Starting a Business? Online Presence is the New Yellow Pages
Whatever type of business you are planning to start, an online presence is an absolute necessity. The internet serves as the new Yellow steroids. Not only do consumers search the web for a specific business or service, but they are able to comparison shop and learn all about their options from the comfort of their living rooms. The online options range from a simple business card style page to a comprehensive ecommerce site, but the important factor is that your potential clients are able to find you with a simple web search.
Depending on the type of business you start, you may need only a basic business card-style website. Something as simple as a home page introducing your business, a contact page to help build your customer database, and a few pages of information to help your customers make the right selection of your products or services will go a long way in marketing your venture. In the information age, it is imperative that you provide useful knowledge to your customers. If you choose not to, plenty of your competitors that’s who will make the sale.
The information you provide online does not have to give away the house secrets, but should teach your prospective clients something about what you do. For example, a dog training business might include short article on house-training tips and descriptions of the various dog sports that you teach. A restaurant might include the menu along with articles about the right wine to select with different types of food. A service business might explain how using the available services will save the consumer time, money, or the like. The important factor is to offer useful information in a clear, coherent manner that shows your expertise and builds confidence in you and your business.
More developed websites can include ecommerce, where you customers can buy directly from you through your website. If you sell retail products, making them available online can increase your sales dramatically, often 30% or more. Including products, a shopping cart, and an online merchant account costs a bit more to set up, but the payoff is usually worth every penny. Selling your products on the web provides an opportunity to deliver your sales pitch for each item. Including a short paragraph about each product or service is common, and you can even incorporate a rating system or popularity scale for each. Consumers can find out all they need to know about your offerings without leaving the house.
All types of businesses are finding success using interactive websites. Some restaurants have had great success with allowing their take-out customers to order online. Some salons allow clients to set their own appointments online. And a mobile auto detailer we know fills over 50% of his schedule through online requests. The internet is the present and future of all business. If your startup isn’t represented on the web, your growth potential is inherently limited. But if your website is a high-quality, informative, useful tool for your customers, you will give your venture the legs to grow and develop into a thriving company.