If you’re like most people you spend part of your day online. Whether it’s making a purchase at your favorite store, arranging for grocery delivery or keeping up with your friends on social media, the internet has become an integral part of our lives. So I was surprised to learn that almost 55% of small businesses don’t have a website (2013 survey carried out by Google and research company Ipsos). My first thought was, “that can’t be true” but as a website designer and online store owner, I have a bias. Since I’m curious and like to continually educate myself, I decided to find out why.

 

What was the number one reason businesses cited for not having a website?  

“We don’t need one.”

 

This is often the case with a business owner who is comfortable with doing things the way they’ve always been done, especially in the case of older established businesses. While it can feel safe and secure to stay in the slow lane, the world moves at lightning speed today and if you can’t keep up, your business will be forgotten or worse, not even found. For an exercise, do a search on Google for companies in your field and see how many companies appear in search results that list only and address and phone number. The answer is few if any.

 

You’ll never know true success until you step outside of your comfort zone.

 

You took the giant step to start your own business or took over the ownership of your family run business. Consider the decision to have a website as one more step forward on the road to success.

 

How can a website help your business?

Your website can function as a valuable customer service employee. In its most basic form, a company website can relay details on:
  • Location
  • Store hours
  • Contact information including phone number and email address
  • Directions to your store
  • Photos of your physical location
  • Any additional details customers may want to know such as parking availability and any in-store events that are taking place

Having a homepage, a contact page, and a testimonial page is all you need to get started. If you have a service company like a painter you can add a gallery page of before and after photos to demonstrate your capabilities.

 

Why does this matter?

The internet is now the go to place to find and research companies, not the Yellow Pages. Your customers will benefit from being able to find your company when they are looking for answers to their problem. Plus they can access this information 24/7 from the comfort of their own home. Your competitors are most likely online and you don’t want to lose out to them because you don’t have a website. Your website gives you a great opportunity to communicate how your service or product is better than your competitors.

 

Having a website helps to build trust with customers. It puts a “face” to your business. If you have photos of your location they add credibility and customers will get a better sense of who you are. When your competitors have a website and you don’t it can put doubt in the mind of your customer. With the increasing competition for market share, doubt is the last thing you want entering the minds of potential customers.

 

In addition, you’ll gain time in your day to work on your business and have less distractions because customers will be able to have many of their questions answered by going to your website instead of having to call you. For a minimal investment you can reap big financial rewards for your company.

 

How can a website help a brick and mortar store?

A website with online shopping acts as a second location for your business. Multi-channel selling has many benefits. Main Street foot traffic in many areas is a fraction of what it once was due to the convenience and growth of online shopping. When you add an online store you have the opportunity to not only gain back lost foot traffic but you’ll also be able to reach a wider audience. Both of these are good for your bottom line.

 

In addition, customers will have the option to order online or check product availability and purchase in store.  This can give you a competitive advantage over stores who only sell online as you are able to offer customers the instant gratification of having their order the very same day instead of having to wait.

 

Your customers will have the convenience of shopping anytime of day, from any location and on any device. When they compare products, they’ll be able to include yours in their comparison. Here is where you have the opportunity to differentiate your products from your competitors so you become the clear choice. Adding customer friendly features such as customer accounts, favorite items, order history and product recommendations help personalize the shopping experience, build a relationship with them and turn them into a loyal customer.

 

Need a boost to your marketing efforts?

Your website can complement traditional marketing efforts and for a much lower cost. If a customer hears about your business from a traditional advertising source, they will be more likely to visit your website as the next step. From your website, you’ll be able to collect customer email addresses that will help in targeting your marketing efforts and assist with lead generation. From this list, you can email customers a monthly newsletter or the latest promotion you are offering. You can also offer your website visitors tips, how-to’s or e-books to help them. This also works to build trust and develop relationships.

 

So what are you waiting for?

The many valid reasons for having a website for your small business far outweigh the reasons for not having one. Depending on your needs, a website can be designed with a minimal investment and the potential increase in business and sales far outweighs the cost. But, the number one reason why you should have a website for your business is, your customer wants you to have one.

 

As the old saying goes: “The customer is always right.”

 

Need help designing your website? DLJ will work with you and your budget to build a website that works for your business by differentiating you from your competitors, building relationships with your customers and increasing sales. Contact us to get started!