10 Reasons Why You Need a Web Presence

Research by the Federation of Small Businesses has found that more and more small businesses struggling in the current difficult trading conditions are turning to the web as a cost effective way of boosting sales and profits, with almost two thirds now having an online presence. In affluent areas where disposable incomes and internet penetration levels are significantly higher than the national average, this trend has been particularly pronounced, resulting in an explosion in the number of locally based web designers.

If you are one of the dwindling number of businesses without a web presence how can you be sure that getting online will reap dividends in the long run? Below we outline 10 reasons why you need a web presence.

1. The web saves you money. A professionally designed website with a full year’s hosting and full after sales support can cost as little as £499, marginally more than a full page colour advert in one edition of the local newspaper. But whereas a newspaper advert has a very limited lifespan a properly maintained website will last for years, allowing you to stretch your marketing budget much further and cut long run advertising costs.

2. The web is easy to maintain. Printed marketing material soon goes out of date resulting in significant reprinting costs. But you can update your website content as often as you like at little or no additional cost ensuring that it remains up to date and relevant – for example, special offers, menu changes, new stock.

3. The web allows you to measure marketing results. With traditional forms of advertising it’s often hard to measure impact and cost effectiveness but with the web you get a rich source of visitor data that enables you to target your marketing efforts and measure results much more effectively. Most modern websites include a full web statistics package which can be particularly useful in tracking visitors to your website, what content they view and how many follow up their visit with a sales enquiry allowing you to tailor your content accordingly.

4. The web is interactive. Unlike traditional media which are a one way form of communication, the web allows businesses to conduct live conversations with customers. Link your website with Facebook for example and you have an instant source of customer feedback and can start to build long term customer relationships. Just do a twitter search on your local area and you will find pet coaches, chauffeurs, letting agents and a whole host of other local businesses all tweeting happily to existing and potential customers about what they are up to.

5. The web is customers’ preferred way of doing business. More and more businesses and consumers are actively opting to use the web to find local suppliers or products. More than half of all UK adults regularly shop online nowadays and the online share of the local market is set to continue growing strongly.

6. The web is a great time saver. How much of your time is taken up dealing with routine questions? Posting the answers on your website can save you time and provide added convenience for customers. Building interactive content – for example, online bookings and the ability to download money off vouchers will provide even greater benefits. Offering added value features like these has enabled many local restaurants to ensure that their bookings have remained healthy during the economic downturn.

7. The web has no geographical boundaries. At the present time your territory may be confined to the local area but why stop there? With the web you could be offering your products and services across the whole of your county, region, the UK or even globally. All at little or no additional marketing cost.

8. The web is always open for business. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the web allows your business to keep working and capitalise on valuable sales opportunities while you sleep. And with many customers no longer working a traditional nine to five working pattern the ability to browse or shop whenever it suits them is a real benefit that will have them coming back to you time and time again.

9. The web is a powerful marketing tool. By collecting data about customers and visitors to your site you can customize and target your marketing campaigns with pinpoint accuracy, yielding much better results than the hit and miss approach offered by traditional media.

10. The web increases sales. Independent research by the Federation of Small Businesses has demonstrated that the businesses who are doing relatively well in the economic downturn are those who have learned how to use the web to give them an edge over the local competition, with nearly half reporting that a web presence has increased their turnover by a fifth or more.

Jan Willis is the Activ Web Design adviser for the West Essex area.

If you are a business owner operating in the Wanstead, Leytonstone, Loughton, Woodford and Buckhurst Hill area and would like to know more about how a web presence could help you out-compete your rivals speak to us today.

Our aim is to offer you a professional, affordable, fixed price web solution. We are not like most other web designers out there – we won’t be trying to confuse you with technical jargon, instead we will make the whole process as simple and hassle free as we possibly can. We want to work closely with you to create a website we are both proud of which will benefit your business / organisation for years to come.