“Do I really need a website for my business?”
If you don’t like promoting yourself and your products on the internet, you are going to like irrelevance even less. Currently there’s over 7 billion people that use the internet worldwide. Specifically in Australia, over 95% of our population. How are you tapping into this market?
Nowadays, there’s plenty of places where you can advertise your business online. You can promote yourself through social media platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. There’s also many industry specific display options including online directories, portfolios and freelancing websites.
When used appropriately these are fantastic! But are they really enough to beat your competition? If you are looking to take yourself and your business seriously then you need a dedicated website. Let’s take a closer look at why.
Table of Contents
What Can a Website Do for You and Your Business?
Businesses with dedicated websites enjoy greater revenue year-on-year than those without.
Businesses with a dedicated website enjoy greater revenue year-on-year than those without.
Let’s have a look why.
Your website builds your credibility and trust.
The internet has changed how people find and share information. Increasingly, it is the domain where people go to learn more about you and your business. validate word-of-mouth referrals.
Over 81% percent of all shoppers conduct online research before they make a purchase online OR offline. Off these, 60% begin by using a search engine to find more about the products they want (Roy Morgan, 2015).
Here’s some more food for thought:
61% of Australians purchase goods or services over the internet.
– Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2016.
Almost 1 in 3 consumers did product research online within the last four weeks.
– Roy Morgan, 2015.
So what does this mean for you?
Increasingly people are taking to the internet to conduct independent research before buying. They are checking prices, reviews and exploring their options.
Where are most people conducting their research? Google.
Google is still the top contender for product research. ComScore reveals the heavyweight still holds around 2 thirds of total search queries made online, worldwide.
With the right keywords, consumers can find exactly what they’re looking for in record time and make more informed purchases. With Google’s strict ranking procedures, people are confident that top non-paid results provide the information that they are seeking. Illuminating this, you can see from the graph below that over 60% of searchers click on the at least one of the top three results. Over 90% of people do not look past the first page of results.
So what is the most effective way to increase your business’ presence on Google and influence what people are seeing when they research your business? A dedicated website.
Your own dedicated website will appear higher on search engines than directory listings, Facebook pages and other profile sites.
When you use Google Search to find out more information about a product, how many Facebook pages, LinkedIn profiles or directory listings come up? I’d say none, unless what you are searching for is very unique.
For example, let’s say ‘Readwell Bookstore’ was looking to increase their presence on search engines. A quick search reveals no mentions of ‘Readwell Bookstore’ and not many results. Achieving top position for the keywords “Redwell Bookstore” will be easy because the keywords are fairly unique.
When I search for “Bookstore Sydney” there are over 9 million additional results. This shows there is far greater competition for the keywords. More people search for the broader term “Bookstore Sydney” than the specific term “Redwell Bookstore”.
Appearing for your name can be achieved through with less effort and resources. If you want to show up for broader search terms that have higher commercial value you need to allocate more effort and resources. Your own website allows you to do this because you can optimise for search engines more than affiliate webpage profiles and listings such as directories and social media profiles.
Your website allows you to stay open 24/7, at all locations, without the need for you to be on hand.
Your website allows you to stay open 24/7, without the need for you to be on hand. Moreover, you can service a greater area than your shop front or physical service range allows.
If you are a retailer, you should be using e-commerce to sell your products around the clock to the broadest feasible area (keep in mind logistics such as shipping). The same applies if you are interested in getting more leads or quote requests.
Even if you are not a business that lends itself to online sales, there is no need to be turning customers away when it’s time to close office or public holidays. Say goodbye to an irritating message on your answering service specifying a call back during trading hours.
Not everybody will be able to reach you during your work hours. Not everyone will be willing to travel to where you conduct business. Are you unknowingly turning these possible purchasers away? A website will reduce the barriers of time and locality of your business.
Save time on answering frequently asked questions
There is no need to be tied to the phone answering the same questions. Let your customers find the information they are searching for on your website. This is more efficient and will automate repetitive components of your day-to-day operations, saving time for both you and your customers.
Direct people to informative content such as answers to common questions, insightful information about you, or even products or services that can be purchased online. Moreover, you can then better showcase your business and products through tailored visuals and logical progressions.
Express what you need to say in the way that is most effective for you and your customers.
Social media profiles and directory listings are required to be short and succinct. Often you are restricted on what you can say, and how you can express it. A website breaks these shackles and enables you to express what you need to say in the way that is most effective for you,your business and your consumers.
Use landing and product pages with embedded videos, images and interactive apps to tell a more engaging story that chronologically leads your customer through to giving you a call or purchasing from you.
If you run a business, you can secure more sales using your website.
Anything that can be bought or sold can be sold online. Really, ANYTHING! Obviously there are products and services that will outperform others in this area. But don’t be shy about advertising your products or services online.
Whilst some products or services you deliver might require a quote, the process for forming further customer action CAN start over the internet. This might be as simple as providing the information needed to persuade someone to pick up the phone and call you.
Your website and physical office or shop-front should complement each other. Perhaps your customer is not ready to buy from you when they first come into your office or shop. Your website can convince a potentials customer that it is worth their time to come and see you in person, or call you to discuss.
If you are a retailer you should integrate e-commerce shopping capability into your website. There are affordable options such as Magento. For as little as $6.50 per month you can sell up to $500,000 worth of products on your own website with no transaction fees!
An affordable way to test and evolve your business.
If you want to add scale to your business, then testing is essential. It allows you to invest in what works for you and not waste money and effort on things that don’t. It highlights areas that need attention, both good and bad.
Unlike print media, a website is easy to change and can be updated frequently at minimal cost. This means that you can comfortably test out your new sales pitch or product using your website. Ultimately, you can find out what people value, like and dislike. This will allow you to better develop your brand, products and sales funnel to increase your sales.
Optimizley is great for getting you started and best of all it will not cost you a cent. There’s also a few WordPress plugins that you might want to check out here.
Analytical packages installed on your website give you more information about your customers AND you.
Having a good idea of who your customers are and their specific needs are important aspects of marketing for a business. Having a website, combined with freely available tools such as Google Analytics can really help you determine your audience demographics. This includes the age, gender, location and even core interests of those that are looking at your website.
Delving further into Google Analytics, you can learn how people are finding your website. Are they being referred by social media, email, promotions or word of mouth? Customer journeys are also put in the spotlight.
With heat map tools such as Crazy Egg you can see even more. You can see what content your audience spends most of their time engaged with, what they click on and where they are focusing their attention. How much of your sales pitch are people actual reading? Are people losing interest at a certain point?
A website serves as a great place to refer potential investors.
Its not only customers that are interested in you. Investors want to see what you are up to too.
Often overlooked, a website serves as a great place to refer potential investors. Show investors what your company is about, what it has achieved, and what it can achieve in future.
Your website can expand as your business grows.
Wrapping up… Who needs a website?
A website (or websiteS!) is a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. By having a website, you are giving yourself an instant advantage against those that don’t. The right site will foster interest in you and your brand, ultimately driving further profitable action.
Just about anything can be sold over the internet. I’m not saying you should put all your efforts into selling your products or services over the internet. Though, if your product lends itself to easy online sales then you should certainly be considering allocating significant resources to your site.
Even if you get most of your business through networking, personal connections or word of mouth, people still want a way to check you out for themselves. Your website should be the first place prospective clients or employers are directed.
Your website gives you the opportunity to directly communicate with people that are interested in you and your product. It’s your fully customisable platform where you can tell people what you are about and why they should trust you over your competitors. You can also see how effective your messaging is and discover how you can be even more effective.
A website is you on display. Use it to show your previous work history, success stories and case studies. Even if people cannot directly purchase what you are selling on your site, it influences a person’s decision to pick up the phone and give you a call or come visit your physical place of business.
Amazingly there are still a lot of businesses that do not have websites. Some business owners believe that a website is too expensive. A website can be built for very little money.
You don’t need a giant ten-thousand-page website for your business. A simple site that tells people about your company, products, services and contact details will be enough for most. Remember, websites are flexible. They grow and can be extended as you and your business mature.
Depending on how you set up your website, there are minimal upkeep costs for the life of your website too.
Feel free to get in contact with me to discuss how I can unpack your digital marketing further. Leave a comment below if you have any questions!