Do you have a website for your small business? If not, you really should. Need some convincing? Well, for those of us who do have websites, here are 5 things your website is doing for you right now (and 10 minutes from now and in an hour when you’re doing something else and tonight while you sleep snuggly in your bed and tomorrow morning when you’re getting your coffee and next week while you’re at the gym…).
1. Promoting Your Business
Your website is open 24/7. No holidays, no vacations, no “out to lunch.” While you’re eating dinner with your family and talking about what the kids did in school, your website is busy promoting your business.
That’s a good thing, especially if you sell goods or services on your website.
A radio spot here or there may work well for what your business needs. So, too, could a television commercial or ad in the newspaper. But those are all fleeting mediums that aren’t guaranteed to catch a customer, much less catch them in a moment when they’d be interested in hearing what you have to say.
Your website is like a billboard that people can visit whenever they like. So, instead of hoping someone has just had a pipe break at their home while they drive by your billboard on the highway (I can’t imagine that happens often). Let them find your business when they need it most—online after they’ve googled “my bathroom is full of water and my dogs can’t swim, what should I do?”.
2. Lending Credibility
Do you remember your high school rhetoric class? I think I slept through most of mine, so here’s a quick refresher: people are more likely to agree with what you’re saying if you connect with them using 1) Logos – an appeal to someone’s logical side. 2) Ethos – an appeal to someone’s ethical side by demonstrating character. And 3) Pathos – an appeal to someone’s emotional side.
If you want to turn a person on the street into a repeat customer you need to speak to them using all of these devices. But, especially when it comes to SEO, Ethos is one worth paying special attention to. You want your customers to view you as an authority in the field, building their trust in you to provide what they need. Beyond that, however, the little robots crawling your website to collect information that influences your ranking in someone’s search results want to know that you are a trusted authority in the industry.
Today’s consumers are much more research-driven than consumers of the past. Primarily because of the ease of access to research tools via the internet. They are an expert in what they need. You are an expert in providing for that need. Good, credible content on your website is an easy way of demonstrating you know what you’re doing and they can trust you to get the job done.
3. Processing Sales/Generating Leads
With an e-commerce site, the store is always open and customers can make purchases at any time of day. That may seem pretty obvious, but take a moment to absorb what it really means. If you have a brick and mortar location you need to be there to make money. OR you need to pay someone to be there to make money. A website you lets customers come and go as they please without having to cover the salary/benefits of another employee—an even more expensive proposition when you remember that said employee would need to be working all day every day.
Selling services instead of goods? Your website is always there to generate leads via whatever means you have set-up to do so, including contact forms, newsletter sign-ups, and special pop-up features to name a few.
At the end of the day, if you’re a business owner, more visitors to your website means more potential sales for your business. Period.
4. Providing Customer Support
Sometimes you just need a little help. Whether you’re unsure how to use a new gizmo you just picked up or you want to make sure your service plan covers Sunday pick-ups, we are all going to need some customer support at some time or another.
These days, many businesses sell their goods and services with the tagline “24/7 Customer Support.” But for a small business, it’s not always easy to find people willing to be up at all hours of the night just in case someone calls with an issue. That’s where your website comes in.
Aside from helping customers who may be having issues during non-business hours via “How-To” content or a Frequently Asked Questions section, you can add functionality to your website that allows people to submit a support ticket the moment they encounter problems. That’s helpful for 2 reasons: 1) They can describe the problem they’re facing in the moment that they’re facing it, which is helpful with ensuring accuracy in their descriptions. 2) You can deal with the problem when you have a fresh mind, during a time in your day that you’ve set aside specifically for the task.
Customers like to feel like the businesses they shop at have their backs. How better to keep your base happy than supporting them with online support tools through your website?
5. Creating Long-Term Customers
What’s the difference between long-term and short-term customers? Short-term customers pop-in, purchase something and get along with their merry day. Long-term customers look for ways of engaging with your business outside of a one-time transaction. They want to find someone they can trust with their loyalty. Long-term customers are often times no fuss, no muss clients who like to do their work in the beginning and find someone they can trust to deliver the service or goods they need so they don’t have to think about it later.
Of course, your website is just as useful for a short-term customer as it is for a long-term one. But, if you have a website that offers engaging content that demonstrates your business’ breadth of understanding within your industry, chances are good that a long-term customer will be more likely to run across your site while they’re doing research and feel like they can trust you to help them with what they need.
Still on the fence about bringing your small business into the digital realm? Just remember the things your website could do for you day and night, all week long. Aside from being more easily found by potential customers, having a website could give you the ability to offer services to your customers that you never thought possible.