Does your business need a website?

December 14, 2017

Some experts claim that the rise of social media has diminished the importance of a brand’s website. If you’re new to entrepreneurship, your budget and lack of staff might mean that you consider leveraging the flexibility and affordability of social media to grow your business. (Maintaining a multi-page website can be challenging, but posting a photo to Instagram takes just seconds.)

But, if you’re an established businessperson or are a tech-savvy merchant, establishing a web presence should be considered a must. A study reported by the American Marketing Association found that more than half of consumers hit up a business’s website for product information and related content.

Still unconvinced whether you need to devote resources to your own digital portal? Read on.

Create the narrative

Here are the typical steps you’d take to implement retargeting ads using Facebook as an example. Facebook allows businesses to retarget to its more than 1.8 billion monthly users using pixel-based retargeting.

Control the conversation

Exclusively selling your wares on Amazon, Etsy, Pinterest, and Ebay can be a great way to expose your brand to a wide audience. The downside? Your competitors’ products surround your items. This is why selling on third-party sites shouldn’t be your primary digital strategy.

Instead, think of your online presence as a hub-and-spoke model. Your own website should be the main hub where all your products, services, and content lives. Post product updates, information about new locations, and articles about the latest trends on your business’s website. Other sites and social media platforms are the spokes (or secondary locations) where consumers can discover your brand. Post links from your website on your social media channels. When others engage with them (like, click through, share), your reach will grow organically.

Build trust and credibility

A website is an extension of your brand, and it can be used to deepen the relationship with and educate your customers. A professional-looking website adds to your legitimacy and authority. A 2016 study found that more than a third of consumers believe that a smart website gives a local business more credibility. Furthermore, customers view a business as reliable when it provides shoppers a safe, secure e-commerce platform.

Offer e-commerce

Giving customers the ability to purchase items and services online is one of the main reasons why merchants should have a website. (For restaurants, online reservation making capabilities is tops.) But business owners shouldn’t limit the items featured on their site to simply what they sell over the internet. A website is a great place to highlight in-store exclusives and items you might not be able to sell online, enticing shoppers to your brick-and-mortar location. Merchants can use the Clover Online Store to create a mobile-friendly, secure way to sell on the web.

Be customer friendly

The top five things that consumers cite as being most important on a local business’s website are: a list of products and services, hours of operation, a phone number, prices, and a physical address. You want consumers keying in your URL instead of visiting Yellow Pages or Google for this information, so post it in an intuitive, easy-to-find spot on your website. When looking for information, most shoppers consult a website first. If they find what they need, they’re less likely to make a phone inquiry—saving you time and manpower.

Reduce your costs

Strong SEO boosts where your business appears in a Google search. Design a smart-looking website that utilizes SEO best practices, and you’ll gain an edge when it comes to organic search results. Or use a free SEO auditor to determine what’s holding your current site back. Your cost per customer acquisition will be significantly lower than it would be when using targeted advertising alone. Read more ways to reduce your costs and increase your online presence.

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