Top 8 Reasons Why Your Small Business Needs a Website
If there’s one thing your small business needs, it’s a website. Read on to learn the top eight reasons you need a small business website.
Canada alone has 1.7 million small businesses.
Our neighbor to the south, America, has a whopping 27.9 million small businesses. Many of our businesses compete with their’s, and can sometimes serve the same markets.
If you’re just starting up a small business or need to take your business to the next level, you’ll need a small business website.
With 644 million websites on the Internet, and growing, people don’t consult the phone book anymore when they need a service.
Instead, most people are turning to Google and other search engines to find businesses to meet their needs.
If you’re still unconvinced that it’s time to join the 21st century and get your business online, we’ll go over our top7 reasons why you should invest in a website.
1. Your Customers Can Find You with a Small Business Website
While you might still turn to the phone book or trawl through a catalog for your latest gadgets, more and more people are turning to the Internet.
In fact, it is estimated that there are 3.5 billion searches on Google every single day.
Sure, some of those searches might be for things like how to get a wine stain out of a dress shirt. But chances are some of those searches are for a business exactly like yours.
With the advent of mobile phones, which are essentially tiny portable computers, people rely on the Internet now more than ever before.
Just having your website up can exponentially increase the fact that potential customers can find you.
For example, many times when people are in a new town, they just pull up Google or other comparable app and type in, “Jamaican food near me,” or whatever strikes their fancy.
You might serve up the best Jamaican food for 40 miles. But those passing through aren’t going to have a clue because you aren’t online. And they’ll give someone else their business.
Make sure you’re discoverable by not only having a website but investing in ways to ensure that those who want to find you, can.
2. It Gives Your Business Legitimacy
Everyone and everything is online these days. But if you can’t find something online, does it even exist?
That’s kind of the modern question of whether when a tree falls in the forest if it makes a sound when no one is around to hear it.
Having a website allows potential customers to research you. A listing in a phone book or a catalog doesn’t really tell them a whole lot. Most people like to look at webpages to research the business they are potentially giving their business to.
If, for example, you teach dancing lessons, a potential client might want to know a few things about you. They may want to know where you studied dance. They may want to know what qualifications you have. They may want to know if you’ve danced professionally. And, they may want to know if you work with kids or adults.
If you answer all of these questions online, a potential customer will be more likely to purchase your service or product. This is because they already have an idea of what you do, and they already think it might be in line with what they’re looking for.
3. It Opens Up Your Customer Base
Right now, you might be selling yarn from your home office. You might have a loyal base of customers, which is comprised of the people at a local knitting circle.
That’s fantastic, but have you ever thought of expanding your horizons?
With an online business, the sky is the limit. Although you can set parameters about which countries you’ll ship your items to, within those, you can develop an entirely new customer base.
Many people enjoy shopping online. That’s because it’s convenient, they can do it during their work day and it saves them an extra errand.
By fulfilling their need through the mail instead of forcing people to come into your store, you can double, triple or even quintuple your revenue.
Some people even operate businesses exclusively on the Internet.
So while your yarn shop might only be local now, you might find that your best customer actually lives in a remote fishing village in Iceland. Without the Internet, you would have never reached him or her.
But don’t fret, having an online worldwide customer base doesn’t make your business any less local. You can still proudly be part of your community and serve those near to you. But expanding your marketplace offers you a chance at a higher revenue, as well as even more customers.
4. Websites are Always Open
In the real world, you can’t run to the grocery store at 3 am if it closes at 10 pm. While there are specialty stores that stay open all of the time, most of them do have to close every once in a while.
A website allows you to keep your business open to orders all of the time. It isn’t governed by the hours you keep, nor is it governed by when you can have an employee in the store.
Instead, your business turns into a 24/7 outlet.
This way, busy moms who just remembered at 2 am that they need something that you sell can go to your website and grab it. They can then go about their day, or go back to sleep, knowing you’ve got them covered.
By having a website open 24/7, it saves a busy mom a trip to the store and ensures that you get the customer you might have missed.
5. It Gives You a Chance to Market to New Customers
In a previous example, we mentioned that your best customer might actually be several thousand miles away in a remote Icelandic fishing village.
Before the Internet, you would have never reached her, or at least the chances would have been pretty slim.
With the Internet, your chances increase. But we did speak about how there are over 600 million websites online and growing.
So that means you’re going to have to go look for your market. The Internet isn’t necessarily a “build it and they will come” type situation. You need to seek out your future customers, but that can actually be a good thing.
Social media, Google Adwords and various other programs can help you find the customers you’re looking for.
With other employees in your store, create a “customer avatar.” If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry. It’s just a marketing term for your ideal or typical customer.
Is your typical customer a female college student who is busy intermittently during the day, but has free time here and there? Is she someone who likes to do crafts to fill up the time she has on her hands?
Perfect. Now, that you know that information, you can use it to market to that exact demographic. In your town, that might seem niche, and it is worldwide as well. Even though your town might only have a handful of young women who fit this description, if you market to every town in North American that has young women who fit this description, you’ll open up to a world of potential customers.
Having a website gives them somewhere to go to have a look at your business and see what you’re all about.
And they might be surprised that you were able to find them, especially if you and your target customers are a perfect fit.
With the help of a digital marketing professional, your potential is unlimited.
6. Websites Can Automate Sales
In a store, you need someone at a cash register to ring up an item. You then need to swipe their card or take their cash and give them change.
If you work as an artist or freelancer, you’ll need to speak to your client one-on-one in order for them to purchase your work.
But with the Internet, you can automate it completely.
If you work with a distribution center or a third party that prints and sends items to your customers, a website can take almost all of the hard work out of it. That means all you’re responsible for is ensuring that the business is running smoothly, you keep customers updated and you know you or the distribution center has the stock.
With a business like that, your income is almost entirely passive. While you will need to participate in marketing and running promotions to ensure people gain awareness of your brand, most of the business runs itself.
If you distribute the products yourself, you still will likely have to put in a full day of work just by packing them. But, taking the payments online makes things a lot easier. You don’t have to interact with the customer personally (which is great if you’re a shy person!) and they can buy items at their leisure.
While you should fulfill items in a timely manner, you don’t have to give them to the customer instantly.
This takes away a lot of the hoopla of dealing with a frustrated customer or someone who is irate. It also outsources much of the customer service to the Internet. This means you can deal with angry customers on your own time when you’re ready to answer emails.
7. You’ve Now Got a Place to Show Off
A website can kind of be looked at as an online repository for everything awesome your business has ever done. You may have won an award in 2013 for the business of the year by a local newspaper, but who is going to know that unless you display the trophy in your store?
You may have taken your new clothing line to Milan and sold $30,000 worth of inventory last season.
Again, who is going to know that unless you tell them?
That’s why a website is such a fabulous idea. You can place all of this online for your customers to see. You can add features and extras including photos, information about you and your staff and information about the history of your company.
If customers aren’t interested in things like that, they don’t necessarily need to see it in order to use your products or services.
But if they are, they can read about you and your accomplishments. Showcasing these accomplishments can boost your company’s legitimacy, and make clients more apt to purchase from you.
8. People Expect You to Be Online
In this day and age, we expect everyone to be online.
It’s kind of weird when a store doesn’t have a website or says that you can’t buy its products online.
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, such as if you’re a bakery or a fast-food restaurant. But even then, potential customers expect to be able to find information about your food, how to order, prices, nutrition, and the menu. This can help them make an informed choice about where they would like to eat. And since every other restaurant has that information readily available, why would they choose one that doesn’t?
In 2018, every business should be online. Customers should have a way to contact you and find out about your business.
If you’re not online, for many potential customers, it’s almost as though you don’t even exist.
Setting Up Your Website
If you have no experience with websites, or the Internet intimidates you a little bit, don’t worry. That’s where we come in. We’re here to help you build your small business website, and we’ll help you meet your goals.
We’re here to help, whether you’re looking to overhaul your current website or want to start from scratch. Contact us today to see how we can help move your small business to the next level.