Most business owners understand that they need a website. It’s 2016, after all, and they’ve read numerous online articles, even seen it in major paper-print publications, and they know that their competitors all have websites. They even know that a website can generate leads, can convert customers, and can improve customer relations. Without a specific purpose, a website is of little benefit. Everything, from the content that’s created to the Calls To Action that are employed, and even the branding of off-site content, will be driven by that purpose.
In preparation for developing your own business website, there are many questions to ask:
- What do you want to achieve?
- Will you use it to communicate with clients and customers?
- Will you connect with potential business partners?
However, before you can hope to enjoy the benefits that a new corporate website can offer, the most important question to ask yourself is WHY?
- Why do you want a website?
- Why does your business need a website?
- Why do your competitors have websites?
Do you want to:
Generate Leads For Your Sales Team?
SEO, PPC, content marketing, email marketing, newsletter marketing, social media optimisation, video, local, mobile marketing. There are myriad ways in which you can marketing a website and generate visitors to a website.
Set up a lead capture form and route the contact details through to your sales team to create a constant flow of targeted leads that are inexpensive and highly engaged.
Convert Leads Into Customers?
Alternatively, you can all but do away with the traditional sales team, and use your website to make the conversions. Optimise pages so that they are ready to turn interested visitors into paying customers and enjoy potentially massive returns on investment. You can still use offline marketing and conversions, but you don’t necessarily need to increase your sales team when you establish an online presence.
Look for ways to tie your physical and online marketing together to create a powerful, multi-channel marketing plan.
With an eCommerce website, you can run a store the size of a large department store without the overheads. You don’t even need to stock the inventory yourself which means that you could potentially sell thousands of items every week, all from your home office.
Dropshipping, order fulfillment, digital goods, and warehouse fulfillment services can all be used to reduce the physical space you need and ensure that you can offer a full retail service.
Have A Digital Portfolio That You Can Show To Potential Clients?
For some professionals, a portfolio is a must, but there is no need to have to carry your portfolio case around with you. Architects, graphic designers, web designers, and photographers are just some of the professions that can direct potential clients to a portfolio style site.
Even simple platforms like Wordpress can be customized to offer high quality and great looking portfolio pages.
Expand Your Reach Beyond Your Local Area?
The web is a global marketplace. You can market your services to far-flung corners of the globe providing you with an international exposure that you simply wouldn’t achieve without an online presence.
Consider whether your products or services would still be profitable after exchange rates, whether there is global demand for what you offer, and the rates of competition in different countries before you commit to this level of global marketing.
Improve Your Customer Service And Retention Rates?
With top quality customer service, you can expect to enjoy long-term clients and repeat business. You can use your own website to offer customer service features, and you can also use other online real estate that you own to help. Many customers use Twitter and Facebook to communicate with businesses, and by showing off the positive relationship you enjoy with your customers, you could use your customer service skills to further improve conversion rates.
Display a feed of your positive customer service, from Twitter or Facebook, on your website to improve page conversion rates.
Protect Your Brand?
Whether you’re online or not, there is a very good chance that your customers and your competitors are. Potential customers may look for business reviews, and there is at least a chance that your competitors are finding ways to disrupt your business marketing channels. Set up a website and not only can you monitor your reputation but you can manage and improve it too.
Set up alerts for brand mentions, establish social media profiles, and register as many top level domains as are relevant to your business in order to protect your brand.
Knowledge is power, and by establishing an online presence you can meet like-minded people that are looking to share information with you. Join professional networks like LinkedIn, search for industry and role specific discussion groups, and don’t be afraid to share information. You never know what you might learn, and you may also develop mutually beneficial relationships with fellow business owners.
Look for major influencers in your industry simply by searching on Google, and try to connect with the owners of websites, blogs, forums, and social accounts that you regularly read.
Develop Business Opportunities?
In the same way that your customers and potential customers are likely to be online, so too are your suppliers and potential business partners. Suppliers want to ensure that you have the business structure while any joint venture or other partners will want to check that you have the credentials that they are looking for.
If you’re looking for investment then research angel investment sites, crowdfunding campaigns on sites like Kickstarter, and check LinkedIn Groups to locate potential interest.
Reduce Time Spent Communicating With Customers Or Potential Customers?
Small and even larger businesses can find it a drain on resources if they have to speak to clients and potential clients all the time. Establish a website, add FAQ and guides, and you can effectively answer the majority of your customers’ queries without ever having to pick up a phone or attend a face-to-face meeting.
You can use virtual assistants and live chat services to offer 24-hour support; not only does this improve your customer service reputation but it can give your business the appearance of being significantly larger than it really is.
Reach Specialized Markets?
Unless you live in a major city or a major hub for the type of service you offer, it can prove difficult to tap into highly specialized markets. Whether you run a Live Action Role Playing website or specialize in organizing tattoo conventions, running your business offline could mean considerable travel in order to tap into these highly specialized markets. Consider becoming the hub for your specialist market yourself.
Establish a forum, develop a blog, and become a thought leader within your industry and your potential customers will come looking for you, they will share your website with like-minded people, and you will reap the rewards.
Attract Local Customers?
The web might be a global marketplace, but it is also hugely beneficial to those that are looking to market locally. An increasing number of searches are being conducted on mobile devices, while many people use search engines and social media to find relevant, local businesses. With an online presence, you can ensure that your local demographic has a better chance of finding you, the way they want to find you.
Claim your Google Business, build local and topical citations, and encourage reviews from satisfied customers in order to help ensure that you hold a prominent position in local search results.
Looking For New Talent?
The Internet not only offers a means of connecting businesses and their potential customers. Many people use the Internet to conduct job searches because of the convenience and simplicity that it offers, as well as the access that it provides to a wide range of careers.
Set up a careers page of your own, use major job boards, and look for industry specific job websites to help attract some of the best possible candidates for any open positions you have.
There are many potential uses for a website and just as many reasons to establish a corporate website for your business. The site could be as simple as a two or three-page brochure site, or it could be as complex as a responsive eCommerce site offering tens of thousands of products. Regardless of the type of business you run, the first step to enjoying online success is to determine exactly WHY you need a website in the first place.