Let me tell you one thing first. You might be having thousands of likes and follows on social media. But, you should be aware of this all the time that you don’t own those platforms. The only platform which you can own is your website. So, before moving ahead, you should have a clarity that website is the only asset which belongs to you. And people are going to visit it for various purposes if they really are interested in you.
Gone are the days when there used to be a debate regarding whether a certain businesses requires a website or not. It’s already 2020 and every business needs a website not matter in what industry they function. Though the purpose of the website can differ, the necessity is there. Having a website for a business in today’s virtual world has become as important as having an office in the physical world. And by looking at an impact what the virtual world is having on the real world through social media, search engines like Google, Bing, etc. One cannot simply ignore the medium.
Though many of the businesses have started realising the importance of websites, most of them fail to define what purpose should their website serve & how to utilize it to enhance your business. Simply getting your website done just for having a website because everyone is having it is not the right approach. You should not just have purpose, but also should be able to utilize the power of your website entirely.
Let’s Make A Real Life Comparison
Now, why do you have an office or an outlet? You need to sell something, you need people to visit for enquiries, you want to generate leads for your business, provide information about your business, increase credibility & trust, etc. You don’t open an office just because everyone is having it. Similarly, if you own an E-Commerce business, it is pretty much clear that you can use your website to sell things online. But, what if you are not selling anything? Then too, a website can be used & its full potential can be utilized to serve various purposes. Following are few ways in which you can effectively make use of your website.
1. Build Trust & Credibility
Not only most basic, but most essential use of website is done to increase the credibility & trust value in your business. If a person gets informed about your business & thinks about going ahead, the first thing they will do is to check your website. Now, simply having a website will not build a trust & increase your credibility. You have to understand your audience’s psychology & include those elements accordingly in your website. Some of the tips to help increase trust & credibility of your business through your website are by including following things.
- Client Testimonials, Ratings or Reviews (to increase social proof)
- Pictures of Founders and the Team
- Provision to Contact you (and your business address & phone number)
- Stating About You, Your Vision & Your Mission
- Showcasing previous work or projects
- Company Logo & Tagline (which will be consistent on all the platforms)
2. Lead Capturing System
Your website is not just an asset but something which should work for you. Every business requires leads & sales. Even though you do not have an Ecommerce website where you directly sell a product, you definitely should use your website to generate leads. More leads mean more business!
Thus, like you have a sales person or receptionist in your office, in the same way, your website should work for you in the virtual space. It should work like an online sales employee. Once a visitor enters your office for an enquiry, will you let them leave without taking their details & not following up with them? No! Similarly, your website should not let the website visitor leave just like that.
Your website should have a provision to capture the lead’s details so that you can follow them up. How can you do it so? Here are few tips.
- Have a Contact Form right on your Homepage
- Offer something through a Pop-up Form (Opt-in) on your Website
- Have a Chat-bot or a Chat support option in your website
- Optimize your website for conversion (converting visitors into leads)
- Have a visitor retargeting system (eg. Through Facebook or Google Ads)
3. Showcase Your Work
Showcasing your work on your website can be helpful for your potential client to build a trust and understand your credibility. You can get new clients enquiring about your services if they find your showcased work impressive. Or else, you can use your online portfolio as a reference for your current clients so as to give them an idea about what or how they can expect from you.
You can create a showcase of your previous project’s case study, completed projects, results brought by you, etc. Showcasing the work can give you an edge over your competitor who is not keeping what they have done previously in front of the people.
Following are few tips which can help showcase your work effectively online.
- Include Pictures, Videos & appropriate Graphics
- Watch out the keywords in textual content (for better SEO)
- Make sure to list appropriate details of your projects
- Add a description about your project but keep everything in brief
4. As an Online Brochure
If your business requires giving out information in brochure format, then a physical brochure always helps. But what if making available an online brochure will make things easier for you? Yes you can design your website in a way that it gives out all the necessary information like your brochure gives.
This may or may not replace your need of having a physical brochure but will definitely help in scaling your business. Irrespective of location & time constraints, you can easily share the link of your website to the person who enquired regarding your business. You don’t need several copies to distribute various people like in the case of physical brochure. One time well designed website will do the job!
You can even use the online brochure format as a lead magnet on your website to get their contact details. This will help you in lead generation process too.
Here are following tips for using your website effectively as an online brochure.
- Explain your Services or Products in detail
- Mention all the features, key points, essentials, etc.
- Make sure to include your pricing plans if possible
- Make use of graphics & images
- Include your contact details to get queries solved
5. Posting & Hosting Your Content
As stated in the beginnings of this article, social media does not belong to you. You can surely post content there, but you have very little hold over the platform. You need to abide by their rules & policies. And when they take down your content or the platform itself undergoes any changes, you can’t do anything! But, your website is all yours & no matter what happens with other social media platforms, you can keep posting the content as per your own terms.
Textual content, Videos, Audio & Images; everything can be posted on your website. You can also maintain exclusivity to your content by hosting all your content on your website.
Here are few content types which you can create and post which can help you for your business.
- Informative content regarding your industry for your target audience
- Relevant guides & ‘How To’ content
- Answering Frequently Asked Questions
- Latest updates, offers & news regarding your industry (B2B)
- Consumer oriented content (B2C)
- Comparisons & Reviews
- Stating your views & opinions
6. To Sell Products
Now, I know that this is no brainer. Everyone knows about Ecommerce websites & businesses. But how can one drop this ability of a website to grow or rather to initiate a business? Hardcore Ecommerce businesses make use of a website to sell their products. It is an integral part of the business. But other local businesses can start a side business linked with their services or consultation if they have products to sell.
One also might not always need a national delivery system ready to start selling online. You can sell products even just locally. Also, you are not limited to selling a physical product through your website. You can also have digital products created which you can host & sell on your own website.
Some points to keep in mind while selling online are.
- Have a delivery system for local orders
- Tie up with courier service companies if you want to go national or international
- Keep a track on inventory for physical products
- Keep you product page updated
- Include images, videos & details for physical products
- Include samples for digital products
- Have a returns & refunds policy stated on your website
- Have multiple payment options
These are some best ways to use your website for growing and enhancing your business functionality. Thus, firstly determine the purpose you think your website should fulfil. This will clarify your approach towards going online. At last, your website should be like a 24×7 available online employee who will work for you. It should not be a liability, but an asset & an online sales counter.