Marketing tips for your small business: why you need a website
The Internet has helped level the business playing field for companies, enabling people all over the world to get information on products and services and to use that information to their advantage. In such a competitive environment, it is essential that consumers are aware of your business, its products and services. The Internet helps you reach out to a large number of consumers both in your neighborhood and globally, irrespective of how large or small your business is. Discover marketing tips to help get your small business online.
Britain is online
77 per cent of households in the UK now have access to the Internet and over 1.9 billion Internet users exist worldwide, making it a rich and powerful medium to create awareness of your business.
Facts and figures aside, the influence of the Internet can be clearly seen in the way people now consume information online. For example, a foreign holiday planned today almost always includes prior online research on the expected weather, tourist spots, hotel reviews and other tourist experiences.
Another emerging trend is the use of online business services. Going online significantly reduces overhead costs, such as labor and infrastructure, for businesses that are able to offer their products or services online. Many businesses today have successfully added an online services component to their business and are reaping the benefits. Proof can be seen in the rapid increase in the use of online services such as Internet banking, online travel booking and ticketing, and online purchase of movie tickets, among many others.
Increasing visibility and reach in a cost-effective way
For most businesses today, a top priority is to build a large base of repeat customers.
A website allows you to promote your business and to market your products and services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and hence opens up more chances to interact with your customers.
An important first step to doing business on the Internet is selecting and registering a domain name. The domain name represents your company’s brand and identity on the Internet. To help boost your company’s visibility on the web, choose a meaningful domain name and register it as soon as possible. This helps you to establish your brand online early on and to determine whether the domain name you have chosen is available.
Selecting the right domain name can help increase your visibility on the net. A .com domain name offers you one of the best options because it helps provide instant recognition, visibility and credibility for your brand online, both in the UK and globally. A .com is appropriate for businesses of all sizes, and it is currently the most widely used domain name extension around the world1. A .net domain name is also a good choice – many young entrepreneurs pick this type of domain when they start putting their novel business ideas into practice on the web
Having a web site offers innumerable possibilities for promoting your business. A professional looking web site that uses the right design, content and keywords can help attract customers and help add to your current lead generation activities.
Through the use of online tools such as search engine optimisation (SEO), businesses can help improve their chances of being found on the Internet. Web directories are websites where companies can get their own sites listed for free to help boost their visibility to potential customers. Every time a potential customer makes an inquiry for your business category, he may be more likely to learn about your business presence and possibly contact you.
A Website is clearly a business must have; here’s why:
- A website prospects for new customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Simple online tools such as search engine optimisation may also help make your website more visible to your prospects when they search for information online.
- A website showcases your products using multiple formats - text, pictures and videos.
- A website sells your products or services online and can help you build new clientele in real time through online purchase options.
- A website assists you in keeping in touch with existing clients and also contacting new customers who have visited and made an inquiry. It helps you present new products, offers and updates to various audiences.
- Your website can support existing customers. By offering information through pages such as FAQs, product specifications, and how-to procedures, it can also help you reduce overhead costs and save time as the customers can be directed to your Web site for all of this important information.
- A website can also be a great information resource not only for your clients but also for the industry at large giving visitors a reason to come back to your site. This can be done by supplying helpful tips and articles that are relevant to your industry.
A good business Website enables you to communicate with existing customers, bring online transactions to more geographical areas, and build your profile among potential customers across the world.
A website also offers ways to measure your investment against actual results through tools such as online registrations and online bookings, among others, depending on the nature of your business.
The Internet has become a great equaliser for many companies and marketers. Without spending a fortune, small companies and entrepreneurs can look to compete alongside the larger companies. However, to be able to take advantage of this medium, businesses must have a web presence.
Welcome to the Internet.
1 During the fourth quarter of 2010, the overall base of .com and .net domain names grew to reach a combined total of 105.2 million names, according to the Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief (Volume 8, Issue 1, February 2011)