1) Local Customers Start their Search Online
Today’s local consumer is more savvy then ever before. Looking to save time and money, consumers are turning to the internet to start their search for local products and services. Even when making offline purchases consumers will research local business using the internet before deciding where to shop. If your small business does not have a website, you practically invisible to potential customers.
Consider these facts:
- 97% of consumers use the internet to shop locally. (Source: BIA/Kelsey, User View Wave VII, March 2010)
- 63% of of people use the Internet as their first resource when looking for a local service or product. (Source: 2009 Webvisible/Nielsen study)
- 43% of people surveyed said they are more likely to purchase services or products from a small business with a website. (Source: Discover Small Business Watch Survey)
- Nearly half of all searches on Google or "local", which means someone is looking for a local product or service nearby
2) A Website Builds Credibility
What impression do you make online? When customers search online and don’t find your business it’s almost as if you company does not exist. They may pass you by to choose a competitor. It’s now expected by consumers that every creditable business has a website.
A website builds your credibility by providing an established presence online. A website provides a glimpse of your business and important information about your company that consumers are looking for. Consumers also use a website to compare to competitors so having just “any” web presence is not enough. Make sure your website is professional, user friendly, easily accessible and provides the proper information your potential customers are searching for.
3) A Website Saves You Time and Money
A website saves you time and energy while you tackle the everyday challenges of owning a small business. Your website provides your customers with hours of operation, menus, and information about your products and services. Let a website answer these common questions so you can focus on growing your business and spend less time on the phone talking about it.
Think of your company website as the perfect employee - it’s always on time, works 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, does exactly what you ask, provides customers with the proper information, and always promotes your brand in a positive manner. Even when you close up and go home, your website continues to work for your business and allows customers to connect with you anytime from anywhere, proving to be a cost-effective and reliable sales person for your business 24/7.
4) A Website Keeps You in Touch with Customers
Whether your business has a website or not, customers are still talking about you online already. In the form of review sites like Yelp, directory listings, forums and social networks like Facebook and Twitter; customers are sharing their opinion - good and bad - with the public. A website allows you to control the conversation and communicate with existing and potential customers.
While a website will not prevent a negative review, it does offer customers to ability to contact you online directly and discreetly to share their concerns. It also enables you to talk about improvements in your business and easily share them with thousands of local customers. Posting announcements and information to your website is a cost effective tool to communicate with the public. Share photos and menus or even create specials that encourage customers to visit your website to learn more about what’s new and exciting at your small business. You may be surprised that the more positive things you share, the more positive things they will share about your business to others.
5) A Website Can Increase Sales
Many small businesses, especially service businesses argue they don’t need a website because they don’t plan to sell products online. But a website can increase in-store sales and service calls by generating leads and driving local customers to your business.
A well built website is a great tool to connect with local consumers searching for the products or services you offer. A website allows consumers to contact you directly through your website, either through phone calls email or in-store visits. In addition, a website can be a powerful lead generator for small business driving new customers to your business and increasing revenues.
- 3 out of 4 smartphone users have contacted a business they found on their phone. (Source: Google/Ipsos, "The Mobile Movement: Understanding Smartphone Users," April 2011)
- Over the next three years, businesses that make use of the web expect to grow 40% faster than those that don't. (Source: BCG Report, "The Connected World: The $4.2 Trillion Opportunity," March 2012)