We live in the information age, where virtually everyone is, in one way or the other, connected to the internet, whether it’s for the purpose of education, entertainment, research or consumerist needs. The rapid growth and popularity of the World Wide Web has led to many businesses, of all sizes establishing some kind of online presence, typically in the form of a website.
If you have a business and it doesn’t already have its own website, then you are by definition, not maximising the full potential of your business. There are a number of benefits to having a business website, many of which may not by easily apparent.
1. Information Exchange
A website, at its most base level, provides an easy way of communicating information to both the seller and the buyer. With your own website, you are able to list contact information, opening hours, show images of your products and your location, and use contact forms, so that potential customers can make queries or give feedback. It’s also possible for you to create and upload promotional footage to the site, to better engage with the customer, and help promote and sell your products. This can also be an ideal way for you to promote your social media presence, and build a dedicated community of customers.
2. Create Return Business
It’s very easy to lose a business card someone handed to you, or to forget the name of a supplier you found in your local phonebook. However, if you were to save a particular website in your Favourites, you can very easily return to it, whenever you need more information on that particular business. Again, the use of helpful information, interactive media, questions and answers, along with forums are great ways to maintain contact with your customers, and thus allowing you to build up a rapport with them.
3. It Cuts Costs
As well as using your website simple to display information, it can also be used to sell your services and goods, directly to the customer, in many cases removing the requirement for a physical store, which typically requires large operating costs (rental, employee wages, utilities, etc.). Removing these overheads would also mean that you can lower the prices of your products/services, giving you an edge over your competitors.
You can also use a website for management purposes. You could use it to share information and news to work colleagues or to communicate strictly with management staff. When you opt for an internal website, you can save a great deal of money, as it allows you to consolidate everything into a single place, which you can access whenever you want.
4. Get Interactive Feedback
Websites today allow you to add an assortment of multimedia features to them. You can have your own blog, which may include live chat, videos, audio, RSS feeds, forums and even its own podcast. All of these features can be used to great lengths to create interest and attract new customers. You can communicate directly with your customers, providing them with advice on your specific area of expertise, building your own reputation up on the fly. When you opt to communicate with your customers in this way, you can receive detailed feedback which would naturally give you an edge over your competitors.
5. Targeted Marketing
A website that has been planned strategically, is one that can be used to target a specific audience. Depending on the size of your business, you could create different websites to market different aspects of the businesses. Whether it be a service or product types.
6. Online Customer Service
A website provides a very convenient way for businesses to handle customer service. Offering questions and providing answers in a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section, you can reduce the amount of money you’d otherwise spend on conventional customer service setups and saving both time and money, as well as providing the potential customers with more information that they’d ordinarily receive.
With this online service, this also means that the customer would be able to receive an instant reply, which would save them time, and would naturally help to build up positive relations with customers, over time. This can prove to be of great benefit to the company, as positive feedback can be uploaded and displayed on the site in the form of testimonials. Letting other potential customers know why they too should choose you.
7. Develop a Brand
All of the biggest companies out there have a brand that is recognisable. You have brands like Nike, which are amongst the most well-known, globally, however, most businesses operate on a much more modest scale. However, with the advent of the internet, this allows for small businesses to be able to build a brand and reputation at great speeds, at a cost that would otherwise be unfeasible if it were offline. Business, that in the past, would never have considered brand values, are now able to leverage off it, to gain sizable market share. To begin this journey however, one must start with a well-constructed website.
8. Wider Demographic Reach
Unlike with your typical brick and mortar business, your business website is able to transmit information all over the world, allowing for increased sales and exposure, due to that much wider demographic reach. An advantage you definitely want to take advantage of.
9. 24/7 Availability
Having your own business website means, providing the consumer with around the clock availability, in terms of service and product access, as well as contact and company information. Because the business is available 24 hours within the day, seven days a week, it allows for more potential profits, from customers from all over the globe. Something that would otherwise be unfeasible with your usual storefront.
10. Consumer Convenience
In addition to the just explained availability, you will also be able to meet the needs of your customers at any time of the day, whether it be morning or night. This in turn, provides that consumer convenience, allowing them to access both information and products at whichever time bests suits them.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website: