A business website can a help a business in a number of different ways:
- It helps build the image of the business
- Potentially everyone in the world is your client or customer
- You can automate your product information, support and sales
- For some businesses a website can provide other income streams
1) Contact information
- Your business address, email and contact form
2) Business information
- a brief overview of your business
- brief description of your services or business
- Linked to a contact form.
3) Online brochure
- a more detailed description of your business, services or products
- this should be written in a web friendly style
4) Sales enquiry service
- a potential customer can fill in an online form and receive within seconds an acknowledgement, a price list or product details day and night and weekend without you or your staff having to do anything.
5) Sell a product
- with the addition of shopping cart software your business can process a sales order twenty four hours a day and seven days a week. You can come into your office first thing in the morning and find a set of orders waiting to be processed.
- If you are selling digital products, such as software, or information the entire process can be automated.
6) Sell a service
- through the use of forms you can get a client to purchase or specify a service. This is usually the method I use for technical support with my fee held in an escrow account.
Support your customers
- Supply your potential customers with the most common question and answers about your business, services or products. This allows potential customers to consider your product in their own time without having to phone or contact you.
- A good set of FAQs builds confidence in your business, states your conditions of business and cuts down the number of phone calls and emails you may get before a customer commits to buying your product.
8) How to articles
- These supply in more detail how to use your products and services.
- Or demonstrate your businesses expertise. I have seen property websites providing quality articles on how to buy property in France and Spain and related guides to guarantee prospective buyers will visit them first.
- In more detail relating to your product or service.
- Where appropriate you may be able to sell a manual.
10) White Papers
- A more detailed report which can describe your product, the use of your product or service.
- White Papers are often used to build the reputation of a business or an individual, such as a consultant or freelancer.
11) Support forum
- Provide your clients and potential clients with a forum, (many are free), to discuss support issues, provide feedback, request enhancements to the product or often just chat.
- Often another support forum user will provide the answer to a problem before your staff can respond.
- Gives your clients a sense of belong to a club.
- These forums do need to be monitored as a complaint can lose you business.
12) Support ticket system
- Usually for a technical product or service a person can fill in an online form and these support requests are queued up allowing your staff to work their way through the backlog. The request is acknowledged instantly and very quickly your support staff will build up a bank of standard answers, which can be customised for a specific problem and client.
- Ticket systems can be free or a charged service.
Communicate with your customers
13) Mailing Lists
- It is a truism that if you have sold a product once to a customer there is a good chance you can sell them an upgrade, related product or get them to promote your business by word of mouth.
- Your mailing list should provide news, new product launches and now and then special offers.
- Your business can have several mailing lists for specific sets of clients, potential clients and those with a general interest in your business niche.
14) Press Relations
- A special page giving a quick summary of the business and who to contact for a press query. Always make it easy for a journalist or business blogger to get in touch with you.
- You should have a seperate news letter for the media.
15) Press Releases
- A list of your press releases in reverse chronological order. Builds your reputation by providing a back history to the business, make it easier for journalists to research your business and probably helps your search engine ranking.
- Possibly linked to the press releases, but it is usually useful to provide news of the business, including new products, successes, new staff, marriages etc.
- These will really boost your business reputation.
- If providing a local service getting a testimonials from neighbouring districts really help with the search engines.
- A series of regularly posted articles which relate to your business. A blog can really help with search engine as you can mention, and therefore get your business more strongly associated with, locations, techniques, products and events.
19) Closed user groups
You can set up areas of your website that are only accessed by:
- Customers that have bought a special product
- Customers who have paid you for access
- As an incentive
- to provide insider information
- to provide training
20) Other revenue streams
- affiliate schemes, such as Amazon
- sell products and services complementary to yours
- develop digital or information products
- build partnerships
And many, many more ways to enrich your business