How does a website add value to a business?
The other day, a prospect wrote to say, “I just don’t see the value in investing in a website.” Although the value seems obvious to me, I realized that it really depends on where you want your website to take your business this year. A website has little value without business goals and a marketing strategy behind it. Marissa Levin, a successful business coach and the founder and CEO of Successful Culture explains:
“Growing companies need to invest in a quality website. It is an aggregation of a company’s most valuable assets. When designed correctly, it communicates a company’s competitive differentiators, process, clients, employees, and success stories. It creates a connection and builds confidence for potential clients and is one of the most important marketing investments a company can make. A poorly designed website can undermine a company’s credibility. Rather than building up a brand, a bad website will cause doubt and uncertainty. An out-of-date website is actually a liability to any company today. It will hurt the brand, and will cost a company business.”
Websites are no longer online business brochures used for referrals. Professional websites have become the home base of a solid marketing program. With a well-defined marketing niche, an effective website attracts the growing number of would-be clients who are looking for your services online. Customers search Google and Bing using their computers and phones, and if you are invisible to them because of poor SEO or because your site is five years old and not mobile-friendly, then you are missing opportunities with buyers who are ready to work with you.
A great website tells a story that a prospect can connect with. We designed a website for GBBINC.com, an engineering firm that competes for solid waste management projects for large municipalities. We made sure that the home page told the story of “why” it’s important to reduce and recycle our trash. And we displayed their core values front and center on the home page so prospects could understand what was important to the GBB team. For SEO, we added a full list of their services to their home page. The site shines compared to the websites of their competitors, and is a significant competitive advantage for them. Also, it’s important to engage the prospects that visit your website but are not ready to engage your services at that moment. Great websites have sign up forms to collect emails and allows you to nurture leads, so you are top of their mind when visitors are ready to become clients. A great marketing list like this is a valuable asset to any growing business.
A website is a direct reflection of a business. Is your site mobile friendly and is your content up-to-date? Does it convey that you are a successful, thriving business with a large client base? Is your business brand presented professionally? Visitors will make decisions based on their perception of your business as they see it through the lens of your website. They will look for clues to see…
- if they are a good fit for your services (mission)
- whether you deliver great service (testimonials)
- whether you are highly-qualified (articles)
- how you work with your clients (your signature process)
A professional website will build brand equity for your firm. If your goal is to build a business you can sell, then the sooner you begin to invest in your brand, the more it will be worth when you are ready to sell it. This process starts by defining the mission of your business (or big why), your vision for the future, and your core values (how you deliver services). Another key part of building a brand is your visual recognition. A well-designed logo, persuasive tagline, and thoughtfully chosen brand colors help prospects remember you when they are ready to buy. All of these elements can be showcased on a high-performing website.
So where do you want your business to go over the next few years? If you are ready to grow, investing in a website can pay off in better clients, a full pipeline, higher rates, an easier sales process, and in the end, a higher valuation. That is the value of a great website.