1. Your Online Business Card
Having a website makes it easy for people to find you and learn about your business - and not having a website might turn people away. These days, most people expect that any professionally run business will have a website and may wonder if they remember your name or your business name correctly if they can't find you on the web. Your website is your online business card. It allows you to present pertinent information and branding and answer questions potential clients may have.
2. Establish Credibility
Many people prefer to learn about a company online before picking up the phone to schedule an appointment. Having a professional, well-designed website lets people know that you take your business seriously enough to invest in it — and it tells them that your business is legitimate.
3. Create a Sense of Security for Potential Clients
Especially for personal services like massage and acupuncture, therapy and counseling, coaching and consulting, people want to have time to learn about the company and its practitioners before they commit to an appointment. Your website gives these potential customers the chance to get a sense of who you are and how you work, as well as providing information about fees, insurance, and what to expect. This is a service you offer your clients that lets them know their comfort is important to you.
4. Establish Relationship with Your Clients
Most people like to do business with people they "know." Your website provides people the opportunity to get to know you and learn about your business in their own time and at their own pace. Getting to know you in this way makes it easier for people to accept your invitation to an open house or event, or to try out your services by booking an appointment. Consider including a photo of you and your associates to make the relationship feel more "real" for your potential clients.
5. Educate Your Clients
An important part of any sale is teaching your client about your business and your services. When you include information on your website about what you do, why you do it, how you do it, and what needs you fill and the problems you help solve, you familiarize your potential clients with your business — and more importantly, help them understand how it will benefit them to work with you. If your website is well constructed, and you talk with potential clients after they've been to your website, half your sales work could already be done.
6. Reach New Clients
More people are looking for services and products online than ever before. When people move to a new area, they may rely solely on the internet to learn about their new home and research all their new service providers. You want to be sure that they can find you! Having a website allows you to reach people you have not yet met — you don't have to rely on personal interactions alone. Adding your web address to your stationery, business cards and other advertisements will help increase the odds that someone looking for your type of business will find you.
7. Gather Contact Information
Your website is a valuable lead-generating tool. In addition to providing your contact information so people can reach you at their convenience, you will want to provide a place for people to sign up for your newsletter by entering their email address. Even if you only send your newsletter out once a year, these email addresses of people interested in your work are an incredibly valuable tool. By keeping in touch with people who've signed up for your newsletter, you not only remind them about your business, but you can remind them that other people they know might be interested in what you're doing and generate referrals.
8. Get Referrals
Referrals are one of the best ways for small businesses to get new clients. Let's say you have a satisfied client, and that client wants to refer someone to you. He needs to tell the referral about your service, and its benefits. It takes him some time and effort. Having a professional, polished website allows your happy client to refer their friends to you much more easily since they won't have to explain anything - they can simply point their friends to your website.
9. "Close" Sales from Other Sources
Have you ever talked to someone at a networking event — or even just out in the world doing errands — and known that despite the connection you've made, you probably wouldn't hear from them? Having an informative, easy-to-navigate website can help people take that last step and book their appointment. In the same way that your website makes it easier for people to refer others to you, it helps solidify relationships you've begun and can make deciding to work with you easy for your ideal clients.
10. Answer Frequently Asked Questions
Do you spend time answering the same types of questions for each of your clients? While you don't want to stop a conversation with a client and send them to the website to get their questions answered, a thoughtful FAQ page can often answer your most common questions for you. Your clients will appreciate having their questions answered without having to wait for a return email or phone call — and you may even provide answers to questions they didn't know they had.
Strategies, Tips, and Tools of the Trade...
1. Your Online Business Card