As the number of internet users worldwide continues to increase, the days of finding a business in the YellowPages are over. We use the internet for everything, from finding new restaurants to try, to pricing out a brand new vehicle. In 2019, an estimated 34.56 million Canadians were using the internet, reaching almost 96% of the population. Now in 2021, this number is likely even higher.
Given the sheer number of people on the web, the importance of having an online presence is higher than ever before. There are so many reasons to build a website in 2021, but let’s break it down to the ones that stand out the most.
Professionalism in the eyes of the customer
With customer shopping and purchasing migrating online, there are new expectations to find businesses operating and interacting there as well.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you are looking for someone to install a new deck in your backyard.
A friend tells you they know someone, so you go and look up the company online.
You notice they don’t have a website, so you can’t see reviews, or any indication of what their services are like.
Conversely, a local competitor appears in the search results instead, so you click on their website.
It looks professional and has great customer testimonials.
Which company would you go with?
Showcase your brand and products 24/7
A website gives you the opportunity to control the narrative. How do you want customers to perceive your brand? The more a customer can identify with your brand, the more likely they are to purchase from you. Give them a taste of what to expect by showcasing your best products, services, and positive testimonials.
Customers can learn about your business at their own convenience using your website, without having to leave the comfort of their home. Having your products available to purchase online gives you the added benefit they can make purchases at any time they want.
If your brick and mortar store is closed, that doesn’t mean you have to stop selling. With many stores closing during the COVID-19 pandemic and more consumers preferring to shop at home, e-Commerce has seen a 129% year-after-year growth in Canada in the US. If you currently do not have an e-commerce store, now is the perfect time to move online.
Having content on your website can help new customers find your business through Google, using keywords. If a customer hasn’t heard of you before and they search for a product that you carry, Google can use those keywords from your website to direct them to your business. Simply put: optimizing your website for search will help you acquire the customers who are seeking your products.
In addition to SEO(Search Engine Optimization), linking your website to Google Maps adds another layer to help customers find out about your business. From Google Maps, potential buyers can see your locations, hours, and reviews. If they find you on Maps and your website is attached to your Google Business profile, they can conveniently learn more about you and potentially convert into a sale.
Having a website increases the possibilities of customer acquisition through advertising. Digital advertising allows you to direct traffic towards your website, and track your conversions. Your marketing opportunities expand from a local to a global audience.
Communicate with customers easily
A website can make contacting your business more convenient for potential and existing customers. If someone has a question about a product, would like to book an appointment for a service, or is looking for a quote; having your contact information on the website will save them time and keep them engaged which ultimately provides a more satisfying customer experience.
Embedding your email address into your website so customers can contact you directly will increase the convenience, as well as give you a way to collect customers’ information. This can be done simply on your website so when customers write to you, they leave their email to receive your reply.
This is a win-win – the customer did not have to work hard to reach you, and now you have their email to maintain the relationship.
Getting started with a website does not have to break the bank. For example, 30% of small businesses that had a website spent less than $500 every year to launch and maintain their site.
Although building a professional, search optimized, and well laid out website may seem daunting at first, the payoff greatly outweighs the investment. The potential for customer acquisition, marketing, online sales, and customer relationship cultivation show a few of the reasons why building a website is not only worth the investment, but even can take your business to the next level.