Why not make a New Year’s resolution than is not only easy to keep, but will also bring business benefits in the New Year?
On New Year’s Eve I will resolve to cycle more and eat less in the New Year. Sadly it tends to end up the other way around but I’m really going to try in 2015, honest!
Of course for some people the New Year means a more serious change in direction such as launching a new business or reviewing an existing business, and if you are in that position then the performance of your website or lack of one altogether is going to need to be addressed. But just like my resolution how can you stick to it? Well the good news is that’s what we do and if you quote #15for2015 you will receive 15% of the cost your quote. But be quick it’s only for the first 15 customers.
So why is a website so important?
1. Establish a presence
More and more people are looking for services and products on-line than ever before. Peoples’ habits are changing. People move to a new area and very often rely solely on the Internet to learn about the new area, research and find out who to go to for what.
Many people research and find their homes and jobs over the Internet. Most people are coming to expect that any professionally run business will have a web site. With a well-designed site your small business becomes a real player both on and off the net.
Add your web address to your stationary, business cards and other advertisements and you’ll have visitors knowing exactly where to go for answers to their questions and where to send their friends to for great service.
The more people know about you and your company the greater the chances you have for attracting new customers. More is generally a good thing when running a business, unless you’re talking about expenses!
2. More advertising for less money
With a web site you can have pages of full-colour advertisements that run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! You get to present yourself and your services to your customers using many descriptive pages, images, interactive elements, etc. This tends to build peoples’ trust, which in turn, makes them more likely to purchase your products and services.
3. Bolster your current ad campaign
Include your web address in your current ad campaign and people will turn to your site for more information. Gathering more information is often a first response to a well-run ad campaign. With your site address listed in your ad, you will have people coming to YOU to get that information and your services. A better return on your advertising dollar is another great reason to add a website to your marketing tool arsenal.
4. Save time with answers to FAQ’s
Do you spend time answering the same types of questions for each of your clients? Well that may never stop but there may be some hope! With a web site you can put the answers to these frequently asked questions online and have your customers visit these pages for a little self-service. You can even email them out a link to these pages. Your customers will appreciate the knowledge that you will be providing them and it will not require much more additional time than sending them an email or recommending that they read your Frequently Asked Questions page.
5. Educate your customers
The first step of any sale is getting the client familiar with what you are selling. In this day and age more and more people are looking on the Internet to get the information they need to make educated buying decisions.
Include articles of interest telling your potential clients about your services. When they call you to discuss your services, half the sale is already done; you’ve already given them your “pitch”. You will even save time (and money) because the ones who do call are interested, warm (and sometimes hot) prospects, not just someone calling to gather information.
6. Get referrals
Referrals are one of the best ways for small businesses to get new clients. On your web site you can add a “refer a friend” link where your current clients (or just visitors) can send your link to a friend who may be interested in your services. This will increase your number of referrals and make it easy for people to refer business to you.
7. Create a new customer base
Did you ever notice that many people who use the Internet do so in place of the old school, traditional methods (newspapers, yellow pages, etc.)?
With a web site you will be able to reach a whole new segment of potential clients that may have missed your current ad campaigns. A good, informative web site will attract many people who may not have heard of you otherwise.
8. Get email
With your web site you will also get email addresses for your business. On your site will be a link where people will be able to email you for additional information. This is a fast and effective form of communication that enables you to communicate very efficiently with potential customers. Time is money in a small business; with email you’ll be saving both.
9. Establish a relationship with your clients
People generally prefer to do business with people they “know.” On your site you will give people the opportunity to get to know your business (and perhaps you) and feel more comfortable with you. Once this is established they will be more likely to want to do business with you as compared to the other, similar company whom they know nothing about.
A picture or profile of you or your associates will make you more real to the client and make the client more likely to contact and communicate with you. Post some informative videos and get active with social media and you’ve taken the concept to a whole new level.
10. Gather contact information
A traditional printed newsletter can be an expensive and time consuming promotional action. With printing, postage and time spent, the costs can add up fast. With a web site you can have people who would like to receive your newsletter send you their email address. You can then email your newsletter to all of the people in your database, automatically! You don’t need to pay for printing or postage for these newsletters. Continual contact with prospects is a proven tactic which directly leads to more inquiries and sales!
So why does my website need a review?
1. Your website’s purpose in life, to be your 24-hour ambassador, isn’t that clear.
A good, no a great, website, conveys a main message and theme, and whatever that is should be doing so in a clear, concise way.
2. On top of being unclear, your site is navigationally challenged.
Do you have a hard time finding information on your site, then think about your visitors’ experience – not good, and making the experience hard on your visitors is a huge deterrent.
3. Your website looks out of date.
Your mother used to say “first impressions last a lifetime” and she was right. An out of date website makes your business or organization look unstable or untrustworthy. A fresh, well designed website creates a lasting impression of integrity, stability, and gives visitors a warm fuzzy about your business or organization.
4. You would like to do great things with your website, like communicate, but can’t.
If you cannot update your own site, when you want, you need a new site! You should be able to update your site instantly with news about you, your partners, or exciting things happening with your business and organization! You shouldn’t have to wait, the web is instantaneous, and so should be your website!
5. Your website is difficult to find via search engines.
Many old, outdated sites, besides not being very pretty, aren’t attractive to search engines. Built structurally sound, a new website that’s updated often attracts attention and will rise in rank!
6. Your website is filled with pages of text!
These days, instant gratification, also pertains to reading, we want to know what’s going on within minutes, not hours. With such a short attention span, 150 – 250 words per page is plenty!
7. Your business or organization’s brand has changed.
If you have a brand new logo, look, or tagline, it’s important that your website be singing the same tune!
8. Your website only displays correctly in Internet Explorer.
While Microsoft used to have reign of the sandbox, there are other playmates currently in on the action – Safari, Firefox, Chrome. Creating a good experience for all your visitors is important, no matter what browser they use.
9. You never receive a lead from your website.
Your website should make contacting you a breeze, or gather information from interested visitors; if you aren’t getting visited, then it is not doing its job.
10. You are embarrassed to give out your web address.
Everyone’s given someone the “my contact information is there, just pay no attention, we’re “updating” the site.” If you are making excuses for your site, it’s time to stop it and get a new website.
Optimise your website
Most businesses set up a website when they start, but many entrepreneurs then ignore it. It is essential that websites are maintained and are mined for information. Where are your customers coming from? What are they looking at? What is the conversion level for visitors? All of these questions, and more, are easily answered using free tools such as Google Analytics. If you have not done anything with your website for some time, you should implement Google Analytics so you can understand more about your customers. Armed with this knowledge you can then tailor your website for the audience you attract and help achieve the objectives that the website was designed for in the first place