Does a Local Business Really Need a Website?

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It seems like every pundit worth a pinch of salt is spruiking the internet and how it’s the place to be for business. But, are they all hype or is there some method to their madness. Let’s take a look at the web and see just how important it is to your business:

  • Of the 7.9 million searches done by Australians every single day, 42% are looking for local businesses. That works out to about 3.5 million searches for local businesses everyday.[1]
  • 74% of Central Coast households with a computer have an internet connection. That works out to over 70,000 households. That’s quite an audience particularly since the average household is around 2.7 people
  • Plus 73% of users researched goods online before purchasing from a local store, while 41% reported they look at goods in stores before buying online[2]
  • As only 26% of small businesses have a website, very few are being found by customers in local searches[3]

So yes, those pundits are right. The internet is a superb marketing tool that can really help your business get more customers. And what’s more it can be an easy way for you to stand out amongst 74% of your competitors.

And, it’s not just for businesses who want to sell products online. It’s also important for businesses who provide a service. There are just so many people using the internet for research that you need to make sure they think about your business as part of their purchase consideration.

Options

So what are some of the options for you to get your business online:

  • Website – The ultimate online marketing tool for your business. Mainly because you can customize the look and content to exactly what your customer is looking for. But, just building a website doesn’t mean you’ll be found. You need to make sure you have a promotional strategy that will make sure that people find your site.
  • Blog – These are similar to a website but are cheap to setup (Many websites include a blog). They are an excellent way for you to interact and educate your market. People tend to look for experts in a field (they want to know they’re getting the right advice) and a blog is a great way to share information.
  • Directory Listings –Directories are a great source of traffic because they bring highly motivated consumers who are looking to buy. They are normally a cheaper option to websites and create an easy template to fit your business into.
  • Social Media: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, My Space – These can be a great source of exposure for your business and there are indeed numerous businesses that survive purely through social media marketing. Plus they can be really cheap. Just be careful as it easy to get caught up and may not be the right approach for your business.

[1] Roy Morgan (2002-2009), Single Source Australia

[2] CCI at Swinburne University of Technology, May 2010

[3] Online Marketing for small business, Jonathan Crossfield, Aug 2010

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