Using a website as a key marketing tool has many core benefits…
Some are quite obvious, but others you may not have considered.
A quality website, when used properly, will:
- Make your business stand out from the competition.
- Make you easy to find online (or offline via good contact information).
- Provide client satisfaction.
- Shorten sales cycles/increase sales.
- Reduce office administration.
- Provide a focal point for marketing activities.
- Filter undesirable inquiries.
- Allow you to learn about your clients’ needs.
We’ll look at each of these separately below.
1. Make your business stand out from the competition
In the previous lesson, we looked at how a website should represent your business positively and professionally in order to attract and serve your clients and prospects. If you take note of those three factors – and The Golden Rules that you’ll find in the next lesson – you will have a website which is (most probably) head and shoulders above your nearest competition. With more people doing their shopping or sales research online, a website presented positively and professionally will attract far more interest to your business than your competitor.
2. Make you easy to find online
Generally people don’t use physical phone books anymore. They look to online directories or search using keywords for the services they need. A well-designed website that takes advantage of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) principles will ensure your business is found quickly and easily.
3. Provide client satisfaction
Providing an easily navigable website with good quality and useful content means that clients (and potential clients) will be able to get their questions answered when your phones are off. They don’t have to rely on you to get the core information they need in order to decide whether you are or are not, on their list of potential providers. By being helpful in this way, you are already setting yourself up as a business that cares about its clients’ experience.
4. Shorten sales cycles/increase sales
Related to the previous point, a client who already has the majority of their questions answered is more likely to make a sale more quickly. The number of back and forth telephone calls, emails or visits to your store or office will be reduced. Effectively, you are making it easy for them to say Yes.
5. Reduce office administration
A website can support a good many administrative processes potentially freeing up time from an existing staff member by reducing the number of client queries/requests you receive and the time it takes to process them. Some handy website functions to consider are:
- Online ordering.
- Downloadable or fillable forms.
- A Frequently Asked Questions page.
- A pop-up robot or chat box to supply answers to regularly asked questions.
- Great information about your products and services.
- Good contact information including your opening hours, a map to your location, delivery/service area, payment methods accepted, etc.
6. Provide a focal point for marketing activities
A well put together and up-to-date website should always be the main hub of all marketing and advertising efforts. It can direct and support prospects that find the advert or marketing program of interest. It can also “over deliver” on the marketing promise before the prospect or client even approaches a business representative for further support. All of this provides a consistent and effective message to the prospect.
7. Filter undesirable inquiries
Every business has inquiries from prospects that they cannot help. This could be due to them being out of the area the business supports or if they need a product the business doesn’t provide etc. A website can help to filter out unsuitable prospects before they even make the call or turn up on the door step. To ensure the business stays strong to the concepts of providing support and help to the community at large, next steps for those inappropriate contacts can still be provided.
8. Allow you to learn about your clients’ needs
One of the most underused features of a website is its ability to collect data about the users who view it. This could be a returning client, a prospect or simply a way to understand if the website design/content is effective or not. Websites that are designed to collect data via analytics programs do this particularly well as does the practice of adding an inquiry form, or allowing for comments to be added to articles, blogs, pages etc. In the next activity we’ll look at the Golden Rules for creating an effective website.