Why local businesses should have a proper website

There was a recent study that showed that 60% of small UK businesses (companies with 5 staff or less) do not have their own website. The majority of these small businesses were local businesses. The excuses for not having a website seemed to be pretty consistent. Some owners did not think the size of their business meant that they needed a website, whilst others cited cost and lack of time as reasons for not having one created.

When asked how they found business, the business owners said they relied on word or mouth, local advertising and business listings (such as Yell) to create new business opportunities.  However, these owners are missing some obvious tricks by not having a website.

If you are a small business owner and are thinking about taking the plunge on a website – take a look at the 4 main reasons of why net72 believe you need a website.

1. Access to customers outside your town and county

Before the internet became so widely available and used, almost all local businesses would have only had competition from other companies in the same town or region as them. If someone wanted to book a holiday, buy a car, or buy their groceries for example, they would have walked down to the town, gone into a shop and spent their money there.

With the internet, shoppers have access to a worldwide market – and therefore ‘local businesses’ can sell their produce and services all over the world.

There are of course pro’s and con’s, threats and opportunities here for local businesses.

It’s a threat because many customers look online, rather than coming to visit your shop. This means your local market will, effectively, shrink, putting your business at risk. However, the internet also offers up opportunities for you to sell anywhere too – so what you may lose locally in sales, you can more than make up for by selling further afield. If you sell wine in Gravesend, you can sell wine in Glasgow too!

However, this is only really possible if you have a channel/medium to sell it from. This is why having a website is so important for your business – it is your shopfront to a worldwide audience.

2. Communicate with new and retained customers

Your website is not just there to sell your products and services, a website is also a way of building your brand, and subsequently relationships with customers so that they become ‘retained’ customers and stay loyal to you and your business. Once you have an impressive website, you have a genuine reason to keep in touch with them over the long term and owners can use this to their considerable advantage.

The website is not just your online brochure, websites now have the functionality to advertise events, products or sales, offer voucher codes, run competitions and much much more. There are plenty of innovative ways to generate new business, and retain the customers so that they come back for more.

Once you have built trust with a customer, it is a proven fact that even when a customer can find something cheaper elsewhere, they are much more likely to stay with a business that they have built a relationship with – this is even becoming the case when people have bought and ordered online.

3. Showcase your products or services to a worldwide audience

Obviously, once your website is up and running, not only can you tell your customers and potential customers that visit your website about your products and services, you can also persuade them to order online.

Modern websites that tend to be designed in a template format allow you to create portfolios of your best work, so if you are an artist, graphic designer or landscape gardener you can showcase the quality of your work. If you work in the retail sector, you can create an e-commerce site so customers can purchase products there and then.

This is important for your business as online buyers expect to be able to see what they are looking for and, if it is for sale, to be able to buy there and then. If they can’t, they’ll almost certainly look elsewhere.

4. Extend your opening hours to 24/7

The beauty of the internet is that it is open 24/7. This means that you do not have to be at your shop, and you can still make sales.

Having a simple contact form on the website means that customers can get in touch with you 24/7 – that would simply not work without a website.

So in conclusion

You will find that more and more people use the internet to research and find local services or products. Their expectation is that every company will have a website – if they have a bad website, it is arguably worse than not having one at all!

From reading our article that is focused on local businesses, you should now understand the importance of having an online presence and how it can benefit you in many different ways.

If you would like to get to discuss how net72 can help you, please fill in the form on our contact page.

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