One very frequent frustration most business owners have is that their website doesn’t seem to have any positive impact on their business. You pay for your domain renewal and website hosting but nothing ever seems to come out of it. Your website is a recurring expenditure and it seems all you do is pay, pay and pay. Ask yourself these questions?
- Is my website an expenditure or an investment?
- Is it a liability or an asset?
- Does my website take away money or bring me money?
- How much money has my website made me in the last year?
- How much money have I spent on my website in the last year?
Yes you have a catchy design that looks nice but your business doesn’t need ‘nice’ only. It needs to grow! It needs more visitors, more sales, more customers and more profit. And your business website should support those goals. If it doesn’t then why waste more money on it? Your website should be an asset and an investment. It should make you more money and bring you more business. Let’s look at 8 things your website should do for your business:
1. A 24/7 online business representative.
A website is a very important business asset. It represents your business online and answers frequent questions that a normal business representative is asked. Things like who are you? Where are you located? What are your telephone numbers? What products do you sell and what services do you have on offer? Think about these facts –
Your business has opening and closing times.
This is a major limitation because customers are restricted to the time that you are open in order to make an inquiry. A website changes all this and allows you to serve customers night and day and at their convenience. A website never sleeps and will provide prospects with information on a continuous basis. It’s the perfect employee! A 24/7 corporate representative. How much would you pay an employee who never sleeps and is always serving customers no-matter what time of day it is? A website is a LOT cheaper than an employee.
You are located in a specific location or locations at a time.
Every business has a physical presence either in one location or multiple locations. No-matter how many locations you can be found in, you are still faraway than the business that has a website. These days people no longer want to travel to find products and services. They prefer to do it online. It’s more convenient and you save on time and transport cost.
You have a limit on the number of employees you have.
Imagine if your business has a lot of visitors at the same time. You have a limited number of staff members so it means having visitors and customers wait in line until its their turn. A website solves all of that. It can serve hundreds, thousands and even millions at the same time.
2. Market your business and it’s uniqueness.
Every business is unique and so is yours. Uniqueness is important. It’s what differentiates you from your competitors. Think about it. If you are the same as your competitors then why should a customer come to you and not to your competitors? You need to differentiate yourself and let that differentiation show on your website. Your business must have a unique value proposition, something that tells your visitors that this is ‘us’. This is what we stand for and how we do business.
3. Advertise your products and services.
You are in business to provide your customers with products and service. The best place you can showcase what you do is your own website. Everywhere else you are going to be limited in terms of how you present and advertise what you offer. You will be limited in number of products, words and photos you can use. You are limited by the design, structure and layout of other websites where you may want to advertise. But on your own website you have complete freedom as to how you want the world to see your products.
It’s very important to list each of your products and services on each own page. This makes it easier to share the web address to that product. Let’s say you sell common bricks. When someone asks you about common bricks,, instead of giving them a link to all your products you simply provide them the URL to the common bricks page. This is convenient to your customers and also helps you to rank higher in search engines. It’s important not to just place a page for every product or offering you have but to explain the product. Provide sufficient information to visitors so that they don’t need to phone or email asking questions.
Answer frequently asked questions about the product right there on the page. If you product has photos this should also be included together with any information on product benefits. Lastly, you need to provide your website visitors with very clear instructions on what they need to do to order or buy the product. Don’t assume that they will know what to do, guide them!
4. Sell and accept payments for products and services online.
A good website will not just introduce products to customers. No, it will allow them to order and buy the product or service right there on the website. If you can save your customers the need to visit your offices and make the buying process more convenient then do it. With almost every customer on Ecocash now having a Mastercard, buying online has never been easier in Zimbabwe.
There are now also facilities like Paynow that help you accept payments on your website using methods like Ecocash, Telecash, Visa and Mastercard. You have the option to accept payments online and offer paid delivery services via shipping options like DHL. If you provide a service that need your customers to provide you with custom information then you can always include a website form to capture that information.
5. Gather sales leads continuously.
What happens on your website when someone visits it? Do you even know who visited your website? The reason someone visited your website is most likely because they were interested in what you have to offer. They may not have called or ordered something because they are still researching or they don’t have the funds as yet. It’s very easy for such people to forget you and buy somewhere else. There’s so much competition around and anyone can wow your them away. So what should you do? I’m glad you asked.
You need to give your visitors a chance to give you their contact details. A phone number or an email address will do. This way you follow up with your visitors. You can send them links to your articles about the product they were interested in. How to guides, case studies, promotions and discounts or trial accounts work here. Whatever you decide on doesn’t really matter, what’s important is that you find a way of capturing leads so that your sales team can follow up and help them become customers.
6. Educate visitors and customers about your products and services.
This is a big problem i have seen with many African websites. Even big telecommunication companies continually make it. They offer a product or service and then leave the customer to figure out what to do on their own. You need to educate your customers about your offerings. What are the benefits? What do i do if i encounter problems? How do i get started? This is very important information on a website. If you sell cement as an example, tell your customers how to use the cement. What proportions do i need for floors? How about walls? Offer your visitors something of value. Trust me, they will appreciate it.
7. Attract new visitors to your website.
This is at the end but is probably the most important. If your website has the catchy latest design on the planet but has no traffic then all that money or effort into it were just a waste. Your website must do the hard work for your business. It must attract new visitors who are looking for what you have to offer. If you offer shoe repair services and someone types that in Google then your website must appear in the search results. If someone clicks on that then you have gained a new visitor and quite possibly a new customer. This process is called search engine optimization.
8. Get insight and data about your visitors.
Who visits your website? What is their age? They come from which country? Do they use mobile devices or desktops to view your website? Which are the most popular pages on your website? How do they reach your website? Most website owners don’t have any data or information about their website visitors. They are completely clueless. In order to be able to continually improve your business, you need to know who you are serving and be able to make changes as necessary. A service like Google Analytics can provide immense value.
Consider this example – You offer a service and require your customers to come and fill in a form at your offices. When you look at your website you discover that 75% of your website visitors are from the UK. Requiring such visitors to come to your offices is simply not practical. You have to make changes if you want to convert these visitors into customers.
Does your website make you money? Tell us in the comments below. If you liked this article please share it with your friends.