If perhaps you live in a cave, you will have noticed the impact technology has taken on society. With ever-increasing numbers almost “glued” to smartphones, tablets or laptops, we are increasingly reliant on technology for communication purposes. The point being, with more and more consumers spending time online, in parallel, it has become equally important that businesses do too. So is it important to have a website for your business?
There are various benefits of owning a website such as credibility, advertising, sales, information exchange or simply cutting costs as some businesses starting out are unable to afford a physical “shopfront”. However, all those perceived benefits count for nothing if the website does not perform its intended task, that being, getting in front of faces.
Being on the edge….of Europe
With Brexit looming, there is real uncertainty as to how this will affect Ireland, but what is certain is that we are in for a bumpy ride for the next few years. Small businesses generally are in the firing line so much like the Banking Crash, it would be prudent to get online, expand your audience significantly and depending on the business, start selling your product online and internationally. trading.
Less than 20% of Irish businesses are selling products online or even have an e-commerce store. This is frightening to think that a person from Ireland looking to purchase something cheaply, as retail outlets will be charging premiums, will have little or no choice and may have to go online to online outlets abroad to purchase, therefore sending money out of the country at a time when keeping money in the country for “rainy days” is important.
Reasons for having a “professional” website
Employing a Web Designer that promises the moon and the stars seems fine, but have you done your research. By looking at their website, their clients’ sites and general ranking on those sites will give you a fair indication of where you will end up.
A website will be the cheapest and most effective promotional tool available yet for some bizarre reason, it sometimes does not click with some and is not taken as seriously as it really should be. This is not just a plug, it is the truth. Cheap websites never work as it is not commercially viable to build a quality website without putting in the time and effort to do so. DIY websites are fine if YOU know what you are doing because it is you who will be left with it when you realise it is not fulfilling its potential.
So our advice is to think long and hard about what you want your website to do and most importantly how and who you get to develop it.
At iBrutes, we are a startup company, like any other and like all startups, the intention is to deliver something valuable. Otherwise, if the product is of no value, the business will get a bad reputation and this is one of the reasons so many startups fail in the first three years. We do not want to be one of them and are strongly approaching our third; fingers crossed.
Reasons it is important to have a website.
Whether you are thinking of getting a web designer to build new or upgrade from your existing site, consider these points before you take action,
The website is probably your best employee. They cost very little(perhaps 1 employees month salary) and are the best sales representative you could find. They work 24/7 and do not argue back at you.
Perhaps your competitors are online and taking business away. How is their website doing and how many competitors do you have? The increasing online population means each time someone looks for the product you sell, chances are they are going to a competitor instead. Consider.
As you read this, there will be someone, somewhere, not just in Ireland looking for your product. You can have international versions of your site to market globally or to specific countries. The world is your oyster.
- Online all the time
Your business website is on call, selling while you sleep, 24/7. It might help you sleep better at night also knowing that your business is always looking to do more business.
- Online Stores
It is estimated that it costs a business 8 times more to sell a product from a shop than it does a website. Why? Shop rental, wages, electricity, water etc. Selling online is the most cost-efficient way of making money there is. The payment is made directly into your bank account.
Recently we looked at the cost of advertising in a local newspaper. A full-page advert was costing €1,600 for one day with a potential reach of fewer than 100,000 people, for one day. Are local newspaper adverts that effective anymore? How do you then quantify the return from the newspaper advert? It is truly becoming an obsolete form of marketing.
Adwords advertise for a fraction of the cost and your ad could reach hundreds of thousands, depending on your target audience, and analytics will inform you of how successful the ad has been. the first thing a customer sees after clicking that search button. Your website is there forever ALWAYS WORKING, promoting and selling for YOU.
A website is there and can be changed at any time. In fact, it is beneficial to have a dynamic site because it boosts your SEO as would be the opposite of the case with a static site. With traditional marketing mediums such as flyers, leaflets, catalogs, price lists, it is difficult to change these once they are done. With a website, it is easy and quick and you can do it yourself in most cases.
How you want to be perceived is important, and that is how your website should reflect your business professionally. It could be the customers’ first impression of you, so you better make it count.
Email marketing can be a great way of driving customers to your website. Special offers and discounts can help boost sales and again, email costs very little in terms of hosting.
Again, you can get your website up fairly cheap these days and over the long term, it is insignificant as your best employee. If you wish to have a brochure site, then it is very cheap but depending on your expectation, will depend on the cost.
Getting to the front page can be difficult depending on the business and competition. Once you are there, however, did somebody mention pigs back?
Sales is a skill, and not all of us are cut out for it. Long hours, telephone calls, meetings, meet and greets, all done with a particular panache for getting the deal over the line. Having a great product does not mean much if you are not able to convince customers they need it. But just for one moment, if you stopped and thought, why am I trying to find them when they can find me?
Would it not be better to just sell to people who already want to buy your product and are already actively looking for it? With proper Search Engine Optimisation, we just make it easier for customers to FIND YOU. All that said, now you know why it is important to have a website working for you, for your business.