It is inherent for any small business to want to grow their brand and expand their audience because it is in the nature of any business owner to keep striving to see their business and the revenue rise. In this direction, one of the most logical steps today is to build a website for small businesses.
Building a business website is no rocket science today, and it doesn’t even cost you all that much! In fact, today you do not even need to know any programming or coding to build your own website. Having your own website or getting your store online removes all time restrictions for your store and becomes one of the most effective ways to promote your brand for free.
In this post, we will be talking about the reasons why your small business needs a website and then get into industry-specific advantages of getting a website for their business.
#1 Everyone has one
This might seem like a childish reason to most, but there are more value and meaning to this reason than you think. In order to survive in a competitive market, you have to match the value that your competitors are offering in the user market that you are targeting. Today, every small business either already has a website of their own or have one in the pipeline. It is only natural that those businesses who have a digital presence are bound to reach a wider audience than the ones without. If all your competitors are getting a website and you miss the wagon, chances are you would be left behind.
One more thing to note here is that, with a website of your own, you are on a level playing field with all the leading big brands in your market, which means this is the one thing that is common between the two of you. Also, if you do not have a website, the prospective customers will simply turn to someone who has one.
#2 Internet is the new Yellow Pages
Remember Yellow Pages! When was the last time you looked up for any business or information on those big fat yellow catalogues? I am guessing you don’t even remember when. This is simply because whenever the modern consumer is looking for any service or business in any area, they are simply looking for it online.
So, if you have a bakery in Manhattan, your business would not figure in the web searches people conduct for “bakeries in Manhattan”. How do you think you are going to be discovered by the people who are looking for you!
#3 There is credibility in having a website
When you have a website for your business, you add instant credibility and legitimacy to your business. This not only comes in handy when you are trying to reach out to new clients, but also when you go looking for investors, partners, vendors, or approach any other prospective stakeholders. On a website, the visitors can easily find all kinds of information about you and your business and assure them that you are in sync with the latest technologies and trends. In this day and age, it is only natural that the customers expect you to have a website, and if you do not have one, it might become a cause for doubt or hesitation in them.
#4 It’s a great way to collect data and generate leads
Data is more precious than gold today! Though there have been quite a few eyebrows rising whenever it comes to the question of ethical collection of data, but all you need to do is collect data that is only of use to you, like which country are your website visitors from, which other pages do they visit, and care must be taken that no private data is ever collected or used in any manner. This data, when collected ethically, can go a long way in helping you enhance your products, make your website better, and build a symbiotic relationship with the clients.
Apart from this, websites can be used to generate leads. With websites, you can easily collect emails, and these email addresses can come in real handy when it comes to generating new leads. However, this too must be carried out in an ethical manner. If you are looking forward to getting your users to subscribe to you, you need to offer something of value to them. The subscribers should also be given the freedom to unsubscribe from your mailing list at any point in time.
#5 E-Commerce is getting bigger
E-Commerce has been around for some time now, and its steady rise only tells us that it is here to stay. The share percentage of e-commerce sales in overall sales is increasing every year! This means that more and more people are turning to online shopping. This is simply because shopping online is so much more convenient, comfortable, and cheaper. This, in no way, means that the physical stores would become irrelevant, not at all! But for a small business, an online store can actually add on to their revenue from a physical store. Not only would there be added revenue from online sales, but even the sale in your physical store would increase with the help of your online store.
#6 It’s a great way to lead consumers to your store
When you have a well-designed website, it would have all your contact information and your coordinates. People who are searching for the services you offer are not only going to end up at your website but will also discover where your physical store is. This means, even if you decide not to sell your cupcakes online, you will still be able to gain new customers and direct them to your physical store which is eventually going to add to your revenue, which basically is the main objective.
#7 It never hurts to have an additional marketing channel
Building a great product or having an awesome service would not be of much use if people didn’t even know about it. In this competitive environment, adopting the right marketing strategies and having as many channels of marketing is imperative. Your website can serve as an additional marketing channel for your business which can shout out to the prospective customers. This can, in fact, become a great addition to all those flyers and business cards that you printed out. In fact, some of the most successful marketing strategies have been formulated while keeping the business website at the centre of it.
#8 It can become your voice, your brand, your philosophy
Your business website is one of the most effective ways to communicate with your client, the basic ideology and principles that lie at the core of your business. The website becomes the central place where the customers can drop in and understand what your company, your brand, its voice and its philosophy is. For any brand to become a success, it is important, to begin with, strong philosophy and develop a clear brand voice, and it is the website that can help you with both.
#9 It helps you become accessible 24X7
When you have a website, you are available to your customers 24X7 and not just limited to your business hours. So, even when your store is closed, and your staff has locked up behind you, the customers would still be able to browse through all your offerings including services and products. When you are available and accessible to your customers irrespective of the time and day, the sales would increase too and help you and your business grow.
#10 It becomes a great space to showcase your offerings
With your website, you have the opportunity and a dedicated space to showcase all that you have achieved. This might be in the form of the product showcases or testimonials from your clients about how they were helped by you.
Why a real estate agent needs a website?
As we have mentioned before, the internet indeed has become the yellow pages for today. It was only a few years ago when finding a real estate agent meant either going through the yellow pages or going to the desktop and going on the web to find listings and then take a physical map with you to be able to locate this realtor. Today, however, things have drastically changed and all someone would need today is their smartphone where they can go looking for a local real estate agent and find step by step directions from their phone as they drive down to their destination.
It is due to this convenience afforded to us by the technological evolution that we are witnessing a massive shift towards the mobile internet. In light of this revolution of sorts, it is important that you, as a real estate agent increase your web presence and ensure your survival in the ‘game’.
In the real estate world, your success is defined by the way you conduct your business as an agent. This can only happen when you as an agent make yourself relevant, and an instrumental resource to your entire client base and the entire real-estate ecosystem.
Like most other industries, the field of real estate is highly competitive where every single agent is striving hard to get a piece of the market. In this environment, it is not entirely uncommon to be overlooked by potential customers who could possibly have benefited from your services. In order to evolve and emerge as a leader in the market and stand apart from the milling crowd that populates this world, it is imperative that you market yourself effectively.
If you have given this some thought and have been planning on building a marketing strategy around sending out mass emailers and going crazy advertising yourself in the print media including newspapers and chosen magazines, it is time you gave it a second thought! Though all these traditional media are perfectly good ideas, in today’s competitive world, it is important that you think of something beyond it and design your marketing strategy while staying abreast of what works the best today.
Penguin Apps Builder, in all its wisdom gained through years of experience and combined expertise of their able professionals, have collated a list of reasons why your real estate business needs a website!
1. Establish your website as a client resource
The primary reason for any real estate agent to build their own business is to create a space for yourself where your current and prospective customers can come and learn more about you and the services that you have on offer for them. However, it is important that you leverage your website in a more holistic manner and go beyond just the obvious and do more than simply display your services. Your website, your blog, and even social media accounts can become a special tool and a valuable resource with relevant and helpful information.
A great amount of time is spent by the real estate agents in their marketing and advertising efforts in addition to looking for new prospects. A lot of productive time is naturally spent in doing this which is an unnecessary burden on a profession which is already a demanding line of work. If a real estate agent who has website teams up with digital agencies to build marketing strategies that can generate new leads for you. In the long term, content and inbound SEO marketing can be leveraged for organic growth. In the short term, however, for instant lead generation, paid marketing like PPC combined with relevant landing pages seems to be a better deal. Even though you might be applying multiple marketing strategies, you can free up your valuable time to get more sales and generate higher revenue. Apart from this, the real estate agents who have the foresight to add more value to their services for existing clients would always be awarded with a greater number of referrals and repeat businesses.
2. Set an individual brand for yourself
How do you think you are going to make a mark for yourself in this competitive world? How would you be able to set yourself apart from the rest of the people in the industry, who like you are vying for the attention of your targeted customers? To make sure of this, you would have to ensure that you are able to stand apart from everyone else and have more value than begin just another pretty face on a corporate site.
As a real estate agent, when you are building a website for yourself, you are giving your face a brand. The website you create is going to be an obvious reflection of your expertise, goals, and the services you can offer to the prospective and to the current clients. Buying a home or any other kind of property is one of the biggest decisions that people take in their lives and whether these people want to buy or sell their homes, they are going to want to work with people that they can trust or put their faith in. It is generally a tendency among people to go for an agent who they have either discovered through a referral or someone that they have earlier worked with, already. But one important consideration here is that people follow up on their referrals with a quick Google search. Wouldn’t it be great if they could actually find your website when they are looking for you, and not another real estate business that you are working with and are just one of the many faces on their wall?
3. Stay relevant
According to one of the recent survey and research findings from the reputable National Association of Realtors that more than 96% of the people go looking for their realty or property queries and requirements online. When you are a small business owner and do not have the financial strength to market or advertise your real estate business over many channels, one of the most effective alternatives is establishing your own web presence by way of a well-designed website. It is important to acknowledge, harness, and leverage the power that the internet holds in the context of new leads generation and increase revenue.
In addition to letting you find and generate new leads for your real-estate business, having your own website and a strong web presence helps people find you through their favourite mode of search – the internet.
When you have a website that has all your information, and one that has been optimally optimized for the web, you are always within reach of all your existing customers and those that are looking to get in touch with you. All the information about how to reach you and the myriad services that you can offer to them can all be accessed through this website that you choose to build for your business.
4. Establish yourself as the Local “Go-To” Agent
Building your own website has a whole list of advantages as we mentioned in the earlier part of the post. But did you know about one of the coolest things that you can take advantage of when you build a website of your own? A website can let you target specific geographic areas quite accurately! Real estate has got almost about everything to do with the location. Hence if you have a particular location in your mind while strengthening or marketing your business, your website can be an amazing tool. You can populate the web content with the targeted keywords that represent the particular area of the town and integrate into a bunch of other website elements through Local SEO tactics including but not limited to the URL and page titles, content, metadata, meta description, and more. When you make use of these highly specific and “long-tail” keywords in your website, you give to yourself a definite edge over your competitors who are making the mistake of sticking to the broader and simpler keyword targets. SEO conducted in this manner is going to reach and bring to you a narrower, relevant, and highly interested audience or targeted users. In this manner when a prospective customer begins looking for a property in the specific area of the town that you have targeted, the chances of them discovering you are much higher. What makes it even better is that your site would have relevant information specific to the area, which will establish you as the “Go-To” agents in that areas and an authority figure with expertise in that particular area.
5. Set up blogs and use it for networking
This is an era where content reigns supreme and blogs are not just a charming and casual way to interact with your clients but also encourage more and more people to end up on your website even as they are simply browsing through or exploring some pertinent information on the web. When you create a blog on your website, you can attract a whole lot more customers. Blogs are a great way to deliver information while establishing yourself as someone who is knowledgeable, thus building a fair amount of trust among your readers who can become a strong community for you to leverage and market your website and your business to. When you have an active blog, you tell your clients that you are open to interacting with them and want to connect with them. Blogs, in fact, can become a great place to link a variety of social media sites including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and more.
The social media sites are notoriously proficient in helping you build a brand of your own and in letting your targeted clients know that you are available to help them out. The added advantage of doing this is that social media posts can drive back substantial traffic on to your website and the visitors can explore the site in its entirety, increasing chances of conversion.
6. Augment your marketing strategy
We have often stated that having a business website for every small business is imperative, and not just because we are in the business, but because we have seen it all happen! As a real estate agent, when you have your own business, you stand to get the following benefits listed below:
- Having your own website as a real estate agent would let you build awareness
- A real estate who has their own website gets to generate quality leads with its help
- With a website of their own, a real estate agent can increase their credibility and establish a stronger brand image
- When a real estate agent has a website, they can assist the buyers and sellers all through the journey of their purchase or sale
- Unlike a million other brokerage listings or online directories, on their own website, it is you who would have control of all kinds of information that goes on it.
While you might have a few other marketing strategies that form the marketing plan for your real estate business, having your own website must become a part of it, not just an addendum.
7. The customers you are targeting expect to see you online.
Every business, every query, and every professional is going online, or probably has already gone online already, it is high time you did too! In this day and age, every customer is carrying the internet and the world of web in their pockets. Even if they found you through a referral, in a conference, or have even done business with you earlier, they are going to look you up on the internet. If you do not have a web presence, not only do you appear to be obsolete but even induce in the clients an uncertainty about your authenticity. This website can flaunt your work, have a spattering of some genuine client testimonials, listings that you are handling and all your social media links where people can reach you with great ease!
This is not something that is cutting edge today, this is something that the consumer today has come to expect from any business of good standing and reach.
Why a local restaurant needs a website?
You have a local restaurant that is doing everything right, the ambience is welcoming, you have a fabulous menu, the aromas wafting out of your kitchens are inviting, but if you do not have the customers, all that would be for nothing. Everything that you might have done for the restaurant is simply going to fall flat if you couldn’t get the right customers to step in and order. Of course, you can go and advertise in the traditional manner and spend a whole lot of money in getting some visibility, but have you given building your own website a thought?
Did you know that according to the National Restaurant Association, 83% of the American adults use their smartphones or tablets to look for restaurants, find directions, the business hours, and other such details?
Apart from this solid number, it would be interesting to note that more than half of the takeout or delivery orders are placed from within the website. Now, the real question is, shouldn’t you be getting a part of the action too!
These overwhelming number indicates that your local restaurant needs a website that functions well. This website can become an extension of your business and can actually bring the customers right to your place of business, give them the information that they might be seeking for, and lets you establish a strong brand image.
1. To Bring in More Customers
The way we interact with spaces and go looking for ‘someplace nice’ for a quick bite, for a special occasion, or just hang out with friends has entirely changed. We do not simply end up at the latest new establishment in the area and try out the place for all the offerings that it has. Today, we see a new place open up, we like it, but first, we go online and check out the menu and the price list, we take a look at the reviews that people have left behind. If you as a restaurant owner do not still have a website, you are failing to appeal to the majority of the prospective customers, because they are going to discontinue the search for your restaurant’s website and move on to some other eatery that does have one.
When you have a website for your local restaurant, you increase the visibility of your website and also increase the chances of bringing in more first-time customers. The website can become a great medium for you to establish engagement with the customers and encourage them to leave behind their contact information which you can use to reach out later.
2. To Build A Holistic Online Presence
While recommending a new restaurant to someone, when was the last time you gave them any address or directions, or any other details? Those days, my friend, are long gone. Today, all you do is tell people the name of the restaurant, and do you know why? This is simply because word of mouth publicity has found its extension in online research. Though social media profiles on Facebook, Instagram etc. are a great help, it is of great importance to have a website of your own as well. The online presence of your establishment is incomplete until you have the combination of social media and websites working for your restaurant business establishing a holistic online presence. A complete digital identity for your restaurant business can establish faith and authenticity in this day and age.
3. To Take Reservations
Your website can become a channel that gives out information about making reservations. Not only does the contact information you put on your website help the people looking for restaurants or trying to get in touch with you, but you can also even include a way to make the reservations directly from the website. One great step could be to add a booking widget on your website offering to your customers and prospective customers convenience and ease when they want to make a reservation. This leaves up to the host at the restaurant free to make reservations for customers and house guests and attend to them without the distraction of the phone ringing off the hook. This system can even help you manage all the reservations you are getting and prevent any kind of overbooking at the restaurant. Apart from this, a good number of people would in fact prefer to make their reservations online today, simply because calling the hotel includes a series of steps that they do not want to take and spend too long waiting for the hotel phone lines to be free before they can get in.
4. To Promote the Business
Today one of the most definitive ways to get any kind of engagement or visibility among the right kind of targeted user groups entails a strong promotion plan. There is stiff competition in most of the businesses and as a restaurant owner, you must have witnessed and experienced a whole lot of it. Now, you may try the traditional ways or channels of advertising your deal of the day, or the awesome food carnival you have going on in your restaurant, but how much do you think you would have to shell out for it? How many times do you think you are going to be able to spend that kind of money? However, if you had a website for your local restaurant, you can promote all your products, the regular menu and the items that are off the menu (the specials). As a restaurant, you might be offering some special services that you want people to know about and a website of your own can essentially become your favourite mode of promoting all of them! You can even use the website and offer to your visitors an option to opt-in for a mailing list which would then keep them updated with the latest that has been going on with the restaurant.
5. To Establish A Strong Brand Image
It is important to set yourself apart from the rest of the competition if you are looking to gain any kind of visibility in the milling crowd of competitors. Restaurants are known to come and go with only a handful managing to stay afloat leave aside flourish. Do you offer round the clock dine-in service, do you have free delivery, do you cater to big events, do you deliver at all times of the day, do you have extra extended happy hours? No matter what it is that sets you apart from the competition, you can easily make good use of the website and establish this difference in a solid manner.
If you are a local restaurant, you probably do not have the deep pockets that the big chains of restaurants do, hence you cannot launch an expensive nationwide branding campaign. This means that it is only you who can get the word out, about your restaurant. As more and more diners are resorting to a web search at dinnertime, not having a website is probably not going to help you fill your restaurant up with paying customers. The website you build for your restaurant gives you an opportunity to establish your brand, make it recognizable and let the customers view you as a brand. A well-designed website with the right kind of logo, relevant pictures, and appropriate business information with updated contact information helps your restaurant build up a strong brand image while making it stand out from the rest.
6. To Improve Search Rankings
Like we have mentioned a couple (or more) times people are looking for a great place to eat all the time, but it is mostly online and rarely do they ever look for recommendations elsewhere. When people go looking for let’s say “a restaurant in lower east side Manhattan”, they do so online, and all the websites of all the restaurants in that area would come up one after the other. The term “one after the other” must pique your interest, because, with little to no investment, you can actually make sure that you do not follow but lead the list!
Search Engine Optimization or SEO can prove to be the real hero here taking you up to the top of the list as you meticulously integrate just the right kind of keywords in your website content and follow the best practices of the trade. So once you have taken care of this part of your website and have optimized it for the web, whenever anyone starts a search for “a restaurant in lower east side Manhattan” your eatery is going to show up in the search results, and someone who has failed to do this, would be left behind. You do not want to be that guy!
7. To Reaffirm Faith and Encourage Loyalty
In this day and age, any respectable business, irrespective of their size and scale must have a website of their own, especially when they are in the business of food. We, as customers who are buying food from anyone, have a tendency to stick to only those that we trust. It is not a product that you can return. Not only is the taste of the food, the ambience, or the service important, but also the memories that you are going to have on a special occasion that you chose to dine out on. The choice of the place that you decide to eat in or order food from decides the memory of that evening which could be fabulous or disastrous.
When you have a website that has the right kind of content on it, real images, some videos, and a gallery that offers a realistic view of the restaurant, the chances of people trusting your establishment are heightened.
8. To Make Promotion Affordable
Like we discussed earlier, it is important that you promote your restaurant and the lucrative offerings you have for your clients. You can get your restaurant on the billboards, send out flyers, print ads in the local dailies, run commercials, run radio ads, and a whole lot more. These can be really effective too; however, they can become a little too expensive for you to run forever! Also, the effects of these ways of advertising tend to be temporary. However, when you build your own website, you get the whole thing up and running for a really low price and still have an exclusive space to promote all your offerings. Not only does this offer you a promotion or advertising tool that is cheaper, but something that is permanent and does not run an ongoing bill in thousands that come with questionable returns.
9. To Give Out Important Information
If you have a local restaurant, your success depends on the number of customers you can get to your restaurant and serve to satisfactory levels. However, if the people who are looking for places to eat cannot even find you or any other information about you, the chances of them reaching your place of business are really slim. You can make sure that your website turns into a virtual storefront for you offering the interested visitors a window into your establishment. In order to encourage more people to want to come to your restaurant and making it easy for them, you can go ahead and put all your contact information including your phone numbers, the address, and a link to the map on all your pages. This is why they are here after all!
Most of the guests or prospective guests are going to keep an eye on your social media accounts and your website to stay updated about your establishment. This is one tool that is a cheap way to keep everyone in the know, telling them about the day’s specials, upcoming events, how the last event was, celebrity drop-ins (because why not?), your address, your phone numbers, the hours of operation, delivery options, happy hours or anything else that you would want them to know and you know would pull them out to your establishment or order in! However, make sure that all the information on your website is regularly updated because incorrect information is only going to annoy your customers and even lead them to believe that your establishment probably is out of business.
10. To Showcase Testimonials from Customers
As a social animal, we as humans tend to look at each other for recommendations and reviews. It is true that we are stepping out of these social groups when we are going out looking for restaurants online, but a little human help never hurts. Customers are always looking for testimonials and reviews from people who have already experienced the restaurant that they are eying. Though there are a lot of portals that are good for reviews but what better than blowing your own trumpet! When you include testimonials from genuine clients on your website, you incite in your customers a certain sense of trust that they may be looking for. Recent research states that around 84% of the customers choose to trust the online reviews that they come across about any establishment that they may be interested in. not only can you add the reviews or testimonials from your customers manually on to your website, but you can also connect your website to Google Business page reviews or other such review sites. Doing the latter is going to add an element of authenticity to your establishment and the reviews.