It won’t be wrong to say that most people these days go online in order to find new local businesses. If you do not have a website, it may not only result in loss of credibility but you may also lose a lot of sales. Many small businesses like yours often wonder why they need to have an online presence in the form of a website if they only sell to local customers. After all, building a website costs money and you just want to ensure that your marketing budget is spent right.
It is important for you to know that more than 2 billion people all over the globe are corrected online and around 70% of these users get online on a daily basis. Also, the number of people connected to Internet keeps growing. Therefore, it makes sense to establish an online presence in order to reach out to these consumers. Here is a list of some of the important reasons why you need a website for your small business.
1. Be Visible
There was a time when most people used to use the yellow pages in order to find a business but those days are long gone and these days, most people use a search engine in order to find a business. If you do not have an online presence in the form of a website, these consumers may not deem your business credible and you will also lose sales. A website is a much more cost-effective type of advertising when compared to the cost of advertising on local media outlets as well as in phone books. It is not just cost-effective but also allows you to reach new customers.
2. Reviews and Testimonials
Research indicates that more than 90% consumers check online reviews before they decide to spend money on something. When you have your own website, you can add testimonials and also guide potential customers to positive reviews of your business. This can have a huge influence on your sales as you’re likely to get more customers. Also, by maintaining a website, you have slight control over the information available online about your business in the search engines, provided you also practice good SEO tactics.
One of the other advantages of the Internet is that it allows you to get a lot of information about the demographics and habits of your potential customers. Use of Google Analytics allows website owners to find a lot of useful information including the location of the users as well as the typical age range of these visitors. This is powerful information and you can use this information to refine your online presence and reach more targeted customers. Analytics also allows you to find the exact time of the day people visit your website which allows you to target that particular time frame for marketing.
4. Remain Competitive
If your competitor already has a website, they are likely to be seen as more credible. In case they still don’t have a website, it allows you to get a leg up and have one in place before them. Do not forget that Internet is used by people for searching business information in the same manner as printed phone books. These days, people are more likely to use online search engines to find business information, and once you have a website, you will always be open for business.
5. Lead Generation and Data Collection
You can collect a lot of data from visitors and generate leads. Maintaining a presence at a local trade show or a home show is not cheap and not as effective. Having a website allows you to maintain an online presence at a fraction of the cost and add prospects to your mailing list by offering a free download or guide. It will give you a way to keep in touch with potential customers. By adding a blog to your website, you should be able to find out the kind of content your site visitors want, and it will allow you to get more organic web traffic by writing on those topics.
6. Lower Acquisition Cost
Acquiring new customers through the traditional ways of advertising is much costlier as compared to the cost of acquiring customers online. In fact, it is estimated that you can gain new customers at just 1/10 of the cost as compared to the cost of acquiring customers through traditional channels. Also, by maintaining an online presence you have the chance to continuously refine your marketing methods as well as your website by keeping track of customer habits and using this information to make your marketing much more efficient over time.
7. Take Advantage of Web Rooming
Web rooming is a new concept and it’s the opposite of showrooming. This is the trend of customers using the Internet to do some basic research before they go to a brick and mortar store in order to make a purchase. Keep in mind that around 90% of sales still happen in the traditional manner but most people these days go online to do some research before they set foot in a brick and mortar store. Therefore, even if you do not sell anything online, you need to maintain a website to take advantage of this trend.
8. Better Customer Service
One big advantage of maintaining an online website is that it is accessible 24 x 7, unlike a brick and mortar store where employees are present only for around a third of the day. Once you hire customer service teams for your website, you can sell all around the globe at any time your potential customers want to buy. Local businesses can also use this in order to set up appointments or pre-sell items before a physical visit by potential customers.
9. Integration with Social Media
It won’t be wrong to say that one of the best ways to get more local leads is through social media. It is estimated that 70% households go online in order to buy local products and services, and one of the best ways for local businesses to reach these households is through a website that is integrated with social media. For instance, you can advertise on Facebook to a very specific audience in your local area and link the advertisement to your website. Just take a look at the number of people present on social media and you will quickly realize the importance of maintaining an online presence.
10. Brand Identity
If you do not want to create a full-fledged website, you should at least buy your domain name through one of the many registrars and have a basic landing page that has the contact information of your company. If you do not reserve your domain name, someone may buy your company domain name and build their own website around it. Therefore, it’s better to grab your company name and build a basic website in order to have control over your brand name.
There are a number of other reasons to build a great website for your local business. These days, customers expect all businesses to have a great website which means you will be meeting their expectations. Maintaining a website will also allow you to get your hands on some analytical data that can be used to grow your business further and take it to the next level.