As a small business owner, you face a unique challenge that many larger companies don’t have to worry about: how to establish your credibility. How does a new customer know that you are legitimate? Or that you do great work and are reliable? The first place customers will turn to look for these answers is the Internet. Do you have an online presence that’s easy to find and that will answer their questions? That’s exactly what customers want to know before they’ll give you their business. Here are five reasons you need to have a website if you want your business to be credible.
Help customers find your business.
If people hear about your business from friends or from an advertisement, do you think they’ll remember the exact name of your business or know how to contact you? Most people will search for your business online. But they’ll typically only have enough patience for one or two quick Google searches. As soon as a competing business or a business with a similar name catches their eye, they’ll move on to someone else. That’s why it’s essential that you have a well-branded, easy-to-find website, and that it uses SEO strategy to bring your company to the top of search results.
Show that your business is real.
If you’re relying on your Facebook page or a LinkedIn profile to be the face of your company, then you could be losing potential customers who don’t view your company as a real business. Your website is your virtual storefront, and as an entrepreneur, you need to build it just like you build every other aspect of your business. If a potential customer only has your Facebook page – or worse, nothing at all – to go by, then your business venture may look more like a hobby. The more professional your website looks, the more your customers will instinctively trust that you are a real business.
Showcase your product or your services.
A potential client may have heard that you’re a real estate agent, but does she know that you have 20 years of experience and that you’re an expert on the local neighborhoods? Or perhaps a family with children is looking for a new dentist. They may see your sign as they drive by, but can they tell you specialize in pediatric dentistry? Your website is the best vehicle you have to showcase your services or your products, as well as your expertise.
Stand out from the crowd.
What’s the first thing you do before you eat at a new restaurant? If you’re like most people, you probably check out any online reviews. As part of building credibility, you have the power to showcase customer testimonials and positive reviews on your own website. Don’t take it for granted that positive reviews will find their way to your potential customers through Google or Yelp searches. Instead, make customer testimonials and glowing reviews part of your website and part of your overall marketing strategy.
Connect with customers.
As a business, it’s not enough to market yourself to the world. You also have to give the world a way to talk back to you. Whether it’s by Facebook post, Twitter message, email or phone call, your consumers need to know that they can reach you. And your website is where you can direct people to the best method of communication. Remember that your customers don’t need to know whether you are one person or ten people answering their questions; with a website, you’ll present a unified and professional image.
As a business owner, you have one shot at making a great first impression. Make sure your website is doing just that.