Owning a website nowadays is no longer a preserve of large-scale organizations or the world’s crème de la crème. Today, almost every institution, even those that have no access to internet facilities, has a website. Individuals too have not escaped the craze to own websites.
Your website acts as a portal so customers can learn more about your company, as well as research product information and determine if they want to do business with you. If you’re a small business owner, you need to realize that a website isn’t an expensive luxury or a frivolous endeavour anymore — it’s an affordable, fundamental tool that every company needs.
If you think your business does not need a website, then our loans are not for you. But if you want to take your business to the next level, then see how you can benefit from a professional business website, whilst also meeting out lending requirements. You must be thinking to yourself: “I have a small company of 1 – 10 people. Websites are meant for much bigger businesses, right?” Wrong. Here are several reasons why, regardless of your company’s size, it’s essential to get a website right from the word go:
1. Online Materials
Designing, printing and distributing materials such as brochures and catalogs can cost you a fortune. This is especially the case if you hope to reach a wider market and attract more customers. Owning a website will cut down such costs to almost zero. All you have to do is to design the brochure or catalog and post it on your website. There are no printing costs and no distribution charges. Those materials will get a huge visibility because many people visit websites every hour of the day. It will not take long before you start receiving heavy traffic on your website. If you are selling a product, you can expect more customers coming for it.
2. Wider Market
Many people are turning to online options when in need of anything. Why, even lifetime partners can be sourced online. More than 3 billion people are using the internet for various reasons. One of the major reasons to turn online is business. You must have purchased something online recently. Therefore, the internet is providing a wide market for all sorts of goods and services. Go beyond the borders by having a website today. Beat local competitors at their own game by designing an attractive website and displaying your wares online. Well, ask Amazon. They are selling their products world-wide without moving an inch. And 40% of the amazon business is being promoted by coupon websites.
3. Marketing Anchor
Before you print a business card or spend a penny on advertising, you need to start marketing by building a website. A website will act as an anchor for all of your advertising efforts. All business details, product information and promotions should live on your website first. Then, you can create marketing materials that fall in line with your domain name, which will drive customers to your website for additional information.
4. 24-hour Visibility
With the advent of mobile telephony, more and more people have access to the internet today. You can tap into this trend by creating your own website this year. Your business or organization, or whatever it is that you want people to know about, is likely to enjoy more visibility when it is online rather printed on a piece of paper. Every single hour of the day – and even now – people are busy flipping web page in search of something to capture their fancy. These include idlers whiling away their time, fashionistas looking for something trendy, researchers hunting for obsolete facts and people looking for something to buy. This goes on throughout the day.
5. Products / Services Selling Portal
Your website acts as a digital brochure, sharing up-to-date information about your offerings. A benefit of web publishing is that you can change information in real-time — no waiting or paying for new print materials. Guide potential buyers to the products and services they need by creating an effective website.
Think of your website as a 24-hour sales staff. It provides answers to frequently asked questions and can even process sales. Websites with e-commerce and purchasing options allow users to make direct purchases online, thus simplifying sales for both your staff and your customers.
6. New Customers Acquisition
While you might already have an established customer base, a website is a surefire way to connect with new customers who might be unfamiliar with your business.
More often than not, people turn to the internet when they have a problem. Searching for solutions is easy — but is your business a potential problem solver? With a professional website, you position your business as a solution for your customers’ needs. Plus, you can optimize your site with search terms related to your industry. This will expose your business to new customers on the prowl.
7. Local Business Benefits
One misconception about websites is that they’re only for national companies or worldwide corporations with audiences around the globe. Actually, websites are just as, if not more, beneficial for small businesses. In fact, it’s a great way to connect with locals.
Plus, search engines often rank results according to location. In other words, if you’re looking for “shoe stores near me,” Google won’t offer you a name-brand result in Ghana (unless of course you live in Ghana). So it’s pretty clear — an online presence has big benefits even for small businesses who deal locally. No matter where you are located, you can get started with an efficient website that draws in customers.
Nothing is more important than the ability to be found. If you don’t have an established online identity, then customers can’t find you. Not showing up in the search engines (or on the Internet at all for that matter) is one of the fastest ways to lose credibility as a business. It makes you and your company look dated, out of touch and untrustworthy.
Even if you’re fantastic at word-of-mouth marketing, you could be missing out on a ton of referrals. Happy customers are quick to share what they think about your business, but what about their friends who haven’t experienced your services yet? They’ll take to the Internet. And when they come up empty handed, you’ll have missed your chance for brand new customers.
9. Control Your Online Destiny.
If you think having a Facebook page or an online directory listing (like Yellow Pages) is enough to promote your business, you’re wrong, Building your online presence through social platforms (while important) is not enough. When you publish through, or rely on, a third-party platform, you’re at their mercy. If the platform decides to close your account, change their policies or revise their programming, you might lose the ability to connect with your audience. Yet, when you run your own website, you’re in control of both the content you produce and the platform you maintain.
10. Simple and Affordable
Many small business owners rely on using third-party platforms or avoid setting up their own website because they think it’s complicated or expensive. But building and maintaining a website is easier and cheaper than ever before. Even if you aren’t tech-savvy or creative, you can now use simple web publishing tools to build a website in a couple of hours. And the fees for hosting a website start at less than $10/$20 per month — probably one of the cheapest marketing costs out there, cheaper and effective than traditional options - tv or radio.
Take our advice, small business owners — there are no more excuses. If you’re putting off building a website, you’re hurting your business. It’s time to get started!