If my local business isn’t directly selling online, do I really even need a website? YES. You do. So much of your customers’ attention is now directed online. It’s an accessible way to reach your customers and control the message you’re sending them.
Previously, we’ve looked at some of the elements customers expect from a local business website. Beyond that, let’s take a look at what local business owners do to become successful online.
They Create Routines
Once you decide on the things you’ll do online, you should work to make them a habit. You want to create consistency for your customers. If you’re going to be active on Facebook, make a posting schedule so you consistently post on specific days. If you’re going to send out a newsletter, set a day on the calendar so you’re ready to send on that day. Anywhere you are active–your email account, social media–you should be checking for messages from customers and replying regularly. Successful local businesses are consistent and reliable with their customers.
They Bring In Customers Searching For Them
We’ve previously looked at why your local business needs SEO (search engine optimization). In short, your customers get online and look for you. By showing up in the search results, you seem like a more legitimate, trustworthy business than one that doesn’t.
They Have A Website That Builds Their Brand
A well-designed brand communicates the story of your business to your customers. It impresses them with a slick look that says you care about your business. You aren’t just a local, convenient choice–you are the best choice for their needs.
They Have A Website That Answers Their Customers Questions
Customers want to know when your business is open. They want to know how to get in touch with you. They want to know your prices, or how to find them. They want to know what kinds of services or products you offer. They want to see that other people have worked with you successfully in the past. A successful local business website will build trust by telling their customers everything they want to know.
If your website doesn’t have answers to most of their basic questions, users will often not bother asking, especially if there is a competing website that offers the answers.
They Engage With Their Customers
It’s good to be there when your customers want to talk to you. It’s even better to proactively engage your customers. You can start the conversation. Give them something to be excited and interested in. You can do this through social media, your email newsletter, and through giveaways. Build buzz around your business online!
They Don’t Depend on Social Media
Yes, successful local businesses use social media, but they don’t depend on it. Your customers are likely on Facebook because so many people are. But you don’t own your Facebook page. You own your website. There was a time when businesses could depend on Facebook to reach every customer, but the organic reach on Facebook is diminishing. You can depend on the website you own. When you create business cards or social media pages, always be linking your customers back to the site you own.
They Prove They Are Trustworthy
More and more, customers report that they will not even consider using a business without a website. It’s become a basic expectation from customers. Your website gives you the chance to introduce your brand. You can use it to show social proof through customer testimonials and social media engagement. All of these elements help a potential customer trust that they will have a good experience your business.
So What Do Local Businesses Do Online?
In short, they are active online. They have a website; they have a brand; they have social proof; they bring in search engine traffic, and they find ways that work to engage their customers.