- Everyone does research online before they make a move.
With very few exceptions, the vast majority of people will research online before they call, email, or visit a business.
- Because everyone searches online first, you want to be as visible as possible on search engines.
Making sure your potential customers are quickly and clearly informed of what you have to offer and why you are the top choice is imperative to ensuring they choose you out of the handful of choices they will be looking at.
- Your competitors have one. If they don’t, you instantly rise to the top of the heap once you do.
It’s highly likely your direct competitors have websites, and you can assume your potential customers will check them out. Most potential customers, especially the ones you really want, won’t be as concerned with the lowest price as they will be with quality. They will be willing to pay a fair rate for what you offer if you can demonstrate that it’s worth it. This means you need to know how you compare to your competition and be able to showcase what makes you different to potential customers before they even initiate contact with you. If, by chance, your competitors don’t have a website, great news! Once you launch your website, you become the top choice among your competitors for any potential customers using the internet to find what you offer.
- Having a website is inexpensive, but it’s effective marketing. Unlike traditional advertising, it’s a one-time purchase.
Creating an online presence that will get attention on search engines and represent your expertise will help attract your ideal customers without you having to do a thing. A professional website is a long-term, one-time investment that lasts for years and will help you cultivate your ideal customer base. After the initial investment to set up the website, your hosting and domain costs are around $100 annually. That’s much less than an annual ad budget with traditional advertising in print and online where the advertisement disappears forever after its run. The investment to build a website can last indefinitely, you will not likely need to upgrade for at least 5 years (do your research and ask questions if you’re hiring someone to build it for you!).
- A website can project professionalism and credibility — both of which help potential customers trust your business.
A website demonstrates your authority in your industry and your commitment to the business. Offering transparent and convenient access to information about your business makes users confident to choose you. Lacking a professional website, or lacking a website completely, implies poor management and an absence of concern for the customer. Don’t make people go out of their way to find out about what you offer.
- Give interested customers quick access to the information they’re looking for: hours, services, products, experience, and everything that makes you their best option.
A website offers potential customers quick and efficient access to everything they want to know about you. That could include your products, services, rates, examples of past work, and how and when to contact you. When you rely on social media for your online presence, valuable information like announcements and posts get lost in the feed as you and everyone else keep posting. Most people on the lookout for services, products, sales, or hours won’t want to endlessly sift through photos, re-posts, and motivational quotes for that information. Although social media pages allow you to list a lot of information and are great for posting about up-to-the-minute happenings with your business, the platforms often limit how much a viewer without an account can see. Yes, social media is popular, but having and using an account isn’t universal. Plenty of potential customers don’t use social media, and if you don’t have a website, there is only so much of your information they will be able to access.
- You get to showcase your product/service/authority in the best way.
Your website is a place for you to highlight everything you do and what you want to do more of. You can use your website to control the type of work you receive by presenting your preferred products or services most prominently. When your wares are featured in the best light, it is easy to justify charging what you’re worth because people will be able to see the quality you offer. Whether it’s displaying technical specs, high-resolution photos, measurements, service parameters and expectations, accreditations, portfolio examples, notable clients, or any other proof you want to show, your customers will see that proof themselves.
- Being online lets you reach farther. Your online presence allows you to expand your service range via an online store or by offering services, classes, or courses.
A website offers the opportunity to expand the reach of your business. Selling physical goods in an online store isn’t the only game online. Consider providing remote services, digital products, courses, classes, or e-books. Which reminds me…
- Own your audience. Control your contacts no matter what happens to social media platforms in the future.
Whether your customer base is local or not, if your only point of contact with them is on social media, you can’t guarantee that you’ll always have access to them. Establishing your own trusted space online ensures that you can always reach your customers, whether or not something happens to jeopardize the social media platform or account you’re using. You can take this even farther by creating an email list so you can get in touch with interested customers directly when you have new product or service announcements, make changes to the business, or want to do periodic updates to showcase recent work.
- Know your audience by using analytics to see who visits, when they visit, and what they like to look at.
Knowing your customers is important when it comes to retaining them for repeat business and speaking to potential new clients you would like to attract. Your website can track who is visiting your site, what part of the world they’re from, how they found you, and what they looked at while they were there. Having this information can help you make decisions about future products and services based on your audience. It can also help you discover trends over time, which can allow you to maximize product launches, special events, or other limited time promotions targeting your historic high and low periods.
- Create a lasting impression and stand out from the competition with a custom design that conveys your story and purpose.
Having a website that conveys your message visually that also explains the purpose, motivation, and story behind your business will create a memorable impression on those who visit the site. This will make your customers remember you long after they leave the site and inspire a lasting loyalty to your mission.
- Show off your credentials to prove your value. Whether they’re certifications, press mentions, testimonials, notable clients, or affiliations with associations, potential customers love to see proof before purchase.
Outside validation is a great way to convince a potential customer your business is top-notch. Your website allows you to show off certifications, awards, press mentions, and first-hand customer testimonials. The next time you get a nice note from a client or customer, consider asking them if you can use their words on your website for a testimonial.
- Save time by letting your website answer the questions you commonly get from customers.
Customers tend to have a lot of the same questions. Your website can help you save time by answering all the questions you get on a regular basis in a way that is easy for customers to access. This can be in the form of an FAQ page or section, or it can be built into the copy and content of the site.
Ok, now that you know you need a website, should you build it yourself? Maybe. Let’s talk more about it.
Do you have a website and are now thinking it’s not working for you like it should? Find out if you should fix it yourself or get an assist.