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The most effective way to promote your business online is to have a website and engage on social media. A website is recommended for all businesses because it maximizes the benefts you can gain from the internet, and offers the most control, credibility and flexibility in marketing your business.

Today, people often turn to the Internet frst to research businesses and products. In fact, a September 2015 survey conducted by Verisign found that 91 percent of U.S. consumers use the Internet to look for local goods and services, and 93 percent use it for research before making a purchase.

These fndings reinforce the importance of having a website - not only does it help small businesses promote and sell their products and services, it allows them to put their best foot forward to consumers who rely heavily on the Internet to gather information about a company, including product reviews.

A website is one of the best tools to grow your business. And nowadays, it’s even easier to create than most people might think. While a social media presence can be a great asset, it doesn’t provide the same level of marketing opportunities or credibility that a website does. In fact, 92 percent of consumers prefer to get information from a business’s website rather than their social media page, and 77 percent of consumers believe a website makes a business appear more credible.

An effective website can help your business:

Be found

It comes as no surprise that many consumers begin their purchasing decisions by searching for products and services online. According to Verisign’s survey, 91 percent of consumers use the Internet to look for local goods or services. Small businesses without an online presence may fnd themselves excluded from consideration.

The survey also found that 88 percent of small businesses with websites agree that a website makes it easier for customers to fnd their business. Today, customers are constantly using and searching with computers, tablets and smartphones. A website lets customers fnd and learn about your business 24/7.

A website offers other benefts too. It allows small businesses to reach a bigger audience outside of their local area without a huge increase in marketing expenses. And it’s not just about attracting new customers. Business owners use websites to better serve existing customers by providing pertinent business information and services on their site which they can access anytime and anywhere.

Build Credibility

A website lends credibility to the legitimacy of a small business. Verisign’s recent survey revealed that 84 percent of consumers believe a business with a website is more credible than one with only a social media page. Although small businesses can build a brand presence on social media, they are limited by its platform in terms of design, process and technology. Having their own website gives small businesses the ability to control every aspect of their brand with no restrictions on how to market their products or services. This contributes to a brand’s overall reputation and market standing. If a small business wants to be credible and attract new customers, a website can make a difference

Get More Customers

The top priority for most small businesses is fnding new customers, and in today’s competitive marketplace, having an online presence is key. This means that if someone is looking for a product or service your business offers, your website needs to show up in search results or you will miss out on potential sales leads.

Ongoing business success rests in large part on a company’s ability to bring in new clients. Using traditional marketing methods like direct mail or print advertising to reach a large audience can be expensive and unreliable, but getting online enables small businesses to reach more people while paying less for the exposure—and with measurable results.

Grow Your Business

A website is a cost-effective tool to expand any business locally, nationally and globally. According to the same Verisign survey, 81 percent of small businesses said a website has helped grow their business.

A website can help businesses broaden their customer base outside of their city limits. While face-to-face interactions are important and business may come via word-of-mouth, a website provides a company a chance to “pass their card out” to thousands of new potential customers outside their normal perimeters, which then leads to a larger service area and possible expansion of regional offces. An e-commerce store allows businesses to sell products to customers around the world.

Gain Competitive Advantage

A current trend among consumers is to conduct research online before they buy. And Verisign’s recent survey supports this; 93 percent of consumers use the Internet for research before making a purchase. Consumers want to be informed prior to making purchasing decisions, from what they buy to whom they buy from. So a company without a website risks losing customers to businesses who are already taking advantage of the online marketplace.

More than half of U.S.-based small businesses don’t have a website, so there’s no time like the present to establish or improve your business website and get ahead of the competition.

Interested in developing an effective website for your business? Contact us and learn more about how an effective website can help your business get more customers, sell more and grow more.