Does My Small Business Need a Website?

There are very few businesses that don’t benefit from having a website. In fact it took me a little while to think of any. Finally I thought of businesses that satisfy an immediate need at a low cost with a simple product.

Photo courtesy of Gregory Bastian (CC)

Photo courtesy of Gregory Bastian (CC)

Think of the cart that sells umbrellas in the tourist areas of London, or any major city prone to rain. Versus getting wet, buying an umbrella is a bargain. If you leave it in your hotel room when you depart you’re not worried. It didn’t cost much and it’s replaceable.

The product is universally understood and requires no selling of features and benefits. There is little to be gained from a website because no education or explanation is required. This is not a complex sale.

So having eliminated a very small percentage of businesses, the statement that there are very few businesses that don’t benefit from having a website stands firm.

Said another way, the vast majority of businesses must have a strong website presence. That includes small businesses. It’s pretty rare that your small business is too small to benefit from a website.

But to truly benefit from having a website you need to do two things that have nothing to do with the size of your business. First, you need to build a website that closes sales and second, you need to drive traffic to your website.

And not just any old traffic. Traffic that has the greatest potential to buy from you.

For more on driving the right traffic to your website read How Do I Drive Traffic To My Website?  For now, let’s focus on building a website that closes sales.

Regardless of size, businesses need a website for the following reasons:

  • Credibility   Consumers are relieved when they can find you online. You’re a “real” business.
  • Identity   Websites let your customers get to know you and your business. They get a feel for who you are and whether they want to do business with you.
  • Choice   The vast majority of your target audience will choose to interact with your website at some point as they get to know your business. Make sure that choice is available.

How does a business build a website that closes sales?

  • Clarity   In the first ten seconds your visitors will decide whether to stay or go. Make it so incredibly easy for your visitors to see what you do, find what they are looking for, and buy from you that they don’t need to continue to hunt.
  • Education   Give your visitors the information they are seeking. If you are able to make someone better informed after a visit to your website they are more likely to subsequently buy from you.
  • Simplicity   Don’t try to be all things to all people. Focus on what matters to your target audience. That is not the same as focusing on all visitors. Make your website simple and appealing for those that have a need for your product or service.
  • Lifecycle   Fine-tune your content to coordinate with the different phases of your customer’s lifecycle. This means making it just as easy for visitors to find entry level information as it is for those that are closing in on a buying decision and need more advanced content.
  • Ease   Make it easy for your visitors to continue dialogue with you. Contact forms should be easy to find on multiple pages. Visitors are easily distracted. Keep it easy.
  • Feel   Last but not least, think about one emotion you want your target audience to feel when they land on your website. Build everything around arousing that feeling.

One last suggestion for businesses of any size is to use an analytics tool. Google Analytics is free and easy to set up. It can show you where your website traffic is coming from, where your visitors lose interest, when they turn back and when they get immersed. Knowing this enables you to make adjustments to your website and to the strategy you use to drive traffic to your website.

What are you missing out on if you don’t spend some serious energy on your website?

You are missing out on potential customers, promotion of your product by loyal users, and revenue. Bring your website to life, drive the right traffic there, and close those sales!

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