I have come across a number of people that own brick and mortar businesses, but feel no need for a website. Even if you are not selling a product or collecting money directly from your website, a web presence can be very beneficial. Here are my top 12 reasons why everyone needs a website:
1 – Everyone is on the internet. Well almost everyone… the U.S. Census reported 71.7 percent of households accessing the Internet in 2011. My guess is by now, in 2014, we are closer to 80%.
2 – No one uses the phone book anymore. We received a phone book on our doorstep last week and my son brought it to me asking what the heck it was, I can not remember the last time I used a phone book, but I know it was more than a few years ago. The vast majority of Americans today are researching products, and businesses or services online. If you don’t have a website, you may be left in the dark. If I want to find a new restaurant, I use the internet. When we are in need of a new healthcare practitioner, we use the internet to find one. When I need batteries or diapers, I use the internet to shop around. I can not think of one product or service I would not use the internet for, if nothing else I use it to find a location, hours of operation or phone number. I can guarantee you, if you are not on the internet in some form, you will never be getting my business because I don’t know you exist…
3 – Why make it easy for your competitors to steal your customers or clients??? If you don’t have a website you may as well put a sign on your door that says, “Go to Joe, he’s better anyway” At least give your competition a run for their money. You don’t need a state of the art site with bells and whistles, sometimes less is more, but if you don’t have a website, your giving your future clients and customers away to your competition.
4 – Online marketing is cheap and effective. Facebook has more than one BILLION users!!! Tap into that potential customer pool and maximize your marketing power. Drive your Facebook fans to your website, if they like you they will tell their friends and their friends will tell their friends! News travels fast on the internet, you could build your business tenfold using internet marketing.
5 – Reach new demographics. It has never been easier to take your business to new heights by reaching new demographics. Find customers and clients from all over the world!! Gain new customers or clients you never thought possible. Limiting yourself to a local market makes no sense, even if you have a service that is strictly local, making business connections and enticing people from around the globe is still ‘good publicity’. Get people talking, you never know, you might have some travel great lengths to come see you!
6 – Keep your customers informed and up to date. Posting new information on your website is the fastest way to keep your customers up to date. I can not tell you how frustrating it is to call a business only to hear “The number you have dialed is no longer in service” and without a website to tell me the new phone number, I will probably find a competitor to take my business to.
7 – 24/7 Support. Even though you may not personally be available 24/7 your website is! That means potential clients or customers can learn more about your business whenever it is convenient for them. They can even contact you via email or web-forms at any time. Without a website, you have to believe that you are special enough for a client to wait until you open to learn more, but chances are they will just move onto the next company that has a website, you won’t even get the chance to explain why you are worthwhile to them.
8 – First impressions are important – Let your website do the talking. While a personal customer relationship is important, so is a first impression. If a client comes to you during an especially busy time their first impression of your business may be ‘unorganized’, or ‘unable to handle volume’. Let your website take care of the first impression business, no matter how busy you are, your website can convey the first impression you want for potential clients. I promise you if I call a company to learn more, without seeing a website or having a first impression yet, and they have to put me on hold because they are too busy to talk to me right away, I will probably hang up and move on. If I were able to view a website and ascertain a first impression prior to calling, my chances of staying on hold to talk to you are significantly higher because I have already formed an opinion about the business and I will likely find it worth staying on hold.
9 – Email Marketing is FREE! You probably send out some sort of a mailer now and again, maybe a brochure or postcard, how much does that cost? How do you know it is even worth it? Maybe you pay some important marketing business to run the numbers for you, sounds like a lot of time and money to me. Obtaining emails is easy and sending email advertisements/newsletters is free!!
10 – Improve credibility. A website gives you the opportunity to tell potential customers what you are about and why you deserve their trust and confidence. There are many review-style websites where people will post their experience with a particular company, in turn many potential clients will then use these sites for research so that they can determine for themselves whether a particular business or product is trustworthy and reliable. If you have good feedback, make it known, add it to your website to add to your credibility!!
11 – Collect revenue, member dues, or other fees quickly and easily. Whether you are selling a product, service, or just trying to collect fees or past due balances, having a website with a payment gateway can simplify the process and allow your customers a quick and easy method of payment, day or night.
12 – Get rid of all that paper!! I am consistently surprised at how many businesses rely on paper to do business, whether it is a printed and mailed newsletter, or printed and filed customer folders. Any and all of your printed data can be managed online, with your website. From a customer database to email newsletters and everything in-between. Save some trees and go digital!
This list is far from comprehensive, I am sure I could go on for days about the benefits of owning a website, but if I have not convinced you yet, feel free to contact me so we may discuss the matter further.