When is the right time to invest in a website?

As a business mentor and online specialist, I often get asked; when is the right time to get a website.

My answer is always: at what point is NOT having a fully functioning, professional website costing you money?

How much business are you potentially losing because of your lack of an online presence?

The same applies for businesses with out of date websites that haven’t had the content updated for years and may no longer even function properly with the latest devices and operating systems.

The longer you put off having a fully responsive, professional website promoting your business, the more money you are losing.

Not convinced?

Here are 10 compelling reasons to have a website for your business.

Reason #1 – Marketing

A website is a great way to compliment your existing marketing strategy and when compared to radio commercials, tv ads, billboards and even the yellow pages, nothing is as economical and versatile as your website. Websites work on many different levels and enhance rather than compete with all your other promotional efforts, whether they are online and offline.

Even without all the other marketing, a website stands head and shoulders above the rest for exposure, cost and flexibility.

Reason #2 – Information

More and more consumers are using the internet to get information about products and services. What’s more, they will do their research before picking up the phone or even going to a store or showroom. As well as providing clear information on what you are offering, how to find you and why you are better than your competitors, a website allows you to provide detailed information about your team, what your satisfied customers say about you and other helpful information related to your products or services.

Try fitting all that in a radio ad or on the back of a brochure!

Reason #3 – Open 24/7

Your customers can go online 24 hours a day, seven days a week to get answers and information about what they are interested in. Therefore, your business needs to be on display with the right content about what you have to offer at all times so that you capture searches from potential and existing customers.

If your competition is online, and you aren’t then guess where your customers will go when they find the answers to their online enquiries.

Reason #4 – Quick Resource

Your website gives customers and potential customers all the information about your business they need, no matter how many times they need it. This can include a map of your store location, your hours of operation, contact information, news about upcoming events, sales or initiatives you want to promote as well as what you do. It’s faster to go online to check a street address or phone number than it is to make a phone call or try and find an ad in last week’s newspaper.

Did you know that people will Google your business long after they have lost your business card?

Reason #5 – Repeat Business

Your best customers are repeat and referred customers and there is no better way to interact with these customers than keeping in touch with them online. Whilst you may use social media or newsletters for much of your engagement with your existing database of contacts, having a website as a focal point allows you to funnel people who are engaging with you in online discussions or posts or reading your newsletter to pages on your website where they can learn more and continue on to making an enquiry or purchase.

When you keep in contact it shows customers you care and will keep you “top of mind.” Make those points of contact lead somewhere.

Reason #6 – Credibility

As a customer you want to know the company you are buying from is legitimate and runs a reputable business. How you present yourself on your website is one of the easiest things to manage in giving people the right impression. A well designed website lends credibility to your business and can lead to increased sales.

People do business with people – those that they know, like and trust. Your website can reinforce all three of these.

Reason #7 – Marketing Insights

The web is interactive and can provide valuable information about what your customers want and need. Your website provides you free information on visitor activity through Google Analytics that tells you what pages people are reading more and where they click on your site, where visitors come from and even what devices they are using when they view your website. This will help you determine what areas of your site content and layout are not performing and what other marketing activities are driving the best enquiries to your business.

You can even tailor the reports you get from Google Analytics based on the goals you set, providing more useful data for tracking the performance of your website.

Reason #8 – Level the Playing Field

Every big business has a website and every small business should too! A well designed website will present a more professional image than a larger competitor whose web presence appears weak or amateurish.

What’s more, online real estate costs the same for everyone – your business is just as findable online as one with a prime position in an expensive business park or mall.

Reason #9 – It makes money

If you develop an effective online marketing strategy, your website will bring in new business and new customers that you may not have acquired through other traditional advertising strategies. More than any other marketing, once it is established, your website is out there making money for you by generating enquiries, raising your business profile and providing your customers information about you, your products or services and whatever else they need to know about your business, as and when they need it.

Reason #10 – Customers Expect It

In today’s business world, the internet is the way we do business. It is also a big part of how we make decisions and find out about stuff. Whether you are product or service based, deal with the general public or with other businesses, have wide appeal or are specifically targeting a single group of clients, you should be online. To not have a website in the Digital Age not only puts you at risk of being invisible, people expect you to be online, and if you aren’t they wonder why not?

If you don’t believe this, then try an online search and see how many other businesses doing what you do are already there.

Craig Cochrane is the owner of Web Tonic, Online Specialists in web design and marketing for New Zealand businesses. Click here for more information on getting a new website for your business