The majority of customers will find businesses and products by doing a quick Google search for their requirements. Whether you trade online or offline, it is still vital to have space online where customers can find you. An online presence can open so many doors for any business in any industry without taking away from what they do offline. Here are five reasons why websites are essential for offline companies, so you can start implementing them straight away.
1. Builds reputation
Whilst word-of-mouth is still a popular way of building a good reputation for a business; this has now moved into the online world as well. Showcasing positive reviews on your website is a simple strategy to start with when managing your brand online. Consumers trust other consumers and often base their purchase decisions on recommendations and reviews. Furthermore, having an online reputation strategy in place allows a business to monitor where they are being shown online and how the brand is represented. Arguably, the smaller a company is, the more critical this strategy is. It enables you to fine-tune offerings, see how customers found you, and form relationships with them.
2. Creates a hub of information
If a business is nowhere to be seen online, how will customers know their location, what they do, and their opening hours? Social media can be an excellent tool for this; however, having your own website means you have complete control over it. With a branded website, a business can decide how much or little information is on there. Even if you operate during traditional 9-5 hours, a website gives your customers 24-hour access. That doesn’t mean you have to operate 24 hours a day; it simply means that customers can browse and purchase product ranges or view your services at any time, even when the physical store is closed. The more information provided on the website, the easier it is for customers to buy from you.
3. Better customer support
No longer do potential customers have to visit a branch to ask questions or get quotes; they can simply fill out an online contact form and await a response. Always include details of how long it will take you to get back to customers so they know when to expect a reply. You could also include any frequently asked questions on a separate page if you get many of the same types of questions.
Implementing a live chat feature during regular opening hours for quick inquiries and questions is an additional tool that consumers often appreciate. It means they stay on the website rather than having to email separately. Communication with both existing and potential customers is one of the most essential parts of running a business, and providing excellent customer service and support increases loyalty and repeat purchases.
4. Increases visibility
Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is key to giving you authority as a business with a website. Whilst it does require work, spending time improving your SEO is worth it. The aim is for your website to be at the top of Google when customers search for specific keywords relating to your business. To begin with, use your website analytics to see what they are searching for. From this, a company can target specific gaps in the market to find its audience. Use those keywords to drive your traffic and content on both the website and any social media platforms. The more research you do into SEO and implement those strategies, the higher your business will rank on Google, increasing your audience and sales.
5. Low cost for maximum gain
Whilst you can set up a free website yourself, it can be worth getting a professional to set everything up for you. The initial cost of buying a domain name, setting up a branded email address, and making the website might seem expensive, but it will make you more money in the long run. Having a place online to showcase products and services means consumers will be able to purchase at any time. With a website of your own, you can control each product’s page to maximize sales as well as run promotions and offer loyalty schemes meaning extra revenue. Make use of any analytics tools to see which products sell the most and better cater to your audience’s needs.
A website can open many doors for your business, whether you’re happy with how trade is currently or you want to expand. It allows customers to find out information on the business before purchasing, and your website can answer any queries they might have. In a traditional offline business, they would have to visit a branch or ring up to find out about your services and products. You can increase your sales, revenue, and audience by setting up a website for your offline organization.