You’re up to your ears in clients. You’re doing so well that your phone is constantly ringing and your calendar is always crammed. The waiting list to even consult with your business is miles long.
Why on Earth would you need a website? You’re warding off new clients with a stick! You’ve been considering building a moat to keep them away.
If this is you, first let me congratulate you. You’re living the dream. Being overwhelmed by a crowd of loyal clients is a problem every business owner wants.
But if this IS you, and you don’t have a website, you’re still missing out.
Your website can do lots of cool things for you, aside from bringing in new business, including:
1) Provide quick and easy information.
2) Make connections with other businesses in and outside of your industry.
3) Help you keep up with the competition.
While it’s still true that not everyone absolutely must have a website, most businesses will benefit from having one. Let’s explore these reasons why that’s the case.
1) Your website will provide quick and easy information.
Even the most established of professionals needs to keep accurate information on who they are, what they do, and how to reach them out there. We call this your NAP: Name, Address, Phone Number. For any business that needs people to come through its doors, it’s critical to make this information easily accessible and clear.
You trust your clients to recommend you to others, but do you trust them to know your phone number and address by heart? How are they supposed to communicate that information to the people they’re recommending you to?
Scratch that, how are YOUR CLIENTS supposed to know your phone number and address at all? In this day and age, some might turn to a phone book for help, but most will skip straight to the internet. This means the way that you’re represented online matters.
If you’re a professional, you’ve probably got SOME kind of web presence, oftentimes in the form of listings on local or industry-specific directories. For example, maybe you’re a lawyer comfortable with the fact that you just show up on a local database of law professionals. Or maybe you’re a doctor who’s just happy that your clinic shows up when someone looks for doctors in their insurance network.
But what if someone doesn’t want to slog through a database looking for you? More importantly, what if they want to know more about you than your phone number while they’re comparing you to another business?
Your website is where you should put the information that you want your clients to know about you. What’s your specialty? Do you have satellite offices that are more convenient for them than others? What hours do you operate? Your website is where most people would look first to find this stuff out.
If you have forms that your clients can fill out ahead of time or information, say contract terms or instructions that they might want to peruse before meeting with you, your website is where they’d go to find it.
Your existing clients might also like to email you questions or appointment information instead of calling you. Where would they get your email address? They could muddle through those databases we mentioned OR they could just go to your website.
The bottom line is that even your masses of existing clients will likely need information about you or from you at some point. And it’s certainly easiest for them to make recommendations about you if they can point their friends to your website.
Don’t you want to make it easier for clients to do business with you? (Hint: The correct answer is always “yes.”)
2) Your website will help you make connections with other businesses in and outside of your industry.
But let’s say that you’re actively asking your clients to NOT recommend you to their friends. Let’s say that you’re so swamped that inquiries from prospective clients are a drain on your team’s resources. Though I highly doubt it, maybe you’re trying to scrub all traces of your business from the internet so that no new clients have any hope of finding you again.
If this is you, I’d offer you congratulations, but I wouldn’t want to blow your cover. It must be nice to have to literally hide from leads. However, even if you don’t want to make new connections that could turn into clients, you should always be open to making new connections with other professionals.
In fact, if you have any ambitions outside of making money off of your existing clients, you should have a website. Bettering your community, promoting your values, and expanding your career are all goals that a website can help you reach.
Your website is the ideal place to put information regarding your associations and partnerships. Especially if you want to thank your partners for their participation in fundraisers and events, you’ll need a website to house this praise. Your homepage, or maybe even your blog, is a great place to promote the good works you do in your community.
And you’d be surprised at how effectively websites can communicate mission statements! If you have noble goals that make you stand out in your field, you should make them public. Your “About Us” page on your website is an excellent place to talk about what effect you hope to have on your clients, your industry, and on the larger world.
This is where your clients can get to know you better and really appreciate that you’re a person like they are. This development of a bond is particularly important in fields where you need your client’s trust to do your job well, from psychiatry to locksmithing. Displaying the human element of your business can lead to better relationships with clients and set you apart from your competitors.
3) Your website will help you keep up with the competition
Even you, with your swarm of clients, need to stay aware of your competition. This is because not all professionals have gads of clients. And do you know where these other professionals look to find new clients? They probably look right at you.
Your clients will always have a choice about who they give their business to. Even if they’re not actively looking for an alternative person to hire, they’re still susceptible to your competitors’ advertisements.
If you think that your clients will always choose you, regardless of how your competitors are doing, then you’re taking an awful lot for granted.
If your competitors have websites (as you’ll find that many do), they probably have all sorts of nifty things hosted on them.
For example, resource centers are very popular website features across many, many industries. An accountant’s website might offer a resource section that has a white paper about the taxation process or helpful content about managing finances.
Now imagine that you’re an accountant whose client has a question about these kinds of topics but doesn’t want to call and ask you about them (because there’s a good chance you’d charge for that phone call, right?) If they end up on your competitor’s website and learn useful information from them, there’s a real chance that they might end up feeling wooed and switch to their services -- especially since their website is probably filled with promotional copy that makes them look super attractive. It’s no wonder they’d be wooed!
Bottom line: if you can keep your clients from spending time on your competitors’ websites by offering the same information on your own, do it. Otherwise, you could be actually LOSING clients because you haven’t bothered to make a website that addresses your clients’ needs.
Really, you should be addressing your clients’ needs as a priority, anyway, right? An informed client is a happy client? (Hint: The answer’s always “yes,” here, too.)
4) You will always need new clients.
We’ve been using these examples as though you’ll never need new clients again. After all, there are successful businesses that will never look for another new client again, ever, right?
Unless your clients have signed unbreakable contracts with you (and have endless supplies of money and eternal life), you always need to be open to new clients.
So what good’s a website when you already have as many clients as you need? You still need an accessible place for your current clients to get information. You still need an accessible place to feature your partnerships and associations. You still need to keep up with your competitors.
And seriously. Everyone can benefit from a little lead generation.