Small Businesses just starting out have a lot to contend with. From getting your brand out there, building a loyal customer base and trying to expand as your business grows, SMEs have a mountain to climb to ensure their business is profitable and heading towards success.
However, if your business doesn’t have its own website, you’re missing a serious trick. If you want to grow your brand, you need a website. In today’s technological age, it’s pretty much a requirement if you want to stay afloat. Your own website can make your business operations run more smoothly by tying it into your stock control software, letting your customers know whether something they want to buy is almost out of stock, encouraging them to buy. And when making your own website is more accessible than it’s ever been, there’s really no reason not to.
Not convinced? Here are just some of the reasons your small business could benefit from a website:
Customers Expect it
When you come across a business that doesn’t have a website, do you trust that business? Most people wouldn’t, and they would instantly look elsewhere for a company that has one.
The way consumers do business is always changing over time. Today, people use the internet like the Yellow Pages. Everyone uses the internet to get information, even local information. So even if most of your business is local, you could still be losing out from gaining local customers who search for your company and can’t find a website.
Give Your Business Legitimacy
People expect businesses to have their own website. When they don’t, it makes people suspicious whether you’re a legitimate business, or they assume you’re a brand-new start-up with no credentials or experience. Customers will want to find reviews and recommendations before they do business with you, and having those featured on your own website helps to create trust between your business and the potential customer.
A Website is a Great Marketing Channel
Whilst your business may have social media accounts – and if it doesn’t, it really should – a website gives you another online presence. It is essentially an online billboard for your business, except you can change the information any time you like, giving you complete control over what you want to advertise and inform your customers of. It’s another way for potential customers to find you and contact you, giving you another way to reach out to new customers and generate more business.
Websites are Great Sources of Data Collection
Getting people to write down their email address in store is difficult enough without then having to store it somewhere, type it out into the computer and send out emails manually. From a website, you can set up a contact form that gathers email addresses from potential customers, which you can then use to send out newsletters or e-books. Now you have another channel of marketing that is directly contacting people who have shown an interest in your business.
Additionally, if you set up Google Analytics on your website, you will be able to track the people visiting your site, gathering information such as their location, age and gender etc. You will also be able to find out what is the most searched thing on your website; identify your worst performing pages; find out what your best performing content is and see where people may be abandoning their shopping carts. All this information will be infinitely useful for your business going forward; you’ll be able to use this data to constantly adapt your business strategies.
E-commerce Spending is on the Rise
It’s no secret that online spending is ever increasing. The most recent UK Governmental figures placed the value of the UK e-commerce sales at £533 billion, making it the third largest e-commerce market worldwide.
If you’re not online selling your goods through your own website, you are missing out on potential sales. As the world of retail moves forward, the focus is on convenience. People want to be able to go on their phones and do their shopping any time of day or night and have it delivered right to their door. If you’re in the business of selling to consumers, you’re doing yourself a real disservice by not having an e-commerce site.
Along with your e-commerce site, you’re going to need an integrated stock control system within your warehouse or factory with barcode scanners so customers can see when certain products are out of stock. Stock control software such as Sage 50 stock control can keep your stock figures up to date, reducing the possibility of errors and speeding up the process from start to finish.
Your Competitors Have a Website
If consumers are looking for something, they will most likely start with a web search. The buying journey typically starts with research and recommendations. Studies show that once a consumer has an idea of what they want, 72% of them go online to find information, reviews and testimonials.
If you don’t have a website, chances are your competitors do. By not having a website to compete, you’re giving consumers a reason to buy from another brand.
It’s Easier Than Ever to Do
Because of the existence of WordPress, and other website-building platforms, it is easier than ever to set up your own website. You don’t need to know how to code or have any particular technical skills; website-building platforms have ready-made templates for you to use straight away, just add your own info and images. Almost anyone can set up a basic website, and you can think about maybe hiring a professional developer to make it more personalised and unique in the future once you’ve got the basics down.