Since the inception of the internet, the small business website has changed roles. It used to be the luxurious item that was only there if you could afford it and wanted to demonstrate your position in the new world. Now it is an essential tool if you want to survive in an increasingly digital world.
Yet, in 2013, 55% of small businesses still didn’t have a website. This hasn’t changed much either, over the past couple of years, small business websites still aren’t being created at the speed they should. Yet customers expect a small business to be online.
The small business website is a useful tool. It helps to demonstrate knowledge, expertise, experience, customer satisfaction, pricing and above all else that you exist. Customers are increasingly looking to Google and other search engines to find solutions to their problems. A problem can be anything from a leak in their water system to where to go for the best afternoon tea.
By having a small business website, you can attract customers to your business. But what elements are important to make your web presence effective? Here’s our list.
1. Contact Details
A customer that starts on the online sales path doesn’t always complete their purchase online. Sometimes it takes a telephone call from a sales agent to finally complete the purchase. In many cases, the customer will want to contact you in order to confirm information, or to speak to a member of your team to assess how much they trust you. Providing customers with an easy way to contact you is therefore important. A contact number on each page is an essential, if nothing else.
2. Email Signup List
The number of touchpoints between interaction and sales completion is increasing. Previously only one or two interactions were important, nowadays, the interactions can be more than 10. However, only 30% of visitors to your website will ever return unless you subscribe them. Therefore, you need an email marketing list. Email marketing lists are also great sellers, being the third highest contributor to online sales in 2013 and 2014 (only search engines and direct visits performed better).
3. Social Media Links
Social media is an important factor when it comes to demonstrating your community experience. Customers want their suppliers to be active on social media, including Facebook and Twitter. By offering them links to connect your social media to your website, you are providing more ways to achieve long term marketing.
4. Trust Factors
The most essential element for your small business website is to include trust factors. These can include industry awards, professional memberships, reviews and media news about your business. This helps to build a picture of how professional your small business is and directly helps with converting your visitors to buyers.
If you are a small shop, leisure facility or other small business that relies on the customer coming to you, then clearly locating your business on the website is important. Customers are going to use your website to find your location, but many won’t print off a map. So they need to have an accurate picture as to your location. Inaccuracy, which is a regular occurrence on Google Maps, can portray unprofessionalism. So use your own maps on your small business website.
6. Reservation / Order Form
Customers sometimes like to know that when they go to a business, there will be a product or space for them. Being disappointed once can be off-putting and can result in the customer being unlikely to reach out to you again. So including a reservation or order facility to your small business website is a great addition. You could even have it that the customers can pay a deposit to ensure you aren’t losing out on money by taking reservations.
Small Business Website – The Must Have Tool
A small business website is an essential tool for this digital age. It needs to have all the functions above and be mobile friendly. Having achieved this you can generate many leads and sales. This will help your business survive in a competitive world that sees 90% of businesses fail. These elements aren’t expensive to implement and with a WordPress or Joomla website you can find solutions for free.
How functional is your small business website? Is your small business website generating you leads?
Let us know in the comments.