How to Grow Your Local Small Business 24/7

Learn why you should dominate Google search, especially if you’re a tiny, local business.

In small communities, we pride ourselves on deals sealed with just a handshake and word-of-mouth referrals. Sure, we take the advice of our friend or neighbor about the best local you-name-it to heart, but these days we’re probably just as likely to search online for recommendations—especially if we’re new to the area.

As a small business, you need a sound online presence so consumers find you, learn about you, trust you, and ultimately buy from you.

We’ve heard many reasons to stay offline: you’re small and local and “main street”, your customers aren’t big computer users, you don’t have a budget for a website, you might have a Facebook page, and you’re not an ecommerce or online business. So, you don’t need a website, right?

busy small town main street fair

Listen, I’m going to be straight with you because we want local businesses like yours to succeed. We want our main streets to be teaming with life, our mom-and-pop shops to be happily thriving, and the Amazons of the world to be selling, well…maybe just stuff we could never get here.

Bottom line: It’s time to move beyond only word of mouth and an ad in the local print paper to market successfully in 2019.

If you want your local business to flourish, too, then you need to hear this: if you’re comfortable channeling 97% of your potential customers to a competitor with a solid online presence, having consumers question your credibility or relevance, or having time-pressed customers take the quick path to purchase with someone easier, then you don’t need a website.

But if you want a steady stream of customers, to stand out from the competition, build your reputation and credibility, and grow your business even while you sleep, you absolutely need a solid web presence.

By a solid web presence, you: laptop on table with sample website shown
  • Have a website that tells visitors about you, what you offer, how to contact you, and all the loving things other customers say about you. Make sure that your design and content instills trust.
  • Rank high on search engines, such as Google. When someone searches your town and industry, you want to come up first. The process of helping your website ranking is called search engine optimization (SEO) and ensures potential clients can find you easily.
In 2019, your website should be your #1 marketing asset.

Why You Need an Effective Website and SEO for Your Local Business

  1. We all use Google to find you. 97% of us rely on online searches to find businesses—not the Yellow Pages or the local paper—so you need to be findable online. If your business website is a top search result, you’ll have a source of potential customers 24/7. If you don’t, whichever business is there will get those customers instead.
  2. Social media isn’t the same thing. The reach of social media is diminishing and nonexistent for many demographics, plus it’s becoming less friendly for businesses as users push back on ads. In short, it’s not enough to have a social media page for your business and call it your website. Not only do you not stand out from competitors, 30% of customers won’t even consider a business without a website.
  3. Improve your credibility and trust. Social proof is the strongest way to gain business—and it has moved online. Positive reviews and testimonials will help you gain customer trust, just like word-of-mouth referrals. 75% of consumers also judge your credibility based on your website design, so ensure you’re conveying the right message with a modern and secure website.
  4. We research before we buy. Most consumers want to know about the company or product before they buy or even step foot in the store or business. They want to answer basic questions (who are you, what do you offer, and how to contact you) even when your business is closed, or they’ll find someone else. This goes double for retail; Amazon is just a click away and we don’t even have to get dressed to make a purchase.
  5. Smartphones users are computer users. Your customers might not be heavy computer users, but we’d be surprised if they were all using flip phones. More likely, your clientele relies on their smartphone to find and learn about your business. So, make sure you’re there and your website is mobile friendly.

If you’re ready to direct potential customers to your business without cold calling, print ads, or a huge budget, it’s time to seriously consider a modern business website (or a revamp) and prioritizing SEO in your marketing strategy.

laptop on office table with website analytics showing

Ready to be found?

Photo credits: Erik Mclean on Unsplash. Olivia Hutcherson on Unsplash. Carlos Muza on Unsplash.