As we emphasized in our earlier post, your website is a powerful marketing tool. A well-maintained website can help you perform in your chosen industry or niche and improve your business image. Developing your website offers many benefits including helping to obtain more leads, increase sales, enhance your professional brand and improve your customer service.

Here is an extended list of benefits you might not have thought about:

1. Create a Lasting First Impression

New visitors as well as potential customers will be pleased and assured to find a business website that is inviting, engaging and informational. When contacting leads on the phone or by email you can just leave a well-crafted website address and your contact can visit your website at they’re leisure. Often, your site will make a better first impression than you will because not all of us are polished sales people.

 2. Another Powerful Sales Tool

Beyond just making basic information (address, phone, hours, etc.) immediately available to your visitors your business website gives you an additional forum where you can address your customers’ needs and concerns. You can also offer them expanded information and convincing calls to action. By personalizing your website, you can offer your customers special deals and limited items, specifically for them.

3. Look Established and Ready for Business

A well-designed, well-produced website can make a start-up business look and perform like a seasoned pro. When your site appears high up in the search results, your copy and images sparkle and your layout & navigation is engaging you’ll know your website is up to standard and ready to compete with larger and older sites in your niche.

4. Become the Authority in Your Niche

When you create compelling content, you build your brand and you build authenticity & authority with the search engines as well as your visitors. They then know who they can trust on the Internet and who they will visit first. And if they visit you and trust you, buying from you is not far behind. Your blogs, your articles, your general information and product descriptions show that you know your subject and your information is trustworthy.

5. Great Way to Build Your Email List

By adding calls-to-action and sign-up forms to your website you are able to automate the collection of email addresses to add to your email marketing list. Creating well-written and optimized content will compel visitors to become leads and even buyers. Legitimate email addresses can be hard to come by but you can make it easier for visitors to sign up because they are interested in what you have to say.

6. Analyze Your Efforts by Reviewing Your Analytics

The old saying “You don’t know where you are if you don’t know where you are” ** is true on the Internet. If you put the effort into your business website but don’t take the time to analyze the information, how will you know if the effort was working? By adding an analytics tool like Google Analytics you’ll have a powerful tool that will inform you of your visitors, their locations and demographics and so much more. Without a website, you will not be able to track this information.

7. Increase Your Visibility

You’re probably not a big box store or a nationally-known brand name. But even if you are a start-up or micro business you’ll gain more visibility on the Internet with a website than without one. If the party is on the Internet, then you want to be at that party. The main reason for this is because millions or people are searching the Internet and you might be the one business that has what they are looking for. Don’t miss this party.

8. Improve Your Advertising Effectiveness

Placing your website address on all your promotional material will help you gain additional exposure and encourage visitors to first check your site for the information they are seeking. Just by distributing your website address you’ll be expanding your reach and offering more than one promotional avenue to your audience.

9. Save Money on Printing and Distribution Costs

A website can act as your online brochure or catalog that can be changed or updated at any time. If you use a content management system (CMS) you can make changes quickly and at no charge. Your images and content are bound by the size of the printed page or cost of the printing. With a flexible website, you can add new content at no cost.

10. Easy Access to New Customers

You can have your existing customers refer your site to their friends and relatives using only your web address. Also, random or “organic” visitors who come to your site via an online search will find you and stay with you if they find what they are looking for. Search engines are powerful tools and search engine optimization tools are an equal opportunity why to “be found”.

11. Own Your Internet Identity

Your own domain name (www.yourcompany.com) establishes a strong online brand identity. You can also set-up a personalized email addresses for the company, yourself and your employees. This serves to build your brand.

12. Easy to Use and Always Up-To-Date

If maintained properly your website will always be up-to-date and current. Even a busy business owner can make updates and edits, easily, from any computer. You won’t have to pay a programmer every time you want to change a date or add a product. Save your money for large projects or redesigns. Never again will a customer need to point to an out-of-date price and claim they “saw” it on the website.

13. Mobile-friendly Design

There was a time when small business owners only had access to a website that was best seen on a desktop. If you wanted a mobile website you’d have to recreate the website in a mobile format or create an app. But now its standard practice to make websites “responsive”. Responsive websites allow your information to be seen on a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone. The site “shrink” intelligently so all your information can be read clearly. Always require responsive design when having your website built.

14. Improve Productivity

A website increases your company’s productivity because less time is spent explaining product or service details to customers because all this information is available 24 hours a day on your website. This “self-serve” opportunity will give you more time to engage with your customer and better serve them.

15. Educate Your Customers

Your website can offer free advice about your products and services. This information can be delivered in a well thought out and consistent way. Some visitors might take a quick glance and place their order quickly while others might review and analyze every inch of your product before the make a purchase. By adding loads of quality information to your pages and products you can satisfy both.

16. Expand Your Market

The Internet allows businesses to break through the geographical barriers and become accessible from anywhere in the world. Selling products online has become cheaper and easier for you and your customers.

17. Extend Your Local Reach

By extending the local reach of your brick-and-mortar store to consumers around the world you are open for business 24/7 – 365 days/year. You can provide your customers with all the information they need to make informed decisions. Local search has been a high priority for Google in the last few years and they have created tools to help you market your business to desktop and mobile visitors alike.

18. Promote & Sell Products & Services

Provide photos and detailed descriptions of your products or services. Explain to your customers why your products or services are superior. Show visitors how your products or services can help them in their personal or professional lives. By updating your offering periodically you’ll keep on top of the search results and pique the interest of your customers as new products become available.

19. Promote Your Brick and Mortar Footprint

When customers and potential customers are out and about they will still be able to find you via their mobile phone. Your phone number, address, directions and hours of business, etc. can be made available for mobile users so they can find you as they are on the go. Today, the majority (60%) of searches are now done by mobile devices vs. desktops. This means that customers won’t be looking you up at home, they’ll be searching for you on the road.

20. Use Specific Pages as Training Aids or Sales Tools

If you have spent time creating great content on your website there is no need to reproduce this information in a static or printed form. You can use product information pages to teach or train staff, vendors and customers. Printed material has limits, creates waste and eventually go out of date but your website is ever fresh and up-to-date (assuming you keep it that way).

21. When You Change Locations

If you move your business to a new location your customers can still find you because your main marketing tool, your business website, is easily accessible. Your website is flexible and if your search engine optimization is done properly your business will appear to online visitors who search for you.

22. Great Tool for Finding New Employees

You can post job opportunities for available positions and applicants can investigate your company and apply online.

23. Encourage Two-Way Communication

By employing chat tools your customers can quickly and easily contact you with questions without even sending an email. You can also set up forms and surveys on your website that will allow your customers to send feedback and opinions.

24. Improve Customer Service

Perhaps the most important benefit of having a business website is to improve your customer service. Information requests can be processed immediately and electronically. Special deals and bonus buys can be positioned on the site and broadcast through email and text messages. Customer reviews and concerns can be gathered online and action can be quickly taken.

Bottom line: If you don’t have a website, your company is at a huge disadvantage.

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