Smartphones and tablets have changed the game when it comes to access to information. Today, nearly everyone can search and find the information that they need at anytime, from anyplace…provided that information lives somewhere on a website. Consumers in 2016 are technologically savvy, and they expect the companies that they do business with to be as well. Here we’ve outlined the key reasons that your business, no matter how small or local it might be, needs to have a current and professional website in order to connect with customers.
Do customers know you exist?
Surely some do, or else you would not be in business. But can those who don’t already know about you easily find you when they are looking for your particular service or product? If a customer has an iPhone, they can simply say, “Siri, I’m hungry,” when he/she is looking for a place to get lunch. If your restaurant does not have a website with current location information, the phone’s online search will not return your establishment as an option, even though it’s only a half mile away and that potential customer could be craving exactly what you serve. Having a website means that in a culture rooted in a barrage of digital information, that potential customers can easily find out about your business and what it provides without needing to contact it directly.
Provide virtual customer service
People know you exist—great! Now they have more questions: where are you located? What are your hours? Do you have a parking lot or do I need to use a parking garage? Do you ship? Based on your business type and location, you can likely anticipate which questions customers will want answered before they come to see you in-store or give you a call. Use your website to answer all of those questions and customer confidence in your ability to service them will increase significantly.
Differentiate your business
What sets you apart from your competitors? A website is the perfect place to share the story of your business and explain why you can service customers better than anyone else. Make personal connections with customers by appealing to their needs: community, safety, useful knowledge, entertainment. Establishing a relationship and sense of trust with customers is crucial to winning their initial business, and maintaining that relationship and trust is what will bring their repeat business. If customers see your business’s website as a useful tool, they will see your company as one that provides them direct value, and they will make an effort to sustain the connection.
Responsive sites are crucial to establishing connections
Along with the variety of devices that customers use to access the Internet comes a need for websites to be responsive. This pertains to the way a website is designed—that it will adjust its sizing, spacing and ratios to fit the format of any size screen used to view it. It is important that a business understands this in the initial planning and development stages of building its website. It is far easier to build a website in a responsive format that it is to go back and redesign the site after it has already been created. Furthermore, Google and other search engines now discriminate between websites that are responsive and those that are not. Websites that are not responsive will not appear as highly, if at all, in search rankings because they are not entirely user friendly. Our advice? Have your business’s website built right from the start.
J2 Marketing offers website creation and maintenance services. For more information, contact us at [email protected]