Have you found yourself wondering if a website is right for your business?
If you find yourself spiralling head-first into a rabbit hole of negativity, you need to flip your thinking and look at the digital world through a new lens.
The digital world has opened up a host of unique opportunities that have never been available to small businesses before.
Using a website, small and medium sized businesses have been provided with a proven way to level the playing field against bigger and more well established competitors.
Understanding the 4 web design trends to watch for in 2019; and with the proper tools, some guidance and a splash of creativity, you can tap into the vast possibilities of the digital universe and unlock a pathway to growth that would have been previously inaccessible to you.
These are the 4 reasons why a website is one of the most cost-effective and proven growth strategies you can make as a small business.
One – You’re Open 24/7
Did you know that 83% of small businesses feel their digital presence is increasing the success of their business?
Just by being in the game you give yourself an increased chance of winning.
In the modern world, an ‘offline’ business is slowly becoming an obsolete phenomenon. Consumers don’t shop within set open and closed times. They get online after work, on the commute, before bed.
Whatever time they go searching for products and services your business needs to be accessible.
With a website you are never closed for business.
A website with a contact form means you can generate leads that populate your inbox while you sleep. The small business operators at Glen Gilbertson Floor Sanding found that one of their biggest challenges was operating within set business hours and missing opportunities for more work; or alternatively being on call 24 hours a day which can be quite exhausting.
They had this to say, “The contact form in our website means that we won’t miss a job opportunity and will still be able to turn the phone off at night. We’ve got more freedom to work the hours that suit us while never being closed off to clients. All because of a website and the 24/7 exposure and accessibility it creates.”
With more consumers than ever online, if you want to stay relevant and grow, generating a digital presence is essential.
Ready to build a website for your small business? Here are 8 steps to make sure it looks beautiful.
Two – You Extend Your Reach
It is a fact that digital channels allow businesses to access a much wider audience than was ever available to them before.
The age of the Yellow Pages is over. Now is the dawn of Google.
With the help of a website, you will be able to reach beyond the geographical boundaries of your local area. Instead you can engage with potential customers from all different areas, demographics and walks of life.
Online clothing boutique Tierra Alma is well aware of the need to have a functional website. Their team had this to say, “Being a clothing boutique, traditionally we would be quite geographically limited. By being able to operate online with our website we are not limited by a physical store and are able to extend our reach, essentially providing us with an endless potential customer base.”
As over one-third of the population is now online, you will no longer be limited by location or geography.
For example, let’s say you have optimized your local bakery with the latest SEO best practices.
Your blogs are driven by highly targeted keywords. Your Google My Business listing is full of 5 star reviews and accurate information. And your website is fast, mobile friendly and full of value.
A hungry customer may look up ‘where to get the best croissants near me’, see your business website in the search results, look at some good reviews, browse your menu and find themselves heading to your door for breakfast!
Without a website on your side it is far less likely that this new customer would have stumbled upon your bakery.
Would word of mouth have helped them find you? No chance.
The only reason you made a sale is because your business had a professional website that was optimized to appear at the top of Google.
This is the power of a website.
Three – You Start Saving Money
There is a massive misconception that exists about investing in a website.
Does this sound familiar?
‘Websites are overly expensive and beyond the budget of my small business.’
However, there are actually many ways you can get started with a website that either involve no money at all or involve a small amount up front that will return your investment and more in the long term.
Consider these two $0 strategies to hack your own digital marketing and grow your business alongside a cost-effective website.
- First – Get on Top of Your Social Media
The impact of social-media is often underestimated by business owners. In reality, social media is one of the top tactics that contribute to buyer behavior.
As an effective consumer influence, social media is free, user friendly and has an enormous reach that your business can take advantage of. The entrepreneurs at Mukti Freedom Yoga have noticed the positive impact that Facebook has had on their customer relationships. They had this to say, “Facebook has allowed us to grow our business by personalizing our relationship with our customers. We have been able to convey more information and converse with customers at any time of the day that I choose. This mirrors a website in that a two-way flow of communication becomes possible and leads stop falling through the cracks.”
Consider the following social media channels:
These are all effective, easy-to-use and cost-free platforms to help you create or improve your digital presence.
- Second – Use Videos
Businesses often decide not to invest time in making video content due to a common misconception that it is too difficult or expensive.
In reality video can cost you nothing but a little time. For $0 video can set you apart from the crowd
Studies have shown original video content to have a very positive response rate.
According to a recent study with participants from across the world, 76% of respondents reported that video was their preferred channel of content.
So get filming. Stuck for ideas?
Create and compile your best testimonials or interviews and then share them on your social media channels.
This is an incredibly cost-effective way of approaching DIY digital marketing that is easy and available to all business owners.
Four – You Develop Authentic Relationships
A friendly barman at a local pub is an excellent way of ensuring customer loyalty.
A website facilitates and solidifies customer relationships in the same way.
Except instead of a barman, you provide a professional, welcoming and easy to navigate digital hub.
With the helping hand of a website, you can build rapport with your customers at scale.
These types of relationships between businesses and consumers were simply not possible through old-fashioned strategies.
Not only can businesses continue to engage with their customers as often as they like – by email, social media, website chat and so on, they can also go the extra step and use it to personalize these interactions.
According to a worldwide survey conducted in 2016, “the most effective e-mail tactic in driving conversions was personalization.”
In fact, 90% of respondents in a related study claimed personalization was “very or somewhat appealing”.
This means you can appeal to 9 out of every 10 consumers by changing your approach from a generic spray and pray style to a more personal unique approach.
This could be as simple as replying to individual comments on social media.
Or personalizing emails and newsletters to include actual first names.
You could also create customer personas to suit your broad demographic.
By segmenting your audience you will be able to provide resources, information, newsletters and more that speak to their unique tastes, needs, and pain points.
All of these options become available when you invest in a website, showing that an initial investment opens up a world of growth opportunities.
Ultimately, a website is one of the single most important steps your business will take.
From being accessible 24/7 to increase your reach, developing powerful connections with your audience saving you money, websites have the potential to transform your business.
So there’s only one question left to ask.
When are you going to start using a website to scale up your business and kick your professional goals?
Luke Kurtz is a freelance writer and a student majoring in Accounting in Sydney. Luke’s favorite pastime is watching movies. This is what he does when he is not in school.