Small business owners often ask us “why do I even need a website?” The short answer is: you don’t. But what your business does need is much, much more important than that.
This sounds ridiculous coming from a website design & marketing agency, doesn’t it? But hear me out: by focusing on the website itself, the act of building a website becomes your key objective.
Nobody goes into business to build a website.
You go into business to make money.
We need to take a step back from the website and look at the bigger picture. Your business doesn’t just need a website, your business needs a way to:
- Draw customers in with marketing, promotions & advertising
- Show potential customers that you understand their problems & are best suited to solving them
- Educate them on your products & services, as well as your values & unique selling proposition
- Give them a reason to connect with you
- Request & consolidate their information so you can keep in touch and stay top-of-mind until they’re ready to buy.
That pretty much sums up everything any business needs to thrive (from a marketing perspective). So with all that in mind, what does your business actually need to succeed?
Your business needs a Sales Funnel.
Now there’s a snazzy bit of marketing jargon. You’re thinking “THAT means NOTHING to me.” You’re probably looking for that back-a-page button.
Don’t be fooled. This is in fact the most straight-forward common-sense marketing concept you’re ever going to hear. A Sales Funnel is the journey consumers take from knowing nothing about you to being paying customers.
Here’s how it works:
- You use advertising, marketing & promotions to get your business out there in a tonne of different ways, including flyers, networking, social media, mailouts, TV & radio. All of these give the target market enough to become interested, sending them to your business website for more details.
- When they arrive at your website (or other primary information source), the overall design (text, colours, images & tone) tells them everything they need to know about how your business can help them.
- If they like what they see, they’ve made a connection with you and they’re ready to buy, they’ll be ready to visit your business.
A website is part of the big picture that brings it all together.
This is where a website becomes important. A well-designed website will use all its visual & text elements to show the user:
- You understand their needs/problems
- You’re the perfect solution for them
- Why your products & services are ideal for their situation
- What your values are as a business
- What makes you unique
A small business with well planned web design can build rapport with a visitor without even being in the room. Getting a potential customer to know, like & trust your business is a crucial part of getting them to become a paying customer.
Pro tip: We make decisions based on emotion, and justify them with logic. But the emotional investment happens first, because it happens on an instinctual level.
There are other ways to achieve most of these outcomes - a single landing page or even an optimised Facebook Page - however neither of these can tick as many boxes, integrate as well with third party services or do as much automatically as a website.
With modern integrations, clever website design can also achieve a whole bunch of marketing activities on auto pilot:
- Collect details from interested users for your database, giving you the chance continue marketing to them until they’re ready to buy
- Show your business in search results pages for browsers who may be looking for product/service providers in your industry and area.
- Gives interested users a chance to ask questions, check out your offering or learn more about you outside business hours.
However, it is not enough to simply have a website. A badly designed business website can make your business seem suspicious, unreliable and professional. There is a lot of user psychology behind a website that works, so be sure to do your research.
A website is the key step in the journey towards becoming a paying customer.
Now you can see why it’s important to think about what your business needs beyond a website. Your business doesn’t need a website per se. Your business needs to:
- Create interest & invite potential customers to find out more
- Show how you’re just the right business for their needs
- Educate them about your values, products & services
- Give them a reason to come in a buy.
By keeping these in mind, when you begin building your small business website, you’ll do so with a clear sense of purpose & laser focus on the results you’re after.