Why SMEs Need a Website and How to Approach Building It

13th March 2019 6 min read

Many businesses these days still wonder whether they need a website, with research suggesting that 40% of small businesses don’t have one.

Do you really need to incur the cost of building and maintaining one? Will it make much difference to your growth? Here we explore why we think a website is essential for any business and how it’s easier than ever for you to build one. 

There are numerous low-cost online services to help you build a website, and as there is no longer the need to understand code or the intricacies of design, there really aren’t any barriers to stop you. So, why does your business need a website?

Customer expectation

Who of us doesn’t turn straight to the web to find out more about a business, or discover one in the first place? Customers and potential customers expect to be able to learn more about you and if they can’t find you online, they will look elsewhere. That’s lost business for you and more business for your competition.

You’re in charge

It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to control what others say about you on social media, but with your own website you are able to control the messages you share. You can influence people’s perception by telling your businesses’ story, and use customer comments and examples of your work to show your business in the best possible light.

    You don’t need to be a web coder

    The days when you needed to employ someone or find an expensive marketing agency to build a basic website from scratch using code are a thing of the past. The proliferation of website-building platforms has resulted in almost anyone being able to design and launch a company website. WordPress and Wix, amongst others, offer thousands of templates for you to take advantage of and they also provide low-cost hosting solutions, so you can keep all your web spend in one place. If you want to build an online shop you can use their shop widgets that walk you through the process step by step to get your products online.

    Their templates are business specific as well, so if you run a beauty salon, travel agency or building firm, you’ll be able to find a template that suits you. 

    It doesn’t cost much

    When you use one of the website-building platforms the cost is all but negligible. Not only that, you are creating something that can potentially reach thousands of people for a far lower cost than traditional marketing methods. If you’ve previously spent significant money on direct mail, and let’s face it who hasn’t at some point, you can never avoid the niggling thought that your beautifully crafted flyer or brochure has very likely been used to line someone’s paper recycling bin. A website gives you a more cost-effective way to get your messages out.

    Your competitors all have websites

    It is likely that your potential customers will start their purchasing journey online, armed with research and recommendations from their friends and social media connections. Following recommendations potential customers can use your website to carry out their own research on your business. If you’re not online and demonstrating your competitiveness, then you’ve already lost.

    Social proof counts for a lot

    The way we buy things has changed significantly over the last few years. Users can look for reviews and comments from like-minded people with similar needs. Potential customers can now read the multitude of reviews on your products or services from other customers; there’s no need to take a chance. Hosting your reviews and customer comments on your site makes sense. Of course, you could rely on review sites, but the real power lies in presenting your reviews in the same place as your product or service. By placing your customer comments front and centre, you can make sure they can’t be missed.

    You’ll never be closed again

    There aren’t many people who like to work at midnight, but there are plenty of people who like to shop in the early hours. Having a web presence means that you can sell your products or your services 24/7. And if you normally treat yourself to a day off on bank holidays you’re still open for business.

    It becomes the centre of your marketing world

    Having a website also creates a place for all your other marketing efforts to point to. If you want to create email marketing campaigns, social media campaigns, even a local flyer, having somewhere for people to visit and take action is critical. People don’t generally want to pick up the phone to find out more, they want to feel in control and allowing them to do that by browsing your site improves their customer journey and increases the chance that they will buy.

    Make your business a national business

    Many small businesses are at the heart of a community, and that means your customers are likely to be located near you. A website opens you up to many people who would otherwise not know that you exist, generating business from customers far away.

    Google rules the world

    As most of us know, and experience daily, Google is in charge. It’s well-known that more than 4 in 5 consumers perform online research before making a purchase; they open Google and type in some key words to find businesses. It’s a statement of the obvious, but if you’re not online you’ve got no chance of appearing in those search results. If you have a site, you can spend time optimising your content to increase your chances of being displayed in the results. Most of the website-building platforms offer specific Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) widgets that walk you through optimising the site. So, the next time someone searches for “local builders” you might well be there.

     

    Showcase all your products and services

    We’ve talked about new customers finding you online, but are all your current customers aware of everything you do? Getting more business from existing customers is often a lot easier than getting new customers. Having a website that shows everything you do is likely to increase your business from those that already know you.

      Create your customers of the future

      A good proportion of the time, consumers are using the web to research products or services without a genuine purchasing intention at that time. If you build an email capture form into your site, as part of an email marketing campaign, you can create a list of prospects to keep in touch with. You will grow your brand awareness and when they are ready to purchase they can come back to you. 

      Hopefully you will agree that building an online presence for your business is the right thing to do. It’s relatively easy, low-cost, opens you up to lots more customers and will help your business grow. And who doesn’t want that?

      For further information please call your Miles Smith Insurance Solutions Account Executive directly, or contact the team on 020 7977 4800.

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