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7 reasons why your website is the most important tool for your business
We know that the world is increasingly online. For years now – pretty much since the advent of the internet in the 1990s – businesses have utilised their websites to secure sales and grow their visibility across the broadest market ever. With 75% of consumers now shopping online at least once a month, having a website is a necessity for any brand.
Since the pandemic hit us in 2020, the emphasis on online interactions has drastically increased. With customers unable to physically visit businesses due to lockdown restrictions and health concerns, many had to resort to websites to continue to purchase the goods they wanted. It’s no surprise that 84% of people reported using digital channels more frequently last year.
Although coronavirus restrictions have eased, at least for now, the convenience of online shopping is likely to remain. That’s why it’s more critical than ever before that if you want to reach your target audience, your brand needs to have a digital presence, focused around a great website that delivers the experience your customers are looking for.
In this guide, we have listed seven reasons why your business website is so important if you want to succeed and connect with consumers.
Reach more people
During the pandemic, everything had to become digital. Events turned into webinars, and gatherings became Zoom calls. Customers could no longer visit the businesses they typically use, meaning restaurants had to turn to online takeaway orders, retailers had to focus on digital purchases, and other companies had to find ways to service their customers from afar. To make this happen, these businesses needed a website.
Although it was an adjustment for many, the diversification of their offerings and the shift to digital during the pandemic showed the power of the internet to reach people even in extreme circumstances, which continues to stand today. By utilising online platforms, brands can reach almost anyone from the comfort of their own home. There are no barriers – except for poor connection!
By having a website, you have the opportunity to target customers anywhere in the world, rather than having to rely on foot traffic or local visitors. Such a channel can allow you to drive awareness and sales by giving people an easy one-stop platform to find out more about you and purchase from your business – which, in turn, should boost your revenue. The only major challenge that you face in this busy online world is how to stand out and be found, which we talk about in the coming sections of this blog.
Align with the customer journey
As we’ve already mentioned, online shopping offers convenience by giving access to businesses anywhere and at any time. This is likely why, according to data from Think With Google in 2018, 63% of shopping occasions begin online – and this may be even higher since the pandemic.
Many consumers will rely on the internet to research their purchasing decisions as well as make physical purchases. Your website acts as a platform to educate people about your business, products and services whenever they need it, helping to move them along their journey until they choose to buy from you. If you have an e-commerce site, you can then enable them to make their purchase easily.
Having a website will also help you target customers more efficiently by connecting it to your digital marketing efforts. This might include utilising emails, advertising and social media, all linking back to your website, allowing you to interact with leads on the channels they use most. This will then lead them to your website, where they can continue their experience and convert into customers, once again progressing their customer journey.
Build your brand presence
A website should be at the heart of your digital presence. There are several online platforms that brands must utilise to connect with customers, including social media, email, blogs, search and advertising. While these may take place on other channels, they will ultimately point back to your website as the hub where leads can find out more about your brand and take action – such as completing a sale.
Due to the relationship between your website and other platforms, having one is essential to build your digital presence. We’ve already established that most shopping occasions begin online, so improving the visibility of your business (such as through social media or SEO) will empower you to contact more customers and develop essential relationships.
It will also enable you to take ownership of conversations about your brand online, including responding to queries on various platforms and referring people to your website to take their experience further.
With the increased reliance on the web when researching purchasing decisions, many consumers will first search for a brand to determine if it is worth buying from. If you don’t have a website or offer a poor experience on yours, it could deter people from going any further or even make them fear you aren’t a legitimate company.
Having a professional website is critical to assuage these concerns and leave a positive impression. This will allow you to build your credibility while effectively engaging people and giving them enough trust in you to make a purchase.
This also ties into your reviews strategy. When people search your business, they want to find out what other people have to say: a reported 85% of people read online reviews before making a purchase.
While reviews typically happen on third-party platforms, like TrustPilot and Google, it is possible to link these into your website. By doing so, you can share others’ positive experiences with potential leads. This will increase the chances of conversion while enabling you to improve your reputation as a credible brand.
Access the power of search
Search engines are key drivers of traffic and e-commerce. 53.3% of all website traffic comes from organic search, and 49% of users say they use Google to discover a new product.
In order to reap the rewards of search, you need to have a website that is optimised for search engines. Several factors make up SEO on a website, including creating an inclusive customer experience, a simple navigating structure and targeting relevant keywords for your business.
By creating a website that ticks the right SEO boxes, you can drive traffic to your website from people searching for what you have to offer. This will improve your business awareness and generate leads that can be turned into paying customers.
This doesn’t just apply to digital brands – it also impacts local businesses, with 97% of people searching online to find companies nearby. 28% of local searches culminate in a purchase, showing the potential of search to increase sales, even for small businesses.
If your business wants to unlock traffic and gain from the positive knock-on effects on revenue and sales, then your website serves as your most essential tool. Without it, and without search optimisation, your revenue potential and market position will suffer in many ways.
Interact with your customer, whenever they need you
Most businesses or retailers have rigid working hours. For example, a typical shop on the high street may be open from 9 am to 5 pm, whilst most corporate offices are closed over the weekends. If a customer wanted to buy something, they would need to be present at these times and in the appropriate location.
However, with web-enabled online shopping, and with automation tools, you gain from business continuity and as a result, your customer is free to buy and interact with you whenever suits them. In the case of e-commerce, this could enable them to purchase outside of your normal bricks and mortar opening hours. This includes bank holidays when you might not be open, but customers still want to buy – which is why many businesses choose to go live with Boxing Day sales on Christmas Day!
Even if you do not offer e-commerce, having a website and a strong online presence still gives potential customers an opportunity to research their purchasing decision and engage with your business without you having to be there physically.
Removing time limitations and offering an informative and useful website enables a flexible experience that a customer can tailor to suit them. This reduces any barriers, making a purchase or interaction with your business simpler. It will also allow you to provide a service and drive sales without having to physically open your doors, which can minimise effort and cost across your operations without impeding the customer journey.
Your shop window
Your website is the online equivalent of your shop window. Pretty much every business has one, but making sure it is an inviting representation of your business and equipped with the right information is equally integral if you want to succeed.
Use your website as a place to highlight why your business matters, and why anyone should want to be involved – either as a customer, employee, partner or supporter. This means sharing your brand story, describing your values and showcasing your products and services.
When combined with the other factors already listed here, such as the ability to reach vast audiences, correspond with customer journeys and target people on their terms, this will allow people to effectively connect with your business and fuel your sales potential.
Over time, this will see you build a solid customer base, offer excellent experiences and grow your reputation, all of which will have substantial effects on your performance and bottom-line statistics.
Since most people today are making their purchases online, as a business you are expected to have an online presence. It’s the norm, and if you don’t, then you are missing out on the biggest market potential, in fact, how are you surviving?
Not only will your online presence be your biggest chance to unlock sales and grow your company but It will also enable you to develop your overall online reputation, which will enhance your digital and search marketing efforts further.
Due to the importance of a website, it’s also crucial that yours stands out from the crowd and represents your brand in a welcoming way that engages users while providing a smooth experience. By doing this, you will encourage people to buy from your business when they want to while targeting and converting leads from anywhere.
Without a website, you run the risk of being unseen in the market or overshadowed by your competitors, which will be to your detriment – so every business must utilise its website as the valuable tool it is.