Established small and medium sized businesses (SME’s) often ask me if they need a website. The truth is the majority of established SME’s have most likely built their businesses on a strong network by offering a quality product or service that is widely recognized. Sales have been done in a similar fashion for a long time why should that change now?
The Internet has created a more efficient and cost effective way to sell products, to seek suppliers and promote your credibility. Your business DOES need a website. This is why:
Customers need to find you
The vast majority of customers, who are seeking a product or service, will begin their search online. If they don’t begin their search online, they will begin by asking a contact and then they will go to your website to validate what their contact has suggested.
Google and search engines alike have made it easy for consumers to get answers to the questions they hold and to connect consumers with businesses who can solve their problem, when Google’s knowledge alone is not enough. The modern reality is that if you don’t exist on Google you don’t exist in the eye of the inbound consumer. If your business can’t be found in the most searched business database globally for products and services, it doesn’t stand a chance of winning new customers and generating increased revenue.
You need to establish your credibility
A website is an effective tool for a business to establish its credibility. If you sell products this might come in the form of ratings or happy customers, who leave kind words behind. If you sell a service, this might be a series of case studies and testimonials, which prove your businesses worth and experience.
The Internet has lowered the barriers of entry for many markets, which has increased competition. As a result, your business will be compared against others before the consumer makes a purchase decision. Your website is a tool to establish your credibility as the preferred supplier against growing competition.
Selling is more efficient
The connectedness of the Internet combined with technology that allows for automated processes, means that selling has become a lot easier. Regardless of whether you sell a product or service, a website can help you increase your sales.
A website can be a store front, a lead generator, a sales funnel and a marketing tool -- all at the same time. We live in a knowledge-based economy, which means that knowledge drives decision-making. If consumers can find any piece of knowledge they want on the Internet to increase their decision-making capacity, then your business wants to be the one that provides the knowledge and influences a consumer to make a purchase.
While it can be established that you do need a website, what kind of website you need and how much you need to invest are important considerations. Understanding the kind of website you need can be understood by assessing what you’d like your business’s website to achieve.