So what’s all this online fuss about?

Shop front for local businessWhen you are a local business, primarily serving local customers, it can seem like a no-brainer to just not bother with getting online. I mean, who wants all that fuss and expense when you’ve got lots of local people buying your products or services?

Well, how about this as a bit of food for thought:

  • 4/10 online users have made a purchase after sharing it or marking it
  • 78% people say a company’s social media posts impact what they buy
  • Almost 1/2 of women say their buying  is influenced by trusted bloggers
  • 90% of customers check out online reviews before visiting a business
  • 73% are more likely to buy from a brand that interacts with them online

In 2012 Internet users had an average of 3 social media accounts. Now in 2019 that is thought to be around 7 social media accounts. People are using the Internet more and more. If you want the answer, then Google it!

So, even your local customers are no doubt checking products and services online now before buying.

So why should I get my local business online?

barberThere are 3.34 billion people online worldwide. and add that to the stats above, that means there could be a more customers out there for you.

People are much more used to checking out products and services online. They look at reviews and they look at prices.

Brand awareness is important for any business. If you are in front of your target audience online then you will be at the forefront of their mind when they are looking to make purchase decision. If you competitors are there, telling people every day how good their products are then your potential customers are seeing that. What do they know about your business?

So what are your options?

rail of clothesWell there are plenty of options, that suit plenty of businesses and plenty of budgets.

Not everyone needs a big flashy website. I would even go as far to say that not every business needs a website – especially if they can’t keep it up to date.  Did you know that 81% of people think less of a business if its website isn’t up to date?

A simple solution could be to set up your free Google My Business. This will give you an online presence that if people Google say, dentist in Penarth or hairdresser in Cardiff, you will be found in search results. It’s great for location based searches too. This means that if someone is visiting your town and they want to find the nearest florist, you will be in their results. You can also get your customers to leave reviews there for you.

Social media is also a good choice for simplicity. Setting up social media accounts is free and with Facebook your customers can leave reviews. You do need to keep your social media up to date too and you need to post regularly, even if that’s just once a week. Social media can be very good for building up a portfolio of your products or services to share with customers – bouquets going out to customers, before and after hairdressing or customers enjoying meals in your restaurant. You can also use it to share your good reviews and let people know how good your business is.  You can also sell on social media, such as Facebook and Instagram. Why not pop some special offers online to redeem in your business?

In their simplest form, a website can work almost like a brochure to let people know more about your business. Let them understand your story. In it’s more complex form it can be a full blown e-commerce site. Most websites are somewhere inbetween. If you want to sell online then a website would be a good investment. They are also good if you want to blog to your customers and take them on a journey with you.

How do I know which is right for me?

local buisnessWell the answer to that can be, how long is a piece of string!

It’s going to be different for each business, budget and target audience.

I very often advise customers to start small – that often works well for the available budget. Claiming your Google My Business is a good start. For a micro business it might be appropriate to look into the target audience in depth and decide on a social media platform. Getting this set up and sharing out relevant information is a good way to start to increase your online brand awareness

With social media it is always better to take a strategic approach rather than a tactical approach.You can ensure it ties in with business objectives, is hitting the right audience, is providing the right type of content at the right times and engaging the audience. Have a look here for more about why you need a social media strategy. 

How do I get started?

local cafeIf you have the time and the inclination then you can set up and manage your online presence yourself. I like the KISS method of keeping it simple, so start with something easy that you can manage.

You can also contact us at Plumb.Digital for a chat about how we can help you get your business online.  We will never over-sell and we will be straight with you about which options are best for you, your business and your customers.