Even if you provide in person services- you need to be online. You need a website at the very minimum to tell people you are open and to establish you as a legitimate business. Without a website, you risk being left out of opportunities for your ideal customer to do business with you, your business may not be able to adapt to changing tides (& pandemic storms!) and you may not survive long term.
For many businesses, having a website was high on their to-do list when starting up their business. For established businesses who offer in person products, services, dining or retail, the need was less urgent or not available when they started. Many businesses who were established before the internet was invented, they didn’t see what all the fuss was about. However, growing online activity from Millennials (born 1981-1996), Gen X (born 1965 – 1980) and even Boomers (born 1946-1964) has influenced a lot of businesses to get online or be left out.
When Covid-19 hit, getting online became necessary for survival.
Businesses who were already online had a distinct advantage, they were able to communicate basic things like when they were open or what new products they had with ease. They were also able to pivot how they delivered their products or services by moving to meetings at a distance or via delivery easily.
“In a global survey, 74% of in-store shoppers who searched online before going to the store to shop, said they searched for something in-store related such as the closest store near them, locations, in stock near them, hours, directions, wait times, and contact information.”(Google/Ipsos Study)
For businesses who were not online, Covid’s hit was 2 fold (no one coming in and no way to reach people online) and sometimes devastating.
Whether you are a B2B or B2C business, your relationship with your customers follows a predictable cycle.
First, potential customers come to know you exist, they like you, trust you and then buy from you- AND if you are lucky, they will refer other potential customers to you. As a business owner, you are responsible for this cycle, making sure that you are displaying your best foot forward at each step. There are many things you can do to influence how people feel about your business (like branding effectively) but it’s becoming increasingly necessary for your business to have some online presence. At the very least, to find out if you are open or not and at the maximum to skip the store entirely and buy something from you online.
Having a website helps you at each step of the customer relationship cycle.
There is research to suggest that for a stranger to become a customer, it takes 5-12 interactions or touch points. If a stranger is looking for a product or service you offer, chances are they are first going online to find it. Having a website will get you in front of them but also has an impact at each step of the cycle.
Having a website tells people that you exist. There is a whole industry behind making the connection between what people type into Google and having your website show up (it’s called Search Engine Optimization or SEO) but if you aren’t online, you definitely won’t show up.
Having a website tells people you are a legitimate business. It shows you have taken the time and effort to put together information about your business and put it online for all to see. It also establishes you among your competitors in your industry.
Having a website lets you show off your products & services. Potential customers who like your products and services will stay longer on your website (which you can tell via you website analytics) and if your branding resonates with them, they will move to the next stage.
Having a website allows for good customer fit. A potential customer with a problem or desire can visit your website and see if your products or services work for them. If it does, they can move to the next step, if not, no harm, they move on with no in person effort required.
Having a website with your phone & address (and open hours) shows people you are available. If potential customers can’t find you, they can’t do business with you! Covid-19 taught businesses that sometimes their way of doing business and their open hours can be unpredictable and they need a way to tell people this very important information. If you know the phone and address you also know you can resolve any issues quickly and easily.
Having a website with social proof establishes trust. Who wants to be the first one to take a risk? No one. If a potential customer sees that someone else has purchased your product already they are more likely to trust that everything went ok and they will be more likely to move to the next stage: buy. Having some proof that you are part of a business associate will help people trust you as well. In the end people are looking for a means of recourse and if something goes wrong, an association may be able to help them.
Having a website allows customers to purchase directly from you- now. E-commerce is part of your website that must be setup carefully (don’t forget the https://) and integrated into your business operations but it’s a great way to diversify the ways people can give you money. You can expand your reach from your street to your country (or further!) and you can rely less on wholesalers and retailers. You can also take advantage of people shopping at all hours of the day instead of only when you are open and available.
Having a website is a space to explain your process. If you offer a service online, you can explain what the steps are from start to finish. You can point how your service is just a bit different from your competitors and how it works to do business with you.
Having a website makes it easy to gain word-of-mouth awareness. The number of people we interact with on a daily basis has increased because we spend time online. We are able to chat with people all of the world. Having a website allows people to tell other people about you by simply relaying your easy to pronounce and remember website address or to share your products and services via social media.
Get online, book a chat with me
If you are B2B, B2C, if you sell products or services, if you are old or young- you need to be online. Don’t take the risk of being left behind during changing tides (& pandemic storms!), get online and connect with your customers no matter if they are finding you for the first time or are a loyal customer trying to figure out when you are open.
I design websites for businesses of all sizes who want to start off on the right foot or need an upgrade after being in business a while.
Learn more: https://pixelsandpieces.ca/websites/