Almost a third of small businesses in the UK do not have a website. For some businesses they may have the fortunate position that they never need to find clients, as word of mouth has always worked and they have no capacity to take on more customers. For everyone else there are three main reasons that a website is an essential tool to find and attract customers.
Many companies believe that having a social media presence is enough to attract customers. One of the main benefits of having a website is perception. 84% of consumers believe that having a website makes a business more credible than those with only a social media profile. Furthermore 30% of consumers won’t even consider buying from a business without a website!
Anyone can set up a social media profile, and every business should have some targeted social media presence, but setting up a website does involve a greater commitment of both time and money, and further shows that you are a real company investing in their business and looking to attract customers.
Establishing your online presence through a website also helps you connect to customers with full control over the way in which you want to be seen. When marketing through social media, you do not have the ability to fully manage the the look and feel of your profile on the platform. With a customised website you can have full control over your brand image and identity, and how you position your key messages.
2. Visibility and accessibility
Having a website lets customers find you when they need you. It’s a simple way to be open 24/7 and for customers to be able to learn about your products or services with you in control of the narrative. One of the problems with only using social media is that each one is a distinct separate platform, with different algorithms and processes, and working in isolation to each other. A platform that might be right for your business today, may not be right in six or twelve months time. Having a website means that, regardless of the platform, your home is always to be found online. You are able to set and control the customer journey that is optimal for converting interest into sales.
With a website you not only are able to control the message, but you are also to build an ecommerce portal so that customers can buy products and services from you 24/7. You can sell your products in your sleep! With your own website you are not limited to any restrictions that social media platforms may impose, and you are able to exert a greater degree of customisation to your shop.
Finally having your own website allows you display business information in a way which is relevant to you and your customers. You are able to create Q&As, chatbots, product or service specific pages in any combination which is suitable or convenient to your customers.
Having a website opens up a range of online tools that can be used to promote your business and attract new customers. You are able to showcase which products you want and highlight what is important to you and your customers.
With a website you are able to make use of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), which is a tool used by search engines like Google or Bing to categorise, rank and display websites. Without a website you are almost invisible online when someone searches for you. A good SEO strategy can propel you up the listings towards the top of the search results.
So, do I really need a website in 2021, when I can use social media or just word of mouth? What you need to ask yourself is when you look for a new service or product, would you buy from someone without a website?