With the gas prices high and the economy in turmoil, most small businesses are looking for ways to reduce costs and make their dollars go farther. Many small business owners I talk to think they don’t have the money to get a website or start actively marketing it online. But the reality is that investing in your website can actually reduce costs. Here are 7 ways your website can save your small business money.
By the way, if you lead a churches, ministry, or non-profit you’ll find many of these ideas will save your organization money too.
1) A small business website can answer sales questions for you.
What hours are you open? Do you carry XYZ brand? Can you give me directions to your store? Are you licensed and insured? People frequently call businesses with these kinds of “pre-sale” questions about the products or services offered or the business itself. By putting answers to these frequently asked questions on your website, you can save time answering sales questions.
2) A small business website can provide free customer service.
Just as people have questions before they make a purchase, existing customers also often have questions after making a purchase. What’s the best way to clean this product? Does this product require regular maintenance? Putting answers to frequently asked service and support related questions on your website can save time and thus money as well.
3) A small business website can reduce or eliminate printed marketing materials.
Many years ago, OurChurch.Com invested a considerable sum of money developing and printing a media kit we could send to prospective advertisers. Less than 6 months later some of the information in it was no longer accurate leaving us with some very high-priced kindling for our next staff campfire. Additionally, we found that most people would rather read something online than wait for it to arrive in the mail anyway. Depending on the type of business you have you may not be able to completely eliminate printed marketing materials – in fact we recently printed a brochure we gave out at a recent conference – but almost all businesses can save in this area.
4) A small business website can eliminate the printing and mailing of manuals, instructions, etc.
People are always losing paperwork. If your business provides documentation of any kind with its products or services, you can eliminate the cost of printing and mailing additional copies by putting these documents on your website. For products this includes things like assembly instructions, maintenance instructions, and warranty information. For services this typically includes policies or general contract information.
5) A small business website can save advertising costs.
A small business can promote its website through search engines for far less money than any other form of advertising such as TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, or direct mail. More and more people are searching online for products and services, including local businesses like restaurants, beauty solons, and home renovators. Many small businesses could increase sales and reduce advertising costs by shifting more of their marketing budget into search engine marketing.
6) A small business website can reduce expansion costs.
Instead of adding a new physical store, a business can go global with an e-commerce store for less. Even small businesses that provide a physical service like a lawn care, mobile locksmith, or catering can often expand into neighboring markets by continuing to maintain one base of operations and expanding their website (or nearly replicating it for the new area).
7) A small business website can reducing billing costs.
Does your business mail invoices? You can cut that cost using an online billing system and then giving customers the ability to choose to receive invoices by email rather than postal mail. Many customers will take advantage of this opportunity to reduce clutter and save a few trees. If you provide a recurring service like lawn care, pest control, or cleaning services, this can be a good cost-saving option for you.