials To Preserve Online Trust