Expand Your Online Presence.
These days, an online presence for companies is a must. The first thing that a potential new customer will do, more than likely, is head to the web to research a new brand they’ve come across. Social media is a growing avenue that consumers will turn to, but the official company website is still the preferred source of trusted information.
However, even though business websites are repeatedly cited as great sources of additional revenue for the company, statistics indicate that as much as 36% of small businesses don’t have official company websites.
Of course, this is even more of an issue after the 2020 pandemic heavily challenged in-person revenue streams and “normal” shopping. There’s really never been a better time to focus on your brand’s online presence and the services that you can offer.
But simply selling your products online isn’t the only way that you can grow your business via an official website…
Here are seven more brand-enhancing ways to help your company continue to grow, using all the virtual tools available.
Build Your Brand — And Brand Loyalty
Websites provide multiple opportunities to build your brand. Not only is excellent web design a good reflection on your company, but the design should also include branded content, such as your company logo, tag lines, and more.
Of course, in order to ensure that your website is doing all it should to enhance your brand, it’s important to hire the best web designers that can make sure the site works efficiently, and who also focus on the aesthetics of it. For instance, in one study on web design and how consumers react to it, 46% based their impression and judgement of a given website primarily on the aesthetics of the design, over the user experience.
With good web design, providing excellent UX (user experience), you can enhance the name and reputation of your brand, and keep your customers coming back for more. Especially since online representation is so important to the modern consumer, maintaining a good website will definitely boost your brand, whereas a lack of website — or one that is poorly designed or run — will certainly detract from it…
Offer More Online Services
If you don’t already have a company website, you’re definitely missing out on some major opportunities. This is true even if you don’t regularly offer virtual or downloadable products.
Without a website, your target audience of consumers is limited to your immediate area. That keeps your potential customers to a lower number, and restrains your brand from becoming well-known in other locations.
On the other hand, running a website gives consumers of other areas the chance to shop & browse your site, which expands the reach of your brand.
Another aspect of the benefits of a website in terms of growing your business is the added capability of offering online-only services.
Downloadable content, digital products, and even just online-only specials and sales can all enhance your sales big time.
Keep Your Audience’s Attention With Regular Updates
Websites are always changing — or, at least, they should be, at least to some extent.
In fact, 23% of small business websites do not get updated any more than once a year! That is definitely not the recommended practice.
Regular website updates ensure that you:
- Keep your website UX maintained
- Continually show the value of your site
- Reassure your customers that you are invested in running the business for their benefit
- Maintain a better Google ranking
- Take full advantage of SEO
On the other hand, if your site is not regularly updated:
- Google isn’t very happy about it
- Your visitors will likely think that the business isn’t being actively maintained
- You lose out on opportunities to provide added value and prove the brand’s worth
Your company’s website gives you a central point to build your brand’s worth around, especially if you include a blog. Updating regularly makes sure that your audience always has something new to look forward to, and keeps the pages of your site fresh and interesting.
Even if you’re not able to add a significant amount every day or every other day, including a small update to let your visitors know what’s new and exciting with the brand boosts investment.
Position Your Business As The Expert In Your Area
While we are talking about blogs and regular updating, it’s a good time to mention the importance of content and how it can help your business grow significantly.
It isn’t always just a question of updating your site regularly — it’s also a case of proving your worth with interesting, educational, actionable, and entertaining content.
Creating content with quotable bites or snippets will also encourage visitors to share your posts with others and link back to your website.
Basically, the more and better content you provide, the more you enhance your brand’s reputation, and the more you grow your business. Word of mouth is traditionally an excellent way to add to your audience of potential customers, and including valuable content makes word of mouth that much simpler for your visitors.
Become More Accessible Through Search Ranking
We mentioned already that Google likes sites that are regularly updated.
Another part of how sites are ranked is the loading time — the faster the loading time, the better your potential ranking. Consumers expect no more than three seconds of lag time between link click and load, and Google rewards sites that perform better with higher page ranking.
Google also likes sites that have proven their value. Sites where visitors spend more time viewing the page, and which have lower bounce rates, will do better as well (this is known as engagement metrics).
So why is your search ranking important for growing your business?
Basically, because the higher the search ranking, the more a site is viewed as authentic and trustworthy by the searcher. To help build your business, establishing your brand as authentic and trustworthy is a vital part of the process.
If you are able to position your site at the top ranking for search engines, you will gain more visibility and more engagement from potential customers.
Upgrade Your Customer Service
More and more customers want to research products and brands online, and more and more of them expect to be able to interact with brands via online sources. Social media platforms, email, and official company websites — all of these provide vital points of contact with your audience.
Providing an easily accessible website gives an enormous boost to your customer service potential. What business owners really want is to enhance the engagement and level of interaction with their customers, and websites are a perfect place to do just that.
- A community board, for questions, comments, and experiences.
- Customer comments, testimonials and experiences.
- Customer generated content.
To ensure that your site boosts your customer service, which will in turn boost your company itself, include the following:
- Obvious and easy to locate contact information, such as through a dedicated contact form, email and other addresses, phone numbers, etc.
- Live chat with a customer service agent, augmented by intelligent chatbots
- Automated email response to let the customer know their email has been received
- Fast turn-around response time from an actual person, to answer any questions and address concerns
Generate Leads — And Learn More About Your Customers
Business owners and entrepreneurs often talk about the financial aspects of company websites, with everything from building a sales funnel to up-selling products via the site. But one of the major components of growing your business through your official site is the generation of leads.
Your site should include lead-generating forms, such as invitations to sign up for newsletters via email, or the standard contact forms. These are basic ways to grow your potential customer base and keep in contact with them, allowing your more opportunities to turn them into loyal customers.
Beyond lead-generating forms, you can run your website along with tools like Google Analytics, allowing you to keep track of what your customers are really interested in. Note what pages receive more views, which pages bring more time and involvement, which CTA’s (calls to action) actually result in clicking the “Purchase” button — that data gives you insight into your existing customers that you just can’t find any other way.
In short, not only will your site help you to gather more potential customers, it also helps you to provide better service to those who are already buying from your company. Both of these are excellent ways to grow your business, and your company website is what makes it possible.
Lucas Smith is a content strategist and freelance blogger who likes to write on topics related to small business, social media and brand design. He would love to hear your ideas, connect with him!