This article details the benefits of a website for small business but first, a story.
…it’s late and all you want is a juicy burger.
Luckily, there’s two burger joints on the way home from work, both are close and are similar in price.
Which one do you go for?
You haven’t tried either of them, none of your friends have either.
So it’s up to you to make an informed decision.
What do you do?
Like most people, you pull out your phone and search up to quickly compare the two options.
One doesn’t show up on the search results of Google and the second option does.
Not only do they show up, but you can see their menu, what gluten free options they have and the home made burger sauce options.
It’s a done deal.
So now it’s over to you and guess what? You’re actually the burger joint. You’re the business that needs to advertise to your potential customer.
Think more about the people who are searching for your business. They’re out there right now looking up different search phrases to find your website.
If you’re still on the fence about getting a website and wondering why small businesses need a website, stop the back-n-forth hassle and just commit. Forbes’ article 3 Reasons Websites Are Vital for Small Businesses explains:
Beginning with your website, it’s vital to position yourself online with a strong, professional destination that gives customers the impression you mean business and the motivation to want to engage more with your business.
If that’s not convincing enough, then let’s discuss exactly how you’re going to save the two most important commodities to human beings; time & money.
Before we go into detail, let’s add some context and see our potential savings.
To give you an idea, here’s an except from an article by Go Creative entitled How Much Time And Money Can a Website Save You
Say you save just 15 minutes per day by being able to refer customers to your website instead of going through it on the phone or face to face. And now let’s say you have five staff doing the same thing. That’s 15 minutes X 5 staff X 5 days per week x 45 weeks a year. That’s a whopping 280 hours a year that could be spent on improving your business!
Wow! That’s alot.
You might be thinking that you don’t have any staff. Which in that case, less multiplication but increase the time as you’re a single business owner. So what other staff members would usually do, you do yourself.
If you’re still wondering how having a website benefits your business, let me explain. If you’re sold go to this article here and learn how to setup your own website by yourself.
1. Answer Common Questions
Questions questions questions. Potential customers (or leads) always have questions. Also known as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
- What are your prices?
- When are you available?
- Do you offer X, Y, Z?
- How much will that cost?
- Do you price match? (Don’t say yes to this, ever)
The questions being asked depends on your business, industry and type of customers. These types of questions also identify the ‘window shoppers’ from your real potential customer.
‘Window shoppers’ aka, complete and utter time wasters are messaging tones of other freelancers and just want the lowest price.
So what would you prefer though?
To message new potential customers back-n-forth everytime with the same questions. Or just send them a link to your FAQ page?
This doesn’t mean you don’t converse and be human, it’s merely a way to remove those repetitive tasks to speed up interactions.
Your customer obviously wants the answers to their questions, and they want them now!
What if you’re in another meeting? Or doing another client project? You’re unavailable to answer the questions of potential clients.
It doesn’t matter, those searching for answers can find the questions they’re asking on your website. You have a question & answer machine working for you 24/7.
Action – Create FAQ
Either think about what questions you always get asked or go over past emails and messages to find those questions.
Then create either a new section on your services page, footer section or create a separate page all together.
Clearly lay out each question in order of importance, most asked at top going down to least asked.
Make sure your answers are concise and easy to read, not too wordy or feel like you need to give multiple answers for a single question.
2. Automate Initial Questionnaire
When a customer reaches out to you for the first time, it’s an important step.
They’ve either been on your Instagram, Facebook or website and they’ve been compelled to reach out. But more likely they were referred by a previous client or friend of yours.
At this stage you have questions you want to ask the potential client. What do you do? Write out all the answers again and again or maybe you have them saved in your notes somewhere.
More time wasted.
What if you had a well built questionnaire form on your website? You’ll receive their contact information, why they contacted you, what service they’re after, how they heard about you and even more detail.
The beauty of forms is you can set them up however you want. Just don’t use the basic: name, email, message and that’s it. That’s essentially just a message.
Action – Build Form
Take note of what information you need from every client, put them into questions and then make a form on your website around getting answers of those questions.
For example, you’re an event organiser and three questions you always ask are:
- When’s the event?
- For how many guests?
- What’s your contact information?
3. Sell Your Unique Value
What makes you unique? What makes your business unique? Know the answers to these two questions please.
Customers are comparing you to your competitors, you need to explain very quickly why you’re unique. Your uniqueness is something only you have, this helps you to be a better choice over your competition.
This unique value of your business often is tied to who you are as a person, your values and even traits. Understanding who you are as a person will bring you a step closer to knowning your unique value.
A great way to do this is by writing out your Onliness Statement. It covers your business who, what, why, when and how all in a single sentence.
As an example for a photographer who shoots in film:
Film Photo Shoots is the only Photography Service that Shoots In Film for Modern Influencers in The United Kindgom who need To Stand Out As Different during An Increase of Social Media.
Once you have your unique value, next step is conveying it to your ideal customer. Just saying “I’m unique” isn’t very convincing or relatable for your potential customer.
Using the film photography again to say, “We use traditional film methods to create asthetic pieces for your online vision”. That explains what they do in a unique way.
Action – Complete Onliness Statement
Write it down on paper, notes, Notion or whatever. This is your unique value.
Then on your website put this front and centre either in text or show it through your own photos.
Ideally your home page says your Onliness Statement or a version of it at least.
4. Build Brand Trust
How else will a website benefit your small businesses you ask? Remember that burger story at the start? Between two options of businesses, the one with a website and strong online presence will win over the other almost every time.
The more we rely on technology, the more we trust search results as the authority.
How many times have you been in an argument with friends or family that ends with “That’s not what Google says”?
Let’s look back at that article from Forbes again, Nicole says:
…we live in a world where people Google before they shop, visit online review sites like Yelp before they buy and “check-in” via Facebook as they go about their days.
It’s that first part that I want you to focus on, people Google before they shop. Your customers are searching right now for your services and they can’t find you without a website.
Without that point of contact, you’re not building trust with your potential customers. And at the end of the day, website or not, it all comes down to trust.
Business (and being human) is built on healthy relationships with other businesses (or humans). A website can help aid that relationship which is worth the time an investment.
Action – Find Awesome Websites
Go to a search engine like Pinterest and use search terms such as:
- <insert industry> web design
- websites for <insert industry>
Take a few screenshots and notes about what you like and dislike. You’ll notice that your trust for those designs are already building!
5. Educating Your Customers – An Extra!
Here’s an extra for you regarding the benefits of a good website.
The points we’ve discussed not only save you time, they’re also teaching your potential customers how your business operates.
As small business owners and freelancers, we spend a lot of time explaining to our clients what we need from them. The service you provide has a level of interaction from your client.
It’s not always easy explaining everything you need from the client at once. Displaying information early on your website is a fantastic start to educating your potential client on how to be a great client!
I hope you’ve learnt something that will help you through your freelance and small business journey. Reach out by email if you’d like to chat. I’m a freelance web designer happy to help out where I can.
If you’d like to learn the best way to create your own website, follow this article How To Setup Your Own Website. Otherwise you might be on the hunt to for a freelancer, in that case see this article called Hiring a Freelance Web Designer which will help you know what to look out for.
I’d love to stay in touch, if you do too I provide a weekly letter to my friends about entrepreneurship, web design and staying connected. To join see the top of my website or go to the home page. If you’d like to read more articles see the blog.
Have a great day!