Why Should Local Businesses Be Online

Do you run a local store or business? And do you know why it is important to be online? It's because people are online and they regularly search for businesses and answers to their daily curiosities. From shopping to groups and forums for recommendations to connecting with others, people are finding all these and more online. 

You should consider a local marketing strategy that targets consumers and customers within a certain radius of the physical location(s) of your business. It can work nicely for any business that has a physical location and it’s particularly important for locally-based businesses whose primary business happens face to face and the person must be present.

Start with a Website

To be part of this fast-paced world, you must have a business website. Since everyone is online these days there are many benefits you can gain from having a website.

Thanks to the evolution of technology and free website builders, building your own personal website has never been easier.

A website can be your most important marketing asset. Potential customers may contact your business and make their decisions to buy based on the availability of your products and the quality of your website - either based on the graphic design or informational aspects. Prospective employees often review websites in detail before submitting a resume, and potential suppliers study websites to determine a business' validity and product range.

When you develop your website, make sure your content is kept up to date long after the launch. An outdated website can reflect poorly on your business. Don't forget to increase the value of your website by including the following.

  • Display your social media activity.
  • Add widgets and other useful or relevant tools.
  • Include a customer feedback mechanism, such as reviews or commenting.
  • Allow users to subscribe to information updates (via newsletters or for example, on a messenger system).

Your website should contain:

1. Your story

This background is important mostly for brand new businesses to start building trust with customers. Show off your business' brand and values in an authentic way.

2. Product and Service Information

It's obvious: by describing and showing what products and services you offer, you can pique your visitors' interest to learn more.

3. Location and Hours of Operation

This should be pretty easy to find on your website.

Include information about what markets you can serve. Let's say you run a bistro that delivers baguettes – there are geographic limitations as to who you can accept as a customer. Indicate on your website that you can only accept orders within a certain area. In addition to providing this information on your website, you should also review and add information to your Google My Business profile.

4. Contact Information

You never know who might find you :) Adding in a simple contact form to your website is better than just publishing your business email address and phone number.

5. Images

Make it real! Show your products, yourself, your office, and staff so that everyone knows who it is about.  People like to connect with people, not just some random store telling them to buy stuff!

6. Social Media Accounts

Integrate them into your website by using icons and including links.  You can also ask your website visitors to connect with you.

7. Testimonials/Reviews

Ask for a quote and the permission to publish often.  Who doesn’t love to read the reviews before committing to buying a product or trusting a brand or company?

8. A Call to Action

Push them to connect with you. Add a button such as a newsletter sign up form, or the option to follow your business on social media.

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Key Takeaways

  • Website and social media profiles should contain useful and consistent information.
  • Keep it up to date.
  • The better experience the visitor has, the better results your website and social media will bring.
  • Both help you spread awareness of your business and products/services.
  • Both leads to new opportunities.

It's a good investment to use your time and energy to create and run a visually appealing, easy to navigate and informative website.

📖 Read more about the key benefits of having a website.

You can build your website on Wix, which is full of great features and is simple to use and creates beautiful websites that are custom for your business, Weebly is a good option with various cost-effective pricing tiers, as long as you don’t plan to move your site much in the future. If you are a beginner, Squarespace is a tool for you in contrast with Webflow, this option is best for advanced website builders. 

Make sure everyone can find your website easily, either with the help of SEO or PPC campaigns.

If you are not confident enough to start with web developing platforms, you can always use the Facebook Business Page as an alternative.

Website vs Social Media Profiles

This is not a duel. Both should go hand in hand and complete each other. Make sure you deliver the same values, nevertheless, your social media might be a little bit more fun and full of pictures and videos. 

If you’re a newbie to social media marketing, your first step is to set up your accounts and profiles. If you’ve been in the business for a while, you can always polish the profiles over time. Check out the 10 elements of a successful social media profile. 

Always think about relevancy and being up to date. Change your profile and cover pictures and don't forget to update your bio or CTAs. Since your social media profiles may be the first impression many people get in regards to you and your business, it’s worth spending some time to make them interesting, compelling and unique.

70% of Americans use social media and each person has 7 social media accounts (on average).

Just find out WHO they (your audience) are and what social media account they are most active on and catch them! To do this, you must prepare great content and serve it to their table (where their phones or PCs are waiting to accept it).

Talking about local businesses, let's bring up some examples.

  • For a hospitality business (cafe, restaurant or a small hotel) it is crucial to have a form with a call to action button for booking as well as the menu on a good working website. Run a nice profile either on Facebook or Instagram to communicate with your potential customers whilst showing off your super cozy place, food and activities.
  • A yoga studio or a gym is practically the same as the above. Adjust your call to action slogan to ring the bell. 
  • Do you run a beauty salon or a barber shop? You don't necessarily need a website, just add a booking form into your social media profile and show your audience you can make them feel amazing! 
  • What about a local grocery or clothing store? Don't forget to use the “navigate” button, tell people about your promotion and new specialties or must haves via your colorful and interesting imagery.
Always use the platforms that your audience is active on.

To be as effective as possible, it's crucial to target the people that are most likely to convert and actually complete the action you want. Read more about target audience, platforms and market research in the following chapter. 👌

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