1. Reach A Wider Audience – With the internet you have a global reach. Worldwide people can find out about your business. Depending on the nature of your business you can potentially sell you products/services to millions of people. You will have access to a much larger market than just those potential customers in your local area. Not only can you reach customers from all over the world, but you can also access even more from your local area too. Fact is more people in your region will be active online e.g. accessing the internet via their home PC or smartphone, than there will be reading ads in their local newspaper.
2. Cheaper Than Print Advertising – once you have arranged for your business information to be displayed online to potential customers, then it can be there for a long time to come, and you can update it if & when it’s required e.g. product/price changes, etc. Compare this against print adverts where they may only be displayed in a newspaper, magazine for a day, week or month at most, quite often at considerable cost, with little ROI.
3. Open 24/7 – With a website potential customers can always find out about you and the product/services your provide. They are not restricted to only being able to contact you via your specific daily opening hours. If you are closed at weekends or on public holidays, then people can still find out about you online – rather than phoning and getting no reply because you’re closed. Potential customers can always access business information. No matter whether you’re open or closed for business at that particular time, you can always refer potential customers to your website to get the information they are looking for.
4. Customer Convenience – Customers can research your product/service when it is convenient to them. With a website providing information on your product/services there is no need for a customer to have to drive to your place of business in order to ask for information on a product or have a look at it. For example, you can provide detailed info on your product, including pictures, which customers can view 24/7 when it suits them.
5. Builds Trust & Credibility – the fact is many people use the internet prior to making a purchase in order to research what suits them best – it aids in their decision making. If your business and it products/services are not showing online then many customer will take you less seriously that one of your competitors who is online. For example, if you have won any awards or are a member of any industry organisation, etc then you can mention this on your website.
6. Promotes Your ‘Bricks n Mortar’ Presence – Even if you don’t actually sell anything online via your website, the fact is having a website will give people reassurance when they are considering putting business your way. For example, if your business focuses on your local area only e.g. a Blackpool TV repair business, then many people in that area will search online for TV repair shops in the Blackpool area, to find out what is available. Far more people are searching online, than there is people looking through the Yellow Pages. Once they find local TV repair shops online, they will be able to make a phone call to the business of their choice or come and visit you. Without a website you would not be found and would lose business to your competitors, who are online.
7. Marketing Communication – if you have launched a new product or service then you can make potential and current customers aware of this, by mentioning it on your website. For example, if you own a clothes shop and have launched your Summer fashion range, then this can be promoted via your website. Likewise of you are running a special promotion or discount then you can promote them online. For example, if you run a restaurant then you could feature e.g. “free bottle of wine on orders over £30” or “2 for 1 Offer”, etc.
8. Cost Effective Market Research – Understanding what your customers want & need will benefit your business. Finding out what they like & dislike about your products/services are invaluable. Instead of you having to ask face to face or one at a time over the phone for customer feedback, you can instead take advantage of online polls and feedback questionnaires on your website. You can also include online surveys in order to gain a greater understanding of your customers and potential customers. Gaining such feedback online via your website will be much cheaper and quicker than having to ask each individual yourself.
Furthermore, you can analyse search stats from your website to understand what people are looking for on your website. What are the most popular things people are looking for? For example, if you sell shoes and you see that thousands of people are searching on your website for “pink shoes” (but you don’t currently sell them) then you will be able to discover that there is a demand for particular products and make arrangements to meet that demand.
9. Cost Effective – Compared to other ways to advertise and market your business, such as newspaper ads, radio ads, direct mail, etc, setting up a website is relatively cheap. You can get a website set up quickly & easily by securing the domain name of your choice for approx. £5 per year and get web hosting arranged for as little as £2 per month. Once you have these in place you are ready to get your business online. You could achieve significant return, on what is only a minimal investment.
10. Protect Your Brand – Not only will having a business website help generate more orders for you, it will also help secure you brand online. If you don’t have a website for your business online, then there is always the danger that “cybersquatters” will register your business name online. Even worse, anybody with an axe to grind, or an unscrupulous competitor might set up a website to damage your business reputation. Ensuring you have an online presence will help protect your brand.