So you own a small or home-based business and you’re wondering if you really need a website. Only you can answer that question, but here are seven factors to consider as you make your decision.
1. You can offer your customers the convenience of being “open” 24/7. While it’s not usually possible for most small businesses to stay open around the clock, especially in a home business or a one-person operation, a website is always ready and available. Customers can view your products and place orders anytime, even when you are away.
2. A website can be a simple and effective way to conduct market research. Online polls and surveys are a great way to find out what customers and prospects are thinking. You can gain valuable insight into buying habits and preferences, and discover what new products and services they want you to provide.
3. Expand your business to new markets. Your sales area no longer has to be limited by geography. If you offer a product or service that can be mailed, shipped or provided electronically, then you can sell to anyone anywhere.
4. Save time and improve your customer service by providing detailed answers to frequently asked questions. You can provide directions to your location, describe the particular product lines you carry, let people know all the ways and times they can contact you, give instructions on how to order and use your products or service… the possibilities are endless.
5. Interact with your prospects and customers. One of the best ways to gain referrals and repeat customers (the best kind) is to keep in touch with them. A business website comes with email addresses you can use to announce special deals or sales, distribute a newsletter, remember special occasions, or just say hi. You can also use your website to host a message board, interactive forum, or chat room.
6. Your customers expect a website. These days the Internet is the first source to use when looking for information. A professional appearing business website increases your credibility and your visibility. Without one, your business risks never being seen by some of your prospective customers.
7. Stay up to date and keep up with your competition. If your competitors have a site, you should too. And if they don’t, then you can be the first to provide something new.
Vanessa Shelton is a web designer, marketing consultant and copywriter with over 20 years experience. She uses “The Right Words – The Right Way” to bring your ideas and vision to the world. With newsletters, article marketing, the website refresh, and more in her arsenal, Vanessa is ready to help small business owners and independent professionals get attention, and get results. Visit http://vanessasdesk.com to see how Vanessa can help you.