Top 10 reasons people should consider owning a web site:
Not only can you conduct business at any time, but your web site provides a unique way to grow your sales revenues. At no additional cost, you can promote a weekly or daily special, post a menu item of the day, or offer a coupon code for that day's purchases only.
Make it easy for your customers to shop with you again and again. If you have a local store or office, be sure to provide a sign-up sheet or other means of gathering your customers' email addresses, so you can contact them through email marketing as well as your web site.
And did you realize that your around-the-clock online business lets you find customers from anywhere in the world? You're no longer restricted to your own neighborhood or time zone. Whether your product or service is delivered electronically or shipped conventionally, your website can explode into new markets while you sleep!
2. Provide Business Information. How many customers call your place of business to ask routine questions? You know, things like location, hours of operation, and credit cards you accept.
A website lets you immediately provide information to prospects and customers any time of the day or night. They can view a map complete with driving directions from their home or office, get phone numbers, check your hours, and see what credit cards you accept. All without tying up employees' valuable time, much of which is wasted answering the same questions over and over.
Your website can also serve as your real-time market resource. With permission, people can download your latest brochure or price list. Policy changes or price increases can be communicated instantly through your website − without the time and expense of physically publishing and mailing them.
But don't think these materials should be limited to written and graphical information. Imagine how impressed visitors would be if you added audio or video to your site to provide information or give an online presentation in a much more interactive way!
3. Be Viewed as an Expert. It's human nature to want to work with knowledgeable people who understand the needs of their market and strive to provide the best solutions. Your website allows you to do this.
Let's face it. Most people go online to search for information. A website allows you to provide written, audio, and even video information online at no cost. Post articles about your company, industry, or product line, and press releases of the latest news.
Don't limit it to your company. Showcase your customers! Include lots of testimonials (audio and video work the best). Share case studies about how your customers benefit from your products and services. And use "before and after" pictures if your niche lends itself to it, as they are always of interest to web visitors.
4. Gather Leads. It's quick and easy to add a squeeze page or opt-in form to your web site. Offer a special report or a bonus for signing up for your newsletter, special report, or ecourse. These people are interested in what you have to offer, so make it easy for them to become part of your email marketing system − and keep them informed and in touch.
5. Increase Profits by Selling Information Digitally. It costs next-to-nothing to produce ebooks, MP3s, and audio recordings, because there are no "hard" costs associated. This means that, aside from selling costs, all of the profits go to you!
6. Reduce Costs. Hand-in-hand with making more money is being able to save more of the money you make! The cost of producing four-color brochures is staggering for the average small business. The cost is minimal if you produce it digitally, using existing equipment, and post it online. Instead of printing costs and paper brochures that take up space, your website allows visitors to download the same brochure at no cost to you.
Employee costs can also be reduced as customer service becomes more efficient. Online FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) can address many of your prospects' questions without calling or emailing your office. And a 24/7 web presence allows customers to place orders online – at their convenience – with no help from sales personnel.
7. Expand Your Business Through Partnerships. Combine the power of your website with your expertise, and you can build a great sales team to help you promote your products and services. The best part is that your sales team won't cost you a dime until it makes you money!
8. Enhance Your Customer Service. Your 24/7 website could be the first place your clients visit when they have customer service needs. Add a page of Frequently Asked Questions and a News section and you'll have fewer calls and emails to your staff. Survey customers and find out what services they'd like to use online and your website can take over even more.
Why not add online forms that can be downloaded and read or completed before a face-to-face contact (perhaps a loan form or insurance form). Let your customers request an appointment or get a bid through your website. They will appreciate your new-found efficiency as much as you do!
9. Test-Market New Products and Services. While you can get feedback for any type of business, it's especially easy to test online products and services. A website allows you to conduct online polls and surveys to find out what's on the minds of your prospects and customers, what they like, where they'd like to see improvement – the topics are endless. It's like having an online focus group without paying those big bucks!
10. Stay Competitive. Every day, more of your competitors are staking their claims on the Internet. Marketing 101 tells you that you don't want to be last to market. Your competitors are building relationships and prospecting your customers every day. All businesses, whether selling to a local market or worldwide, simply cannot afford to be without a web presence.