Do you really know the role your website plays in your business? Based on my interaction with numerous printing companies, 80 percent struggle to answer this question. I’d like to ask you to think about the role and importance you want your website to play in your business. Compare these thoughts to the role your website should play, and how you know whether your website is having an impact on your bottom line.
It’s possible you’re getting lots of traffic (lots is a relative term in our industry), yet it’s hard to quantify without knowing what your return on investment (ROI) should be as it relates to your website. It’s important to remember the ROI is not all about revenue. There are also intangible benefits to consider.
What Do Visitors Want?
First and foremost, if you believe your website isn’t a source for new customers, you’d be wrong. Like it or not, 76 percent of consumers go online to get information about your business before making a purchase, according to Comscore. These consumers are getting information such as your phone number, hours, and address and they may be looking at your products and services.
If you know potential print buyers are online, either to find a new provider or connect with an existing provider, how would you answer the following question: “Am I getting the most out of my website, or am I throwing money away?” Measuring how much value one is getting or should expect from a website is difficult for many businesses.
There is no question people are going online. We know they want information. What we have recently discovered is the average consumer wants more than an outdated, unfriendly, brochure-style website that has your address and text describing what you do. According to 1 and 1 Internet, 35 percent of consumers have walked away from a small business because of a poor website. What I find even more shocking, is that 45 percent of consumers believe that a bad website is worse than having no website at all. That’s nearly half of those surveyed. No more bad websites. There is no reason, in today’s environment, to have a poor website. There are numerous options, offering varying degrees of functionality. Update your online presence so you know it’s not only good—it’s fantastic—and you can attach an ROI to it.
Give Them What They Want
If your website is professional, with informative content, visitors will have a positive impression of your business. A good website leads customers to trust your brand, and with that they take the first step towards becoming a paying customer. A well thought out and constructed website can keep someone from moving on to a competitor. It conveys to the visitor that you, as a business, get them as a customer. You can solve their problems and provide creative solutions. After all, isn’t that all any of us would like?
When customers and prospects visit your website or look for you online, they have certain expectations. They want to find what is important to them without hassle. They want to have a positive, professional, and fun (please don’t forget to have fun) experience that is conveyed through the website with high quality content, including images and pictures.
If these expectations are not met, you have a bad website. If you present an ill-designed, poorly thought out website with very little content, or worse, content loaded with print jargon, the visitor will likely have a negative impression, potentially being driven into the arms of your competitor. The bottom line: a bad website loses prospects every day. Losing prospects is equal to losing money every day.
Don’t Just Sit There, Do Something!
A better question may be what should your website do? We are so fortunate in our industry that our sites can have a very high level of functionality, so much more than other industries. For example, file transfer capability, online proofing, online design, and reorder capability. Our studies have found a website with basic functionality, relevant to our industry, can increase revenue by 30 percent. That’s a considerable increase over a website with basic to no functionality.
A website with functionality components/technology should be expected to increase your overall revenue. I’d like to suggest that you take a look at your customer base to identify areas of opportunity where you can use technologies available today in the Web-to-print arena. I’m always amazed at the number of opportunities that exist in your current customer base that are untapped—simply waiting for you to share how you can help.
Leads, Leads, Leads
How many leads do you get from your current website? If you can’t answer this question, please contact your website host and ask to see your analytics. Every good business owner should know how many opportunities are created through their website from both prospects and existing customers. It is a best practice to look at website analytics no less than once a month.
One of my favorite expressions “That which can be measured can be managed” can’t be more applicable than here. If you have analytics, you can begin to set benchmarks. How many leads would you like to generate through your website? How many customers would you like to visit your site? How many orders do you receive through your site? If those numbers aren’t where you’d like them to be, you can make adjustments with other aspects of your marketing to hit your goals. If you’re not sure where you’re starting, how do you know where you’re heading?
The Rewards are Worth the Work
At the end of the day, an initial investment of money and time and a commitment to continual maintenance will take your website and business a long way. Your website is a tool that can be used to increase revenue. Websites should be used to solve business problems. They can be used to generate leads, make sales, get feedback, capture contact information, and learn where and how people are getting to your business.
These are your customers. Take care of them by providing a positive experience from the moment they arrive on your site until they leave. Show your customers that you care about them.
Please don’t make the mistake that many small businesses do, and fail to take into account the impression your website makes on your customers’ perception of brand and credibility. It’s pretty simple: create and maintain a great website that connects with your audience, with a high level of functionality, measure the results, and you will see an increase in revenue.
Tawnya Starr is president of FireSpring’s PrinterPresence (MyPRINTResource.com/10007416). She has dedicated her career to educating the printing industry on proven website and marketing strategies. Contact her at Tawnya.Starr@Firespring.com.