It has become apparent these days that professionals in all industries need an online presence to be able to project their services/products UK and worldwide but in a lot of cases they don’t know why they need one or what the benefits of having one would be.
Each business has different needs and requirements so we have put together the following list as general pointers, some may not be relevant, but will suit the majority of industries.
What it does show is the benefits a business will gain from having their own website.
- Bring in New Customers for your Business
Most people use the internet to search for something they need making book directories like the yellow pages almost obsolete, for example if you needed an electrician or a plumber, its far easier to pop that into a search engine on your phone, tablet or pc/laptop than it is to go rooting out the book. When you take this into consideration, and the fact that most of your competition will have a website or thinking of getting one, it makes sense that you should have one for your business.
- Its a much cheaper form of Advertising your Business – Saving you Money!
Advertisements in newspapers and magazines generally cost far more than advertising online and for many businesses aren’t beneficial as more people turn to the web. Even businesses that simply use their websites as an online brochure rather than attracting traffic directly should still see significant cost savings when factoring in printing costs and of course online advertising is better for the environment!
- Give your potential Customers information
Websites can be set up to provide the exact information your customers need. Some businesses simply need a basic business description, address and phone details. Others add images, testimonials, dedicated services/product pages and other detailed information which, if correctly constructed, can inspire a level of confidence in your company that can be hard to achieve offline.
A well designed website allows the user to quickly navigate to the product or service they are most interested in, usually far easier and relevant than the equivalent printed brochure and of course the information can be kept completely up to date, further providing peace of mind and improving consumer confidence.
- Beat your Competition
If you have a lot of competitors, how many of them would you say have good websites? Or indeed how many have a website at all? By creating an online presence which is better presented and better marketed than theirs you can gain market share at the expense of your competition.
- Attract a New kind of Customer to your Business
Following on from the new business theme above, more and more people are now using mobile phones and other hand held devices to access the internet. Some of them may be in demographic groups that you have not previously been able to reach or effectively target.
With the right web presence you are suddenly propelled into their world.
- Get Interactive Feedback
Modern websites are something of a multimedia affair. You can add a blog, videos, audio, live chat, forums, RSS feeds and even podcasts. All of these elements can attract customers and create interest.
You can offer advice on your subject of expertise and communicate directly with potential customers, building a reputation as you go. By entering into a dialogue with your customers and potential customers in this way you can potentially gain the kind of detailed feedback that offline marketers can only dream of.
- Develop a Brand
All big companies have a recognisable brand, whilst Coca-Cola is the best known brand globally, most of us operate on a more modest scale. That said, the global reach of the internet allows small businesses to build reputation and brand at a speed and within a cost frame that would be simply impossible offline.
Businesses that have never previously considered a “brand” are now able to use this to full effect to gain more online presence. A well-constructed website is the starting point.
- Create Return Business
Anyone can easily lose a business card or forget the name of a builder they spotted in the local phone book. However, if they have a website stored in their web browser’s “favourites”, they can return to your site whenever they need more information or indeed help.
The use of interactive media including helpful information pages, Q&A’s and forum software can maintain a high level of dialogue and thus help in securing customer loyalty.
- Provide Guidance and Information
In an offline world you may regularly have had a great idea or some information that would be extremely useful to your client base. However, sitting down and creating a letter or postal mail shot to keep them up to date would have been a nightmare, after all you have a business to run.
Now, with a decent website, you can add the information directly to the site and notify your subscribers pretty much in the time it takes to write down the information itself. Fresh, relevant information will not only keep your clients returning to the site but will also help to convince the search engines that you deserve high placement for relevant search terms, thus driving further traffic and potential new business.
It should also help to persuade potential customers that you’re the best firm for the product or service in question.
- Create Privileged Connections
With modern internet security, not only can payments be taken online securely but other information can be passed between computers safely too. You can, for example, create passwords to allow entry to restricted areas of your website. Many site owners do this to create a VIP section, perhaps for strategic business partners or major clients, further reinforcing the relationship.
With online spend continuing to grow even in the face of (or in some cases because of) the current economic climate, there has never been a better time to consider an online presence.