I'd like to share an interesting question that a potential client asked me recently. The client, who is an established therapist, was meeting me about creating a new portfolio website for his practice. He shared with me his doubts whether he really needed a website, or perhaps he could still grow his private practice without one.
I spent some time going through with him the reasons why he would benefit from having a website and what he would lose by not having one.
I thought that I'd share some of those thoughts here on this important question, because I know that lots of people (therapists and those of you in many other professions) probably have this question going through their minds as they are thinking how to grow their business. Towards the end of this post, I will also give a few possible reasons why a business might not need a website.
There aren’t many businesses that can survive without a Web presence and there’s no reason not to have a website. Your business's website can be a highly effective marketing tool that can be very cost-efficient. There are quite a few benefits, and very few downsides.
The Benefits of having a Website
1. Create an online presence. Who knows about your business? Where can prospects and clients go to learn more? A well designed website creates a feeling of professionalism and showcases you in the best possible light. Your website will not only help to establish your business and provide details about you and the services you offer but it will also extend your reach to anyone, anywhere in the world.
2. Help build trust. New clients and prospects might want to know about your business history, your expertise and your specialization. Anonymous testimonials and client stories will provide a little more insight into your service, relationship with your clients and whether the experience yielded positive results.
This is a great vehicle for people to learn more and attain that comfort level they seek.
3. Learn about customers. Learn about their needs, preferences, and interests. Establish and nurture two-way communication with prospects and clients. This will forge a deeper bond and serve them better.
4. Get listed on search engines. We build your website incorporating search engine optimization (SEO) techniques so that you can easily be found by people searching for relevant key words. This can be an important gateway to expanding your business.
5. Point of contact Your website provides customers an easy way to contact you and learn more about your products, services and business.
6. Leverage social networks. Implement a social media strategy to reach a larger audience and to create more buzz about your biz. Your website will help you to easily establish your presence on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter. Facebook likes and shares can drive people to your website. Links to popular or topical items from or to your website will add to its relevance.
7. Sell products. If your business lends itself to online sales, create a virtual store as an alternative or complement to a storefront or office location
8. Share the latest news. Whenever there are new developments regarding your business, update your website. Sites that have fresh, relevant and timely information draw users back more often.
9. Blog. Keep your website fresh and keep drawing people in with regular Blog posts. Show your expertise, share insights and provide practical tips on topics relevant to your business or to your customers
10. Customer convenience. Providing customers with multiple ways to interact with your business is almost mandatory these days. Anything less could result in lost business.
Wait, so are there still businesses that might not need a website?
The answer to this is yes, and I can think of two cases where I believe a business can get away without having a website.
1. My customers don't have internet - The first case is If your business whose sole customers do not have access to the internet, then there would be no benefit having a website. e.g. a fruit and veg store in an ultra-orthodox community where internet is forbidden.
2. I have too many customers already - Another case could be a therapist who has so much businesses that even without a website, they have a long waiting-list for customers.
However, this is only relevant in the case where such a therapist has no need to change, not planning on moving to a different location or expanding their business by providing training courses, writing educational material etc....
So, if you got this far, you would have noticed that we didn't mention the elephant in the room. Yes, the recent Corona crisis has made us all realize that businesses that have online presence, whether it's an online store, ability to manage online inquiries and setup meetings
As seen from the fore-mentioned points, having your business online-ready would make the possibility of continuing running and growing your business much easier during times such as now with the Corona crisis when it is physically impossible to meet both current and potential customers face-to-face.
In times such as those, I would be surprised if people are really wondering whether they need a website for their business, but rather the question that is really in people's minds is 'How do I go about getting my own website?'.
Keep posted - I'm going to be sharing a post about what you will need to do, in order to have your own website.