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It's no secret that we're living in a digital world.
Everybody is more connected to each other and we've seen a huge fundamental shift in how the average consumer is finding and buying from brands. Did you know back in 2014, there were around 1.32 billion digital buyers? We know that sounds like a lot, but every year this number has risen and in 2021, at the time of writing, there are over 2.14 billion people buying digital.
Not only that but according to Forbes who surveyed people, 59 per cent of people prefer to shop online rather than in-store. This is just one source, but there's survey after survey reporting a similar figure.
What is apparent though, is that clearly, to keep up with changing times and to continue to be competitive, businesses big and small have innovate and change how they're marketing & selling.
One such way is a great website. It's amazing how many businesses either don't have one or have a dated, poor performing one! Not only that, but even if they do have a website, then chances are they're not utilising it to its full potential.
If you fall into any of the descriptions above, then this blog is for you. If you're not convinced of the value of an active, well-developed website then read on to hear our 4 reasons why every business should have a website.
This might seem obvious, but we see a lot of business owners not believing a website is an effective way to grow a brand. There are many reasons that we hear this day-to-day from the investment cost and "I've never needed one before" to "what would I put on a website?" and even "my competitors all have bad websites so why do I need a good one?".
The truth is, the world has moved forward and most consumers now expect a business to have a website. It's how they find you, get to know you and buy from you. It's simply putting you on the backfoot of the competition if you don't have a great web presence. Even if you're a large, successful business, we see clients growth decline off of the back of not innovating over the years!
Furthering this, but now is a great time to invest in your technology! Websites are now capable of doing far more, they're more complex, faster and they can enhance your customers buying experience 10-fold if you have the right features.
As a business owner, we think it's so smart to invest in at least a decent, well-performing website and going on from that, have a brainstorm on how you can use your website to be more innovative and provide a superior experience to your customers. That way, you'll have a competitive advantage and have a greater chance of seeing growth in your business!
The trouble with brick and mortar shops is that they close. Open from say, 9 am to 5 pm. However, the world keeps going in that 24-hours.
At any time, someone can become your customer from your website. Whether they're browsing around on social media in bed and decide to buy, or are researching service providers in the evening and then decide to fill out your contact, the point is your business by going online, is no longer restricted by the opening hours of the high street.
Having a website allows you to create a funnel from your social media channels or a search engine, straight to your website and this funnel can work at any time, automatically, whether you're awake or not. By having a decent website and effective online marketing the small businesses of today can make money on autopilot without their owners being awake.
Furthering on from that point, businesses big and small now have the opportunity to sell to anyone in the world from anywhere. Before they were contained to local marketing with expanding to other areas being a time-consuming and costly activity. Now thought, armed with social media and a website, you can entice customers on the other side of the world, launch in the US at a fraction of the cost and grow a user base 100x quicker.
As a small business owner, you have an incredible opportunity to create an audience base that stretches far beyond what was possible for the average enterprise even 10 years ago.
And, a website is a huge cog in that machine!
We could go on, but, we'll wrap up with reason 4 for needing a website: credibility.
It's becoming more common for businesses of all shapes and sizes to have a website, even a deal-breaking expectation these days. With that in mind, it's more than sensible to have a well functioning and active website to help improve the credibility of your business. This is true for even big businesses.
You could take this one step further too and not just stop at simply having a website. As a business owner, look at where your niche is in the market and ways you can use technology to innovate. This makes your business stand out above your competition and gives you a leading edge.
Tech is easier to access than ever for businesses of all s, instead of pushing against it, invest in it and build better credibility as a brand.
Although this blog goes over why having a website is a 'must-have' for all businesses, it's really intended for everyone, even if you have a website, to at the very least spark a thought process and see if there's anything you can improve.
With that in mind, here's an example of an SME and how thinking about their technology and website can really up their game.
The business: Our business is an accountancy firm.
Stage Zero: No website or a terrible website. Our accountancy firm uses traditional marketing to get new clients, they don't have a website and advertise with direct mail advertising in local spaces and magazines. Their audience is local businesses and is limited to a radius of 20-miles purely by location constraints and not being able to push their marketing further afield. Their revenue is limited.
Stage One: Get's a website with a simple enquiry process or a poor website. Our accountancy firm now has the ability to market online. They use social media and search engines to drive traffic and enquiries to their business through a simple contact form. This works far better than before as now they're experiencing business enquiries from all over the country. The drawback? Once an enquiry is received, their admin assistant still has to get in touch with each one, discuss a sale, close the deal, take payment & deliver the service. In other words, it takes a whole host of extra admin time for our firm to handle inbound leads.
Stage Two: Upgrades the website to allow people to book appointments and pay their accountancy retainers online. Our accountancy firm has realised that their admin team always receives a set of very common enquiries.
1) To book a consultation with an accountant.
2) To set up and pay for retainers and invoices.
To remove admin time here, our accountancy firm invests in some simple website upgrades that list all their staff's calendars and availability, allowing visitors to book consultation slots automatically. Not only this, but they invest in getting some software built to handle their retainers and invoices which allows them to be paid automatically without the admin team being involved day-to-day. The firm can now handle more clients and it costs less!
Stage Three: Building an innovative way to further serve clients. Off of the success of their auto booking, payment systems and online marketing, our accountancy firm now has a little more capital available to grow and is working with bigger, regional clients. However, many of the smaller local businesses they once worked with can no longer afford the firms fees.
The partners don't want this so they invest more money in building a low-cost accountancy solution for small, simple businesses. The local clients can signup via the website and access an app for a small monthly fee that allows them to connect to their bank and sort monthly income and expenses. The app essentially lets small businesses handle their taxes and accounts without the need for an accountant and large fees.
This is a game-changer for both small businesses and our accountancy firm as small businesses pay less than before and our accountancy firm can serve clients big and small, anywhere in the UK. This pushes them far beyond any regional competition.
The business and its actions are all fictional but they demonstrate the power of great technology and why you should invest in it.
Stage Three might be in the future for your business for whatever constraints, but recognising the potential of building a great website in how it looks and functions and working towards that is really what this blog is about. It'll truly allow your business to flourish.
Lastly, how is Barr Media helping?
Well, we typically love to get involved with clients that are at all of those stages. However, our speciality really is complex systems. We love working with brands to envision, design and build web experiences, apps and software for both their clients/customers and also internally.
Like the fictional accountancy practice above, we've also built a product really aiming to, at the moment, assist micro-businesses that are at Stage Zero and helping them onto the website ladder by providing a great tool to build the website described at Stage One.
Even if you have a website at Stage One, Truffle wants to help you make it stronger at an incredibly market-leading price and at ease for you as a small business owner.
In the near future, our roadmap is taking us in the direction of helping businesses anywhere from stages Zero to Two improve their website at a cheap cost in terms of money and time. We're looking to introduce innovative e-commerce tools as well as integrated marketing tools for a truly 'all in one place' setup.
We're also trying to provide education, value and build a community around our business with blogs like these and other content soon. So, if you found this helpful or think someone you know would find it helpful, please share it on!
Until next time!