Every startup should have a website. Even if the new business you are planning is not web-based, a website serves as a tool to let folks know that you exist. For many organizations, the web is a major channel for attracting and managing customers. So make sure your website tells people plainly and succinctly what your business can do for them.
So how can having a website help you build your business? Frankly, the possibilities are almost endless! But here are some tried-and-true uses for even the simplest of websites:
- Help your customers find you. Studies show that more and more customers do research online before buying offline. They want to determine product/service selection and pricing in the convenience of their own home or office, without having to encounter a salesperson or wait in a customer service queue. So if your business doesn’t have a web presence, you are essentially invisible to these customers, and they will never even consider buying from you, even if they are located right down the street from you.
- Provide superior, cost-effective customer service. Since your website is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, posting a comprehensive set of FAQs will allow potential customers to find the information they need. And if you also include an email link, customers will also be able to provide you with valuable feedback about your products/services quickly and easily.
- Promote your business. Website promotions are likely to be less expensive and more effective than print ads, direct mail campaigns, Yellow Pages, or other media. Plus posting your ads online provides tremendous flexibility, so it is easy to test which product/price/promotion strategy works best.
- Expand your market. A website allows your business to expand geographically and become accessible, virtually, from any location in the world by any potential customer who has Internet access.
- Conduct market research. Add visitor polls and online surveys to find out what your customers want and need (there are free tools online that make this easy). You can also use your website statistics to learn more about your customers, including where, geographically, the visitor is from, what keywords led them to your site and so forth.
- Become an authority. By including tips, advice, and links to relevant articles on your startup’s website, you can make it a go-to destination for people interested in your industry. This will provide additional traffic and visibility, which in turn will broaden your customer base.
- Find funding. Your company website serves as an important information source for potential investors, where they can learn what your company is about, what it has achieved and what it can achieve in future.