“Webpage? I don’t use the Internet. My business gets along well enough with e-mail. My customers have never asked me if I have a webpage. I don’t even think about selling things online.”
These are just some of the reasons why many business owners still hesitate to establish an Internet presence for their company. Sometimes we are so attuned to work within our businesses that we forget to work on them. Let me explain: we focus on the day to day matters: inventory management, sales, personnel matters, deals of the week, fixed and variable costs … You know what I’m talking about, right? All this is important and necessary to make your business as profitable as possible in the short term.[Dfads params = ‘groups = 15 & limit = 1 & orderby = random’]Unfortunately, often we focus so much on these tasks, we don’t pay attention to others that are equally important: analyzing new trends in the economy, your industry as well as consumer behavior in general and your own customer behavior specifically; and planning what changes and/or adaptations should be done so that your business remains relevant to its current customers while at the same time attracting new customers.
One of the things that gets pushed to the back burner is the Internet and how providers, consumers, investors and the media are using it to learn and to find what are they looking for.
I am not suggesting that you invest in thousands of dollars to establish an e-commerce portal to WalMart.com. And it’s not neccesary either. However, with the tools available today you can have a professional and strong Internet presence without leaving your coffers dry.
Surely the following question comes to mind: if I have no plans to sell products online, why do I need a website? Here are a few of the reasons why it is not only convenient, but necessary, to have a website.
Use the webpage to put you on the map
Nowadays search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing have become the new Yellow Pages. Millions of people use them every day to search everything from aerosols to zucchinis. Rest assured: at this very moment people in your local community who do not know you are looking on the Internet for a store that offers what you sell. Will they find you?
Share your location on your webpage and give directions
Once on your web page, it’s very simple – one click of a button – to display a map with your address and detailed instructions. That way people can get to you by car, walking or using public transportation.
Tell your story on your webpage
Why does your company exist? For how long? How did it evolve? What have been your biggest challenges and achievements? Share your relationship with the community and any other information that will help establish a closer relationship between the visitor and the company even before they visit your location.
Present all available contact information
Include telephone, fax and e-mail of all key personnel. Also include any social network information — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc …
Post your offers of the week on your webpage
Whether it is announced with flyers, leaflets, advertisements in magazines or newspapers, radio or TV, take advantage of your website and other media to spread your advertising messages. If you have a guide to special offers that inserts into a newspaper and / or if it is distributed at your business, make it available to more people through your site as a PDF download.
Show the personality of your business and key personnel
This is a golden opportunity to present some aspects of your business that otherwise are a bit more complicated to communicate. Maybe someone has an interesting hobby. Perhaps someone else has the ability to tell funny stories. Or perhaps someone is volunteering in a nursing home, etc. Include everything that can be shared to show the human side of your store.
Share success stories / customer feedback
Any communication thanking or congratulating the business should be used to give an idea to potential customers of things your company does well.
Present information about the products / services offered
Share what products and / or services are sold. Give website visitors a clear idea of what they will find when they decide to visit the establishment in person.
Recruitment through your website
What better way to fill a blank space? Candidates may find opportunities of interest. They may also be able to browse your site and form an opinion about whether this is a company where they would like to work.
A well designed website, both graphically and administratively, will generate as much traffic to the site as to their physical facilities. Do you still think you don’t need a website?