fish in the tankThere is a wide misperception among small business owners that the internet is for reaching out to regional and/or national markets. Therefore, they believe  that a local business doesn’t need a website, because it can connect with local customers through referrals, world of mouth and print ads in local newspapers. While a website indeed offers extensive reach, it can be extremely beneficial to local businesses as well.

So how can a small local business benefit from having a website?

Distribute accurate information about your business

Did you know that even if you didn’t make a conscious effort to establish an online presence for your business, it could still be found on the internet? Online local business directories such as Yelp, Yahoo Local and Yellow Pages pull your business info from public records and other sources. This information might not be complete and/or current, which means your prospects could be calling the wrong number all along. You could go online and claim your local listings to fix the data, but even then things you can say about your business are limited to the basic info. A website serves as a trusted resource and offers a great opportunity for telling your business story in your own words.

Build company awareness

What is one of the most important elements for your local business to be successful? Location! People go to your local coffee shop because it’s on their way home, to work or some other often-visited destination. Many of them found out about your business by seeing your storefront. Wouldn’t you like to attract more customers than your immediate locals? What about  potential enthusiasts from a nearby town who might go out of their way just to get your awesome butter croissants? What about travelers looking for a place to rest and snack? These potential customers didn’t pass your store on the street and might not read local newspapers. You can easily introduce your business to a wider local audience through a website. With a website, you can go beyond your typical customer and extend your reach, especially if your location is not so great.

Improve your online visibility

Yes, listings in online business directories will get your name out there, but they won’t do much for distinguishing you from your competition. A website offers space for more content than a listing, and it will be ranked higher by the search engines. This means, aside from conveying your unique selling proposition, a website will give you more chances to be found by people interested in your products and services.

Grow Your Business

Your website is your most dedicated business representative ready to assist your prospects and customers 24/7. Even when you are sound asleep, it continues to guide people to your store or office and inform them about your products and services. If you want to grow your small business, website is the way to go! Besides promoting your business, it offers a variety of tools for building relationships with your customers. Through opt-in email form or a blog you can engage your audience and receive valuable feedback to help improve your business strategies.