When you’re getting your business off the ground, you’re likely to wonder what kind of assets you will need to have the biggest impact. Your business cards and brochures were a breeze – but what comes next?
With many smaller organizations using only their social profiles online, the temptation to do the same can be strong, especially when the amount of work that goes into a fully custom-built site becomes clear. You may think: is it worth the time and money? Why do I even need a website? What benefits will it bring?
Well, the short answer is that a website is a vital and efficient connection to your prospects, customers, associates, and suppliers. When one is designed to meet your vision and your audience’s needs, it makes your operations vastly easier and paves the way to greater profitability.
Benefits of Building a Business Website
The most important thing to understand about any marketing channel – be that a website, social media, or a separate digital marketing strategy – is the overall benefits it will bring to you and your customers. In the age of modern marketing, the advantages of having a website are hard to overstate, and are often downright necessary.
The benefits for your customers
Customers and clients are what drives your business forward, and you need them to keep operating. So why not make it as easy as possible for them to support and connect with you? One of the most thorough and effective ways to do this is through a website.
Websites allow prospects to research your business and your brand before they contact you, on a timeline that works for them. The information they receive can easily be updated to stay relevant, and they have 24-hour access that is not limited by your employees’ schedules. Your online presence also gives an intangible element of trust, sparking the foundation of a strong relationship that may have otherwise been lost.
In an online world, a great website that satisfies the needs of your audience is an excellent lead generation and capture tool. To make the most of this, you want a website that:
- Provides a lot of valuable, useful information in an engaging way
- Helps foster an online community where like-minded people can interact
- Simplifies and secures the online transaction process, allowing people to conveniently buy your products and services
A small business website – especially when combined with a good SEO strategy, slick web design, and strong brand visuals and language – is a 24/7 salesperson that is always acting in your best interest.
The benefits for your business
So, creating a website is good for your customers – but is it good for you? Does it make your operations easier, or save you money in the long run? As it turns out, websites are not only great sales tools, but they improve communications, increase efficiency, and create excellent opportunities to stand above your competition.
Because they are always available, you save both time and money with customer service tools like submission forms and help requests. This is incredibly useful for small businesses, who likely do not have the extra funds to hire for a dedicated customer support role. Additionally, the ability to update or modify a website from any computer means that you can not only keep your customers informed and engaged, but also that doing so is much cheaper and more environmentally friendly than traditional tactics like physical mailouts.
Finally, a website will allow you to clearly state and support the reasons why you stand out from your competitors, and identify what potential buyers will gain by choosing you over another organization. Laying out a compelling, differentiated brand, a smooth sales funnel, and the right functionality and resources makes it easy for people to see your value and make a decision on their own.
The benefits for digital advertising
Of course, one of the biggest benefits of having a website ties into both of these prior concepts in turn. With a site, you gain the ability to implement an enhanced digital marketing strategy. From exactingly precise key audience selection, to 1,000%+ ROIs, to retargeting that entices people back again and again, the e-commerce possibilities unlocked by your website are endless.
With the right optimizations and strategic direction, your website will pop up early in the results for critical key words in your industry, and anyone who visits your site once can be “tagged” and prioritized in further marketing efforts. From anywhere in the world, you can serve web-only promotions or discounts to visitors, or use drop-shipping to fulfill orders without needing a whole warehouse of stocked items. As your customer list grows, your network of marketing contacts will expand, too, constantly refining and improving. If you like, you can even earn revenue from ad placements on your website, to help offset the cost of web hosting and server fees (though that’s entirely up to you).
How to Build a Successful Website
With so many different types of businesses serving so many industries, there is no single “correct” way to build a site for you. It will depend on your goals, your budget, and your abilities. The most important thing to know, before you start buying domain names and searching for web developers, is that research and data are the keys to success.
Research of all kinds – customer research, market research, competition research – is what will help you focus your efforts for the best results. And, if you have set a clear website objective from the start, knowing how to measure those results is simple. Applying these two factors together, and consistently and constantly optimizing, will streamline your website’s performance. Just remember, this is not a one-off process – it does require some monitoring, as the internet is an ever-changing place.
There are some website best practices that can be broadly applied to any website and industry, which should supply you with the information you need:
- Define project goals and objectives
- Develop audience personas
- Create a journey map
- Identify key channels
- Develop a content strategy
- Develop a content calendar
- Plan resources
- Measure results
With these tools and tips at your disposal, investing in a high-performing website becomes much less challenging and much more rewarding. If you need any additional insights on the website-building process and how to do it effectively, remember that you can always reach out on ours to get a helping hand!