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Marketing your business is one of the most important and often overlooked aspect of any enterprise. The issue exists because most people are not taught how to market their business. While having a website may seem like an unnecessary cost if you're not a prolific internet user yourself, a recent survey showed over 15 million of the Nigeria's population now has access to an internet connection - that's a big business opportunity you'll be missing out on if you don't have a web presence. Even if your business' website lists little more than your address and opening hours, maintaining a web presence could give you the edge over more technophobic competitors.
It feels weird saying this, especially in this age, but the first thing you should do for your business is create a website. Below we will highlight some of the most significant reasons to why you need a website for your business.
Websites Never Sleep: Many people surf the web in the evening when most businesses are closed, which is perfectly fine because websites never take a break. A website will allow your business or organization to be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Having a website is the equivalent of having an employee working around the clock! Whether it's three o'clock in the morning or Christmas day, the internet never closes - which means your business is open all the time, without any extra effort from you. If you choose to have an online store, your customers will be able to dictate when they want to buy, rather than limiting themselves to your opening times.
Your Top Competitor Has A Website: If you are in direct competition with another business that has a website, they have a clear advantage. A well-designed website will make your business more professional. In fact, a well-considered website can make your business larger than it is and could even level the playing-field between your business and its more established competitors. Again, if you have ever wanted to get into business, but don’t know how to compete with all the big names out there, by creating an incredibly beautiful website with a solid strategy behind it you can smash the big guys to pieces. You have no chance of building bigger skyscrapers, but your website can break down the perceived wall between you and them.
Hey! "Google It": More than ever before, people are turning away from traditional means of finding information and looking online, especially by way of mobile devices. It is believed that almost 97% of people search for local products and services online before pursuing that specific product or service? Your business should be at their fingertips when they look in the search engines. Simply said, you cannot afford to not have a website or an online presence. Oftentimes a website is the first step to the online marketing sphere.
Websites Improve Customer Confidence & Corporate Image: With a professional website, you will improve your overall impression to the public and, in turn, your customers will develop a greater sense of confidence in your organization regardless of the size of your business. If you have ever had difficulty making a sale or convincing someone that you are the real deal by having a well-structured website you can foster instant credibility with anyone. You can provide the ultimate proof that you are, in fact, the realest of all deals (that sure sound great!)
Small Businesses Have Higher Revenue: According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses that have websites are averaging $1.07 million (that's over 170 million) more per year in sales than small businesses not online. That equates to 39% higher revenue. If you are locally based, having a web presence will open your business up to new markets outside your local area, giving people from across the world the chance to browse your products or services.
Websites Help Establish More Customers: According to the Small Business Administration, 50% of Internet sales are from new customers. Having a website significantly improves your customer reach no matter what services or products you offer. More than 2.4 billion people (including about 15 million Nigerians) use the internet every day, and some 90% of those have purchased something, or contacted a company, online in the last 12 months. So by not having a website, you will be missing out on a big piece of the pie!
Websites Are Not Just Local, They Are Global: Most small businesses are only able to market to their town and surrounding communities. With a website, you can take your goods and services across Nigeria and around the world, if you so choose. By getting it right, your website will be the best tool you have for promoting your business. Your website will essentially become an online shop-window, accessible to customers all over the world, which means the better it looks and more and up-to-date it is, the better impression it will make on consumers.
Feed Back: Feedback is often a difficult thing to attain and more often than not, feedback on your business will be limited to the negative. The internet allows you to enter into a dialogue with your customers; through user surveys, questionnaires and feedback forms on your website to do market research and find out exactly what your customers' expectations are.
Online Brochure: Companies spend huge fortune creating brochures and distributing them. By having a website you can skip that entirely. Your potential customers can find out about you and any of your products online. If you get most of your business through networking and personal connections, then they will want to check out your website.
Helps with Business Goals: That’s right! When it comes to writing the content for your website you are going to revisit many things about your business that you haven’t in years. You will most likely reassess your business goals.
Customer Support: You can greatly reduce the cost of customer support by having a ticketing system, or even just an FAQ on your website. I can think of about 5 companies off the top of my head that streamline your customer service straight from your website.
Email@YourWebsite.com: I know there are other ways to do this, but by having a website you can have your own firstname.lastname@example.org. It is more professional and easier to remember. You probably love and prefer your email@example.com , but it doesn’t really resonate with customers.
Gives You a Voice: Have you ever been in an argument with someone and said “Well, I wrote an article about that on my website, and actually, that isn’t the case.” Feels great, right? For some reason people don’t want to argue with you if you’ve written about something on your website. It also gives you a place where you can voice your opinion without judgment. If someone leaves you a comment you don’t like, never mind just drag it over to the spam folder.
A Website Saves You Money: When you consider a website as a marketing tool instead of “just a website”, the cost and benefit far outweighs any other form of marketing. Imagine paying a one-time fee along with a small monthly/yearly renewal fee for a 24 x 7 x 365 marketing platform (known as a website). The ability for your clients and potential clients to access your website and information at any time of the day, you are only helping your cause as a small business. People are becoming increasingly busier, so give them a link to your website and let them read through the information when they have time.
Conclusion: The importance of a website cannot be overlooked and we hope that this article helps to stress that point. You must view this investment as more than just a website, and more so as a tool that allows you to market your business, promote your brand and keep your clients and potential clients informed.