For businesses affected by a COVID-19 closure or shelter in place order, having a strong web presence is more important than ever. COVID-19 has pushed many of us to stay home and look online for products and services. Because most service professionals aren’t able to see clients in-person right now, their websites and online stores have become a lifeline to maintaining a source of stable income. Click here to read a letter from our CEO, detailing how Vagaro is here to help your business get through this crisis.
Small businesses, especially in the beauty and fitness industries, try to keep overhead costs low, prioritizing quality services over expenses that aren’t necessary. Many small business owners put the need for a website in the unnecessary category, but that couldn’t be further from the reality. With the modern world’s reliance on smartphones and the internet, a website isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. A Facebook page or social media presence isn’t enough to keep you competitive. Here are seven compelling reasons to make sure that when a prospective client does a Google search for services or products you provide, they’ll land on your website.
Websites Show You’re Serious—And In it For the Long Haul
Having a dedicated website (not just web listings) lets customers know that your business is serious, legitimate, credible, and most important—trustworthy. Without a website, a new client can’t find your business—much less trust you. These days, businesses without a website or web presence look outdated or worse, unreliable. To say nothing of the referrals and new customers you miss out on without a website! Likewise, when your customers are happy, you’ll miss out on that business too, if there’s nowhere for them to leave a positive review or testimonial. Customers are looking for information when they land on your website. Before/after photos, customer reviews and testimonials, licensing, certifications, maps, service and class menus, contact information, and online booking help customers go from browsing to booking.
Sell Retail Products & Services on the Web
Think of your website as a digital brochure for your business. Not only does it provide information new customers need, like operating hours, service/class menus, pricing, and reviews, but it’s also a direct sales tool. Implement online capability, and you’ve essentially “hired” a digital receptionist who’s available 24/7! From there, integrate a merchant service account to process payments online. Then customers can pay for services, classes, and memberships in advance, process deposits before booking, or shop your online store. An online storefront further boosts your business credibility and reinforces your brand, acting as both a sales and marketing tool.
Find & Keep New Customers Through Your Website
Your future customers search the web when they need something—don’t you want to be the business that delivers what they need? Though there are many search engines available, Google is by far the most relevant, processing around 32.8 million searches per day or 14 billion searches annually. In short, if Google can’t find a website for you, you’re missing a vital part of your business plan. Websites serve as lead generators for browsers who might one day convert to customers. With a website, you can create an opt-in for customers who aren’t ready to book or buy yet but want more information. Your website showcases your brand, industry expertise, service menu, employee profiles, company values, and selling propositions for both new and returning visitors.
The Web Makes Marketing Easier
Every marketing campaign needs to direct somewhere customers can follow through on the call-to-action. That place is your website! Your business website isn’t just there for discoverability—it’s there to introduce customers to who you are and the services and products you provide. Think of your website as your “home base,” where all your vital business information and marketing messages are centralized for easy access. By putting everything a customer needs in one central location that’s easy to navigate, you increase the likelihood of your marketing efforts hitting the mark. Whether you’re marketing through social media, email, advertisements, or print media, your website should be the endpoint for interested customers.
Keep Up with the Competition
Studies indicate that over 70% of US shoppers use the internet when looking for products or services—even if they’re shopping locally. Without a website, a business won’t show up in a local search, putting that business at a disadvantage competing with local competitors who have a web presence. With a website, your business shows up in local searches, allowing you a fair playing field against your local competitors. Having a website of your own allows you to stay in control of your business presence on the internet and differentiate yourself, even in a crowded market. The more information you include on your website, the greater chance of a customer looking for specialized services will find you—and not your competition.
Websites Make It Easier to Reach Your Long-Term Goals
When you’re in charge of your website, you’re in control of both the content and the platform. Unlike social media or basic online listings, a website allows you to stay in control of the information about your business. Businesses who depend solely on third-party business listings (Yelp, Google Businesses) for web presence risk allowing others to be in control of their information. Leaving you vulnerable to bad reviews you can’t respond to, incorrect information about location or pricing, and no way for visitors to know what’s accurate. Your own website guarantees the information and brand vision are accurate and up-to-date, because you’re in control of them.
It’s Easy & Affordable to Build a Website
Gone are the days where having a website was complicated and expensive! Now more than ever, it’s cost-effective and simple to set up a website. Vagaro can help with that! You can choose a theme from our gallery and use the Vagaro website builder to build your site to your specifications. Or you can opt to let the Vagaro Design Team personalize your website theme at a competitive rate. Already have a website? Fantastic! Add our booking widget to your site, and give customers a way to purchase products and book services and classes directly!
Take the first step! Start your website for your salon, spa, fitness center, or specialized studio and start reaping the benefits of having a web presence!
Header Image & Icons: Mia Montemayor via Vagaro