Your customers are online. Are you? Herewith our top 10 reasons why a small business needs a website

1.  Google it!

The internet is popular and growing as more and more people have access via computer or cellphone. People turn to Google first to look up a company, product, service or address in their local area and surrounding parts.

If your business is not there, you lose that customer. Worse yet, if your competitor’s details are on the internet, he gets the business.

2.  First contact

A website answers those repetitive questions that customers always have.

You know what I’m talking about.  How much do you charge, where is your shop, what are your trading hours, do you offer discounts, can I buy on credit…and so forth.

Having these questions answered on your website not only saves you from repeating yourself, but also allows that website visitor to make a fairly good judgement on whether to do business with you.

3.  Your best Salesman

A business has trading hours, but a website is there to conduct business on your behalf around the clock and around the world.

Your products and services are accessible to visitors without time or distance constraints. A potential customer can view your products or services and e-mail you a request to contact them when trading hours resume.

4.  Websites last longer

Compare the cost of a half page ad in a magazine or newspaper that end up in the bottom of a budgie cage to the price of a website.  Print 5,000 flyers today and tomorrow they litter the streets.

A website is a giant billboard on a very busy highway, with thousands of potential customers.  South Africans spend an average of 8 hours online per day. It just makes marketing sense to have a website.

5.  Communicate instantly

When you get new stock in or run a special discount sale you have to spend money on printing new flyers or placing a new advertisement in the newspaper.

Print advertising travels back and forth between you and the printer which causes delays in getting your message out.

A website update is quick and much cheaper. With technology you can notify your customers immediately of any new additions, specials or changes they should note.

6.  Brand awareness

If you have a specialised service or niche product, there is no better way than a website to promote it.  The more visible you are online, the more people will recognise and notice your business. This creates trust.

7.  People live online

Have you noticed how people are glued to their cellphones?  Yes, even in church or crossing the road.

If you don’t have a website, you won’t get their attention.  South Africa is a prime example of this.  Not many people have a desktop PC or laptop, but most have a cellphone that can access the internet.

It is because of the increasing use of cellphones and tablets that websites had to become responsive.  Mobile devices account for about 75% of internet traffic.

8.  Play with the big boys

Your business is just a small fish in a big pond. True as that may be, there is no difference between your website and that of your biggest competitor.

In a search query on Google, your website will sit right next to the big fish, giving you a far better chance of landing the business.

Your marketing budget cannot possibly compete with that of a major company. A website evens the playing field with competitors.

9.  Sell it!

If you can post or courier it, you can sell it online. Selling online can be costly and difficult to set up, but you can do it the simple and cheaper way first until your business is financially able to upgrade.

Selling online takes your business from your local hometown to the rest of the country.

10.  Be professional

Your business, no matter how small or new, should convey a corporate image. It is standard to have a business card and letterhead. It is also standard to have a telephone number, fax number, address, e-mail address and…..yes….a website address.

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