If you run a local business, chances are you’re a pillar of your community. After all, local business owners love to immerse themselves in the community to get to know their customers and build goodwill with the people they serve. And in the past, that was enough to ensure that people from the area visit their shops and restaurants. In fact, if you read marketing books and articles from just ten years ago, you’ll find that very advice given when asked how to bring in local business to a store.
Boy have times changed.
The internet has brought about a less intimate environment for local consumers because so many transactions and social interactions are conducted online. That’s why today’s local business owners need to approach their community differently, and that includes all their marketing efforts.
Many Local Business Owners Aren’t Online
A recent study conducted by a business to business research firm called Clutch shows that almost half of all local business owners don’t have a website. That’s because so many of them don’t believe they need one because all of their customers come from the local area. But that kind of thinking can get local shop owners in trouble, because the truth is, people today do everything, and we mean everything, online. If they want to order a birthday present for a friend, they go online to find US local gift shops. If they want to find the nearest place to mail a letter, they go online to find US post office locations. In short, if a local business can’t be found online, chances are they aren’t going to be open for very long.
So, where does that leave local business owners who aren’t yet online? Basically, you have 3 options when it comes to marketing your local business. Let’s take a look at your options.
Stick to What You’re Doing
There are a lot of local business owners who believe they can keep doing things the way they’ve always done them and they will get along just fine. Unfortunately, that attitude can be attributed to the rash of local store closings across the country. In fact, experts say that this year has seen more local store closings than any other year, including the Great Depression. It seems that a lot of local shop owners just aren’t keeping up with society and the way consumers choose to find US local businesses, and that’s leading to their demise.
Hopefully, you realize that even though we listed this as an option, doing things the way you’ve always done them truly isn’t an option if you plan to stay in business.
Create Your Own Website
If you realize that you need a strong online presence in order to survive in this culture, then you’ve probably thought about building your own company website. And while you may be financially able to take on this increasingly expensive proposition, you may not understand what all if involved in it. For example, in order to build a website, you will need to choose and register your domain name, create a plan for the pages, hire a designer and coder, find someplace to host it, and then make sure it looks professional and is functional for the people who will use it.
In addition to building a website—and paying the professionals thousands of dollars to do it—you’ll have to consistently market it to keep it at the top of the search engine rankings so people can find it. This also will cost thousands of dollars and if you stop, your rankings will plummet.
Create a Local Business Listing
The final option is the best according to most local business experts. Sites like FindUsLocal.com allow local shop owners to create local business listings so they can have an online presence without the arduous expense of a website. These local business directories consistently market their websites so your business listing will be seen by all those consumers who go online to find US local post office listings, US local restaurants and shops. And the best news? It won’t cost you a cent.
You really can’t afford going without an online presence, and a local business directory is clearly the best option. If you haven’t already done so, why not head over to FindUsLocal.com right now and find out how creating your own local business listing can help your business by getting it in front of buying customers.