Why does my small business need a website?
50% of small businesses do not have a website, according to research conducted in 2018 by Telstra. The reasons for this are varied, ranging from:
Cost – Many think that having a website built is expensive, when you consider physical store expenses, this is a much cheaper option and allows for greater expansion and connection with customers. Encompass Web Design understand budget restrictions on small business and tailor packages targeted to meet these needs.
Time – In a world where we all seem to not have enough time, this is always a consideration, from the time taken to build a website and the time required to manage it. A well thought out and planned website, that incorporates all your needs and future provisions, as well as current requirements will actually save you time because it becomes an extension of the exceptional customer service you aim to provide.
Know-how – People either do not know how to build a website or the first thing about looking into getting one built and therefore have no idea what to look for when hiring a web designer. There are lots of advertising around about building a website yourself, and while these offer a valid service, it is important to note that you do not own that website and that any generation of traffic is targeted to the web builder than to your business, and they have restrictions. When hiring a web designer it is important to find one that is prepared to sit down with you and discuss your needs and get an understanding of you and your business, because it is an understanding of this and your products and your idea for a website that will make a website what you want it to be. Ask as many questions as you can to understand the process, and bring all your ideas as these are important
Believe social media is enough – This is common, and social media is great for building a community around you and your business, but you are at the mercy of the social media providers with rules constantly changing. Websites allow you to provide the service you talk of on your social media accounts.
Thinking your small business does not need a website – This is the most common reason, and research suggests that you may not think you need a website but your customers do. Gone are the days when we would flick through the yellow pages to find a business, now that search is conducted through search engine searches and the only businesses that come up on these searches are those with a website
Why Do I Need a Website?
To better understand why it is important that your small business has a website, it best to ask why do your customers need a website. In order to answer that question, statistics and even looking at your own habits will shed light into why it is important to your customers you have a website. Then you can also better understand the advantages of having a website for your business.
Research in Online Buying Behaviours
Interesting data from Roy Morgan shows that over a year up to March 2018, 9.46 million Australians made a purchase online, that equates to 46.8%. Australia Post research shows that online sales generate $21.3 billion in sales. This shows the number of people purchasing online and the number of sales generated, by simply having a website your small business can position itself to be able to generate increased sales and opportunities.
Customer Research Habits
Telstra research in 2018 found that 83% of customers believe finding a business in a search engine is important, and the research also suggests that 63% of customers will stop considering a small business if they cannot find them online. There are a couple of reasons why this information is important in understanding customer habits and why.
The easiest place to start is to think about your own habits, what do you do when you are looking where to find a particular good or service? Traditionally it was the yellow pages, but today, everyone goes to the internet and runs a search through a search engine, having a website gives customers direct access as to who you are, what you do and how to find you, whether they intend to purchase online or in-store; and we all do it, it is an easy way to find what you are looking for, and isn’t time-consuming.
Building Trust in Your Business
Further to this, customer behaviour is changing, largely due to the behaviours of some big companies and this behaviour has been, rightly, reported through media outlets. Customers now want transparency and businesses to earn trust and credibility, they want to feel like that are part of a community, adding to the credibility, trust and transparency. Having a website aids in the development of this, because when you have a website you have total control of what information your customer receives about you, this communication builds trust; and in ways that traditional marketing cannot.
How Websites Help Build Credibility, Trust and Transparency
Websites are a good way to portraying this to your customers and when hiring a web designer, you are in control of how your website looks, feels, and operates. You sit down and discuss your ideas with a web designer and make that website your own, putting forth who you are and who your business is to your customers, what goods or services you provide and an understanding of why your goods are important. You even control the colours used. It is a portrait of your small business, and a quick glance as to who you are, this generates trust and transparency because it is all there. You are in total control of how your business and business image is portrayed, and this can be updated simply and easily.
Having your own website over simply having solely social media accounts puts you in control, rather than being at the mercy of social media. Social media sites constantly change the rules on what is seen and isn’t and how businesses can attract people to view business pages, and these rules can change without notice or warning. Added to that, they can also have times they are not operating, leaving you without access to communicate with customers. Websites can easily tie into social media accounts, with the advantage of putting you in control and allowing you to communicate with your customers and community.
Websites and Communication with Customers
Websites also allow you to communicate effectively with your customers and your stores is available 24/7, meaning whenever they need you. You have more than one avenue to communicate, the first being the website itself, being colours, layout, design and ease of use. Added to this you can communicate by doing a write up each week of the important elements of your business or products so that people better understand what you are trying to achieve, and being able to contact you with any questions they have, both through Q and A pages and contacting you directly.
Brand development traditionally was the simple requirement of a logo, for recognition. Whilst having a logo is still important, it is one part of a process. People need to both understand your image and feel a connection to your business. This is done through story creation, which in turn creates a community around you and your business, with the effect of lead generation and return sales. Your website gives you the best opportunity of providing this, as you get to tell the story and provide the character of you and your business, and build an environment that people will connect with, providing all levels of customer service, from the first point of contact through to after sales customer care. This is done through careful planning with your web designer and consideration of the ways in which you would like this to happen.
Added benefits to you are thinking of it as store expansion without the costs involved in adding a physical premise, this option is much cheaper and reaches a huge audience.
Business Marketing and SEO
Business marketing is important, having a website is a cheap option, and any social media accounts gain more trust if being able to link into a website, where customers can then purchase directly, instead of having to remember who you are. Using a web designer who specialises in SEO is a great advantage here because they will design a website that incorporates what customers are looking for and ensuring that strategic keywords are used, and the speed a page runs is maximised, as this will affect rankings on search engines. This means that your small business can compete with larger companies to get the attention of customers on a level playing field because your website has the opportunity to shine by being highly ranked in search engine searches.
Brand positioning in your industry
In marketing terms, you can better position your small business with competitors because you have an online presence, remembering that about 50% of small businesses do not have a website, this is a huge market share you do not need to compete with. Then by portraying your character and creating a story you are allowing customers to connect with your business and the product/services and feel part of the community. This then means that in a world where consumers are looking online first, a majority of the time, that you are showing you care both about your business, and products/services, but your customers too, therefore giving your customers value.
Business and Product Promotions
Promotion is cheaper because your website acts the same way a brochure does, and you can promote and control the image you want directly through your website, including press releases, information blogs and customer care. This keeps you in touch with your customers.
You can also gain an insight into the audience you need to target in marketing campaigns because information is available about who is searching for and browsing your small business. This is powerful because it allows you to better understand your customers and how to reach them.
At Encompass Web Design we incorporate SEO into each website created and offer packages that allow for further SEO services provided after the website is built, therefore increasing your ranking in search engines. But more than this, we are passionate about telling your story to your customers, and working with you to get the website you need for you and your customers because after all your customers need you to have a website.