Picture It, Sicily, 2019: Your Website, Your Digital Storefront
When talking with clients, I often refer to their website as their digital storefront and draw the illustration that “in 2019, if your business cannot fit into the size of your pocket, it doesn’t exist.”
Why do I say that?
Truth be told, and it should, times have changed, massively. And the way people do business have changed. You can’t expect people to show up at your store or office, cash in hand anymore, ready to buy. It takes effort, and a lot of it.
A website is a representation of your business on an online platform. This is where first impressions are made now. There are no second chances, and if your website looks unprofessional (or is invisible), then it will manifest as a reflection of your business by your site visitors.
People aren’t coming to your store anymore, because they can’t find you online first.
Comparatively, businesses need a website today as in the past they needed a phone line. There is no way you can survive long-term in the modern world without having an effective presence on the web. A clean, fresh and aesthetic website design will add credibility to your business and strengthen your brand.
By providing customers with information in an organised and well-presented manner, you can show customers you anticipate their needs and set an excellent impression for all transactions to follow.
If you’re reading our blog, chances are you’ve seen a handful of our videos in the Before You Build Your Website series, talking about the things you should be doing before you even reach out to someone to build a website for you. If not, check it out here.
If you can’t find it in search results, you’re more than likely not going to try beyond that.
Buying habits have changed and most of the world has adopted these changes. Social proof, due-diligence and personal research through searching Google is king. If you’re wondering why sales and income have been lacking lately, the first place I’d start looking at is what you’re doing online to drive sales.
Ask yourself this: “When’s the last time I directly made money from my website?”. If you struggle to answer that question honestly and or back it up with transaction reports, analytics etc., there’s a very good chance you won’t be in business in the next 10 years. Sounds harsh, but it’s a harsh reality.
Major stores like Toys R Us, Walgreens and more are closing stores across the globe, due to a number of reasons, but a lot of it may be due to one thing: late adoption. Deciding you want to compete with the likes of Amazon years after the fact, or when you begin to see your sales decline, will put you in a tough spot long-term.
Have you checked your competitive advantage lately? It’s what keeps you ahead of the game.
Conversely, leading the way with your own lead-generating ecommerce website like what we built for Imperial Mattress & Furniture, is how you stand out from the pack. They’re doing great right now because even though they have over 40 years of being in business, they’re not the only one locally with that advantage.
Which would you prefer to boast at your next Chamber of Commerce meet-up or networking event?:
“We’re a leading furniture store in business for over 40 years and export to multiple locations” or “We’re a leading furniture store with a highly-functional, lead-converting website with automated processes and sequences built in that allows us to sell and service our customers without being present, track inventory in real-time and collect emails at the same time for marketing promotions. We also ship to multiple locations and have been in business for over 40 years.”
Their commitment and investment into a new competitive advantage in a highly-competitive digital world assures that they’ll be around for years to come, long after their competitors who just being.
Late adoption will kill your business slowly, but eventually.
Late adoption is deciding to do something that everyone else is (and has been) already doing to stay current with the times. In the example used previously, it’s building an ECommerce website years after your competitors have already been leading in that space. Another example is if you’re a motivational speaker, teacher or author and you’re just deciding to do online coaching and webinars through your website.
I can’t tell you how many Facebook Ads I’ve seen in the last 24 hours alone offering me online coaching for growing my business or for personal development. That fact alone means someone is already dominating that space, and for whatever reason you took (or are taking) so long to make that investment, will close the doors on your practice in due time.
Sharing your expertise means you know that it is not enough just to provide information about your services. Your expert advice will allow you to control the public’s perception of your company. Visualize your website as an employee presenting your customers with help and knowledge about your company’s areas of expertise 24/7. It is like having an employee who is always at work.
Regular customer interaction is vital as people will keep you in mind if you keep in touch. It is much easier to communicate to customers who already know and trust you, thus, keeping in touch and remaining the top in their minds has to be a priority. Regular social media interaction such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and updates to your website will help you better communicate with your customers. These are effective tools that get more of you online.
Times have changed and if you don’t, you’ll find yourself struggling to find seats on a train that left the station a long time ago.
So, if you’re tired of just being and you’re ready to really start generating results and sales from your website, it’s not too late, you can start here.
Brinard Sweeting is the Digital Director of Visionary, certified web design specialist and a digital positioning strategy connoisseur. The majority of Brinard’s experience as a web & mobile application developer comes from his previous and current work with local & international clients who require a web expert with steady focus to implement and provide top-notch work and effective solutions to solve their day-to-day business needs that relate to having a greater internet presence.