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Many people believe that websites are only for large companies or businesses that sell online goods and services. They don’t believe that they have anything to gain from incorporating a website into their company. They don’t believe that their clients use the internet. Or they’ve heard that they should get a website, but just don’t understand what it will do for them. There are still others who already have a website but don’t know all the ways it can benefit their business or how to utilize it properly. If you are one of these people, this article is for you.
Let’s say your business has relied solely on word-of-mouth marketing and pamphlet distribution in your area and has done well; you’ve never needed a website before, so why now?
Well, the first aspect is that word-of-mouth is still alive, but it is less “mouth to mouth” and more “keyboard to keyboard” i.e. through social networking sites, such as Facebook or via Email. The online community is booming and getting larger every day. Because of this, we have a community of people who are used to immediate, effortless communication and getting what they want right now. So, when they hear about an amazing handcrafted furniture company, they of course want to view some examples of that furniture and know more about the company. This is where having a website comes in handy. If people become interested and make the effort to “Google” the company and there is no website, they generally lose interest and forget about it, because with all the companies out there, who has the time to phone or visit each place just to decide if they are in fact a good, reputable company that have what you are looking for at the right price? One wants to narrow down their search before they step out the door to visit a company and buy from them.
Having a website means having a presence online; this means that people interested in your services/ products can find you and learn more about what you offer, and what you stand for as a company. You can tell people all the information that they would never know about your company, such as how you got started, your company’s vision, or that you consciously conserve energy and recycle in your company. You would never be able to physically tell every potential or existing customer every interesting detail about your company that may sway their opinion in favour of your company. If you did, it would probably sound like a manipulating sales pitch or you would land up incessantly boring them with information they are not interested in. This way people can skim read the information you have displayed, selecting only the details that interest them and they can form an impression of your company thereby deciding if you are trustworthy enough to fix their car, for instance.
Introducing a website as a means of advertising has many benefits; you can now display ALL of your products and services! Clients could find out that you provide another service/ product that they are looking for. As a web design company people may only think of you for web design, they may not know that you also provide ADSL and bulk emailing, for example. With a website, you’re also advertising to the right target audience; pamphlet distribution ensures that many people know about your company (usually in only one particular area), but how many of those people are interested in using your services? People already searching for your products and services will visit your site, so they are all interested visitors. You can even combine both means of advertising and put your website address on your pamphlets/ business cards. Potential clients can then find out more about your products than you can display on a pamphlet, as well as other information about your company. Another bonus is that changes and updates are quick and easy to make (unlike printed brochures). No need to scream “Stop the presses!” due to a typo noticed last minute, or reprint brochures every time you update your prices.
An important consideration when advertising is the cost. Most people looking at getting a website are scared off by these intricate high-tech flash sites that look like they cost a fortune (and probably do). Not every business needs that – setting up an attractive, professional website can be very affordable; in fact it rivals the cost of most other forms of advertising. Once a website is up, there is not much work left to do, or cost involved. You do want to keep it fresh by updating it occasionally to keep users interested, but there is very little work involved in that. There is also no need to be as fancy as some of the sites you have seen out there, the point is to get your company online, so that you have a chance against other companies who are already online. Right now, you are losing business to companies that already have websites. And as I will mention later in the article, what counts to a user is ease of use and a professional look.
A well designed website, as well as content and useful information provided by you (because who knows your company better than you?) can help a user to trust your company. There are so many companies out there that promise one thing and deliver another or even nothing, so users often choose to go to a larger company with a well known name. But now, you can look just as reputable and legitimate as any other company, because people can find you. The user can read up about you, look at examples of your handiwork or reviews of your service, and compare your costs with those of larger companies.
An excellent tool that your own website will provide you with is the ability to find out what your customer wants! A website can be more than just a place for you to post information and the user to passively read. It has the potential to be an interactive space, where potential clients or existing clients can recommend you, make requests and tell you what they want. You can offer polls or a space to contact you in order for you to gain valuable information from the customer about improving your business to suit them.
Having a website, however, is only successful if you have an inviting and user-friendly page. Your website creates a sound first impression of what your business is like. If the website is untidy, takes long to load and/ or users cannot find how to get to your products page, they will most likely move on. If it is neat, professional-looking and easy to use, then the client is likely to form a good impression of your company and want to see more. If you ensure that your website has just these three concepts, along with up-to-date informative content, then you will have a winning formula and will be able to compete with companies much larger than your own. Websites level the playing field between small and large companies, as you now look just as professional and well-equipped as a larger company, as you very well may be.
Overall, getting a website can be the best sales tool you have, if used properly. What salesperson can sell your product 24/7? Where else can you find out so much about your client? And how else can you tell your client so much about the company you love? Ultimately, your website will speak volumes about you, and if you pay attention to detail with your site’s design and make it user-friendly, then you will be showing them that you are interested in keeping up with what the customer wants. And after all, isn’t that who your business is all about?