Most small businesses treat their website as an afterthought, something to be designed and launched once the rest of their business is up and running.
But what if your website could be your most valuable asset, and could help you run your business?
An optimized website can do everything from driving leads to sales, from managing inventory to providing customer service.
In other words, your website can be your virtual staff and help you grow your business. You just have to set up the optimizations and automation and let your website do the rest.
Here are 4 roles that your website can perform to help you run your small business more effectively:
If you’re like most small business owners, you wear a lot of hats. You’re the CEO, the CFO, the office administrator, and everything in between.
One hat that you might not have the time or budget for is a marketing manager. Fortunately, your website can help pick up the slack.
There are a few ways you can ensure that your website works as hard as your marketing manager – without drawing a salary.
The role of marketing is to:
- Help your audience find you
- Increase your brand awareness
- Communicate with your audience
- Create new leads
A website can help you market and promote your small business by performing all of these roles.
A few tips to make your website work as your marketing manager:
1. Create top-notch brand and marketing messages for your website
Make your brand messaging very clear and distinct on your website so your audience knows what you’re doing.
Potential customers should be able to find what they’re looking for easily.
2. Keep your site up-to-date
Ensure that your site is updated regularly with fresh content. This will keep people coming back for more, and it will also help your site rank higher on search engine results pages.
3. Use engaging photos and videos to support your brand story and attributes.
Whether you’re highlighting customer testimonials, demonstrating how to use your product, or writing blog posts, visuals can make a powerful impact.
Showcase your products or services with your brand imagery, high-quality photos, and detailed descriptions to hold your audience’s attention.
4. Use SEO techniques to help people find your website
While SEO can be complex, there are a few simple things you can do to get started. Choose relevant keywords to include in your content, use internal links, and build links to your site from other high-quality websites.
5. Include calls to action on every page.
Whether you’re asking people to sign up for your newsletter or buy your product, make sure that there’s a clear path for them to follow. Add CTAs on each page to encourage people to take the next step and guide them on their customer journey.
6. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly so people can easily access it on their smartphones and tablets.
67% of mobile users say they are more likely to purchase from a website that is mobile-friendly.
Use a responsive design so that your website automatically resizes to fit the screen of any device. Keep your content paragraphs concise and easy to read; long blocks of text are difficult to read on a small screen.
2. Sales representatives
Your website is a 24/7 sales rep, and if you’re not making the most of it, you’re missing out on a lot of potential business.
Just like a salesperson, a website can convert leads into customers and boost sales by providing a smooth and easy sales process.
See the tips below to make your website drive sales. It would mostly be applicable for e-commerce websites, but you can also use basic email marketing drip campaigns to drive conversions.
Unlike in marketing, where you have to fuel your website with consistent content, the sales process can be completely automated. It can work around the clock with minimum inputs on your side.
1. Make it easy for your customers to convert
Keep your contact information prominent and up-to-date. Include multiple ways for potential customers to get in touch with you, including a phone number, email address, and live chat.
Make it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for. Use clear menus and labels, and include search functionality on your site.
Include features like pricing pages and order forms to make it easy for website visitors to buy from you.
2. Build social proof
No one buys anything nowadays without checking reviews first. Include customer testimonials and reviews on your website. These social proof elements will help build trust with potential customers.
3. Automate your lead nurturing process
Use marketing or at least CRM software to track and follow up with your leads. Use lead capture forms and integrate them with your automated email responders so you can follow up with potential customers.
4. Sharpen the purchase process
Use a shopping cart and payment gateway that are easy to use and secure. Set up cart abandonment emails to drive further e-commerce conversions.
3. Logistics manager
Your website can also be an invaluable tool for managing your business logistics. For example, a website can manage inventory by keeping track of stock levels and alerting you when items need to be restocked.
Integrating your website with your shipping and inventory management systems will help you create a streamlined system that will save you time, run your business smoothly, and improve customer satisfaction.
Here are a few ways to make your website work as your supply manager:
1. Choose the right CMS
There are many content management systems (CMS) available, and it is important to select one that is easy to use and has the features you need. Consider factors like scalability and price.
Once you have selected a CMS, you will need to integrate it with your shipping and inventory management systems.
2. Make sure your website is updated with your shipping information
If you sell physical products, create a shipping calendar and update it regularly to track when items are set to ship and ensure that you’re not overpromising on delivery dates.
Second, use automation tools to help manage your shipping information. Platforms like Shipstation can automatically update your website with the latest tracking information.
3. Use an inventory management system to keep track of your stocks and customers
If you track your sales and customer data, you can better forecast future demand and plan your production accordingly.
4. Customer service representatives
A website is not only a necessary business tool in today’s economy, but when done right, it can also be an effective customer service representative.
You can provide your customers with the information and support they need to make a purchase without ever having to pick up the phone.
Like sales, customer support can also be automated to a large extent, so that for basic questions your audience can get a lot of help without you needing to get involved.
It saves you time that you can use to run your business.
1. Include an FAQ section on your website that is both informative and user-friendly
Make sure that the questions you include are actually frequently asked. There’s no point in including questions that no one is asking.
Keep your answers concise and to the point. People visiting a FAQ section are looking for quick answers, not lengthy explanations.
Try to anticipate any objections or concerns that visitors might have. Addressing these issues up front, you can help build trust and confidence in your website.
2. Add a chat box to offer support to customers
Choose a chat platform that is easy to use and set up. There are many options available, including web-based chat boxes, standalone chat software, and third-party chat services.
Make sure your chat box is visible and prominently featured on your website. You might consider using a pop-up or floating button so that it’s impossible to miss.
If you’re not available to chat in real-time, make sure to set up a chatbot to answer the most direct questions immediately.
3. Use a ticketing system to track and resolve customer service issues
A ticketing system is a great way to track and resolve customer service issues on your website. A ticketing system can also help you to identify patterns in customer complaints.
You can take steps to prevent issues from occurring in the future, thereby improving the customer experience.
In conclusion, your small business website can play a crucial role in supporting your business operations 24×7, beyond being a platform for marketing your products and services.
We explored four key ways that your website can help your small business: by being a marketing manager, salesperson, logistics manager, and customer service representative.
No matter what specific role you’re looking to assign to your online platform, make sure that you use unique content that highlights your brand story. It will help to strengthen your brand presence and the relationship between you and your customers.
Poulomi Basu is a marketing consultant who helps small businesses and entrepreneurs develop their brands and optimize their websites with SEO and content strategies. After having worked in branding and marketing in multinational companies across Asia, Middle East, and Europe for over 17 years, she started her own business in 2016. Her mission is to help and coach small business owners to achieve their business objectives through digital marketing.