This post has been updated and expanded – access it here – http://www.ecotonedigital.com/small-business-website/24-benefits-website-small-businesses-updated/
Your website is a powerful marketing tool. A well-maintained website can help you gain a competitive advantage in your industry and improve your business image. Developing your web site offers many benefits including helping you get more leads and prospects, increase sales, enhance your professional “brand,” and improve your customer service.
But surprisingly, according to various recent studies, just about 50% of all small businesses don’t have websites. (Read our blog post when you have time.)
Below are 18 benefits of a website for small businesses you may not have thought of:
1. Improve Your Advertising Effectiveness
Placing your website address on all of your promotional material will help you gain additional exposure and encourage the visitors to first check your site for the information they are seeking.
2. Save Money on Printing and Distribution Costs
A website can act as your online brochure or catalog that can be changed or updated at anytime. If you employ a content management system (CMS) you can make changes quickly and at no charge.
3. Easy Access to New Customers
You can have your existing customers refer you to their friends and relatives using only your web address or URL.
4. Easy to Use and Update
If maintained properly your website will always be up-to-date and current. Easily make updates, edits and deletions from any computer on the Internet. No more having to pay a programmer every time you want to chance a date or add a product.
5. Improve Productivity
A website increases your company’s productivity because less time is spent explaining product or service details to customers because all this information is available 24 hours a day on your website.
6. Educate Your Customers
Your website can offer free advice about your products and services. This information can be delivered at any hour in a well thought out and consistent way.
7. Expand Your Market
The Internet allows businesses to break through the geographical barriers and become accessible from any of the world by a potential customer that has an Internet connection. Selling products online is cheaper and easier for you and your customers.
8. Extend Your Local Reach
Extend the local reach of your brick-and-mortar store to consumers around the world. You are open for business 24/7 – 365 days/year with all the information the visitors needs to make an informed decision.
9. Promote & Sell Products & Services
Provide photos and detailed descriptions of your products or services. Explain why your products or services are superior to your competitors. Show visitors how your products or services can help them in their personal or professional lives.
10. Promote Your Brick and Mortar Footprint
When customers and potential customers are out and about they will still be able to find you via their phone. Your phone number, address and full selection can be made available form your website or mobile-friendly site.
11. When You Change Locations
If you move your business to a new location your customers can still find you because your main marketing tool, your website, is easily changed and updated. Your website is flexible and if your search engine optimization is done properly your business will appear to online visitors who search for you.
12. Great Tool for Finding New Employees
You can post job opportunities for available positions and applicants can investigate your company and apply online.
13. Your Own Internet Identity
Your own domain name (www.yourcompany.com) establishes a strong online brand identity.
14. Set-up Email Addresses
You can set-up a personalized email addresses for the company, yourself and your employees. If you set-up a system to accept emails on your site you can also email updates, notices, sales and holiday store hours to your customers.
15. Two-Way Communication
Customers can quickly and easily contact you, give feedback on your products or ask about product availability.
16. Cheap Market Research
You can feature visitor polls and online surveys to take the pulse of your customers.
17. Build Your Reputation
Become or remain the expert by demonstrating knowledge and expertise in your area of work. Write blog posts and articles on the site that educate visitors and help them understand your business and offerings.
18. Improve Customer Service
Information requests can be processed immediately via online forms and auto-responders automatically day or night.