Lately I have seen so many local businesses popping up on Google search results, it made me think “Is a website really important for local business? after all, their customers are local and there is a constant contact with them”. I pondered over it and did some research and here is what is found.
Local businesses have a small business and most of their clients are locally based, coming from the neighbourhood. They have good ongoing business and not looking for to get more customers or sales. They feel that local people will not visit their website as there is no need to. Citing the above reasons, they feel that there is no need for a website as it will incur an additional expense.
But that in completely incorrect. You will need a website now like never before. I saw that all search engines like FourSquare, Yelp, and Google too are going local and promoting local business and providing people with more local results than ever before. If you stay in New Berns, USA and search from your home, thanks to GPS tracking etc, you will see a lot of local results showing local shops, events and activities. Along with the result, you will see a lot of reviews by local customers and a lot of special offers and easy payment options.
After doing a through research, I have found that the following reason why you just need a website for your local business.
1 You need to be found in all Search Engines
One of the primary reasons for having a website is that most of all your potential customers use the internet to search for everything under the sun. From local pharmacists, grocery, bakery, restaurants, tops, food, barbers to local doctors, nurses etc. There are more than 3.5 billion searches conducted on Google every day. They use the internet like they used to use the phone book. More than 97 percent of consumers are search online to find a local business and if you want to be found then you need a website.
Your business needs to be found where the people are making their searches. Your small business has to come up in local searches otherwise people will find other local competitor’s businesses rather than yours and go there.
People are always searching for reviews on products, shops, restaurants, foods etc, and read the comments meticulously so they decide to buy or not. You have to make sure that you have a good online reputation and people are talking good about your services.
If you don’t have a website for your business, chances are that customers will run to your tech savvy competitor.
2. Builds Credibility and Brand Value
People are turned off by businesses that have no website. Website is a common thing and social media are a daily habit. People will feel that the business with no web presence is not tech-savvy enough and will not provide them with good service.
A website will not only give you some web presence but will help you build your brand and give you business credibility. A professionally designed website with immaculate branding and latest features will create a good impression on the visitor and help you build your brand.
3. Showcase your services and products.
Consumers frequently look for information on products on the net. They are fond of new technologies and latest products and look for new features that are never seen before. If your website showcases such products and offer special offers and discounts then you are bound to be found by the consumers.
You can not only list your products but also provide complete details, with professional images, video tutorials, instructions and PDF documentation so that people can gain confidence in you and buy from you.
4. Ecommerce and Online Payments
This far most the important reason to have a website. Ecommerce spending is gaining every year. Consumers want online payment options so that they can complete the purchase online. A lot of commercial transactions happen on the net whether it is B2B or B2C business transactions. Buyers prefer to finalize his/her purchase by making the payment online to complete the transaction.
Once the transaction is completed, it is only the deliveries or supply that is pending. This helps you bring about consumer satisfaction and increases sales.
If you provide complete ecommerce transactions online, then your buyer can simply book the same online and make his purchase. You are bound to find many more buyers for your products.
5. Your store Information
You can provide a lot of helpful information regarding your store or products on your website which otherwise they would not have not known. Like exact location, driving maps, working hours, discounts, offers etc.
Instead of hiring a support personnel, you can provide information on your website that people can avail of at any time. You have post your location using Google Maps and people will get directions using the map.
it is easier to update information on a website than informing all customers via mail or postcard.
6. Your website is one of the best Marketing tools
A business website gives you another marketing channel that is available 24/7 and full year. With a website, you get online presence and chance to announce your products and services to people and another way for people to find you.
Compared to traditional advertising, your website is one of the best and cheapest marketing tool. You can provide your customer easy accessibility to your store and products information and helps them to contact you at any time. You can have interactive forms which will allow you to gather exact information about the purchase.
You have tools like Online Live Support helps the consumer to reach out to a sales representative before making a purchase, this helps in clearing all the doubts of the consumer.
7. Online Communities and Customer Network
You can build an online communities, blogs, comments and reviews of your products on your website. You can build good network of customer which will help your business grow. You can send them in-depth information on your products and seasonal offers and wish them periodically. This is one of the best ways to keep in constant touch with your clients.
8. Website is more affordable than offline advertising
A listing in Yellow Pages or Local Magazine can costs a bundle as print is not cheap. The shelf life of the book is limited and your advertisement does not last for long. Money is better spent on online listing of your website in Online Directories and Business Directories.
A website is more affordable than offline advertising.
9. All your competitors have websites.
Competition is getting bitterly fierce these days. Your competitors are using all digital changes to connect to potential customers. Consumers do ample research and search for recommendations from forums and social network before they make a purchase. Online reviews play an important part in determining the mind of the consumer
If you’re not digitally competitive and do not do any online marketing , then you will be sending shoppers to buy from another brand.
Yes, Your local business needs a website. You have to connect to people, via search engines, via social media and you have to showcase your products, and complete details with instructions, do a live chat with potential customers, build a community, selling them online, provide them with easy payment options and build a brand and that is only possible with a website.
Users today are spending 5 hours daily on the internet and if you are not found, they will go elsewhere. Those who do not have a website will not be able to compete and simply perish tomorrow.