Websites are an essential component to doing business in today's world. With the growing desire to have access to information available anytime at our fingertips, it's simply expected by potential and current customers! In fact, fewer and fewer businesses DON'T have a website.
Everyday, more and more people search for services and products online than every before. Our habits are changing. People move to a new area and very often rely solely on the Internet to learn about the new area, research and find out who to go to for what. Most people are coming to expect that any professionally run business will have a web site. With a well-designed site your small business becomes a real player both on and off the net. The more people know about you and your company the greater the chances you have for attracting new customers. More is generally a good thing when running a business, unless you're talking about expenses!
With a web site it's like having pages of full-color advertisements that run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! You get to present yourself and your services to your customers using many descriptive pages, images, interactive elements, etc. This tends to build trust, which in turn, makes them more likely to purchase your products and services.
A traditional printed newsletter can be an expensive and time consuming promotional action. With printing, postage and time spent, the costs can add up fast. With a web site you can have people who would like to receive your newsletter provide you their email address. Then you can email your newsletter to all of the people in your database, automatically! You don't need to pay for printing or postage for these newsletters. Continual contact with prospects is a proven tactic which directly leads to more inquiries and sales!
Do you spend time answering the same types of questions for each of your clients? Well that may never stop, but there may be some hope! With a web site you can post the answers to these frequently asked questions online and have your customers visit these pages for a little self service. You can even email a link to these pages. Your customers will appreciate the knowledge you provide, and it won't require much more additional time than sending them an email or recommending that they read your FAQs page.
The first step of any sale is getting the client familiar with what you are selling. In this day and age more and more people are looking on the Internet to get the information they need to make educated buying decisions.
You can include articles of interest that tell your potential clients about your services. When they call you to discuss your services, half the sale has already been accomplished; you've already given them your "pitch." You'll also save time and money because the ones who do call are interested, warm (and sometimes hot) prospects, and most likely not just someone calling to gather information.
Include your web address in your current ad campaign and people will turn to your site for more information. Gathering more information is often a first response to a well-run ad campaign. With your site address listed in your ad, you will have people coming to YOU to get that information and your services. A better return on your advertising dollar is another great reason to add a website to your marketing tool arsenal. You can even encourage customers to visit your site by offering an incentive for doing so. The benefits are endless!
Did you ever notice that many people who use the Internet do so in place of the old school, traditional methods (newspapers, yellow pages, etc)?
With a web site you will be able to reach a whole new segment of potential clients that may have missed your current ad campaigns. A good, informative web site will attract many people who may not have heard of you otherwise.
With your web site you will also get email addresses for your business. On your site will be a link where people will be able to email you for additional information. This is a fast and effective form of communication that enables you to communicate very efficiently with potential customers. Time is money in a small business; with email you'll be saving both.
People generally prefer to do business with people they "know." On your site you will give people the opportunity to get to know your business (and perhaps you) and feel more comfortable with you. Once this is established they will be more likely to want to do business with you as compared to the other, similar company whom they know nothing about. Include photos and/or profiles of you and your associates. It will make you more real to them and make them more likely to contact you. Get active with social media and integrate that on your website. The website is a great place to consolidate everything about your business that potential and current clients need to know.
Referrals are one of the best ways for small businesses to get new clients. On your web site you can add a "refer a friend" link where your current clients (or just visitors) can send your link to a friend who may be interested in your services. This will increase your number of referrals and make it easy for people to refer business to you, especially if you offer an incentive.