Local business websites are far more common than they once were, but plenty of small businesses still don’t have a strong web presence. Some entrepreneurs may feel they are not big enough to warrant a site, while others don’t think their customer base would require one. In some cases, entrepreneurs may feel they can simply use social media platforms and web directories, avoiding the need for a dedicated website. However, there are many reasons a local business should consider developing a site, with the benefits outweighing any drawbacks.
Ensure Business Information is Correct
Without a website, local businesses are leaving information in the hands of external companies. Elements like contact information, opening hours, and product details could be incorrect or not even listed. Business details are often scraped from a few sources and syndicated widely, so misinformation can spread quickly. A website is a place to control any information a customer might need.
One of the biggest reasons people conduct local searches is to scrutinize the reputation a business has acquired. The official business website will usually be the first search engine listing, so this is an opportunity to put forward the best impression. Testimonials and reviews can be placed prominently on the site, with links to third-party platforms who discuss the business favorably.
Not everyone visiting a local store is ready to buy. Just as with online selling, it can be beneficial to pre-sell clients before they see an offer. When they then visit the store, a high number of these visitors should be primed for a sale. A website lets a business prepare people for the experience, ensuring they are educated and enthused about visiting the business and making a purchase.
Grow the Business
A local business may start out selling products to people in the local community. It doesn’t, however, mean that is where the business needs to stay. If there is interest from one group of individuals, this may translate to different crowds that are accessible online. In many cases, a local business could start an e-commerce store, selling their products with little extra work required.
Add Social Proof
Social proof is a powerful factor in convincing people to make purchases. Local businesses might rely on a busy store or positive word of mouth. You can, however, increase social proof substantially via a website. A website can include reviews, indicating a positive overall experience and individual product ratings. Additionally, a blog with an active comment section will highlight interest, while social media buttons, featuring likes, shares, and followers, will make an impact.
Improve Customer Services
Every business will occasionally face a customer service issue that needs resolving. For a business reliant on their physical store, it can be harder to manage customer issues. The addition of a website, though, means customers have a number of ways to get in touch. It is also possible to add a support desk, including a knowledge base that answers most of the common questions without needing any direct contact.
Offer Detailed Analytics
Analytics can provide businesses with information that allows them to improve every aspect of the sales process. Analytics can determine the type of people visiting the website, where they are coming from, and the factors that most interest them. This data can be taken from the website, allowing the entire marketing and sales process, both online and offline, to be streamlined.
As mobile devices continue to grow in popularity, developing a web presence becomes increasingly important. A local business may not sell products online, but potential customers will be searching to find out about its reputation. Even if a local business currently has little or no competition, a new competitor could shake things up with an enticing website and online campaign. Websites are affordable and realistic for most businesses now, so it makes sense to develop a platform that can only do positive things for branding and growth.