How Creating a Website Can Help
As recently as the early 2000's , a business could depend on traditional modes of advertising, like billboards, newspaper ads, or listings in the phone book, to garner more foot traffic by attracting the interest of a wider customer base. These methods, combined with recommendations to friends and family from satisfied customers, were often enough to aid in a businessís growth, at least in the beginning, and represented the standard in advertising for big industries and small companies alike. Today, modes of advertising have had to change in order to keep up with a public that receives and processes information in radically new ways. The majority of consumers in todayís market not only use the Internet to learn about, locate, and review businesses, but they are also increasingly enticed by online purchasing options. If your business does not currently have a website, it could mean losing a large percentage of potential customers to competitors who are better represented on the web.
The three key elements that have made websites an essential component of business development are exposure, information and convenience. In order to make new customers aware of your services, it is no longer effective to pursue only traditional models of advertising. Recent studies have shown that almost 90% of consumers use search engines to find products and services even for local goods, which means it is absolutely necessary for any successful business to have at least a minimal online presence. This often requires you to learn how to create a website that presents just the right amount of info in just the right format, something visually appealing and easy to access that can provide Internet users with practical information on your brick-and-mortar company. Because customers are now more frequently using the Internet for purchases and orders, itís also highly advisable that this site functions as a point of contact or sale. Whatever your individual business needs, websites provide these vital elements for growth in ways no other format can, making websites crucial for your companyís ultimate success.
(Image by European Parliament, www.flickr.com)
At its most basic level, the Internet can function like a phone book, listing all the registered businesses in a specific trade or area. Having your businessís name listed online is a step in the right direction, but without a connecting website a name alone is very much like having a billboard with no contact information included. Websites can increase exposure to your business in a number of ways, but perhaps the most important of all these is that customers are more likely to use a business theyíve found and researched on the internet. Your business may or may not be listed already on the web, but without a live link to your own site customers may pass you by. The reason for this is, in part, psychological. Much like a modern, clean front office or a well-dressed salesman, potential customers are more apt to trust businesses with well-functioning, professional websites, and more likely to choose those businesses over the competition. In todayís market, websites are the best way to make a positive first impression, and also the best way to lose a sale due to poor design or lack of pertinent features.
In order to develop a site that will attract a large number of hits by potential customers, itís necessary to learn how to create a website that will provide all the information consumers need to make what they feel is an educated decision. This information goes beyond simple brick-and-mortar details like physical location, hours of operation, and contact info. Increasingly, customers want to hear from others about their experience and see some sort of rating system for the services rendered. Quotes from satisfied customers, links to other sites that provide positive reviews, and highlights from successful jobs will instill greater consumer confidence in your business and encourage potential customers to choose you over your competitors. Webpages that describe you, as a person, and include not only your professional credentials but also values that might be seen as beneficial to your trade or location can also make customers feel more connected to you and personally invested in your business. If you depend primarily on local traffic, be sure to include information on your website that illustrates your involvement with your community. If you operate internationally, include information that highlights the individualized attention you can provide clients in a global landscape.
One of the ways in which you can emphasize that kind of personalized service is through a convenient, multi-functional website that allows customers to leave messages for or speak directly with service representatives. While FAQ pages are generally a good feature, allowing customers the opportunity to speak directly with a service provider will make them feel that their business will be handled individually and with greater care than an automated service can provide. Customers also like the option to shop and purchase items from the convenience of their home. Websites that can display items, create custom orders, and allow customers to make purchases online can greatly expand your service area and provide your business with an extra advantage over more localized companies.
Increasingly, consumers are looking exclusively to the Internet to find what services and products are available to suit their individual needs. These potential customers want websites that will provide them with more than just business names and addresses, they want sites that are designed to instill confidence in their future purchases and investments. Websites today incorporate all the elements of print advertisement, word of mouth, and customer service into one centralized, online location. Effectively harnessing these elements is not only beneficial to the growth of your business, it can also mean the difference between realizing your companyís business goals or entirely failing to meet them. Making it a priority to learn how to create a website that attract more customers is the key to successful growth in this digital age, regardless of what services or products you sell.
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